Unlike most of the games shown at this year’s E3, Ghostwire: Tokyo largely depicts the everyday. Before the supernatural events really kick off, the trailer showcases the beauty of mundane Tokyo life.
An overhead shot of rain pouring off a cluster of umbrellas in a narrow street. Steaming ramen noodles submerged in cloudy broth. These normal aspects of life are given such attention to detail that you’re already completely absorbed by the time everyone suddenly vanishes.
The gorgeous visuals don’t let up once the game’s supernatural elements are introduced either. The blend of technology with traditional Japanese folklore looks to be equal parts frightening and beautiful, if the trailer’s spooky cinematics are anything to go by.
The cyberpunk genre is an inherently visual one. When you think of cyberpunk you’re looking for neon lights, dense, dystopian cityscapes, and reams of flashy technology. From what we’ve seen so far, Cyberpunk 2077 has all of these in spades.
From the overhead city view to the dingiest hallway, almost every shot has at least some neon in it. The graphics are exceptional enough to render the awesome visage of Keanu Reeves in lifelike detail, something you really appreciate when it comes to noticing all the minute ways the people of the world have been modified.
A spin-off of the Wolfenstein series thus far, Wolfenstein: Youngblood revealed its first gameplay trailer at Bethesda’s E3 presentation. The visuals already look gritty, mechanical, and absolutely fantastic.
Youngblood captures the same striking imagery of the series, especially the most recent iterations. Set in an alternate 1980s, we still see the familiar red and gold Nazi iconography that dominates the franchise.
While you might not think of the gory Wolfenstein violence as necessarily “beautiful,” you have to appreciate the gloriously glossy, hyper-realistic blood that you get a face-full of every minute or so. The scenes of destruction are delicious in much the same way, with huge, awe-inspiring Parisian environments, both inside and out.
Outriders was unveiled by Square Enix with a jaw-dropping trailer that still leaves so much unanswered. The visual direction has a distinctly Mad Max flair – as a gung-ho team venture into the raw open landscape – but with touches of fantasy elements.
The trailer does a fantastic job of emphasizing scale. In no other game shown at E3 2019 have the characters felt so miniscule within the world, as the three protagonists are dwarfed by the opening of a vast, ornate pair of doors.
The imposing natural environment is just as otherworldly as all the ruinous technology, not to mention the hulking creature at the end. As little as we know about Outriders, we can expect it to be one of the more unique-looking games to release next year.
Arkane Lyon announced Deathloop at Bethesda‘s presentation this year with a glorious new trailer. 70s-inspired oranges and yellows wash across the screen, giving the whole trailer a retro vibe at odds with its sci-fi setting.
If you thought hearkening back to earlier days would be a clever way to compensate for limited graphical abilities you’d be mistaken, as our two protagonists are rendered in spectacular detail, and we’ve so far been presented with breathtaking landscapes and striking anachronistic setpieces.
Sure, the visuals of all trailers need to be taken with a grain of salt before you can get a look at actual gameplay, but with gameplay footage thin on the ground across most of E3, you have to take what you can get.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
The sole 2D offering on this list, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is no less impressive for being so. The game is a sequel to 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest, whose mesmerizing art style has been praised expensively by critics and players alike.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps takes that same fluid art style and elevates it a step further with a dark twist. The gigantic spider we see emerge is the perfect example of this, as are the other weird and wonderful creatures Ori comes across in the course of the trailer.
The environments look even more stunning this time around and for a 2D platformer, Ori has a tremendous sense of depth. Both Ori games are proof that games don’t need an AAA budget to be graphically beautiful.
Ever since the announcement that Hidetaka Miyazaki was in talks with George R. R. Martin about the next FromSoftware game, the internet’s been bustling with questions. We barely had time to register that the game would be called Elden Ring before we were hit with a trailer, and what a trailer it was.
“Epic” doesn’t even begin to cover it: a symbolic wreath of hands, the scarred, slow-mo blacksmith, and a seemingly endless void filled with sparkling strands tell us that this is high fantasy at its finest.
So much of this trailer, like the game itself, is shrouded in shadow. Visually, the FromSoftware games have never quite been on par with their gorgeous cinematics, although Sekiro has largely closed that gap. If Elden Ring is even a patch on this trailer, we’ll be getting another beautifully immersive story to get lost in.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
It may be hard to believe for those who weren’t around to play when it first came out in 1997, but Final Fantasy VII had some pretty top notch graphics for the time.
Final Fantasy VII Remake earns a place on this list not just because it looks amazing in its own right, but because it’s an incredible feeling to see iconic, childhood-making characters like Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, and Sephiroth recreated in HD perfection.
The updated graphics aren’t the only aspect of FFVII that’s getting a re-tune, as some of the gameplay and combat have also undergone some changes, but the added detail only makes the game’s comparatively dark tone even more moody.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2
The teaser for Breath of the Wild 2 set up an eerie atmosphere as soon as it started at this E3’s Nintendo Direct, with the creepy green light illuminating ancient cave wall runes. As it’s just a teaser, we only get just over a minute of what we can expect to be a spookier take on its 2017 predecessor.
Players instantly fell in love with Breath of the Wild’s updated visuals, breathtaking Hyrule landscape, and cell-shaded graphic style. While it’s not the only reason the Breath of the Wild has topped GOTY lists all over the place, it certainly was a factor.
That same style looks just as great carried forward into the sequel. You might think the new games’ airy visuals would have a hard time translating over, but if anything it makes the sudden dark turn of events in the teaser even more eerie.
We sadly didn’t get to see any gameplay for this much-awaited installment of the Halo franchise, but we did get a great in-engine cinematic that shows a snippet of the story and a desolate shot of a fractured Halo ring.
As impressive as Master Chief looks in the cinematic, his boxy armor design doesn’t lend itself to gauging graphical improvements very well. Thankfully a stranded UNSC soldier takes center stage, showing off how the improvements impact on finer human features.
Microsoft announced that Halo Infinite would release on both the Xbox One and the upcoming next gen console, codenamed Project Scarlett. Given that the console will have native 4K and run up to 120fps, we can expect the game to be nothing short of graphically spectacular.