I gotta ask, what’s your favorite RPG city? It’s a time-honored tradition of RPGs to build out big cities, hubs for you to find quests, get worldbuilding exposition, and heal and equip your characters before going out for battle. “City” can be a big metropolis, or just a small village, as long as it’s fun to explore.

(btw, I took the header picture from here)

Almost no matter the type of RPG, there’s going to be some cities worth remembering. If you ask me what’s your favorite RPG city, my brain heads towards a few different answers. Mostly based on nostalgia, though; that’s a powerful thing when it comes to digital worlds like this.

I imagine if I played more modern games, I’d come up with totally different answers; the worlds in modern RPGs are undoubtedly way more detailed and interesting than the old stuff; I hear the Yakuza games and the Final Fantasy VII remakes are especially good for this. But for me…

I’m eternally a big fan of Toad Town from Paper Mario 64. It’s a little simple now, but the way you gradually explore it and return to it over and over cements it in my mind forever.

This Toad Town map is WAY too big to fit into this page so I’ll just link it instead, thanks to Mario Universe.

Also, the hometown from Deltarune Chapter 1 is lovely. Getting to explore that after finishing the rest of the game is a super nice reward, even if it feels totally off because of the hidden lore stuff you know is definitely lurking underneath.

Another one is Castelia City from Pokemon Black & White. I’m pretty sure most Nintendo nerds, if you ask them “What’s your favorite RPG city?”, will probably respond with some Pokemon game or another. I am no different.

This one I remember super fondly because of the sheer scale of it relative to expectations. Pokemon cities up to then were always flat with blocky buildings and a top-down perspective. But suddenly for Castelia City, they switched things up and gave a 3D perspective! A city so big it’s separated into multiple maps like a Playstation RPG!

What's Your Favorite RPG City
What's Your Favorite RPG City
What's Your Favorite RPG City

I can’t particularly remember anything from the city anymore, but the scale of it sticks with me.

I love 2D-3D mixed graphics styles

And, for a full 3D example, Riften from Skyrim always had a really unique, really nice feeling to me. It was the first city I reached after doing all the new-game-Whiterun stuff, and I ended up staying there for a really long time doing all the sidequests and going around to nearby dungeons and bandit camps.

I’m always enamored with big cities in RPGs. That’s why as a naive kid I was legitimately excited for that ill-fated, controversial Bob’s Game for the DS. I want to build a really big city myself one day, one that is never boring to explore and never feels disjointed from the rest of the game experience.

How about you? What’s your favorite RPG city? Sound off in the comments!

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One thought on “What’s Your Favorite RPG City?

  1. Any city or other home base that serves as a longtime hub world tends to have a stronger place in my gamey-heart. Whatever that port town in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is called is a fun one. I also enjoyed running around on the deck of the airship in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, and jumping progressively higher in Disgaea hub-castles, hub-villages, etc.

    Favorite of all time: …man I wish I played The World Ends With You so that I could say “it’s Shibuya as portrayed in The World Ends With You” but whatever. At least I watched my friend and sibling play it, and played like two chapters once. Threading your character through the milling crowds and occasionally scanning their thoughts does so much for the atmosphere of that game (I assume…because I ain’t hardly played it).

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