Graphics aren’t everything. In fact, when pitted against solid gameplay and a gripping story, good graphics can be the last on our checklist of what makes a truly amazing game. But for this list we’ll be focusing on raw style over everything else.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
I can’t say I was keen on the decision to swap David Hayter for Kiefer Sutherland. In a way, it felt like the end of an era. But all credit to KS, he did justice for Big Boss, and Konami did an even better job at capturing the world around him.
From the get go, it’s impossible not to adore the graphics. Granted, there’s only two locations you can visit (not mentioning Mother Base) but what’s lacking in quantity is more than made up for in quality. From the canyons in Afghanistan to the marshy terrain in Africa, you’ll find plenty of reasons to fall in love with TPP.
The Witcher 3
The third installment of the Witcher franchise from CD Projekt Red, this game offers beautiful landscapes, rich textures and some gruesome takedowns. The game itself is not perfect, it’s riddled with minor bugs, frame rate drops and some hilarious visual glitches (now patched) but we can’t deny how truly beautiful the game looks while riding Roach into the horizon.
But it’s not all so pretty for Geralt as he goes toe to toe with monsters cut straight from mythology and folklore. Each monster is unique and with it comes some terrifying visuals. Every Drowner, Griffin or Water Hag you fight will have you gripping your controllers and each dark, dingy cave will keep you in suspense as you cautiously roam the world.
It’s also probably worth mentioning the super graphically-awkward sex scenes, which admittedly make the game ten times better.
Putting aside the fact that 343 Industries pretty much lied to us pre-release, we can’t take anything away from them in regards to graphics, it’s a truly stunning game. It may look a little Michael Bay for most people (I’m talking about the frequent use of the lens flare) and it almost feels like they’ve overstretched the whole sci-fi theme, but as a long time Halo fan, this is exactly where I wanted Halo to end up.
The style is very similar to Halo 4, which was a visually impressive game itself, spartans are slimmer, the armor is less bulky and vehicles look/sound meaner. Halo 5 is the grittiest (as gritty as sci-fi gets) of the franchise, which is highlighted in the multiplayer as you’re offered a wide array of weapon variants, armor pieces and brutal takedowns.
If you’re looking for a futuristic shooter that isn’t over the top i both gameplay and style, Halo 5 is the game you should reach for.
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
If there’s ever been a game that has captured what’s imagined to be Victorian London, it’s AC: Syndicate. The game has been praised for its slick controls and seemingly endless content, and of course, how aesthetically pleasing it is.
It’s dark and dirty, but in a charming way. Capturing the essence of 1868 London, which was probably smog, blood and disease, you’re welcomed into the thriving capital, swapping churches and towers for train stations and carriage chases.
This game not only captures the setting brilliantly, but pours on a massive dose of atmosphere too. If you were disappointed with Thief (who wasn’t?), give Syndicate a chance. It outclasses most prior releases and captures Victorian London like no other.
Batman: Arkham Knight
A change from the usual take in batman games, Arkham Knight was filled with jump scares, emotions and plenty of ‘is this the end of Batman?’ speculations. But when you’re done soiling yourself from the Man-bat jump scare, take a look around how tragically beautiful Gotham can really be.
The constant downpour and trashed streets are things we expect in a Batman game, but something feels different in Arkham Knight. When the thugs take a break and you’re perched atop Wayne Tower, glancing over the ruined Gotham City and everything goes silent, there’s a certain charm and beauty within Gotham, you’ve just got to wipe the dirt away to see it. Then, of course, you dive-bomb into the nearest group of thugs and crack some skulls, which is obviously just as beautiful.
This was our list of the best looking games of 2015, did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know!