GamesRadar E3 2011 Awards: Most Graphics

Hey, videogames are a visual medium. Therefore, graphics are part of the package. How large a part they play is one of those things gamers will argue about for hours, with lots of phrases like "graphics whore", "frames per second", "gameplay first", and "realism vs art" thrown about. We say don't overcomplicate things - we like pretty pictures, plain and simple. The question is, which one did we find the prettiest?

The Nominees:

Rayman Origins
Gorgeous hand-drawn visuals make this one of those games you simply have to see in motion to believe. Stupidly lush high-res backgrounds burst with vibrant color as impossibly fluid characters jump, stomp, and fly through the world with the grace of Olympic figure skaters. Preview

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
Designed by the lead artist on Okami, the look of El Shaddai seems almost like a stained-glass window come to life. But more important than the technology is the art design. Dream-like architecture and sweeping vistas are everywhere, and we've yet to see a level in which something, be it clouds or water or whatever, wasn't moving. The world of El Shaddai might not look like anything on Earth, but you can't say it doesn't look alive. Preview 

Far Cry 3 

We love good art design, but sometimes it's a game's sheer technological prowess that blows us away. Look closely at the screenshot above. You almost don't notice the motion blur, the depth of field, the density of the jungle foliage or the way the dappled sunlight hits that vegetation. Why? Because you're distracted by the fact that Far Cry 3 is so realistic, you can actually see the crazy in this lunatic's eyes. This is why some folks buy $600 video cards - and why we don't blame them for it. Preview


The product of a dev team so small they could all ride to work together in a single SUV, Bastion is a labor of love. And because whoever's in charge of the "making the graphics" part of that love uses every color in the spectrum and turns the brightness up to neon, we find ourselves captivated. The more you see Bastion, especially in motion, the more breathtaking it is. Preview


Don't let Rage's bleak setting and muted color palette fool you. It's actually glorious in motion, moving at a silky smooth pace even on consoles. And you don't even notice a first how very solid all the textures look and how well lit the whole world seems to be. The game world in Rage may be sickly and struggling, but the game engine itself is alive and roaring. Preview 

BloodRayne Betrayal
Another game that still screens simply can't do justice, Betrayal somehow makes the title vampiress seem even more lithe and agile than before - probably something about the 4000 frames of animation the devs have given her. As a result, the entire game flows along as fluidly as the blood that seems to pour onto the screen every time Rayne sees another living creature. She's feisty. Preview 


And the winner is...

Rayman Origins
The competition was brutally tough this year and ran the gamut from heavily stylised art to bleeding-edge graphics technology. But Rayman Origins eventually won us over. True, there are games with more advanced tech under the hood, and at least one was surely made with fewer artists. But the sheer beauty of Rayman's world is so compelling that it actually becomes part of the gameplay, pulling us through the world, eager to see what's on the next screen, and the screen after that, and the screen after that one. And that kind of impact deserves an award.

June 20, 2011

Most graphics | Coolest character reinvention
Best response to fan feedback 
Best trailer | Most satisfying gore | Guiltiest pleasure
Most shameless rip-off 
Best new game we know nothing about
Worst first impression | Best game for masochists 
Most likely to consume our lives | Artsiest-fartsiest
Most tasteless 
Might not actually suck | Proof that 2D isn't dead | BEST OF SHOW 



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  • LIKEUCARE - June 22, 2011 2:09 a.m.

    Hmm, no mentions of BattleField 3, Mass Effect 3 is disappointing. Uncharted 3 left out also... sad! Guess each to his own huh? There's a few other games that I would've liked to see in-game footage since we only saw trailers. 'Em games would be Prey 2, ARMA 3, Metro: The Light, Skyrim, Serious Sam 3, Max Payne 3, Aliens Colonial Marines.
  • angelusdlion - June 22, 2011 2:01 a.m.

    Good call. I think Origins is set to dethrone Dragons Lair as "Most beautiful hand animated game ever." and I say that as someone who's biggest gaming achievement is beating the Sega CD version of Dragon's lair on one life.. multiple times. (for the record, I like the bloodrayne one.. but the lack of detail makes it look more like a flash game than anything.. yes, the animation is beautiful, but the reward is about graphics, not animation.)
  • DirkSteele1 - June 21, 2011 9:50 p.m.

    @DeifiedData Totally agreed. There is a reason why SNES and Megadrive games have aged far better than the PS1/Saturn/N64 generation.
  • KdotLo - June 21, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    BloodRayne Betrayal. <3 WayForward <3
  • Yeager1122 - June 23, 2011 1:38 a.m.

    I myelf would have gone with Far cry 3 dont get me wrong the other are beautiful but the look of far cry is more my cup of tea.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - June 22, 2011 12:18 a.m.

  • DirkSteele1 - June 21, 2011 9:47 p.m.

    A worthy winner. And I am pleased to see most of the nominees were chosen for artistic style rather than those which push systems to their limits. I grow increasingly tired of the drive towards greater realism. A little bit of the fantastical on occasion is a nice change.
  • DeifiedData - June 21, 2011 9:09 p.m.

    There is a lesson to be learned here, people: high-fidelity, "true-to-life" visuals in a videogame have their inevitable limitations. 2-D sprites, on the otherhand, will always look gorgeous.
  • TheHowetzer - June 21, 2011 6:07 p.m.

    @GamesRadarEricBratcher Gaga = Madonna simple enough, between that and the fact that she is simply a contrarian and Id say that's pretty unoriginal. I would say that she does dress pretty differently, but Im pretty sure she contracts most of that stuff out to other actually creative people for those functions. Also, Uncharted 3 FTW.
  • MrSuitMan - June 21, 2011 5:22 p.m.

    What about that new Vanillaware game?
  • EricBratcher - June 21, 2011 4:50 p.m.

    Uncharted 3 is another that was on the list, just a tad further down. Not sure how one can possibly call Lady Gaga unoriginal. Fine if you don't love her music, but when you take the tunes, the costumes, the videos, and all her onstage theatricality into consideration, calling her anything less than unique is just delusional.
  • insertdisk - June 21, 2011 3:24 p.m.

    My god does Rayman look good. Good choice here I must say
  • NightCrawler_358 - June 21, 2011 3:20 p.m.

    Yes! Great choice! The only thing'd like them to improve with Rayman Origins is the background. It seems to bare and bland right now, especially compared to everything else, so if they spruccied it up to the same detail as a game like Donkey Kong Country returns, but not enough to detract from the foreground, it'd be perfect!
  • Groenewegen914 - June 21, 2011 3:17 p.m.

    I can't wait for Rage and Far Cry 3! "Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?"
  • philipshaw - June 21, 2011 2:49 p.m.

    Same as what I would have picked
  • GringoStar - June 21, 2011 2:21 p.m.

    @Ichigoame As much as I don't like Lady Gaga, you make yourself sound like a tool by having to use her real name. You must be so 1337 for using Wikipedia. 50 cool points for the kid who uses the interwebz.
  • ichigoame - June 21, 2011 1:33 p.m.

    the el shaddai trailer is pretty cool except for the lady gaga comment. I said something similar on Dtoid and I'll say it here if you're trying to sell me a game based on it's originality and production talent, best not to try and sell it through an unoriginal,mediocre singer as stefani germanotta
  • IvansTreehouse - June 21, 2011 1:07 p.m.

    Wow... Mario games: eat your heart out! NOW!!
  • rxb - June 21, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    Thanks for putting me on to BloodRayne Betrayal, looks a bit like a 2D Bayonetta. Beautiful.
  • LTS - June 21, 2011 9:59 a.m.

    Bastion reminds me a bit of Legend of Mana