2022 was already pretty crazy with visual feasts like Horizon Forbidden West, The Last of Us Part 1, and much more. But 2023 looks to raise the bar even further, whether you’re a fan of role-playing games, racing sims, action-adventure titles or survival games. Take a look at 30 graphically intensive games releasing this year.
While Gran Turismo 7 earned significant praise for its visuals last year, Turn 10 Studios’ next Forza Motorsport has been cooking well. Based on gameplay shown thus far, car models are insanely detailed, and the development team has promised a full day/night cycle, varying weather on tracks and real-time ray tracing. Forza Motorsport is out in the first half of this year for Xbox Series X/S and PC, so we’ll find out soon just how gorgeous it looks.
To say a lot is going on in TeamKill Media’s Quantum Error would be an understatement. Despite being last shown on an early access version of Unreal Engine 5, it showcased an impressive array of lighting, shadows and environments. From grounded, claustrophobic facilities to dark sci-fi structures, it looks impressive. A release date has yet to be confirmed, but Quantum Error is coming to Xbox Series X/S, PS5, PS4, and PC.
The Astronauts’ rogue-lite first-person shooter, which recently went open-world, has been a long time coming, but it still looks as enticing as ever. From gothic environments and detailed monstrosities to sharp weapon effects, it promises a fast-paced dark fantasy adventure unlike any other. Witchfire goes into early access for PC in early 2023.
As an MMOFPS, GFA Games’ Pioner takes more than a few cues from S.T.A.L.K.E.R. A post-apocalyptic setting, Soviet territory occupied by strange technology and mutants, decrepit buildings, survival elements – it’s all here. The environments are still incredibly realistic, with some unique sights like massive bones and overgrown mushrooms. Pioner is coming to PC, though a release date has yet to be announced.
Bethesda Game Studios has struggled to keep up with the graphical curve over the years, as Fallout 4 and Fallout 76 have exemplified. Starfield aspires to break that curse with realistic materials, great-looking planets and cities, and detailed character models. Performance and facial animations are still a toss-up after the last gameplay reveal, but the former should look better when the next showcase rolls around (fingers crossed). Starfield doesn’t have a release date, but it’s scheduled for the first half of 2023 on Xbox Series X/S and PC.
No current-gen title should need 24 GB of RAM and an RTX 3070 (8 GB) to run at 1440p/30 FPS on PC, but Forspoken begs to differ. For as many mixed reactions as it’s received, Forspoken does look stunning overall. Draw distance and outdoor environmental details are on point, while the spell effects look vibrant. Even the animations are well done, as seen with Frey’s seamless acrobatics.
Final Fantasy 16
Final Fantasy 16 is out this year and looks like a stellar affair. The art style channels a more medieval European setting, mixed with the grittier subject matter and a darker tone. The environments look incredibly distinct and detailed, the insane battles are lovingly rendered, and the sheer amount of details is something to behold. Final Fantasy 16 is very close – it’s out on June 22nd for PS5.
The work Portkey Games and Avalanche Software have put in is quite tremendous. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry vibrantly comes to life, whether it’s the Great Hall or the common room for each house, to say nothing of the various creatures and their animations, the spell effects or the weather effects. Here’s hoping the gameplay holds up when it launches on February 10th for Xbox Series X/S, PS5, and PC.
Silent Hill 2
Before its official reveal, there were plenty of rumors about Bloober Team’s involvement with the Silent Hill 2 remake and skepticism about whether it could pull it off. The jury is still out on that, but the remake looks phenomenal based on whatever footage and screenshots we’ve seen. Developed on Unreal Engine 5, the texture quality, lighting, environments, and more look incredible. It’s currently in development for PS5 and PC.
