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The High Score: 8 Visually Stunning Video Games to Explore While Stoned

August 29, 2017
(CD Projekt)
Welcome to The High Score, where we explore the creative, immersive intersections of cannabis and gaming through reviews, product pairings, and more. Check out more installments of The High Score series here.

Few things go together better than cannabis and immersive, atmospheric video games. Whether they’re impeccable imitations of reality or stunning worlds of animated imagination, recent years have treated us to many graphic masterpieces to get lost in. Here are eight that ranked at the top of our list here at Leafly, but the recommendations could go on and on. Share yours in the comments section!

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Remastered in 2016)

(Bethesda Softworks)

Console: Xbox One, PS4, PC 

Few games live up to the atmospheric standards set by Skyrim, which first debuted in 2011. Since then, its makers have remastered it and blessed console players with the ability to stack on additional mods, which take an already breathtaking game to the uppermost echelon of visual achievement. Even the soundtrack sings its way into the very fabric of Skyrim’s landscape, adding a beautifully hypnotic tone to the game’s wildlands.


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Horizon: Zero Dawn (2017)

(Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Console: PS4

Uniting environments of fantasy and sci-fi, Horizon: Zero Dawn is a game that masterfully paints a sublime world of civilization reclaimed by nature. The juxtaposition of a Viking-like society and robotic dinosaurs is disorienting in the best way possible, and it keeps you pushing deeper and deeper through the striking landscapes as you seek to answer the question of “what the heck happened here?” You can almost feel the breeze of this game, as winds run through grasses and Aloy’s hair to create detailed atmospheric movement.

Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt (2015)

(CD Projekt)

Console: Xbox One, PS4, PC

The world of the Witcher series is not only rich with mythological creatures derived from Slavic folklore, the landscapes that house them will have you wanting to roam the animated outdoors for hours on end. Inspired by geographies and architecture of Scandinavia, Poland, Russia, and many other real-world locations, Witcher 3 rebuilds these places with radiant detail given to light and textures.


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Uncharted 4 (2016)

(Sony Computer Entertainment)

Console: PS4

If you’re a sucker for realism, look no further than Uncharted 4. The places you’ll be swept off to may be unfamiliar, but the convincing imitation of real life will make you feel like you’re actually there. Giving attention to details as small as splinters of wood, kicked-up dust, and the flashing spark of a bullet against metal, the game often feels more like a live-action movie that you control.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (2013)


Here’s a nod to a game that’s a bit older than the flashy games of recent memory―although it did get an HD remaster in 2013. Originally released in 2002 on Nintendo’s awkward turn-of-the-century Gamecube, The Wind Waker demonstrated that not all immersive, explorative games had to march toward realism. It took a brave step away from the more “mature” artistic style and story of masterstrokes Majora’s Mask and Ocarina of Time, but gave players a wide open sea to explore by boat. Its artistic, cartoonish animation style already gave the game timeless qualities, but the added detail and textures of the HD remaster make it an even more accessible game to revisit.


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Final Fantasy XV (2016)

(Square Enix)

Console: Xbox One, PS4, PC

I’ve somehow never played Final Fantasy XV, but having seen the stunning screenshots, I knew it belonged on this list. So take it from our customer service specialist, Natalie: “The Final Fantasy franchise has never been lacking in unique stories with equally well-executed graphics/artwork, but what set FFXV apart for me is the massive open world concept complete with unique biomes and ecosystems. My two favorite visual aspects of the game are the realistic light/shadow effects used for day to night transitions (check out the sky at night in a dark lit area!), and the intense, cinematic boss battle immersions that affect everything from the landscapes to the weather during combat.”

Abzu (2016)

(505 Games)

Console: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Abzu is another video game that steeps the player into an environment generated from artistic imagination as opposed to mimicries of reality. You’re a scuba diver exploring the colorful undersea realms swarming with schools of fish, forests of kelp, and other ocean wildlife. Leaks of light spill from the surface, illuminating your environment with bright rods. The graphic atmosphere is not altogether unlike No Man’s Sky, but you’ll likely wrap this game up in just a few short hours. If you’re looking for a visually astonishing experience without much commitment, this is your game.


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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)


Console: Nintendo Switch, Wii U

This list would not be complete without one of the most accoladed games in recent years, Breath of the Wild. With a map that seems limitless at the start, players will see thousands of gorgeous sunsets and sunrises before finally reaching Calamity Ganon. There’s almost no surface you can’t climb, which means you’re constantly standing on mountain peaks gaping at miles upon miles of breathtaking landscape. Shadows stretch and contract with the sun’s movement. Nature sways and steadies with the changing weather. Though enemies and boss battles become repetitive with time, the ever-changing landscapes and immaculate atmospheric detail are what make this game truly phenomenal.

Bailey Rahn's Bio Image

Bailey Rahn

Bailey is a senior content manager at Leafly, specializing in strains and health. She's spent 7+ years researching cannabis products, spreading patients’ stories, and exploring healthy ways of integrating cannabis into daily life.

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