Best looking game (2013 edition)

Best looking game EVER!

  • Crysis

  • Crysis 2

  • Crysis 3

  • Metro 2033

  • Metro Last Light

  • Bioshock Infinite

  • Tomb Raider(2013)

  • Battlefield 3

  • Far Cry 3

  • Other


Results are only viewable after voting.

Carfax83

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Nov 1, 2010
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Games are looking more impressive than ever it seems. We've had several releases this year that rank very high in terms of graphical prowess, but how do they compare to the all time greats?

Yes, I intentionally used the phrase "best looking" because I didn't want this thread to focus purely on graphics tech, as art style is just as important when it comes to immersion.

My vote goes to Metro Last Light. It was a tough decision between it and Crysis 3, but in the end, I went with Metro LL because of not only it's inclusion of so many PC game technologies, ie PhysX, DX11, 3D Vision etcetera, but it's abundant use of them as well..

Metro Last Light also has the best weather effects I've ever seen in ANY game bar none.. I can't believe a small time developer from a poor Eastern European country could achieve such a high standard, when so many other developers that are far better funded created games that were mediocre in terms of their graphical presentation (looking at you Bioware)
 

Zenoth

Diamond Member
Jan 29, 2005
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I think that each generations have had their respective "bests" in terms of graphics and art style. For each four or five years of gaming (along with the hardware evolution) I've experienced since the early 1990's I could name a good 10+ "groundbreaking" titles which, at their respective time, were for all intent and purposes unequaled (for their time, and perhaps a few years to follow when we had those so called "ahead of their time" games).

Not all cases were only awesome for the graphics but also because they combined the talented work of the developers for all of the game's visual and audio elements, be it from the ambiance and atmosphere (both from the visuals and audio) to the game's soundtrack or the main character or the enemies' animations, or the clever use of the game's own features, controls, camera system and brilliant puzzle-solving or efficient platforming and good story-telling. It is rare when a game "with good graphics" can also be pointed at for much more than that alone, but it does happen from time to time.

It's of course very subjective, and it obviously depends on the games that the person has actually played, rather than just seeing footage or pictures of it (which often doesn't do justice to the games in question). For example I haven't played Metro 2033 nor BF3 and only saw some footage of them here and there simply because I never was interested much by them, so I can't really judge their graphical styles and presentation or complexity. I'd have to say that the last game I've played in which I was genuinely impressed by its art style, scale and vibrancy more than anything else is (as surprising as it may be to some) TERA, and to some extent I would also add Guild Wars 2 to this humble list. They're both impressive (mostly visually of course) in their own respective ways, where TERA is more fantasy-based and shows it marvelously well, is also very color-vibrant and diverse, whilst GW2 has more of that "photo-realism" visual vibe going for it, not to mention its scale as well and animations quality, all contribute to a pleasant visual experience.

But honestly, TERA has been the one out of those I've played since a few years in which I've stopped playing just so I could stare at some of the scenery (not all locations mind you, but some are really impressive). There's one place specifically which got my attention right away when I just happened to zoom the camera away from my character to look around. It's in the "Tempest Reach" map, which I think is in the Westonia zone (happens to be the name of one of the servers as well). There's a gigantic frozen lake there, with old-style pirate ships hanging on top of big frozen waves and twisted water shapes, as if the wind itself got frozen with the water. It's a bit difficult to describe (just go on Google Images and check for TERA Tempest Reach zone, or map, or something like that and you might see it) but simply beautiful to look at. There's also a very beautiful background (animated to some degree, with a beautiful waterfall) in the starting zone, and a superb, inspiring and calm lake called Seren's Lake which is amongst the best-looking place in the game (and some of the best looking lake I've seen in any fantasy-based games to this day).

And sure Guild Wars 2 also had impressive maps, some are very complex and I can't imagine the number of hours those map designers spent on making them (and drawing them too when they had to brainstorm everything prior to actually developing them). I mean those big (and some quite complex) locations like Lion's Arch, Divinity's Reach or the Black Citadel just to name a few (and many others). Not only are such places beautiful (architecture, culture being represented by them, or the colors and materials used to build seen by the textures, etc) but they fit and represent the game and its universe, both contextually within the game for actual game-play related purposes (such as being a "hub" for players, for its story telling, the quests) and for its universe so to speak. For example when I walk around in Lion's Arch I immediately "feel like this is Guild Wars' universe", rather than for example exploring "yet another cave somewhere" which itself looks like another cave in another fantasy game... know what I mean there guys? Some locations in some games really do distinguish their respective universes and sometimes even unique game-play related features (take the Citadel or Omega in the Mass Effect universe for example, or Denerim and the Deep Roads in Dragon Age, or what would Half-Life be without Sector-C Test Labs and the XEN world, or the original Crysis' alien no-gravity ship level, the same can be said again about TERA and some of its distinguished locations like most of Arcadia's, Velika, Allemantheia and many others, etc).