Sons of the Forest
Endnight Games’ 2018 survival horror sandbox title still looks good by today’s standards, but Sons of the Forest looks like a big step up. It’s still on Unity and features much more detailed foliage, grass, and textures on trees, water, and more. Dynamic weather conditions like rain also look incredibly realistic and seeing enemies react more naturally to threats, or the sheer amount of detail that’s gone into the new crafting animations is great. Sons of the Forest launches on February 23rd for PC.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
For all the acclaim and criticism over polish that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order received, it’s easy to forget how good it looked. Jedi: Survivor expands on this further with larger levels, more varied biomes, and a higher degree of polish (not to mention ray tracing support). There’s still so much we’ve yet to see, but it looks like a huge step up in every single way over the original. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor launches on March 17th for PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Resident Evil 4
Capcom set the bar for remakes with 2019’s Resident Evil 2, but Resident Evil 4 is looking to go above and beyond. The graphics are heavily revamped, transforming classic indoor sections with shadows and ambient lighting. Forested areas look much denser and more foreboding, lending to a more eerie feel. There’s so much to pick apart and admire, which doesn’t even factor in ray tracing. Resident Evil 4 is set to launch on March 24th for Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, and PC.
Dead Island 2
For a game in development since 2014 and has gone through several developers, Dead Island 2 looks pretty good. Running on Unreal Engine 4, its cadre of zombies is as realistic as they are hilariously over-the-top when dying. The physics, effects and animations have also looked on point thus far, and even the environments are pretty detailed (though we still need to see more). It’s out on April 28th for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, and PC, and hopefully suffered the last delay.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Launching on May 12th, the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most anticipated games of the year. That’s despite being less than four months away from release and just a few minutes of gameplay footage. What we’ve seen is incredibly impressive, from the sky boxes and atmospheric effects to the textures and draw distance – at times, it’s hard to believe this is running on almost six-year-old hardware. Whether it tops the original or not, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom already looks like a grandiose spectacle.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Say what you will about Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and its marketing, but it’s certainly taking an interesting approach with Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. Despite launching on May 17th for Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and PC, there’s been no extensive gameplay footage. What we have seen looks great, be it Metropolis or the facial animations of the various characters. We still need to see more, but given Rocksteady’s pedigree, there’s plenty to be excited about (even with the rumored live service model).
Street Fighter 6
It’s hard to dislike Street Fighter 6 after seeing some gameplay. The renewed emphasis on street culture and fighting, combined with an abundance of colors and effects, is amazing. Each fighter moves better than ever with unique animations and facial expressions, and it all runs rock-solid online as well (going by recent closed betas, at least). Releasing on June 2nd for Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, and PC, Street Fighter 6 looks like an incredible renaissance.
Diablo 4 leans heavily into the dark fantasy art style but with more realistic visuals. The environments are also incredible to behold and appropriately detailed – here’s hoping they’re fun to explore as well, when the sequel launches on June 6th for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, and PC.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
It feels strange to hype up Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, even if it uses the Snowdrop Engine and uses ray tracing by default on consoles. Still, even based on in-engine footage, the sheer amount of vegetation, volumetric clouds and superbly detailed lighting and shaders have us interested. Currently slated for release sometime between April 1st, 2023 and March 31st, 2024, Frontiers of Pandora is coming to Xbox Series X/S, PS5, and PC.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage
How long has it been since Assassin’s Creed was actually about stealth and, well, assassinations? Assassin’s Creed Mirage looks to fill that niche. Gameplay has yet to be showcased and there are only a handful of screenshots showcasing denser environments. Nevertheless, if the final product – which is coming to Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, PC, and Xbox One – offers even half the quality, it could stand out.
The strangest project in development at Capcom, Pragmata is set in a “dystopian near-future” and offers a “unique lunar world” to explore, which still doesn’t clue us into the gameplay or story. Visually, it looks nice – the reveal trailer features photorealistic textures and effects while extensively utilizing ray tracing. We’ve seen how far RE Engine can go with its fidelity, so it should be interesting to see how Pragmata leverages it when it launches this year for Xbox Series X/S, PS5, and PC.
