With Watch Dogs: Legion set to throw players into its dystopian version of London in just a few days, we’ve been thinking about other times England’s capital has been depicted in video games.
The city was first immortalised in the text-based adventure Streets of London on the Commodore 64, and has since been brought to life with increasing graphical detail, leading up to the next-gen visuals boasted by Legion.
Do you have a favourite version of London from games past? It might be just a level or an entire game, but remember, sims like Microsoft Flight Simulator or world-beating strategy titles like Civilization don’t really count.
Read on for the team’s favourites.
Feasting on patients goes against the Hippocratic oath, probably.
James | Assassin's Creed Syndicate
It's not often I look forward to stalking and murdering people, but the prospect of doing so amid Victorian London was enough to ignite the fiery passion of the killer within.
The game which succeeded at this feat was none other than Assassin's Creed Syndicate, the first and only entry of the series I've played as I mentioned in our review way back when. The joy of exploring its train stations in particular was a real pleasure, since plenty of historical details survive to this day.
While hardly a like-for-like representation of all of old London town, there's a consistent vibe and a fantastic attention to detail in the architecture that makes each district feel like a distinct part of the city.
The nature of the game, seeking out assassination targets and other open world objectives, lends itself to sightseeing. Plus if you keep to the rooftops you can leap about without being disrupted by baddies.
On top of all that, if you want to take it slow you can always take a ride in a coach or private train to take in the sights. What more could you want?
It's important to take a break from all the assassinating to drink in the view every now and then.
Liam | Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator might have been discounted by James, but he didn’t say anything about Combat Flight Simulator! I have fond memories of endlessly replaying this game, toying with the ultra-realistic settings (enabling finite ammunition made things especially tricky) and simply soaring through the skies in free flight to see how far I could push the various fighter planes.
While it’s not all set in London, a significant portion of the British campaign takes place in and around the skies of our capital, so I’m counting it. Of course, this being a flying game, the city itself was more of an afterthought than the main draw, and because it’s a very old flying game, London was pretty much a big blurry mess, but it was probably the first time I’d come across a game representing a location I was familiar with, which I thought was very cool.
If I’m remembering correctly, there might even have been a few iconic landmarks knocking about. I can’t be sure, but I seem to have a foggy recollection of trying to fly through Tower Bridge. Perhaps I’m getting mixed up, but either way, it was a great game set in a great city (sort of).
Did this really happen?
What's your favourite game set in London? Let us know below.