COGconnected’s Game of the Year Awards 2020 – Best Looking Game
Here at COGconnected, we’re only human. Throw a bunch of pixels and polygons our way, and we’re likely to sit there, mouths agape, analyzing every last detail. But in our minds, there are two kinds of beauty in games. There’s the art design aspect, but also more technical wizardry that’s impressive not because it looks nice (it probably does anyway), but because it’s well constructed, hard to pull off, or maybe totally new. With that distinction out of the way, here are the 10 best looking games of 2020.
Call of Duty strides confidently into the next generation with a really fantastic looking adventure, especially in the single player campaign. Character models like Adler look better than ever this time around, and you can’t argue with the technical performance of the game. 4K 60 fps with ray traced shadows on the next gen consoles, and an insane 4K 120 fps mode if you can afford a TV with HDMI 2.1. Light and shadow has always been a strength in the CoD games, and the ray tracing implementation here is a big step forward. Playing chopper gunner in ‘Fracture Jaw’ is liable to do just that – your jaw is likely to drop that hard.
Ghost of Tsushima might get props in other areas, but it’s also a very technically impressive game. No, the textures aren’t great in a lot of places, and the facial capture is a step below some of Sony’s other heavy hitters, but the sheer amount of stuff going on in Ghost of Tsushima is staggering. Particles. Particles all over. It’s flower petals, and sparks, and smoke, all reacting believably with the wind and world. The trees and Jin’s clothing are gorgeously rendered, and standing on top of a mountain with Jin’s cloak blowing in the wind is phenomenally beautiful. The diversity of landscapes is worth a mention too. No wonder people in Tsushima are just stopping all over the place to write Haikus.
This isn’t likely to be on many of these lists, but Resident Evil 3 is a technical beast. Capcom’s RE Engine continues to churn out excellent results here with outstanding fire effects and damage physics. Few games have such detailed damage mapping as RE3, and it’s frequently shocking just how gnarly the damage Jill and Carlos inflict can be. Speaking of our heroes, they look top notch. Carlos’ flow is the best of the year in our books. Resident Evil games are often paced to put the gorgeous crafting of the world on display, and RE3 doesn’t disappoint there either. Props and models placed around the levels are super detailed. Performance is nothing to sneeze at either, running great on base consoles and older PCs.
Valve has a legendary attention to detail, and Half Life Alyx is no exception. It’s the premiere reason to own a VR headset, and for good reason. Where other games feel as though you’re playing next to a green screen backdrop, Half Life Alyx really pulls you into the world. Attention to detail is a big part of that, with every object exhibiting absolutely meticulous detail. From writing on the glass in the very first scene to really taking a close look at a can of soup, it all holds up to scrutiny. It makes Alyx’s world feel incredibly lifelike and immersive. Characters are equally impressive, choosing a flamboyant animation style vs. strict realism that really pulls players in.
What really needs to be said here? Flight Simulator 2020 is borderline photorealistic in plenty of situations. It takes the digital equivalent of Hercules to run smoothly, but for aviation nerds this is practically nirvana. Utilizing real map and weather data, it’s truly possible to live out your piloting dreams here. The things that you’ll be looking at are of obscene fidelity, namely the planes. Inside, outside, it’s all as close to real life as we’ve seen in a simulation. The skies are equally impressive, with dynamic and gameplay affecting cloud cover amongst some of the sharpest sky boxes in history.
Ready for our top 5? Head to page 2 for the rest of the list!