Let's face it: the rate in which games are growing is exponential; we dare any of you to look at a 'groundbreaking' game from ten years ago and not giggle a little. It's scary, awesome, and a little unnerving.
We're rapidly getting to the point where it's going to become difficult to differentiate between the video game world and reality (a prime example being the ArmA 2 snafu made by ITV earlier this week), so we decided to compile our favorite realistic looking titles from the past two years or so.
What did we miss? Let us know in the comments.
If we’re talking realism, than Battlefield 3 belongs in this list, for obvious reasons. The footage thus far is mind blowing—buildings collapse, topple, and blow up as bullets whiz by your and your squad mates, all in real time! We’ve already gotten our hands on the beta , but can’t wait to see just how immersive the single player experience is going to be.
Though nowhere near as customizable as its predecessor, Crysis 2 still managed to be one of the more amazing looking games of 2011, featuring lush, ultra detailed environments and highly polished character models and animations.
One of the first games to truly utilize many of the touted advantages bundled into DX11, Dirt 3 really pushed the envelope for racing games, featuring unparalleled particle effects and super detailed and accurate recreations of some of our favorite all-wheel drive monsters.
On the whole, Far Cry 2 was a pretty stellar looking game, but it was the fire effects that really caught our attention in regards to realism. No phony, pixelated explosions here. The environment could catch fire in varying degrees of severity, and the flames moved in realistic ways we simply hadn’t seen before.
So the character models may have slightly resembled brainless zombies with starched-stiff, just-out-of-the-laundry-mat clothing. But Just Cause 2 featured an absolutely breath taking open world environment—draw distance? What draw distance? Fly a plane to the tip of the atmosphere and soak in world stretched out as far as the eye can see, all in rendered in real time 3D. Then, ya know, jump out of the plane.
The facial tracking used to create LA Noire introduced gamers to some of the most nuanced, detailed faces anybody had ever seen. So much so that a huge portion of the game involves studying people’s mannerisms to see if they’re lying to you. Can’t wait to see what this game will look like with some real hardware (PC release is slated for November!).
Though Metro 2033 only exists to us now as a brutal benchmark (the game itself was meh), it’s still, even a year after it’s release, one of the most beautiful games we’ve seen. The lighting, particle effects and top-tier character design all contributed to an overall beautiful and immersive world—which makes it all the more disappointing that the gameplay felt lifted out of 90's shooter.
You’ve probably never heard of a game called “Rage”, being developed by a little indy developer called “Id Software”. All joking aside, the footage released by Carmac and Co. thus far has been absolutely phenomenal, featuring characters lifted straight out of Mad Max and ultra detailed, beautiful environments in a wide range of settings. Id’s known for pushing the envelope in virtually every department, so we can’t wait to see how much hardware it'll take to top this beast out graphically.
Modders have tweaked GTA IV for years but uber-fan aimdehaire really took it to the next level with his iCEnhancer overhaul, which basically turns Liberty City into complex environment that looks lifted right off of Google maps. The mod also features insanely detailed (and licensed!) car models. This screenshot (or any, for that matter) can’t do the mod justice, so check it out in motion, here.
Why this crappy screen shot from ARMA 2? Well, to be honest, it was this screen shot that got us thinking about making this gallery. Earlier this week, a documentary hit British cable channel ITV chronicling the IRA’s involvement with Gadaffi. Slurping up the last draining bit of journalistic integrity, the documentary went on to air footage from ARMA 2 and claimed it to be real live, footage from war in Ireland. Whoops, ITV. Big time whoops.
It’s hard to say that Mass Effect 2 has ‘realistic’ graphics per say, what with all the foreign planets and aliens running around, but it did feature extremely polished character models and environments—Commander Shepard’s look of shock still makes us laugh to this day.
Another brutal benchmark utility, in addition to being an awesome RPG, The Witcher 2 featured beautiful, colorful graphics on both the environmental front and in regard to character modeling. Closeups of Geralt’s face were completely stunning, featuring minute details like tiny scars, stubble, and those freaky-deaky golden eyes.
Featuring uber-detailed, jet fueled killing machines, H.A.W.X. 2 looks like you're watching a real dog fight from a distance. The free-cam mode only adds to the realism, allowing you to pan the camera away from the rear of the plane.