Video game levels used to be one of the most iconic pieces of a video game’s identity, but nowadays games are using the device less as a theming tool as open-world design becomes more popular and feasible. There are more open-world games now than ever before which are just one big map like GTA (those will get their own list one day). Or games have a general area the player is exploring but levels are split up between loading screens like the original Outlast. Neither of these approaches is bad. Especially since they can often make a game feel more cohesive but there was once a time when levels had just as much personality as the characters in the game (sometimes more so). Those are the games I want to celebrate and remember today.
In order to qualify, the level needs to be distinct from other sections of its game…
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