Aaron DiManna
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3 Games With Incredibly Atmospheric Driving

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One of the best things about video games is their ability to transport you to another time and place while giving you a way to interact with a world you’ll never experience in person. In many cases, this idea translates to driving. When handled properly, this mechanic can be enormously atmospheric and make the environment feel more real. Here are a few good examples.


Own the road: Learn more about the 2021 Chevy Corvette


Mafia

Driving is a huge part of Mafia. You start the game as a cabbie, then become a wheelman for the mob. Hopping into a Corvette-inspired ride and navigating a 1930s city during the height of prohibition is a remarkable experience that almost makes you feel like you’re in “The Godfather.” Plus, it gives you time to listen to your digital friends’ — typically expletive-filled — conversations and get to know them a bit better.

L.A. Noire

Hitting the road in L.A. Noire isn’t that different from doing so in Mafia, except for the fact that it takes place in the late 1940s, and you play as a classic gumshoe. Most of the driving sequences are purely utilitarian, by which I mean they carry you from objective to objective. However, you can immerse yourself in the world by tooling around between missions, getting honked at by gorgeous vintage rides, and trying not to run red lights — because you’re a cop, after all.

Cyberpunk 2077

Hot take: Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t a very good game. It’s glitchy, unfocused, and disappointingly shallow. However, when you’re not being plagued by random, immersion-breaking issues, it’s an atmospheric masterpiece. Driving your suitably edgy future-car around the city is a feast for the eyes. The skyline is soaked in neon light, like a cross between modern-day Tokyo and “Blade Runner.” The other vehicles on the road look incredible and almost beg you to hijack them, even if that draws the ire of the cyber-police. For all of its flaws, cruising the streets of Night City is pretty awesome.

These days, we could all use an escape. In my opinion, taking to the wheel and immersing yourself in an atmospheric digital world is a pretty good option.


Want something atmospheric?: The 2021 Trailblazer has plenty to spare