This pick comes with an enormous asterisk. Cyberpunk 2077 is a different game on a high end PC, and undoubtedly one of the best looking games of the year. Material and component quality is excellent, with highly detailed character models and absurdly intricate weapon designs. Animation is outstanding too (when it works right), and the ray tracing implementation? Have mercy. The neon soaked world that is Night City is gorgeously lit and packs an obscene amount of reflective surfaces. If you can run it cranked up, Night City is truly a sight to behold. In honesty, it’d be higher up this list if the last gen versions didn’t look like hot trash.
The Remake is actually kind of a mixed bag visually. The characters look just like your nostalgia wants them to, and it’s obvious where most of the rendering budget was spent. Skin in particular looks ridiculous, while our heroes’ eyes carry real depth. Some sequences like the Shinra Building and the Mako Reactors are absurdly detailed too, with a lot of attention paid to filling in the blanks from the original game. Sadly, the slums didn’t get the same level of attention with some muddier textures and low res backdrops. Still, Final Fantasy VII Remake is a stunner at all the right moments.
Despite being a remake, Demon’s Souls is one of the PlayStation 5’s early jaw droppers. The world From Software created over a decade ago on the PS3 has been meticulously rebuilt from the ground up in Demon’s Souls with stunning lighting effects and texture work that takes full advantage of PS5’s giant pool of ultra fast RAM. Light affects surfaces really convincingly – with gorgeous fire and particle effects – and despite the lack of ray tracing Demon’s Souls’ atmosphere is second to none. It’s true to the original vision, but also takes artistic license in all the right ways. The scope and scale of each area is truly magnificent – if the goal was to create a world that’d be next to impossible to render on the PS4, put a big ol’ checkmark next to that line item.
If you sat me down in front of The Last of Us Part 2, with no information about it, and told me it was a PS5 game, I’d believe you. Naughty Dog’s tech chops are world class. Characters are more lifelike than any game before. Subtle mood shifts and emotional queues are reflected accurately in the stunning 3D models, with hair, skin, and even mouths that are startlingly human. That gritty realism draws players into the story, and extends far beyond just the characters. The world itself is absolutely pristine. Constructed to feel like a real space, Seattle is incredibly densely packed with rubble, overgrowth, and remnants of the old world. It’s mind blowing top to bottom. May the gaming gods have mercy on us when Naughty Dog unleashes their wizards on the PlayStation 5.
This was a no question decision – Spider-Man: Miles Morales is the game for showing off your new PS5. New York has received a massive upgrade in material quality, draw distance, and density. Now, the city’s legendary bustle more closely resembles reality, and looking off into the distance no longer shows any pop in. Character models were never a problem before, but they’re even better now – especially their hair. Phin’s bun is absurdly well done. And then there’s the ray tracing. It’s better than anybody expected it to be on these consoles, adding an incredible level of immersion to proceedings. Most noticeable? It’s not the giant shiny buildings, but the tiny details like reflections in Ganke’s glasses and the Spider-suit’s logo and metal bits. If anyone is still hanging onto the notion that games won’t look better in the next generation, sit them down for some time with Miles Morales. It’s without doubt the best looking game of 2020.
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