You feel it as you leave the plane. You feel it when you wake the next morning and throw open the bedroom window. You feel it the moment you step out into the hubbub of an unfamiliar city’s dusk for the first time. When you go somewhere new, its newness seeps into you in an all-consuming way. It’s not about the individual sights or anything you can very easily pinpoint. It’s more than that, more than the sum of its parts – it’s why we travel. It’s why Rough Guides exists.

For a long time, video games could not come close to giving us this feeling. They just weren’t that immersive. Sure, you were having fun playing, but the distinction between you and the character you were controlling was clear-cut.

That distinction has now been eroded. Game graphics are so immersive and all-consuming, you don’t just experience the gameplay – you experience the very world in which the gameplay unfolds. That thrilling feeling of being somewhere new is no longer the exclusive domain of real-world travel.

High standing monument

 Monument of Sanctuary Ruins, Anthem

Can this really be so? If the proliferation of in-game photography is anything to go by, then it most certainly is. More and more virtual travellers are snapping away as they play, recording their experiences, sharing them on dedicated Instagram accounts and putting a new spin on the age-old debate of whether photography is art: this time, the debate rages around whether in-game photography is truly photography.

That’s not a question for Rough Guides to answer. After all, we’re most interested in travel. For us, the explosion of in-game photography suggests that we’re entering the age of the gaming tourist. That’s why we’ve produced our first guide to the phenomenon, bringing our signature “tell it like it is” approach to the worlds – the inspiring, intense, moving, unforgettable worlds – of eight Xbox One X Enhanced games, with their 4K resolution, astonishing detail and play of light and colour so vivid as to be visceral.

So from the desert islands of Sea of Thieves, lost cities of Tomb Raider, classical splendour of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and eerie wastes of Metro Exodus to the mind-boggling dimensions of Halo 5 and Anthem, get ready to travel in a whole new way. You might even visit some familiar spots when jumping into the worlds of Forza Horizon 4 and The Division 2.

As ever, just don’t forget your Rough Guide.

We are now giving away a free eBook of the Rough Guide to Xbox. If you want to buy a print copy, head to the Microsoft Online Store. All proceeds from the sales of the Rough Guide to Xbox will go to UK Charity SpecialEffect.

 

Sand covered terrain with two pyramids positioned within the foreground

Pyramids of Giza, Assassin’s Creed Origin’s

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