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Most Beautiful Games of 2018

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Most Beautiful Games of 2018

Most Beautiful Games of 2018

It’s award season here at Twinfinite! We’re taking a look at the most beautiful games of 2018, honoring the titles that have delivered exceptional visuals, either thanks to a charming art style, superb direction, or just offering ultra-realistic graphics. Voted on by our editors, the following games stand tall as exemplary titles that pushed the video games art direction forward this year.

Honorable Mention: God of War

God of War

Senior Editor Hayes Madsen: The God of War series is certainly no slouch when it comes to graphics, but the newest entry on PS4 is seriously on another level. God of War redefines the series in so many ways, from minute-to-minute gameplay to the character and personality of Kratos, and even the graphical style.

God of War is a stunning game, and the jump to Norse mythology is a massive change for the series. Dense forests and snowy wastes are now the norm, but God of War’s world is filled with just as much beauty as it is with carnage.

Colorful flowers and trees make the world feel more vibrant than the dull greys and browns of past games, and the orange blood that sprays off enemies creates a harsh contrast.

Kratos’ motions are fluid and lifelike in battle, and the game runs without a hitch. The seamless single camera cut that God of War uses also helps bump up the immersion to an even greater level, and really shines a light on the detail in each and every character model and environment.

Of course, it’s not God of War without epic set piece moments, and the PS4 game certainly doesn’t disappoint. There are some truly jaw-dropping boss battles and moments, and the sheer scale is mindblowing, supported by the incredible level of detail and draw distance of God of War’s engine.

God of War is one of the most beautiful games of 2018, and it may even be the most gorgeous game on PS4 period.

Most Beautiful Games of 2018

Second Runner-Up: Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

assassin's creed odyssey

Guides Editor Chris Jecks: Since it took a year out back in 2016 from its annual release schedule, the Assassin’s Creed series has come on leaps and bounds, both from a graphical and gameplay perspective.

So much so, that its latest entry, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, brought the Peloponnesian War and its Ancient Greek setting to life with stunning vistas and vibrant colors that pop off your screen.

This isn’t something that can simply be put down to an exotic setting. Almost every Assassin’s Creed title thus far has taken players to stunning locations. It’s all of the tiny details that come together to create one of the most vibrant and immersive worlds we had the pleasure of exploring in 2018.

Whether you’re exploring a bustling town, or ambling about in the countryside, Ubisoft has painstakingly detailed its world. NPCs go about their daily lives and have realistic animations and facial expressions, while penned pigs can be seen eating from a trough, ears bouncing rhythmically with every nod forward of their heads.

Clouds of dust permeate the land, marring the vivid greens of lush vegetation and the blues of the skies and seas. Ship hulls shatter and splinter when they collide, and vegetation sways lightly in the sea breeze.

Odyssey isn’t just beautiful because of its art style, it’s beauty is a culmination of many working parts to create a living, breathing Ancient Greece. All of these tiny details, its stunning art direction, and animation come together to provide the best-looking rendition of Ancient Greece we’ve seen in video games, and without a doubt the best-looking Assassin’s Creed title thus far.

Most Beautiful Games of 2018

First Runner-Up: Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler

Contributor Tony Cole-Cocking: Octopath Traveler is a beautiful game on many levels. The narrative and the lore? Beautiful. The musical score, composed by Yasunori Nishiki? That’s beautiful, too. The objectively best character in the game, Alfyn (don’t listen to our Reviews Editor Zhiqing’s lies, he’s clearly top tier)? He’s a beautiful man.

But most strikingly, the first time you lay your eyes upon Octopath Traveler, you will be immediately drawn in by its rich visuals. The patented HD-2D aesthetic, created by positioning 16-bit sprites atop a 3D background, gives this title a look and feel unlike any other.

Pictures just do not do this game justice, because when it’s in action, with its sparkling oceans, foggy forests and dreary ruins, it is every bit the living pop-up book it was intended to be. The nearest comparison would be the Paper Mario series, but even then, Octopath stands on a level all of its own.

For longtime turn-based aficionados, this title is sweet vindication; reclamation of a genre that time has all but left behind. And there is no better marriage of the old with the new than by carefully juxtaposing graphics to create a world that feels fresh and alive.

Most Beautiful Games of 2018

Winner: Red Dead Redemption 2

Contributor Joseph Yaden: It’s not exactly surprising that the most recent game from Rockstar looks beautiful. With each of their games, they’ve had an impressive mix of scale and stunning visuals.

What is surprising, however, is just how stunning the visuals are in Red Dead Redemption 2, especially when you take into consideration the scope of the game. The animations are deliberate and feel natural, and the attention to detail is beyond anything else from this year.

The game is filled with little tiny details that amount to something impressive. If you wear a heavy jacket out in the sun, your character will start to sweat, or if you walk through a body of water with a bloodstained shirt, the blood will slowly start to spread into the water.

It’s these little details that amount to a generation-defining game.

Aside from the animations, the world and characters themselves look incredible; everything from the lighting, to the way the water ripples when you walk through it, to the rendering of dozens and dozens of moving parts on-screen at once is absolutely wild.

There are certain moments that are incredible, such as when you’re riding through the countryside and the light shines through the trees, catching Arthur just right and you see a rabbit run by; the kind of moment when the music starts to swell up and the scene looks like something out of a Bob Ross painting.

These moments don’t add to the story and don’t feature explosive action, but they’re still incredibly beautiful and are arguably just as impactful as those intense story-driven sequences.

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