Top 5 RPG Locations

While RPGs are rich with fantastical storylines and memorable characters, these elements are nothing without an interesting world in which to explore. From sprawling vistas, to cities in the sky, each new location that you visit makes the world feel more real and enchanting. These are my top 5 RPG Locations:

1. -Midgar (Final Fantasy VII)-

Definitely not the most enticing location on this list, but certainly the most memorable. The city of Midgar is divided into two layers; the floating city on top of the plate supported by pillars and the slums below. It is separated into seven sectors, but nobody remembers their names anymore. The unsettling atmosphere created a perfect backdrop to begin the events of Final Fantasy VII and for a while you never thought you would leave. It provided the Mako reactors, the eerie Train Graveyard, the slums, Aeris’ Church, the sleazy Wall Market and of course Shinra Headquarters. The city itself had enough character to support some of the most memorable events in the game and made sure it would never be forgotten.

2. -The Kingdom of Zeal (Chrono Trigger)-

Arriving in Zeal for the first time was wondrous. In the dark ages, the magical kingdom floats elegantly above the clouds, comprising of four separate islands connected through sky bridges and teleporters. The architecture of the palace was mesmerising and the music made you feel like you were visiting another world. For video games back in the Super Nintendo era, nothing was more impressive than seeing this floating city in the sky made with the combination of magic and technology.

3. -Lindblum (Final Fantasy IX)-

After narrowly escaping Alexandria by airship, you are introduced to the massive city of Lindblum. It is so big it is divided into four areas that are accessed via Air Cabs. Lindblum Grand Castle is the home of Regent Cid and has it’s own airship dock. The Theather District houses the theatre as well as the hideout of the band of thieves known as Tantalus. The Business District is the largest commercial area in the game providing shops, inns and access to the outside world and finally the Industrial District, where the engineers work and visit the famous pub. The scope of the city is huge and you can easily get lost making your way around trying to find all of its little secrets.

4. -The City of the Ancients (Final Fantasy VII) –

Final Fantasy VII had such memorable locations, that it is not a surprise to see another shown here. The Forgotten Capital is the ruined city once inhabited by the Ancients. Many of the houses above the ground are made from shell-like materials and invoke a vision of the bottom of the sea. A hidden underground section is made up of beautiful crystal castles connected to the surface with a staircase of brilliant light. With the haunting melodies playing in the background and the foreshadowing of events to come, this once glorious civilisation kept you on the edge of your seat as you discovered a place that had not been touched for centuries.

5. -Zanarkand (Final Fantasy X)-

The original Zanarkand was a utopian metropolis full of life, featuring skyscrapers, highways and a gigantic Blitzball stadium. When it lost the Machina War against Bevelle a thousand years ago the inhabitants turned it into a dream state that was ultimately destroyed by Sin. What is now left is the Zanarkand Ruins, known as a holy place and is the final destination for summoners on their Pilgrimage. Zanarkand was such a magnificent location in Final Fantasy X and combined with it’s beautiful musical theme and great importance to the overall plot it remained with the player long after they finished playing.

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8 Comments

Filed under Chrono Series, Final Fantasy Series, Top 5 Lists

8 responses to “Top 5 RPG Locations

  1. Can’t say that I disagree with you too much; though, call me crazy, but I might’ve taken the Gold Saucer over the City of the Ancients. The Kingdom of Zeal is a surprising, but definitely fitting, #2, as it’s both clutch to the story of Chrono Trigger and completely unexpected and mystifying when you stumble into it.

    • Certainly not crazy Muuurgh, the Gold Saucer was lots of fun, but honestly Final Fantasy VII could have filled most of the spots on this list. That game was just a creative masterpiece. I just loved the mysterious atmosphere of the City of the Ancients and of course it is so well rememebered because of the events that take place there. I think mystifying is the perfect way to sum up Zeal, you could sense it’s importance straight away. Thanks for the great comment.

  2. I know of numbers 1, 4, and 5. The City of the Ancients depressed me. It was so empty, and the music made me sad. But, it was an interesting looking place. I love great locations in video games. Some games aren’t that fun because the locations are so boring.

    • You are right about locations being important, I think sometimes the world itself in RPGs is just as important as the characters. The City of the Ancients was empty and depressing, but it was unique and Final Fantasy VII had plenty of those moments which made it so emotional. Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. WhiteKnight597

    Your 1-2 picks would be mine as well. So many people hate on FFVII but I think a huge reason it was so popular (for me, at least) was the fact that it threw you into the game immediately. I dread starting new RPGs sometimes because of all the early dialogue and tutorials (especially nowadays) but FFVII throws you into a mission in Midgar and you don’t leave there for hours. More memorable moments in the Midgar area than a lot of RPG games for their entire game. I was a little disappointed when you return to Midgar late in the game though. The parachuting in and music was great but the navigation and the lackluster fight against the machine left a lot to be desired for me, but at least you got to whoop up on Hojo.

    • I often replay FFVII, just up to the part when you leave Midgar. They are some of the best hours of video gaming you will ever experience, great pacing, great characters, great atmosphere, great mechanics. The Midgar sequence alone is better than 99% of other games RPGs or otherwise. As a kid I didn’t know much about RPGs so I thought when we took down Rufus it would be the end of the game, boy was I in for an amazing surprise! Thanks.

  4. boiofthestreets

    Final Fantasy VII has this incredible atmosphere to it. Unlike most (I believe) fans of the game, I didn’t grow up with it or anything. I was actually born in ’97, when it came out, and played it last year on steam with some mods for the first time – not really expecting much, having been overhyped by older fans who played it in their childhood. I think since then, I’ve played through it twice more, and I’ve delved pretty much as deep into the story as is possible. I truly think it still stands up today, not because of at-the-time amazing graphics or gameplay, but simply because the story, characters and world are all SO complex and imaginative. The two places that really stuck out for me are the exact same as yours coincidentally: Midgar and the City of Ancients. From the artwork, to the music to the mystery, everything brings out a dripping atmosphere that will always keep me playing that amazing game.

    • Absolutely agree. FFVII’s world is almost a character itself. It has it’s own personality, atmosphere and development. You can feel the history and cultural differences in each new location you visit. For a game released with the technological restraints of the mid-1990’s Midgar still feels like a real lived in city and that’s impressive!
      Thanks!

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