Which games pushed the visual boundary this year?
Graphics remain an integral part of video gaming, and of video games discourse- yes, ultimately, the key word in ‘video games’ is the word games, but without the ‘video’ bit, there wouldn’t be any games to play. Advancement in graphics remains one of the easiest and most tangible ways to measure how far video games have come- so it’s no wonder that people get so passionate and heated when discussing game graphics. In 2016, there were several games with standout graphics, whether because of their art, or their tech.
DICE and EA have always been known for their incredible, boundary pushing graphics, and Battlefield 1 was no different. The game looks absolutely stunning, and the power of the Frostbite Engine is on full display- the fact that it looks as amazing as it does, no matter what system you play it on, is even more of a testament to it.
Final Fantasy 15
Japanese developers aren’t usually renown for their technical mastery, but Square Enix have crafted a stunning, beautiful open world RPG with Final Fantasy 15. The technology powering it is truly impressive, but the game stands out as much as it does because of its extremely pretty art.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Is it any surprise that a Naughty Dog game is on a Best Graphics list? While Uncharted 4 may not have quite lived up to all of its publicly stated ambitions, it ended up delivering a jaw dropping feast for the eyes, that is inarguably the best looking console game ever made. Naughty Dog have utilized every trick and tool available to them to deliver what is indisputably the best looking console game ever made.
Once upon a time, id Software used to be known for pushing the boundaries of gaming technology and delivering the ‘graphics kings’ of their time. With DOOM, they returned to that heritage, delivering a game that looked slick and amazing, thanks to it deft mix of great tech and great art.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
It has been years since Call of Duty impressed graphically, but this year, finally freed from the shackles of the Xbox 360 and PS3, Infinity Ward managed to deliver the most visually impressive Call of Duty game ever, and one of the best looking titles of the year.
Remedy pushed boundaries beyond belief with Quantum Break– while the final game itself may have been middling, there can be no doubt that it looked absolutely stellar, approaching near photorealism at times, and replete with amazing graphical effects and flourishes that make it stand out as the best looking game on the Xbox One.
Gears of War 4
Gears of War has a history of being a graphical trendsetter- so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Gears of War 4 continues that trend. Utilizing Unreal Engine 4 to achieve some amazing visuals on the so called ‘underpowered’ Xbox One, The Coalition managed to deliver one of the best looking Xbox One games yet, as well as one of the best looking games of this year.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Naughty Dog are wizards that can make any piece of hardware sing to their tune, so that Uncharted 4 looks good shouldn’t be much of a surprise- that it looks as good as it does, however, certainly is. Uncharted 4 is a tour de force of visual design, a game that looks so good that it is inconceivable that we will receive a better looking one any time soon. With amazing textures, draw distances, lighting and shadows, and animations, all delivered at a steady framerate at a full 1080p resolution, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the best looking game of 2016.
Note: GamingBolt’s Game of the Year categories, nominations and awards are selected via an internal nomination, voting and debate process. You can check the rest of categories and the respective winners here.