All of that and even more is part of the experience which is ultimately tied to, from and/or to the "graphics" (or rather "visual" experience I'd call it). To me it goes beyond "photo-realism" (when there's any of it, like in STALKER for example, in which case it was literally true, since the devs actually went to Chernobyl to take pictures to work with as part of the game's textures assets) or the number of polygons on buildings, characters, vehicles or weapons. I don't mind if it's "blocky" depending on what was the developers' intention (see Minecraft for instance) and even beyond the textures' quality (or resolution) to some degree. Now of course if for example Skyrim (or even Oblivion) had "better" (I.E higher res) textures from the start (rather than waiting for community-made textures to "fix" it) it would certainly "help" increase the immersion, but generally-speaking if it "fits" with the rest of the game, its universe, what it tries to tell us and make us feel like (via its story or its atmosphere, etc) then I call it "job done".

I do have my own disappointments of course, but I also understand that there's hardware limitations the devs have to work with (especially when it comes from a port of a generation of consoles that's about seven years-old by now, can't expect 2048x2048 res textures left and right in such cases huh?). If a game manages to capture my attention, however, to immerse me within its universe and make me care about the story and/or characters then more often than not I will at the very least "get used to" the low-quality graphics (if that's what I'd be thinking from the first impressions) and even like them overall after some time (this was the game for me with a couple of games recently like Diablo III, which I thought looked "too cartoonish" but over time I thought "this game actually looks amazing"... now of course the actual game-play is boring but visually-speaking I think it's top-notch and the attention to details they actually put in there is just exemplary, but feel free to disagree).

So... to simply answer the poll directly I went with "Other" since I'd really go with TERA without hesitation, and Guild Wars 2 very closely following it. I'd also give Mass Effect 2 a very honorable mention for being visually more "fitting" in the trilogy (in my opinion), especially with the inclusion of Omega which is just as visually poignant and representative of that universe as the Citadel was back in ME1 (as for ME3 there's unfortunately not much that distinguishes that one from the rest other than perhaps the remodeling/adjustments and facial texturing of some of the returning characters, the rest is pretty much "been there, done that, seen that" material).

I have to mention that I've seen a lot of footage of both Crysis 3 (which is starting to get interesting to me now, never got in Crysis 2 at all, tried it on my cousin's 360 and thought it was quite boring overall, couldn't be immersed at all but that's perhaps because it was a rent and I didn't get to play long enough) and Bioshock Infinite and I think that just by looking at said footage (HD that is, on YouTube mostly) and some pictures they definitely look very good on their own and in respect to their universes, story and contexts (of course especially Bioshock Infinite). I'll probably buy them eventually but for now I can't judge their visuals.
 
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Dankk

Diamond Member
Jul 7, 2008
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The answer to this question is extremely subjective, and the poll options are very limited.

I also think it's funny that Crysis is on there. Isn't that game six years old now?
 

lilrayray69

Senior member
Apr 4, 2013
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Oh yeah I thought this was for 2013 games only. For all games EVER you have an extremely limited, and mostly recent, choice of options
 

Tweak155

Lifer
Sep 23, 2003
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I think to make this thread better it should be open ended, and the responder has to post a screenshot as their proof.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
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Quake Live looks the best to me. Click on anything neon green.
Ah. fellow QL player :p

EU or NA?

-----------------------------------------

imho all them games listed above could win, but none of them i found satisfying in terms of gameplay.

I will go with UnrealEngine 3 -based Blacklight Retribution. Looks astounding and the looks fit with the gameplay.
 

Carfax83

Diamond Member
Nov 1, 2010
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The answer to this question is extremely subjective, and the poll options are very limited.

I also think it's funny that Crysis is on there. Isn't that game six years old now?
As old as Crysis is, I still think it deserves to be on that list because for SO LONG it dominated polls and threads concerning this very subject matter.

Even it's predecessor Crysis 2 didn't unseat it, until the DX11 patch and texture pack was released, and even then, a lot of people still didn't think so.
 

Carfax83

Diamond Member
Nov 1, 2010
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I think to make this thread better it should be open ended, and the responder has to post a screenshot as their proof.
That's actually a good idea. I recently reformatted though, so until I re-download all my games, I won't be able to post screenshots....new ones at least. Here's an old Crysis screenshot from my imageshack account :biggrin:



To me, Crysis pulls off the tropical island look much better than Far Cry 3, which just goes to show the subjective nature of this thread..
 

Raduque

Lifer
Aug 22, 2004
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Off topic a bit, but am I the only one that reads the first paragraph of Zenoth's posts and then skips the rest? I got nothing against you Zenoth, and on the couple of occasions that I've read your smaller posts, I find your opinion to be interesting, it's just that I don't want to read 10,000 word mini-novel in the middle of a forum thread.
 

Stringjam

Golden Member
Jun 30, 2011
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Off topic a bit, but am I the only one that reads the first paragraph of Zenoth's posts and then skips the rest? I got nothing against you Zenoth, and on the couple of occasions that I've read your smaller posts, I find your opinion to be interesting, it's just that I don't want to read 10,000 word mini-novel in the middle of a forum thread.

I usually read his entire response. They're usually worth reading. ;)

The posts I skip are the 15-line run-on sentences with poor grammar, no capitalization, and the word "cuz" used a half dozen times.
 

