The 10 Best Games With An Arctic Setting

There are many scenic settings that could be set while playing a video game. Enchanted forests, eerie caves and dark gothic castles are places that are a common sight in the video game universe.


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One such place you may find yourself in is the frozen arctic tundra. Whether it’s far to the north or south of Earth, a fictional fantasy land, or another planet in the galaxy, many icy wastes can attract adventurers of all kinds. Whether you’ve always wanted to explore the Arctic or just want to chill, here are some of the best arctic settings in gaming.

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10 Deathloop

Deathloop: Blackreef Blacksite

Blackreef is an island full of cultist lovers and reckless scientists who have fun in an endless time loop. Worse, Deathloop’s island is also pretty cold.

Icebergs nearby, snowmen littering the streets and icy water that will kill you in seconds; you’d think Colt would have dressed a little warmer since he’s stuck on an island. Well, the good news is that if you accidentally dive into arctic water, you’ll be revived at dawn on the next loop. It may not be the coldest, but it’s far from tropical.

9 Frostpunk

Frostpunk - Settlement overview

The essence of Frostpunk is survival in the Arctic. The Earth turned unhappily and the Arctic expanded.

As the leader of the last group of survivors on Earth, your task is to tap the thermal springs and create a city. Well, as close to one as possible anyway. The gameplay and environment are relentless. The cold is an ever-present threat and isn’t afraid to threaten your city when you’re at your weakest. It’s far from a comfortable trek to the Arctic, but it will keep you entertained from start to finish.

8 Subnautica: Below Zero

Subnautica Base Station Below Zero Delta

The deep sea exploration series returns with an icy look at a new planet. 4546B is an exciting and icy new place to explore in Subnautica: Below Zero.

Related: Best survival games for beginners

There are also the classic fish devils and giant sea monsters, but now with an arctic twist. You’ll see things like snow sharks and ice worms, along with deadlier enemies like the terrifying shadow leviathan. You’ll need a lot of wits and resources to avoid freezing or being swallowed whole, but it’s also a great view.

7 The Lost Planet

The player is shooting a big monster in Lost Planet

Being in the middle of an ice age is not a fun experience. But with Earth torn apart, there aren’t many choices other than EDN 3 Lost Planet.

Fortunately, you have some cool technology that will make the planet a little more habitable. Unfortunately, the planet is also teeming with deadly monsters called Akrids, who don’t seem too keen on terramorphing their planet. The balance between keeping warm in a cold environment and avoiding giant monsters is worth calling EDN 3 home.

6 Uncharted 2

Box Art for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Nathan Drake has seen many amazing sights around the world. In Uncharted 2, he certainly embarks on his coolest adventure yet.

The Nepalese Alps, the third Arctic Pole, are so named for their long stretches of icy tundra – the perfect place to stay in a train hanging off a cliff. Nothing seems to come easy to Nathan Drake. Snow, mercenaries and even some not-so-mythical yetis await him in the Alps. Fortunately, luck seems to be on his side.

5 Killzone

an icy killzone invasion level with a character holding a mountain weapon on a snowy bottom

Vecta is the planet of extremes. Lush forests, sprawling cityscapes, and of course, icy arctic biomes exist on the planet’s surface. Unfortunately, all of these have been turned into war zones in the Killzone series.

Fighting the Helghast is no easy task. Their invasion is all over the planet and their bases at the geographic poles are also well placed. But you have weapons and combat gear, so at least you’re not defenseless. Who knows, maybe you can even take the planet back?

4 Skyrim

A barbarian fighting style against a Stormcloak soldier

Skyrim is quite an interesting change of scenery from the previous Elder Scrolls games. Gone are the gloomy swamps and the capitals that settled among the plains.

The frozen shores and snow-capped mountains are inhospitable to some, but the Nords have called it home for centuries. They may be used to the cold, but Skyrim has many lands full of adventurers and setters from all parts of the empire and beyond, despite rumors that dragons are making a comeback. Maybe a dragon fight will warm you up?

3 Cryostasis

cryostasis sleep of reason

Survival horror games often use the environment as another form of hostility for the player to worry about. In Cryostasis, the arctic environment of the North Pole is the perfect setting for this.

Related: Best JRPG Settings

All is not as it seems aboard the icebreaker North Wind. As your character quickly finds out. You’re not quite what you seem either, with the ability to enter people’s minds and alter their memories. It’s a fun and exciting way to get in and out of combat that you’ll need to survive the icy holds of the ship.

2 Long topic

A screenshot of the Mystery Lake Cabin in The Long Dark

One of the more popular entries in the genre affectionately known as the walking sim, The Long Dark drops you dramatically on a northern Canadian island after the apparent end of the world.

It’s a beautiful game, and you’ll have plenty of time to marvel at the excellent art style that depicts frozen lakes and wide-open forests as you walk through the snow. When you encounter animals and people altered by a geomagnetic storm, you have a lot of moral decisions to make. The beauty of the snow contrasts with the looming threat of freezing, hunger and angry wolves.

1 Fate 2

Destiny 2 Heist Battleground Europe

In Destiny 2, the Guardian must be ready to travel to the far reaches of the solar system at a moment’s notice.

One such place you may return to more often than others is the snowy outposts of Europe. One of Jupiter’s moons, it’s not for the faint of heart, even before the alien Vex decided to take it over. Being a guardian, the cold doesn’t bother you much. Whether it’s the warmth of a travel light or just the power of your own strength, it allows you to explore snowdrifts with relative ease.

Next up: The best winter-themed DLC in games

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