TA Top Five: Cribs

By Andrew Ogley,
Now that the recent season's festivities have ended and the whirlwind of social engagements and family obligations have been fulfilled, it is nice just to have some quiet time for oneself. A moment to relax, chill and kick back in the comfort of your own domicile, enjoying all the comforts of home. In today's Top Five, we take the same theme, visiting some of those places that we like to retire to after a hard days questing through wastelands, seeking some tranquility having faced various deadly encounters and foes, multitudes of bullets, or dastardly villains. It's time to visit some of our favorite cribs.

Honorable Mentions

Homesteads - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim "Hearthfire" DLC
Top 5 Cribs

The second DLC pack for Skyrim enabled players to become lord of their own manor with the purchase of one of the various homesteads available. Each home could be expanded to include an armory, workbenches for crafting, and various unique items such as a grain mill or a beehive. To add to feeling of being a lord, the player was also able to employ servants to do all the running around for them. Given enough time and money, the player could build it up to a veritable fortress. However, it is a DLC pack and was not included in the original game, as such it only gets an honorable mention.

The Clocktower - THIEF
Top Five Cribs

The rebooted and re-imagined release of THIEF never quite hit the heights of its cult predecessors. However, there was one element that did seem to work and that was Garrett's den. Hidden away in an old but still functioning clock tower, dimly lit, and on the surface, not very welcoming, it was the perfect hideout. With the clock workings still churning in the background, the player was free to walk around and examine the spoils of his nocturnal pilfering and plundering with all the games collectibles on display. Additionally there was a chest in which the player could stash and retrieve any items allowing them to build a substantial inventory over the course of the game. Although the rest of the game could not live up to the hype, the Clocktower was certainly worth a visit.

Adam Jensen's Apartment - Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Top Five Cribs

Maybe it was the Blade Runner vibe or maybe that I bought into the marketing hype and could imagine myself using my augmentated arm to raise a cool glass of whisky to my lips but whatever it was, Adam Jensen's apartment became a personal favorite. The apartment itself was nothing too special, there was a weapon stash in a secret compartment behind the wall mounted TV, some additional painkillers to patch up any wounds, and an energy food bar to help replenish those augmentations. Contributing to the ambiance was a simple musical track that would soothe and ease the stresses of life in the futuristic city of Detroit. All a little simple and austere perhaps, but ultimately it still had a super-cool vibe, and merits an honorable mention .

Top Five

5. Homes - Grand Theft Auto Series
Top Five Cribs

The player's homes and houses have always been a key feature of the GTA games. They were a hub to which the player could always return. There were always some supplies, first aid, you could sleep (and save the game), change clothes, and of course, lose that annoying wanted level. Despite the franchise's advances, they remain pretty much the same although the number of activities in some of the houses have changed. In the latest installment, Franklin has a swimming pool, and Michael has a tennis court and yoga area (although I can't help wondering whether anyone has actually spent any time doing this). GTA Online takes this even further giving players participate in a various numbers of activities within the privacy of their own home, from the mundane such as watching TV and browsing the Internet, through to the slightly naughtier ones which are only legal in a few states. They represent a ultramodern safehouse and refuge in a very tough virtual world.

4. Villa Auditore - Assassin's Creed II
Top Five Cribs

Whilst a number of games give players houses in which to live, in Assassins Creed II, the game's protagonist, Ezio Auditore, is able to renovate and restore the family home. Villa Auditore becomes the base of operations where the player can return throughout the game visiting the many different rooms within the building, doing everything from enjoying the spoils of their conquests including various treasures, armor, costumes to tooling up in armory with the many different weapons. Located in the grounds of the villa is a training arena for practicing moves, and close by there are local merchants providing various trades and services. The villa is not only for show though and certain rooms and areas play a part in some of the game's storylines. Although the same concept has been used in later games in the series, it was Villa Auditore that first stood out.

3. The Penthouse - Saints Row: The Third
Top Five Cribs

Saints Row: The Third was over-the-top right from the start, and the mission to retake the Saints HQ was epic. Those who have played it will no doubt remember the firefights accompanied by Kanye West's "Power" playing in the background. Once the Penthouse was back in possession of the Saints it granted the player access to their arsenal to change their loadout, change their crew, outfits, and a number of other options, but that was not all. The layout was huge, there was a gym and an office, but unfortunately there was no interaction possible. There was also a dining area, lounge, mezzanine area, but it was all just for show. There were two ways to access the penthouse, a seemingly interminable lift ride which would also reach the underground car park, but the best was the helipad. Here the player could call up any of the acquired flying vehicles including helicopters and VTOL jets and zoom off on one of the many missions. However, the most fun way, and possibly the way that most players started, was simply to run and jump off the helipad, base jumping down to the streets below, guiding their parachute towards the best looking parked car, before requisitioning it for their own purposes. It always seemed to be an exhilarating start to any mission, and I've not seen such a fun way to leave any building since.

2. Tenpenny Towers or Megaton - Fallout 3
Top Five Cribs

Depending on the particular storyline that you decided to follow in Fallout 3, players were able to set up residence in a house in the town of Megaton or an apartment in Tenpenny Towers. Both locations offered the players similar facilities so it was really down to the players preference for the story, but if you went for the Tenpenny Towers option, I don't know how you can have a clear conscience; those poor people of Megaton. Players were free to return to their homes at any time, and it became a base of operations before and after quests. In my own humble little domicile I had a fridge for medikits and stimpacks, a second fridge for food, a closet for weapons, and another one for clothes and crafting materials (if only I were that organised in real life). There was a workbench for crafting, a bed for sleeping, and of course, pride of place was given the bobblehead collection. A real home-away-from-home, albeit in dangerous unforgiving post-apocalyptic world.

1. The Batcave - LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Top Five Cribs

To be honest, there can't be many more cooler cribs anywhere in the world than the Batcave and having one created in the world of LEGO can only boost that coolness factor. In LEGO Batman II, the Batcave is first encountered during one of the levels in the campaign and doesn't fare too well. However, it later serves as a hub for mission selection and additional playthroughs which are accessed through the Batcomputer. It also enables the player to select from the multitude of land, sea, and air vehicles in the game both bat-wise and otherwise, the various superhero costumes available for the the characters. The lighting and water add to the environment and ambiance, but ultimately it's all about those toys, just where does he get all those wonderful toys.

The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five every Sunday until we run out of coolness to debate and discuss. If you have an idea for a Top Five you'd like us to do, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Andrew Ogley
Written by Andrew Ogley
Andrew has been writing for TA since 2011 covering news, reviews and the occasional editorials and features. One of the grumpy old men of the team, his mid-life crisis has currently manifested itself in the form of an addiction to sim-racing - not being able to afford the real life car of his dreams. When not spending hours burning simulated rubber, he still likes to run around, shoot stuff and blow things up - in the virtual world only of course.