In 2020 the time had finally come: In November, the major hardware manufacturers Sony and Microsoft came out with their new console gaming flagships. Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X have not only brought us a lot of new games since then, they also present them in a graphic splendor that has never been seen before. Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Demon's Souls, Spider-Man: Miles Morales – this year was packed with some optical delicacies. Especially since PC gamers could also look forward to real delicacies such as the Microsoft Flight Simulator. In our special we present you the ten most beautiful games of the past twelve months. Have fun!
Source: CD Projekt RED
We had to wait seven long years. And then, with three short-term, unexpected postponements, we were put under suspicion again. On December 10th the agony finally came to an end, Cyberpunk 2077 found his way on PC and consoles. And what can we say: the test of patience was really worth it! The latest trick by the Witcher makers has a lot to offer in terms of play. So much that even we have only been able to explore a tiny fraction of the game world so far. But what we have seen there so far leaves no doubt: CD projects Action RPG is also graphically a real treat. Ray tracing and Super Sampling 2.0 support make for a breathtaking look. Whether in daylight or in the neon glow of the advertising screen: Night City is bursting with life and details. It just feels like a real city – a violent, dystopian, nightmarish city that has never been seen in video games like this before. Oh yes, and the game also has the beautiful Keanu Reeves! This means that the "graphic highlight" stamp is irrevocable.
Doom Eternal offers you brute action of the extra class: Here you don't care about the elaborated facial expressions and gestures of the main characters, extensive, life-filled open worlds or other bells and whistles that nobody needs anyway. Instead, the Doomslayer just pumps one demon after the other full of lead and looks pretty cool doing it. The baller orgy from id Software is based for the first time on the completely new id Tech 7 engine. And that in turn conjures up a liquid and almost hypnotic thunderstorm effect on the screen: while you send monsters back to hell, blood, lead and tatters fly around. Bombastic explosions add extra bang. If you add the fantastically animated, repulsive opponents and the infernal, extraterrestrial worlds with their lava flows and ancient buildings – that's it is a shooter -Package of the special class. The few ugly gray interiors are no longer relevant.
Source: Square Enix
One role playing game – Reissuing classics like Final Fantasy is really not an easy task. On the one hand, you have to make the game fit for the 21st century. On the other hand, you can't change too much in order not to upset the fans. Square Enix does this balancing act with that Final Fantasy 7 Remake However, it was a great success, new and old players will get their money's worth here. This is also due to the fact that the developers stay very close to the original, but give it a new shine: Seeing the fantasy world around Midgar and its iconic locations in a contemporary look is a real experience – thanks to the fantastic and detailed design. The city looks lively, people go about their daily work or chat with each other. The protagonists also look good. With Tifa, Cloud and Co. you can almost count the skin pores while they fight with wax scorpions and other overworked opponents in effect-packed battles.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla
Source: PC games hardware
You can use Ubisoft and his Assassin's Creed – Series say what you want: The same thing over and over again! Boring story! Not enough stealth gameplay in the style of the series beginnings! What you can't deny the developers, however, is that they simply understand how to create a beautiful, authentic and lively game world. This is also theirs in the newest offshoot Assassin's Creed Valhalla again masterfully succeeded. The trip to Norway and Northern England is as atmospheric as ever and brings a really convincing Viking feeling across. Whether you are cruising across the country's rivers and lakes in your longboat, storming an enemy castle with a battering ram or just stacking a few stones meditatively – Valhalla always looks really good. So good that sometimes you're just busy admiring the landscape instead of devoting yourself to the main quest.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment / Marvel Games
Well, admittedly: the launch title is appealing Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales the hardware of the new Playstation 5 is not yet completely out. The action adventure lets its muscles flex and shows what is possible on the new generation of consoles. Compared to the already great-looking predecessor from 2018, a few improvements await you here: The view range has been increased, environments appear much sharper and more detailed. By default, the spider man does gymnastics at a constant 60 frames per second across the screen. In 4K mode, however, you get the full load of graphic splendor – with beautiful-looking lighting, color and particle effects. The snowstorm in wintry New York is even more atmospheric, thanks to ray tracing even more chic reflections are created. When the sunlight is reflected in puddles or you admire your own likeness as you climb the windows of a skyscraper, it becomes clear: Seldom has superhero action looked so good.
