We’re about five years into this generation of games, and it shows. They definitely play better, but the most obvious change is that they look a hell of a lot better, too. While it’s easy to pick and choose which games look great as a whole, we’re going to take a look at the parts that helped make the whole so memorable.
So with that out of the way, here’s a look at the levels that made us stop and think “damn”.
Oh, and one last thing — there are some minor spoilers within. Just fair warning.
Lake Bresha – Final Fantasy XIII
Whether the gameplay was worth the 4+ years the game spent in development is up for debate, but there’s no questioning that it was time well spent as far as the visuals are concerned. And as beautiful as the entire game is, nothing quite grabbed us the way Lake Bresha did.
The name of the area is mostly self-explanatory. However, the lake has been crystallized to create a rather dazzling display and is quite a treat to walk through. Take a look for yourself.
When you pair these visuals with the typically great soundtrack found in Final Fantasy games you get something worth playing through. Or putting up with, if that’s how you feel.
Lake Don Julio – Red Dead Redemption
When you think of beautiful games, sandbox and open-world games are usually a long way from the top. As far as character models are concerned, Red Dead is no different. Once you get into the wilderness, the game is nothing short of breathtaking.
Being an open-world game, this is less a level and more an area, but it’s stunning all the same. While the dynamic change from day to night is great anywhere on the map, the sunset is never better than when it’s reflected against ol’ Don Julio.
Why, it’s enough to make even the most roughneck cowboy a little misty-eyed. Also, the game is really good and you should play it if you haven’t already. Don’t forget your Gentleman’s Guide!
Cronos – God of War III
When we came up with this article, it was going to be called something like “prettiest” or “most beautiful”. That usually implies that a game is a graphical powerhouse, but God of War III is anything but pretty. That goes double for this particular section of the game.
Like every God of War game before it, GoWIII put forth a massive sense of scale. There’s no better proof of this when several levels take place on the bodies of gods and titans — Cronos in this case.