Cities are large formations of buildings and people who have united under a single name. They are generally ruled by a city council or other group of people. They are also, generally, large centers of trade and business. Some are terrorized by monsters, demons, or zombies, but most aren't. Thankfully.

Representing the Elder Scrolls series is the home of everyone's favorite underdressed secret agent, Cassius Cosades. Although hardly the largest city in the game, it served as a focal point for many starting characters due to it's position and the number of quests it gave, as well as being home to many great characters (and more importantly a great number a pillows, but that's another point all together). It's simple design and numerous functions made it in many ways the most realistic city in the entire game, and would make it the favorite of many fans of the game.

Creating a list of things Bioware has done wrong is not an easy task. And there's not a single thing from KOTOR that would be on that list. Easily one the greatest RPGs of the previous generation, KOTOR gave you a shock as soon as the game started with a fun but relatively tame and cliched "escape" mission, then a swift punch in the face when you entered what would become one awesome ride. Filled to the brim with sidequests and that Star Wars feeling that seems to make everything great, Taris is a great way to start any game.

Making it onto this list on the back of my insurmountable bias and lack of professional opinion is BG&E's city. A narrow strip of water, with a few sidestreets leading to narrow paths, the city doesn't have much going for it. But like everything in Beyond Good & Evil, it oozes awesomeness to us select few fans who scream it's name everytime something posts a "What are some underrated games?" topic.

I couldn't really decide between Thunder Bluff or Orgrimmar, so I had defect and choose an Alliance city in representation of that soulless monster that is WoW. Walking up to Ironforge for that first time, seeing the massive gates, that huge dwarf holding his hammer high, and then getting hit with a massive wave of lag is an experience that all WoW players hold dear to their hearts. So close to their hearts, in fact, that they've secured this position.

Call it whatever you want. I called mine Pootown, and I imagine I'm not alone in that. Although calling it a city may be an exaggeration, your town was something no other game could recreate. SimCity was just some city you built, and then watched all it's citizens get eaten up by a tornado. But not Pootown. It was filled with funny characters, stuff to dig up, fish to, uh, fish, bones to find, and owls to wake up 12 time a day to give him the previous items. Plus my Pootownians could beat up a Simian any day of the week.

One of the first real "holy crap this is big" cities in modern RPGs, Athkatla has been seared in all RPG fan's memories for it's monstrous size and content. It can take literally days to talk to every one of the NPCs here (a far cry from the 20 minutes most Final Fantasy towns take you to breeze through), and the sidequests that would spring up from such an adventure would take you weeks. Although not as big or expansive as the Elder Scrolls games, Bioware was able to pack so much content into every inch of Athkatla and the rest of Baldur's Gate II it's hard to ignore it. Especially when you spent 8 months of your life playing said content.

Freaking zombies. Aren't you tired of them? You better not be, because you're stuck in a city filled with them. And before you head to to Spain or whatever and shoot up a bunch of them with all that unlimited ammo and cool guns, you gotta run out of this city using a pocketknife and 6 bullets. Good luck. You're gonna need it.

City 17 has several problems. One is a serious upkeep problem. With little custodial staff, it hardly looks like a great place. In fact, it looks pretty run-down. Those rebels hardly help either. Constantly trying to keep the great Combine down, and for what seems like no reason at all. You would think the government would get some relief when that Gordon Freeman guy left for a few hours to ride in his boat and kill zombies, but nope, he comes back and things get even more complicated, and the City 17 ends up having to bust out it's giant spider robots and make the city look even uglier. That Orwell guy made this whole thing sound a lot easier to do than it actually is.

Dripping with more personality and sleaziness than even the real Miami, Vice City was a lesson in everything people loved to hate and hated to love in 80s. Fill a city with plenty of great characters, sweet cars, and top it off with a soundtrack to die for, and you have one awesome place to visit. Or maybe fly over, if that crazy Vercetti guy is at in town again.

A general mashing-together of every sci-fi cliche in existence, Midgard worked. Twisted corporations, noble rebellion, evil badguy running around, and crossdressing. Name a sci-fi novel without those things, honestly. Although hardly a engineering marvel, considering the fact that well over 90% of the city was inaccessible to human beings (generally a bad business move), it was still great to look at, and that's all that matters when you're as shallow as me. It's been held in gamer's memories not just because of it's high place one of the most famous games ever, but because it was wonderfully realized and a great way to enter a new, more immersive 3D age of RPGs for many players. Who in their right mind will ever forget the train barreling through the huge city, then screeching to a halt and dumping off our favorite spiky-haired purple-jumpsuit wearing protagonist?

Although some may be angry with the lack of older games or Nintendo games, it is my opinion that truly amazing and immersing cities are a recent phenomenon. Gone are the days of two houses and a vendor strung together. In it's place is a world where sprawling metropolises, brilliant vistas and huge subplots are found in every corner. Thanks for reading this Top 10.

List by Normatt (03/06/2007)

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