Carfax83

Diamond Member
Nov 1, 2010
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Dang, I can't believe Tomb Raider is leading Metro Last Light!

I haven't played Tomb Raider yet, so are the graphics that good?
 

mmntech

Lifer
Sep 20, 2007
17,504
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Tomb Raider is a good looking game but it's like a lot of other games on the list. Really drab looking. I really like Bioshock Infinite's art style. Maybe not the most realistic but certainly more colourful, eyepopping, and unique.
 

ShadowOfMyself

Diamond Member
Jun 22, 2006
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But honestly, TERA has been the one out of those I've played since a few years in which I've stopped playing just so I could stare at some of the scenery (not all locations mind you, but some are really impressive).
Good to know Im not the only one who realizes how good Tera looks
Im pretty sure I posted about it in a similar thread a while ago... The environment and character design in Tera is amazing, especially in the argon areas, that look like a mix of matrix and alien

I always found asian games to have much better art direction actually... They always do what you would call "scenery porn"

I found Crysis 3 really underwhelming also... The only impressive area is the one with all the grass, and maybe the last area as well, but for the most part the art is just terribly generic and bored the hell out of me
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
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Sep 28, 2005
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Tomb Raider with full options and glory will slaughter metro Last light in graphics.
The hair on laura alone is like :O

Bioshock Infinite if ur into cartoony type will also be one of my favorites.

I really dont think metro LL was that impressive in gpu settings.
Skyrim / Crysis 3 pretty much kills metro in that aspect of realism.

Why is crysis2 in this list and NOT Skyrim?
Oh yeah.. cuz Skyrim would win by a landside in this pole.

skyrim:


Lucky for us.. skyrim took an arrow to the knee and is not included in this pole.
Because no game so far yet has come close to Skyrim.


I haven't played Tomb Raider yet, so are the graphics that good?
Dude... tomb raider is very nice with all the options turned on.
However again...

NOTHING SO FAR COMES CLOSE TO SKYRIM.
 
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Stringjam

Golden Member
Jun 30, 2011
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I'm a little confused about this thread, whether we're talking about graphic quality or art direction.

The two are really totally separate topics. Games can have awful graphics and fantastic art direction.


As far as graphic quality, the only game that has really stepped up and impressed me this year is Crysis 3. Just incredible light and shadow rendering, and fantastic textures, particle effects, and overall modeling quality. I was simply blown away. That said, I didn't find the art direction all that impressive.





Crytek's skin shaders and sub-surface scattering are just RIDICULOUS. I have never seen any other game do it better.




If we're talking art direction and not actual graphic fidelity, my vote would go to Mirror's Edge.




SKYRIM? Great art direction. The graphics are pretty bad. I don't care how many mods you throw on it (and I have thrown most of them), the lighting is godawful and the shadow quality is downright laughable. But the art direction? Outstanding. It's one of my favorite games in life, and it's absolutely beautiful in that regard.
 
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Grooveriding

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Dec 25, 2008
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I went with Crysis 3. Metro:LL would take second place. If we are talking strictly graphics powerhouses and fidelity. If you get into 'art style' it could be any damn thing. Bioshock Infinite looked cool, but the tech was ancient.

Looking forward to October and seeing what Battlefield 4 does.
 

Reliant

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Mar 29, 2001
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Tomb Raider for the varied and realistic environments, and Bioshock Infinite for it's stylized environments.
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
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SKYRIM? Great art direction. The graphics are pretty bad. I don't care how many mods you throw on it (and I have thrown most of them), the lighting is godawful and the shadow quality is downright laughable. But the art direction? Outstanding. It's one of my favorite games in life, and it's absolutely beautiful in that regard.
i have seen some godly mods on skyrim which completely blow it out class on all the other games.

Some of the character mods as well, and the lighting effect mods...

I still have yet to see a game with better graphic presentation then Skyrim.
 

KentState

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Oct 19, 2001
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I haven't played Metro LL yet, but of the remaining ones, Crysis 3 had the best graphics. Was the only one that was barely playable on the highest settings. Shame that the game wasn't that great overall compared to others.
 

Stringjam

Golden Member
Jun 30, 2011
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i have seen some godly mods on skyrim which completely blow it out class on all the other games.

Some of the character mods as well, and the lighting effect mods...

I still have yet to see a game with better graphic presentation then Skyrim.

Which mods? I have tried over a dozen versions of ENB, RCRN, Lighting Overhaul, and none of them change the fact that the game engine just seems to suck at rendering dynamic light and shadow.

The community has handed over some good 2K and 4K textures, which is great and all, but if you can't shade them correctly then they still just don't look right.

Here's a screenshot I just took for an example. What is going on with those shadows on her neck? It's awful. There is no mod I know of that improves the problem.




Like I said, Skyrim is an incredibly beautiful game, but the engine doesn't appear to have advanced rendering capabilities, especially where lighting and shadows are concerned.
 
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futurefields

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Jun 2, 2012
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Agreed, Bethesda games have great art direction but are unimpressive technically. Same with Rockstar. I imagine a Red Dead Redemption with HD textures, beefed up lighting and shadows and I think that would be my best looking game. Too bad Rockstar didn't even make a PC version.
 

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