Source: Sucker Punch
The finest graphic fare from the Far East – that is Ghost of Tsushima. The open-world adventure about the samurai Jin Sakai, who has to defend his homeland against the Mongols, is a real feast for the eyes. The characters are well designed and move smoothly through the game world. Details like mud and blood clinging to your clothing add realism. The clear star of Ghost of Tsushima, however, is the island of Tsushima itself. It was implemented with a lot of dedication, is full of varied biomes – from extensive rice fields to dense red maple forests to snow-capped peaks – and is bursting with life. The light and color mood of the adventure is particularly impressive: When you compete in an honorable duel in a field of red spider lilies blowing in the wind, it is a scene that will stay in your memory – especially if you also activate the Kurosawa mode . The black and white filter and film grain create an additional atmosphere.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Sometimes not much is necessary for a nice game: no motion capture of Hollywood stars and no 3D scans of real environments. Sometimes an unusual artistic vision is enough, which is then implemented perfectly – as in the case of Ori and the Will of the Wisps. The adventure takes you back into the magical world of the eponymous forest spirit, with whom you go on a great rescue mission. In the course of this, you will not only meet numerous, beautifully designed characters who could just as easily come from a storybook. You will also discover the varied world with its dim forests, colorful oases, snow-covered peaks, dark caves and sandy deserts. Each zone is beautifully designed and bristling with animated details. Wonderful lighting and the new 3D backgrounds make Ori's world look alive and as if it were made from one piece. In short: Will of the Wisps is one of the most beautiful platformer of all time, by which the competition will have to be measured in the future.
Source: Bluepoint Games
Can an eleven year old PS3 game still look good today? Yes it can! When it's reissued by the remake specialists at Bluepoint Games. After the studio had already given Shadow of the Colossus a new coat of paint, this year it's From Software Demon's Souls have enjoyed a general overhaul. And let's tell you one thing: It really worked! Demon's Soul on the PS5 is the most beautiful game of the Soulsborne family to date with tons of details, crisp textures and great particle effects. The game world Boletaria shines in a new light and its residents were also able to look forward to a make-over: Thanks to the new editor, your characters no longer look like ugly bridge trolls. Opponents like the Vanguard are even more terrifying. It's good whether so much opulence and blaze of color still fit into the dreary original concept of the action RPG, that can undoubtedly be discussed. There is no question that it is one of the most beautiful games of the year.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Source: Tomlaut1980 / Microsoft
So far, we have mostly only been able to see what beautiful spots our earth has to offer in BBC documentaries. That changed fundamentally in 2020: The Microsoft Flight Simulator namely sent us out into the world to admire it from above from our plane. The planes are of course also an integral part of the simulation. Accordingly, the various licensed models from Airbus, Boeing and Co. convey an authentic pilot feeling both from the outside and from the cockpit perspective. But the real star is the world. The Flight Simulator allows you to admire replicas of world-famous metropolises and landmarks, such as New York or the Grand Canyon, thanks to 3D photogrammetry. The lighting mood and weather effects are based on real-time data, which ensures a realistic presentation – provided that your internet supports it. Because all the details of the surroundings are streamed, the quality of your connection also varies with the quality of your gaming experience.
Source: Sony Computer Entertainment
How could it be otherwise: Of course stands The Last of Us Part 2 also on our list of graphic highlights of 2020. The action-adventure really deserves it. Developer Naughty Dog has really carved out one of the highest quality produced gaming experiences in recent years, a title that tickled the last crumb of computing power out of the Playstation 4 and thus represents a crowning glory for the previous generation of consoles. Be it the character models, their facial expressions and movements, the beautifully repulsive infected people or the post-apocalyptic game world of Seattle, the ruins of which are constantly being reclaimed by nature: The Last of Us Part 2 looks simply breathtaking – also because it doesn't always pretty, but sometimes also tough and unadorned, depicts the hardship of the daily struggle for survival. In short: New standards are set here when it comes to realistic representations in the medium of video games!
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