The Most Jaw-Dropping Game Graphics of the Last 20 Years

Wired: There's more to videogames than just graphics, of course. But there's no denying the power of a well-turned polygon. Often before we ever play a videogame, our first experience with it is purely visual: through screenshots or, more often these days, a trailer.

Over the last 20 years, game graphics have made astonishing leaps in fidelity, and the range of visual expression adopted by designers has broadened considerably. There's not a year that's gone by without us being impressed, startled, or shocked by a game that even at first glance looks like nothing we've ever seen before.

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StraightPath3561d ago

Recently been playing Far Cry 3 on Xbox 360 and it looks amazing! Yes the PC version looks better but they pushed it on consoles looks really good.

KrystofKage3561d ago

Really? I thought it looked terrible. The AA and shadows for characters were ugly. Granted the distancing was impressive, but GTA4 managed to do the same years ago. Just Cause 2 did it better than any game.

WeAreLegion3561d ago

I do agree that Just Cause 2 did it best. (AFTER the patch...)

However, I think FarCry 3 on consoles looks absolutely incredible.

Autodidactdystopia3560d ago

I am here because *graphics whore*

:) I am not disappoint.

Ps did anyone finish la noir I don't know why but I couldn't get into it so It just faded into the back of my collection.

can someone tell me if its worth reinstalling and playing allthewaythrough?

A2X_3560d ago


L.A Noire was incredible. It's definitely not for everyone but I suggest you give it another shot.

f7897903560d ago

Just Cause 2 was able to do it the best though because they weren't texture obsessed at close range.

Once you start being detailed at close range, you have to kill long range graphics which just ruins open world games. I enjoyed Infamous but damn those were some polluted cities.

abzdine3560d ago

Good list but imo they forgot Abe's Odyssey, WipEout HD, Jak & Daxter and God of War 1.

Kennytaur3560d ago

@Autodidactdystopia,the last part, or desk, of LA Noire is clearly the best. It's got a good ending worth sticking with the game for.

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Mariusmssj3560d ago

From what I heard there is only handlfull of time where you can get 30fps most of the time the max you get is 26

CapsLocke3560d ago (Edited 3560d ago )

Lol. Far-Cry 3. Jaw dropping graphics. On a console. Lol.

GUYwhoPLAYSvideoGAME3560d ago

agree, i only play console and i didn't think the graphics were very good for consoles

A2X_3560d ago

I don't understand the disagrees. It was a brilliant game but the technical side was disapointing.

ps3_pwns3560d ago

lol hes an xbox only gamer the only thing they praise is multiplats because thats the only games they get and its sad that multiplat games look better then there exclusives like crackdown and halo 3. its pretty sad they call themselves games. xbox gamers get rid of the xbox get a gaming pc for multiplats and then get a playstation for the superior exclusives and best graphics on consoles.

dont even know why you guys have hd tvs and dont even have a blueray player. what a waste. cant even watch ironman on blueray or dark knight rises you filthy chumps.

AngryEnglish3560d ago (Edited 3560d ago )

Lol let's see a PC with 512mb of memory and a 10mb ATI card run far cry 3..... Tool

You have to look at it in context, far cry 3 is one of the best looking games on the 360, quite remarkable they can do that with such shitty specs.

@ps3_pwns ...... Yeah because you can't buy a bluray player without a ps3....... I swear, its kids like you that make GAMERS look like complete dickheads

faizanali3560d ago


That is not a very compelling argument sir.
Your churlish actions and replies reek of an insolent ignoramus.

But to refute you, You won't find a 10MB VRAM Dedicated Video Card, not even in 2005.

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JasonXS123560d ago

I though Far Cry 3 looked amazing the first time I played it but after a while I got sick of seeing green and blue all the time. It's graphically pretty impressive but the colour palette was limited. The art direction wasn't great.
I honestly think the original Crysis 1 did better with the jungle beach environment than Far Cry did and also Just Cause 3 not only looked amazing, but ran amazingly even on my old computer.

Arnon3560d ago

Ah, Flower. One of my favorite games of last gen.

ijust2good3560d ago (Edited 3560d ago )

The character models on console version of FC3 looked really good but the in game world looked bad...very low textures and so many jaggies, i really thought it was bad.

