A picture’s worth a thousand words, but a well-rendered video game is worth at least a million. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Console Games with the Best Graphics."
For this list, we’re not only looking at console exclusive games; while games which are on PC as well appear on this list, and while the PC versions may be graphically superior to the console versions, we’re only judging the console versions against each other rather than their PC ports.
Hideo Kojima’s unfinished masterpiece may not have had the satisfying ending fans deserved, but it certainly delivered some of the best graphics ever seen in a game. Metal Gear Solid V easily holds its own against other contemporary console releases, and there’s really not a huge difference in quality between consoles and PC. The consoles are really pushed to their limit to create Cold War-era Afghanistan, delivering awe-inspiring visuals without the need for a high-end computer. The fact that it’s one of the best Metal Gear games of all time has led many to cite it as one of the best games ever made.
The final chapter of Crystal Dynamics’ rebooted origin series is arguably the most ambitious Tomb Raider game yet. Seeing Lara exploring Mayan ruins in the heart of the Peruvian jungle makes for a gorgeous experience. Nice touches include the fact that her character model can get covered in mud and blood that doesn’t immediately wash away, and the manner in which the darkness and visible humidity really capture the horrors of being stuck in the hostile, tropical rainforest. Lara navigates her way to another lost city that’s been crafted with painstaking detail, and her encounters with the world’s deadly wildlife make the game even more memorable.
While the game itself got off to a rocky start, fans were pleasantly surprised with Destiny 2’s Forsaken expansion in 2018. But while the game itself took a while to find the right balance, the graphics have been breathtaking from the get-go. The different planets and guns are rendered with astonishing detail, and it’s easy to see why so many people love the vibrant universe Bungie has created for us to explore.
Graphics and frame rate are some of the most important factors when developing a racing game. The maps have to render quickly enough to keep up with the incredibly fast cars while being so smooth that a frame rate lapse won’t cause you to spin out and lose. Luckily, Playground Games know this and set the bar higher and higher with every subsequent Forza game, and the fourth game in the Horizon series is a culmination of their efforts. It’s a gorgeous game and runs beautifully on both the Xbox One X and the original Xbox One.
One of the first games released for the PlayStation 4 to really show off its graphical capabilities, The Order: 1886 was regarded by some as the best-looking video game of all time in 2015. It’s just a shame that nothing else in the game could really meet Ready at Dawn’s ambitious goals. It had unimaginative gameplay, no multiplayer or replayability, and a campaign that barely lasted four hours—but it’s still one of the best examples of photorealism in a game that’s ever been seen. It might even be getting a sequel, which is sure to look just as mind-blowing.
The alternate future of Horizon Zero Dawn gives us a primitive world where monstrous machines roam the wilds and humanity struggles to recover after almost going extinct. But rather than go the route many open-world games do of only rendering one type of area, Horizon Zero Dawn has vast expanses of every environment you could imagine. You begin in a familiar woodland, before heading north into the mountains, east into the desert, and south into a sprawling rainforest. It’s a gorgeous world you can’t help but explore.
David Cage’s most ambitious title yet comes in the form of this android epic, charting the individual lives of three different synthetic humans and emphasizing the fact that the player controls the narrative. However, while player choice shapes the actual events, the graphics stand on their own. Continuing his trend of hiring established screen actors to be fully motion-captured, Cage proves yet again with Detroit: Become Human that Quantic Dream’s games are in a class of their own. Perfectly rendered with the hardware of the PlayStation 4, it’s this talented cast that really make Detroit shine.
While the franchise has been a system seller ever since the first God of War released on PlayStation 2, the 2018 entry pushed the series in an entirely new direction. God of War stretches the PS4 and PS4 Pro to their limits. Kratos is a god who finds himself fighting even both mythical monsters and his fellow gods—things so powerful they’re almost beyond human comprehension. Thankfully, with this installment, all these various forces are being brought to life in the graphic detail that they deserve. Within just a few months of its release, the game was already being called, by some, the ultimate video game.
Naughty Dog never cease to impress, and in the final adventure of Nathan Drake, they once again proved why they’re the best developers around. Unlike God of War, Uncharted 4 aims to render real-world environments, areas so detailed that you could mistake them for a photograph. Who could forget the shipwreck with the coral reef growing inside? The partially-submerged, tropical ruins of New Devon are rivaled only by the stand-alone DLC, The Lost Legacy, which took us to rural India with returning characters Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross. A worthy end for a legendary thief.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a couple of honorable mentions:
- Sea of Thieves
- Batman: Arkham Knight
Here it is folks: The results of eight years of development. The absurd attention to detail that went into this title is quite literally unmatched, from its near realistic lighting to its fantastic character and animal models; it’s hard not to get taken back by the photorealistic open world that Rockstar has achieved. Even the smallest of details like snow and mud sticking to characters, or obsessing over horse genitalia, is captured in unmatched quality, and the fact that this is all happening in an Open World title is mind-boggling. To put it as simply as possible: Red Dead Redemption 2 is a technical masterpiece.
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