Layers of Fears
As much excitement as there is around a remake of Silent Hill 2, Bloober Team’s other horror project – a follow-up to Layers of Fear – may warrant more caution. Out early this year for Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and PC, Layers of Fears, thankfully, isn’t a straight sequel. It uses the previous games as a base, expanding on them to go in a new direction (whatever that may be). Even if the horror may be a bust, the visuals courtesy of Unreal Engine 5 look great, from the immersive lighting with Lumen to ray tracing and HDR support.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Insomniac still hasn’t debuted gameplay for its next open-world superhero epic, but the initial trailer was enough to set expectations soaring due to running real-time on the PS5. The original and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales still look very good, and there’s no doubt that Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 will raise the visual bar higher. Currently, it’s exclusive to PS5 and slated for Fall 2023.
Lies of P
Even if Bloodborne wasn’t a huge inspiration, Lies of P feels like a dead ringer with its Gothic-style city fallen into ruin and Souls-like mechanics. Nevertheless, it distinguishes itself in terms of lighting, texture quality and environmental details, looking very crisp but still delightfully dark. It also runs in 4K/30 FPS and 1440p/60 FPS modes on Xbox Series X and PS5 (with the aim of 4K/60 FPS in Quality Mode). Expect it to launch sometime in 2023 for consoles and PC.
Deliver Us Mars
Despite launching in 2019, Deliver Us The Moon looked incredibly sleek on Xbox Series X and PS5, with 4K resolution support and ray-traced shadows and reflections. Deliver Us Mars builds on this further with more biome diversity, performance capture for more authenticity in scenes, and a larger scale. It releases on February 2nd for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
While Monster Hunter is still catering to previous-gen consoles, Koei Tecmo’s WILD HEARTS is committing to the current generation. Taking place in Azuma, a world overrun by dangerous beasts known as Kemono, WILD HEARTS offers large regions and intricately detailed beasts to go with multitudes of particle effects and gorgeous scenery. It releases on February 17th for Xbox Series X/S, PS5, and PC, with support for 4K Ultra HD, 60 FPS, and HDR10.
Alan Wake 2
Aside from the teaser trailer at The Game Awards 2021, we’ve seen no gameplay from Remedy’s upcoming survival horror sequel. Regardless, the studio is known for its visual prowess, and the Northlight Engine has delivered some truly stunning sights in games like Control. Alan Wake 2 is on track to release this year for Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and PC.
The co-op FPS from Arkane Austin may not seem like all that in the visual department. However, a closer look reveals intricate lighting, shadows and effects, with the art style crossing a fine line between realistic and animated. Throw in some surreal environments and 60 FPS gameplay while vampires and other terrors run around, and Redfall looks to be a supernatural blast when it launches in the first half of 2023 for Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Horizon Call of the Mountain
VR gaming has seen several advancements over the years, and when PlayStation VR2 launches next month, it will signify the next big leap for the medium. As a launch title, Horizon Call of the Mountain looks to “change what triple-A means for VR,” as per a former senior world designer on Forbidden West. It leverages all of the PS VR2’s features to deliver a world teeming with life and stunning environments through one’s own eyes. From rock climbing to facing down massive Machines, it’s truly an experience unlike any other.
Mundfish’s Atomic Heart has been through a lengthy development period but finally launches on February 21st for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5 and PC. Set in an alternative history Soviet Union in 1955, it offers a retro-futuristic aesthetic that gives way to body horror. Everything is meticulously detailed, from the weapons and robots to the effects and ray tracing, to the point where it feels like an overload to the senses. In a good way, of course.
Motive’s Dead Space remake is built for current-gen hardware. The USG Ishimura retains its signature layout but with massively revamped textures and details, new atmospherics, gorgeous textures, improved animations, and much more. Ray tracing at 4K/30 FPS is possible on Xbox Series X and PS5, but a 60 FPS mode running at 1440p is also available.