Many of us were graced with next gen graphics for the first time two years ago. Since then they have improved incredibly, with games like Star Wars Battlefront looking almost like something out of the movies (we'll forget all the gameplay and DLC stuff for now). This year the next gen of graphics started to really hit its stride, with the great texture and model work featured in games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Of course, knowing how to meld all that together into a coherent aesthetic will always come out ahead with things like Ori and the Blind Forest. Check out the games we thought dazzled us this year.
This was a pretty close vote with first place only jumping out two votes ahead of the tied second. Here's a reminder of what our nominees were (find out how we chose our nominees here):
- Just Cause 3
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Ori and the Blind Forest
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
- Star Wars Battlefront
- Hotline Miami 2
(Tie) Runner Up – Ori and the Blind Forest
By Shaun Joy
The first time I saw Ori and the Blind Forest, I was just in awe. Ori comes to life with his neon colors, but it plays on a beautiful backdrop of a luscious forest. The visual impact of cutscenes sell the impact of Ori's epic journey—watching a creature spread its wings after a tense encounter took my breathe away at the time. Animation is crisp as Ori runs across the map with a small trail of particles following him, leading to an almost "speed effect" as he jumps from obstacle to obstacle. Those little touches help the big elements stand out just as well, as you'll get lost in Ori's world over and over again.
(Tie) Runner Up – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
By Andrew Otton
We have been in the next generation for a good while now, but it was not until I saw and played The Witcher 3 that I really thought we'd hit the next level. The texture work, particularly on the faces, was incredible just about everywhere. It wasn't until I saw this article that I realized just how amazing the modeling and texture work was for gear and clothing as well.
Nvidia HairWorks aside, The Witcher 3's world is realized in a beautiful way, with each area you visited having a distinct feel. The streets of Novigrad were very different and equally as impressive as the vast hills and plains you could ride Roach through. More than that, the various areas you could visit, like the many taverns, were unique as well.
Not all of it was prefect, like the crazily moving trees, but the world you got to experience was equally as impressive as what your eyes were able to take in.
Winner – Star Wars Battlefront
By Alex Santa Maria
If there is one thing you had to praise about Star Wars Battlefront, it would be the graphics. DICE did an amazing job of capturing the Star Wars universe in a way that hasn’t been done before, despite the fact that countless games have made the attempt in the past. The scenery you’re running past, the skyboxes you fly through in a TIE Fighter, everything looks as if it was taken and digitized from the movie. The hero characters look incredible, and their animations look janky not because of a lack of effort put in, but because that technology has not yet caught up with DICE’s presentation. When you see The Emperor jetting through the air like M. Bison or twitching as he walks, it breaks the illusion that the graphics works so hard to capture.
Even the few story cutscenes we get in the game’s lackluster single player are standout affairs, and I mourn for the single player campaign that could have been if priorities were different at EA. Considering how underpowered this generation of consoles has turned out to be, it was a genuine delight to see a technical marvel like Battlefront running smoothly on my Xbox One.
Readers' Choice – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
There is no doubt that many beautiful games came out this year, and we at TechRaptor certainly saw the beauty in The Witcher 3. Star Wars Battlefront only inched ahead by three votes in the staff poll, so we weren't as far apart as it may seem.
What game got left out? What do you think was the best looking game?