Games can be great no matter how they look, but there are certain games that lend themselves so well to looking amazing that any person, no matter their resolve, will fall head over heels for the visual spectacle they see before them. Here’s my choice of 5 games that do just that.
1 – Bioshock Infinite: Released 2013 for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC
The original Bioshock was a beautiful rendition of a dilapidated underwater utopia that gave you glimpses of what a society of that level would architecturally be interested in. The sequel Bioshock Infinite (Bioshock 2 doesn’t count) gave players an entire working world to play through, with floating architecture set against the background of a bright and beautifully lit world. For me, the game wasn’t as good as the original but the mind-blowing visuals meant that I continued to play the game until I’d seen every corner of the floating city of Columbia.
2 – L.A Noire: Released 2011 for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC
Set in the 1950’s era, L.A Noire took motion capture to a new level of realism, not only improving on facial structure animation but actually in playing a major part in the gameplay itself. As Cole Phelps, you interrogate suspects and look for changes in demeanor and expression to help you establish if they’re telling the truth or lying right in your face. On top of this, the world itself was a fantastic rendition of speak-easy America, with old classic Fords and early skyscrapers flooding the city with nostalgic wonder.
3 – Shadow of the colossus: Released 2006 for PS2
One that stands the test of time and shows that a game doesn’t need to be filled with enemies and exposition to connect with players and be regarded as a classic. Taking the idea of minimalism and running with it Shadow of the Colossus offers vast expanses of sprawling natural landscapes for you to feast your eyes on and giant Colossus’ that take your breath away each and every time you come across them. A game that not only makes you rethink how a narrative should be paced but looks stunning as it does it.
4 – Okami: Released 2006 for PS2, PS3 & Wii
Another PS2 favorite Okami is artistically based around the Japanese Sumi-e-ink style of drawing and has the look and feel of an old Japanese painting or very early Manga animation. This style is not one that gets overly used in the medium of games, so to see it fully fleshed out while you gallivant around the Zelda style game as a mythical fox is so beautiful that it still sticks with me to this day. Showing that not all visually stunning games need to be rendered in pure realism means Okami will stay one of the most artistically striking games we’ll ever see.
5 – Red Dead Redemption: Released 2010 for PS3 and Xbox 360
When Red Dead Redemption came out it cemented itself as a game that perfectly captured the feeling of living in the early 1900’s as a gunslinger looking for redemption. Visually the game stood out for its exceptional recreation of early frontier America and Mexico that was so vast and interesting that the normally daunting task of travelling town to town became an utter joy as you saddled your horse and stared open-mouthed into the ever expanding dusty worlds that opened up before you.
Of course any list that only has five entries is bound to be missing a few classics, but these are the games that really stand out in my memory as my jaw dropped playing them for the first time.
Author: Hal, Plymouth Store