Gravity Rush 2 – Gravity Rush 2 kicks off 2017 in the best way possible – by giving us a sequel to one of the most gorgeous games we’ve seen on the PS4 and PS Vita. While the character models and environments don’t look super detailed, the cel-shaded art style of Gravity Rush 2 is charming, and everything is eye-popping and colorful.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue – The real draw of Kingdom Hearts 2.8 is the new chapter that comes along with it: Fragmentary Passage. This chapter follows Aqua’s journey in the Realm of Darkness and gives us a glimpse of how good a new Kingdom Hearts game looks on a modern console.
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony – If the first two games in the series and all the released footage of this third entry are anything to go by, it’s safe to say that Danganronpa V3 will again boast one of the most unique art styles we’ve seen in video games. By turning all its characters into 2.5D cardboard cut-outs that bob around when you tap on them, Danganronpa adds a cute sense of frivolity to its cast. This is supplemented by the equally flimsy-looking environments and props that ‘drop’ into existence as you load into each new area as well.
Nioh – Team Ninja’s newest action RPG centers around the sights and sounds of feudal Japan, along with some seriously terrifying supernatural bosses for players to contend with. The grime and blood might not be particularly pleasing to the eye, but you can’t deny how spectacular the game looks overall.
Horizon Zero Dawn – Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the PS4 exclusive games fans will get to check out this year, and it looks absolutely breathtaking. Filled with bright green grass, clear skies, along with its fair share of dark caves and ruins, Horizon could very well be one of the most gorgeous games we see in 2017.
NieR: Automata – Some of NieR’s stages and levels do look a tad mechanical and repetitive, but the game’s art direction and character designs are impeccable. Every cast member looks unique and has their own style, and the flashy sword and gun attacks sure don’t hurt the game’s appearance either.
Persona 5 – Without a doubt, Persona 5 is set to be one of the most attractive games we see this year. Tokyo is depicted as a bustling metropolis, just brimming with color and activity. The game’s UI and interfaces look a little messy at first glance, but you’ll soon realize that they all flow into one another very smoothly. Persona 5 just pops with life, and it’s hard to tear your eyes away from it.
Mass Effect Andromeda – As the first Mass Effect game to hit the current generation of consoles, Andromeda has a lot to live up to. Thankfully, everything about Andromeda looks extremely promising. Its planets are teeming with wildlife and plants, and its towns and outposts are cobbled together in a way you’d expect a space city to look.
Death’s Gambit – Instead of going for jaw-dropping graphics, Death’s Gambit aims to catch your attention with its simple pixelated art style, coupled with its charming 2D side-scroller look. Death’s Gambit looks pretty dark, but its environments are striking and detailed, making this one of the best-looking games to look out for this year.
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom – Ni No Kuni really hit the nail on the head when it was first released on the PS3 so many years ago. The game was remembered for its heartwarming story and, more importantly, its adorable Studio Ghibli animated look. While the famed studio doesn’t seem to be involved in the project this time around, Level-5 is adopting the same aesthetic and art style for Ni No Kuni II, and it still looks beautiful.
Sea of Thieves – Sea of Thieves doesn’t look realistic at all, but its cartoonish charm is more than enough to suck players in. Rare has gone to great lengths to make the game’s sea look as gorgeous as possible, and even the lands and jungles look inviting as hell. We haven’t quite seen enough of the game’s monsters just yet, but Sea of Thieves is primed to be one of the prettiest games we’ll see this year.
Detroit: Become Human – There’s something about Quantic Dream’s games that we just can’t look away from. Opting for a cinematic and movie-like approach to their games, Detroit: Become Human is no different, and that sense of realism adds to the game’s prettiness. The character models look pretty damn well-animated for this generation, and even the city itself is dark, yet hard to resist. Just as Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy haven’t really been able to withstand the test of time, Detroit might end up aging badly a few years down the road from now as well. Still, Quantic Dream has done a pretty remarkable job with the designs we’ve seen in Detroit, and that’s definitely something to look forward to in 2017.
Lady Layton – Lady Layton is another one of those games that forgoes realism in favor of cartoonish charm. And it definitely works. The Professor Layton games have always been praised for their simple designs, and the series’ jump to the 3DS has only helped to polish it up even more. Lady Layton continues that trend with good effect.
Tacoma – Fulbright’s latest title is quite the departure from Gone Home, but that might be a good thing. From everything we’ve seen so far, Tacoma’s space station looks lovely and crisp, and its lighting effects are used to draw players’ eyes to specific landmarks and items. Tacoma presents us with a classic interpretation of what we think space life is like: clean, sterile, and impossibly neat. And it looks mighty fine doing that too.
Vampyr – Vampyr, the latest project from Dontnod Entertainment, might just be one of the darkest and creepiest games we see this year. That said, its depiction of the city of London, rampaged by beasts and blood-hungry vampires, is pretty darn beautiful in a very morbid sort of way. We’re loving the way the game plays with lighting and shadows so far, and we can’t wait to see more of it.