2019 is going to be the last year for this generation of consoles which means we will be treated to the best these consoles can offer. Seven months into 2019 and game developers have already given us some visual masterpieces. Some of the best looking games released this year and more are expected soon. Games like Anthem, The Division, Death Stranding are pure eye-candy.
The trailer reveals from E3 2019 have made us excited for the second half of 2019. We have decided to compile a list of the most visually stunning games of 2019. Some of these games have been released and some are scheduled for later this year.
Top 10 Best Looking Games of 2019
While making this list we checked factors like how well the game was optimized and how well it would run on certain systems. Games that have yet to be released are included just because their trailers have been so beautiful. But keep in mind that trailer often represents a cherry-picked vertical slice, not the final build. We have seen downgrades multiple times over the years, fingers crossed!
Resident Evil 2 Remake
The Resident Evil 2 Remake is a visual treat. Instead of the usual remake treatment where the graphics are just given a polish, Capcom tried a different approach. They built the game from the foundation on RE engine, the same engine that Resident Evil 7 runs on.
No longer are the heroes just pixelated characters moving from pre-rendered background to pre-rendered background. Resident Evil 2 remake is fully 3D. You spend the game looking over the shoulder of your selected hero. Combine this with the dynamic lighting effects, awe-inspiring facial animations, and the best-looking zombies, and you sometimes want to hide behind that shoulder. The zombies status as former humans is done justice to. They move around and react properly when you blow off very specific chunks of their heads and hands courtesy of the satisfyingly detailed dismemberment system. The Resident Evil 2 Remake, in essence, offers the blueprints for how to make a superb remake.
This game is Titanfall 2 meets a looter shooter and it makes you feel like Ironman. Often times you just want to stand and appreciate the beautiful magnitude of the vista Bioware has created. Visual return from this game is often remarkable, further emphasized by the pyrotechnics on display. The Anthem experience isn’t just about the beautifully realized environments. In combat too, the visual effects just enhance the experience.
The effect is amplified in scenes where the entity count continually ramps up where the title delivers absolute carnage. Bioware has downgraded this game from Frostbite’s usual 60 fps to 30 Fps on consoles but it makes the most it. The Frostbite post-process pipeline is really put through its paces, from the high-quality motion blur down to the voxelized volumetric lighting. Overall, Anthem is a beautiful game. However, the reason it is on number 9, is partly because of how much its performance suffers. Only the people with the best PC’s get to witness it in its full visually impressive glory, while console gamers can’t even think of it.
A Plague Tale: Innocence
Asobo’s A Plague Tale: Innocence is part of an emerging trend where small studios make mid-tier games with indie game vibes. This is actually important as most AAA studios now focus on trying to monetize their games as much as they can. This has resulted in a dearth of narrative-based games that aren’t interrupted by the developers asking you to pay more. The game runs on Unreal Engine 4 and this is the first foray into The Last of Us style narrative from the developers. It’s about a pair of siblings trying to survive during the plague and the Inquisition.
A Plague Tale utilizes lighting to the max for best-looking visuals. Much of it is set at night and each light is a dynamic, light-casting source, including the sun and moon. A Plague Tale doesn’t use pre-made shadow maps and this affects the atmosphere, especially in night scenes. Shadows cast by static objects, like walls, flicker convincingly with the uneven torchlight. A Plague Tale pays careful attention to the details of character models.
Character visuals and animation are done so well that cutscenes generate a real sense of empathy in the player. Non-essential NPCs are not rendered as well but Hugo and Amicia’s every feature is well rendered. A high-quality skin shader is used, this is evident where light can be seen through the skin in a realistic manner. As the game progresses, blood, dirt, and filth accumulate on the skin. Material rendering, rat rendering and post process is also a delight. Overall, it’s a wonderful game from a small studio and one of the best looking games of this console generation.
Metro Exodus is the first game in the Metro series that sees Artyom, Anna and the rest of the Spartan Order venture out from the tunnels of the Metro to explore post-apocalyptic Russia. The aim? To find somewhere free of radiation to finally settle down and live life in peace.
Metro Exodus looks absolutely beautiful. The different environments are detailed, with high-quality textures and dynamic lighting. It really helps to flesh out the world. The lighting is phenomenal; whether it’s the flicker of your lighter illuminating an abandoned train carriage or god rays streaming through broken windows of a desolate warehouse, it’s gorgeous. It earns its place in our best looking games of 2019 list.
Devil May Cry 5
Utilizing Capcom’s in-house RE Engine allows the game to deliver new heights graphical fidelity. The game has ground-breaking graphics which make use of photorealistic character design. Stunning lighting and environmental effects also come into play to make it a truly breath-taking experience.
The Division 2
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is the sequel to The Division. The Division was released three years ago and remains a cornerstone for a testing benchmark because of its amazing graphics. Like the original, The Division 2 utilizes Massive Entertainment’s proprietary Snowdrop Engine. The sunny DC is paid homage in this game and the visuals do more than justice. Truly one of the best looking games of this generation.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
We had hoped to see Ghost of Tsushima in 2019, a game set in the Samurai period of Japan but instead, we got Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which is a game set in a fictional Japan but from the creators of Bloodborne. The game is truly an ode to that time periods, with cherry blossoms and smoke and deformed monsters. It’s a truly majestic, albeit difficult, experience and the final mission boasts visuals straight out of an Edo period painting.
Jedi: Fallen Order
Who among us doesn’t love a good Star Wars game? The keyword here is “good”, as past efforts by EA have not always come to fruition. This installment in the ever-expanding Star Wars games universe seems to be a good one. Its mechanics play like a mix of Metroid, Dark Souls and Uncharted, all on a base of Force Unleashed or so it seems from the E3 demo. It does look promising, if only because of the polished visuals. You can watch this video listing the gameplay details you might have missed in the Star Wars trailer.
The Last of Us 2
When the first The Last of Us game was released, it shook up the gaming world with its tragic story and interesting gameplay. Now the sequel is going to be released this year, however, we don’t have an exact release date. From the images and videos that have been released up till now, we can see it’s all going to break our hearts again, this time with the life-like graphics, brutality, and of course, characters we love are going to die.
Death Stranding has been teasing us with short videos and hints for years. Now that a release date has been announced, we have seen more gameplay footage. This game is truly a great feat, it pushes everything it will be released on to the limit. The motion capture, the volumetric particle effects, the bloom, everything is perfectly utilized. This has resulted in in-game footage looking like a movie, and 9th generation graphics on the now obsolete PS4 hardware. All in all, we feel that it will live up to its hype, both visually and narrative-wise.
This was our list of Top 10 Visually Impressive games in 2019, we’ll update this list as more games are released!