Today's article is unlike others you will find on this site. It is no secret we write a lot
. Today, we are writing less and instead presenting screenshots and videos. This article serves simply as a demonstration of some of the most spectacular visual art in video game history (mods included). Most gamers are too focused on graphics fidelity (while failing to understand and even see fidelity in the first place), opposed to art design and attention to detail. Too many only notice and focus on bloom, lens flare, and inaccurate depth of field, opposed to things like non-repeating environments and textures, materials processing, terrain formations, detailed and logical architectures with distinct designs.
Remember, this is just about visual art. Video games are an art form for other reasons too, such as their ability to tell stories in different, incredible ways, explored here
. Furthermore, every game listed here isn't just designed around the set pieces like recent Call of Duty
games are. So while they look spectacular, there is much more to them.
You know what they say; a picture is worth a thousand words. Behold the value of thousands upon thousands of words, as we present to you the visual art of games! All screenshots in this article are indeed unedited.
We are starting things off on quite the high point, on what is in my opinion the most visually mesmerizing game of all time. Obduction
is Cyan's latest game, released in August 2016. We reviewed it here
. They also created one of the most important games ever, Myst
, and Obduction is likewise a pioneer in its own right.
Obduction shows why fidelity is still rather important. It wouldn't be as awe inspiring without its state of the art graphics technology powered by Unreal Engine 4.
may have been the first game to argue that video games can be art. Its environment was made up of still images, but realMyst: Masterpiece Edition
from 2014 is a full 3D remake with free roaming capabilities. An amazing improvement even if the graphics fidelity is far from top notch, but despite this its environments are jaw dropping and so imaginative.
So the version we are looking at is indeed realMyst: Masterpiece Edition. Behold.
Praise must be given not only to Bethesda Game Studios who created The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
, but also the modders who brought its visuals up to standards seen years later. Morrowind has one of the most visionary, unique, otherworldly fantasy worlds in video game history; the island of Vvardenfell. See for yourself. The mods shown are listed here
. Note that view distance and anti-aliasing can be improved further than what the screenshots, but even an i7 6700k running at 4.6 GHz with 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz RAM and a GTX 1080 struggle to run it! That's the downside of adding so many new graphics features to an old engine.
Now some of you younger gamers may understand why some people prefer the world of Morrowind to those of Oblivion and Skyrim.
The visuals of Dishonored
were a thing of controversy. The press often praised its artistic attention to detail, but criticized its apparent lack of fidelity. Although as far as fidelity goes, it only lacks in texture resolution, and this was intentionally part of the art design. Textures are meant to appear "painted" and can look oily at times, really demonstrating this. Combined with its post-processing effects and lighting (which are still fairly advanced even by today's standards), it really does resemble the painting.
In order to look stunningly beautiful, Dishonored should really be played at larger resolutions combined with supersampling. This is because aliasing is a real problem with its graphics, as is the case with most other modern games. Furthermore it benefits greatly from forced ambient occlusion via NVIDIA drivers (far superior to injected shader implementations, e.g. ReShade and ENB). The result of these tweaks (not mods) is magnificent, as seen below.
All of these screenshots were taken on max detail, 2560 x 1440 resolution, with forced 2x fullscreen sparse grid supersampling as well as forced high quality ambient occlusion, both through NVIDIA drivers.