Just Cause 2 definetly looked one of the best tropical open world setting on console but original Crysis set to ultra on PC looked the best and that game is like 6 years old.

ToZanarkand863560d ago

For me, it was Shenmue.
That game quite literally blew my mind back when I was a boy.
Hasn't been a game like it since... or a console as cool as the Dreamcast.
Best game ever.

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kB03561d ago

I like some of the choices, but it seems ( it might not be true) really obvious that a lot of games on that list seemed to be chosen merely because of a fan base or what ppl seems there were many more truths out there...

Like 2007...Crysis 1? That game was absolutely astounding in terms of graphics...adaptive to enviroment AI models...and just amazing effects which till this date still look amazing!

I did love some...but it seems like a lot was left Halo 1 (or even 2....although it wasn't that great...its graphics and art work was def nice!).

I also would've aded Metal gear 1 somewhere there:)

kB03561d ago

Also for the record in 2001, luigi's was an amazing looking game! Seriously looks better than even sunshine in terms of art and direction!

Diffraction_Fos3561d ago

Most jaw-dropping game graphics? 2007? Crysis - "Honorable mention" only? Looks like somebody played Crysis on an outdated rig.

WeAreLegion3561d ago

Even on the lowest settings, Crysis was the best looking game in 2007, by a LONG shot. Lol. I was playing it on medium when it came out. Such a gorgeous game. It's a shame people only remember it for the graphics. I love the gameplay and story.

JKelloggs3561d ago

It's still better looking than some games in recent years..

Eyeco3560d ago (Edited 3560d ago )

If you noticed , in the list games like Limbo, Flower, Okami, Pikmin, Grim Fandango and Journey, DKC, SMW2 made the list, neither of those games were the best looking in their respective years, but the art style of those games have held up incredibly well.

I think Crysis looks amazing, but Bioshock looks beautiful it was unlike any game ever seen at the time and even to this day , the dark Art Deco art style is unique, i was more impressed with Bioshock's visuals than I was with Crysis, and yes i played Crysis in max settings.

Images don't have to look hyperrealistic to be considered beautiful.

deafdani3560d ago

Now wait a second here. Donkey Kong Country was one of the best looking games on the SNES at the time, both from an artistic and, yes, technical side. Not only did it look pretty because of a solid art direction, it also pushed the SNES' power like very, very few games could.

I don't honestly remember any Genesis game that came even close to DKC graphically.

Eyeco3560d ago (Edited 3560d ago )

DKC as far as consoles go it was arguably the best looking game of 94 but the best looking game was easily System Shock 1 I think that was the first FPS to my knowledge with a fully 3d rendered gameworld that beats Pre-Rendering in my books, and this was a year after Doom nailed 2.5d

As for the Genesis that console did come close to DKC visuals in the form of Vector Man, people really don't give the Genesis much credit, I think the Comix Zone, Rista, Sonic & Knuckles look as good if not better than anything on the SNES, especially the Comix Zone

Baka-akaB3560d ago

agreed crysis is forgettable and will be forgotten as soon as a successor in hyper realism , be it from crytek or other appears ... but the art direction from Bioshock and bioshock infinite wont be forgotten

Diffraction_Fos3559d ago

Oh I'm sorry. I thought the title said - "The Most Jaw-Dropping Game Graphics", not "The Most Artistically Ingenious Visuals". Need glasses fast....

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extermin8or3560d ago

crysis 1 looked good then but not many people played it on it's highest settings, and its art style was pretty generic... and it hasn't aged too well.

JasonXS123560d ago

I still think Crysis is one of the best looking games today. I played a custom map and by god did the creator make the design of the map amazing, coupled with the amazing Cryengine.

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NukaCola3561d ago

Shout to the original two Oddworld games for psone. Still holds up today with some of the most amazing visuals in any game.

WeAreLegion3560d ago

Agreed. The art style is a stand-out for the industry, as well. Gorgeous!

Erimgard3560d ago

Stopped reading when Metroid Prime didn't even get an honorable mention for 2002.

OhMyGandhi3560d ago

was really annoyed at that as well.
That game...was damned good looking.

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