Nov 28, 2022 - Things to Do

We ranked the accuracy of video games set in D.C.

The Division 2 takes you through a post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C. Screenshot: Ubisoft/Axios

Surprisingly, video games set in Washington, D.C., are few and far between, but here are three that depict the District with varying degrees of accuracy.

Tony Hawk Proving Ground

D.C. accuracy rating: 4/10

In this 2007 Playstation 2 game, you play as legendary skater Tony Hawk performing tricks in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and D.C, where you can shred around the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall.

Realism: The game takes some liberties with the facade of the Capitol, adding railings, fountains, and a swimming pool-sized gap in front of the building.

  • Players are also able to skate through a rocket in front of the National Air & Space Museum, conveniently located directly next to the Capitol, before dodging security guards to gain access to the building.
Fallout 3

D.C. accuracy rating: 7/10

In this 2008 Bethesda Softworks game, players explore and fight their way through a dystopian D.C. that's surprisingly accurate (if the Washington Monument was partially gutted and half of the Capitol Dome was missing, that is.)

Realism: Bethesda, which is based in Rockville, gets a gold star for capturing both the facades and the interiors of D.C.'s buildings.

  • The rotunda of the National Archives is strikingly accurate, Games Radar noted.

The most exciting part of this game is that it doesn’t just stop downtown. Players can tunnel through Metro stations to visit Dupont Circle, Friendship Heights, Arlington National Cemetery, and even the ruins of Fairfax and Bethesda.

  • The map does take some liberties, though: FDR Island and N. Potomac are both in-game Metro stops.
The Division 2

D.C. accuracy rating: 10/10

From Axios Gaming’s Stephen Totilo: The best D.C. video game is the 2019 action title The Division 2. Ubisoft’s developers spent two years creating a 1:1 rendition of the city, a company spokesperson tells me.

  • I can personally attest that spending dozens of hours in this game made navigating real D.C. easier for me.

The Division’s D.C. is set several months after a biological weapon attack sent most residents fleeing. The city is overrun with vegetation while special government agents (The Division) and lingering civilians try to resist the encroachment of various paramilitary gangs.

Realism: Major missions are set in real government buildings and memorials, as well as re-creations of several notable museums, including Air & Space and the defunct Newseum.

  • While there’s a lot of shooting in the game, it’s possible to stroll through the game’s virtual D.C. and take in the sights. It puts to shame rival video game re-creations of cities like New York and Los Angeles.
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