In a change to the scheduled programming caused by extreme weather, I have shelved my planned Top 5 Villains post, and instead have gone with something a little more topical (well, at least it was topical a few days ago) – SNOW. So having had a lot of time on my hands after being trapped in my house for three days due to a weather event called the Beast from the East, I have had the opportunity to put together my top 5 snowy locations in video games. Hope you’ve got some firewood at the ready!
So before all that white stuff completely disappears, let’s take a look at what I’ve come up with:
*extremely minor spoilers for the games in question ahead. Nothing that will actually spoil anything, but you have been warned!*
Tantal (Xenoblade Chronicles 2)
So I’m kicking off with a location from a game I was playing (114 hours and counting…) during my snow-related time off! Tantal is one of the main Titans in the world of Alrest from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It is a HUGE snowy waste, filled with ruins, mines and forests, and one grand but desolate town called Theosoir, which is home to the King of Tantal. The town itself actually makes me feel cold. I’m not sure how to describe that sensation any better, but I think I feel colder in Theosoir than out in the snowy wastelands that surround it. The sheer scale and colourless beauty of Tantal are really something to behold and the music that plays when you enter Theosoir sends shivers down my spine. Also, on a lighter note, Zeke von Genbu, the CHAOTIC bringer of chaos is from Tantal, so it must be good *winks*.
Snow Peak (Twilight Princess)
Sometimes it’s the little things in games which make you really love them, and this place from Twilight Princess is definitely one of those things. On the face of it, it is just another Zelda dungeon, this time set in a snowy locale, but there are a few little touches here that I really love. Firstly, when Link approaches the dungeon one of the first things he is faced with is a sled-racing competition with the super cool Yeto (pictured). This is just sheer fun. Next is the dungeon itself, which is set in a cold and icy mansion. It’s isn’t just cold here, it is also quite creepy, with icy skeletons waiting all around to kill you. It’s an intimidating place for sure, but it is also quite heartwarming. The story of Yeti couple Yeto and Yeta is very sweet, but my favourite thing here is that for one of the puzzles in the dungeon you have to make soup (also pictured). You have to hunt for ingredients and throw them into the pot, and if you get them all you end up with an amazingly restorative soup made of fish, pumpkin and goats cheese. Yum! It really warms the cockles.
Snowfield Stable & The Hebra Mountains (Breath of the Wild)
I hope it’s ok to have more Zelda here, because I think the series in general does ‘snow’ very well. From Breath of the Wild I wanted to pick out the Hebra region, and in particular, its one and only stable, the Snowfield Stable. What makes Snowfield such a great stable isn’t really the stable itself, but the weird sense of relief you get when finding it, and the absolute endless nightmare of freezing temperatures and Ice-Breath Lizalfos that you experience before you reach it. It is a place that creates a feeling of awe, and an appreciation of the massiveness, and in some ways, the emptiness of the world you’re exploring. This works perfectly in BOTW, because the whole game has a big survival element to it – you must have the right clothes and eat the right foods just to survive. Time is always against you. Going over just one more hill can lead to things you are just not able to cope with however good your fighting skills. This point is highlighted perfectly by Hebra’s snowy and icy mountains which seem to drift on forever until you stumble across Snowfield stable, and realise you are not the only person alive out here!
Polar Paradise (Tekken 5)
Not too much to say about this one, except it is pure comedy. Sure, there is a more exciting and brightly coloured snow based Tekken level in Tekken Tag 2’s Arctic Dream, but somehow the penguins win out in this list and the hilarity of watching our favourite fighters punching each other to smithereens whilst the penguins look distastefully at them for invading their habitat just makes this level perfect!
Freezeflame Galaxy (Mario Galaxy)
I like ice levels in Mario games generally. The ice skating mechanic is really fun to use and some of the levels have pretty ice statues for you to destroy, but I’ve picked Freezeflame because of its excellent combination of ice and lava to create multi-elemental chaos. Whilst I love ice, I hate lava levels, I just fall in all the time, so this was initially quite off-putting, but the fun puzzling it creates and the sense of very hot fiery danger it adds makes it a really interesting galaxy to explore!
So what you think? Do these snow filled locations do justice to the wonder of the season? Or do you prefer your snow more of the Final Fantasy XIII variety? Let me know in comments.
Thanks for Reading,