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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  • hester2 - June 21, 2011 1:39 a.m.

    Man, this must have been a tough one. I would have been torn between Rayman and El Shaddai. It's great, though, that so many contenders for this type of award (not just on GamesRadar, you guys have always been great about seeing art style as well as the technical stuff) are for the more original designs than just the most realistic designs.
  • KolbitosFruitJuice - June 21, 2011 1:53 a.m.

    All of these look soooooooooo good! Can't wait.
  • boondocks50 - June 21, 2011 1:59 a.m.

    im not one for the handrawn type of visuals but i can see why u like rayman, i was amazed when i saw Farcry 3's trailer so that would be my pick
  • Clovin64 - June 21, 2011 2:02 a.m.

    Bloodrayne is looking pretty impressive so far, even though I don't give a toss about the previous games or movies.
  • Yahcoo - June 21, 2011 2:34 a.m.

    I can't wait for Rage.
  • JangoFettN7 - June 21, 2011 2:53 a.m.

    Why wasn't Battlefield 3 on the list? Nice article tho.
  • FauxFurry - June 21, 2011 2:58 a.m.

    Where the Devil is Dust:An Elysian Tail, anyway? Had it shown up anywhere near E3, it would have been a shoe-in for 'Most Graphics'!
  • nomnom52 - June 21, 2011 3:03 a.m.

    Now see, Lady Gaga making a game would be horrendous, because she would try to make it as horrid as she is, so no, El Shaddai is NOT like if Lady Gaga made a game.
  • EricBratcher - June 21, 2011 3:09 a.m.

    Battlefield 3 was on the list for awhile, but it was around number 7 or 8, so it didn't quite make the cutoff. It IS a looker, though. no doubt about it!
  • GringoStar - June 21, 2011 4:54 a.m.

    Am I the only one who wasn't impressed with El Shaddai? I've read previews for it and when I heard it was from one of the artists/writer's from Okami I was stoked. The game isn't visually impressive. It looks more like a wet painting spilling off a canvas. Sure that may sound cool, but it isn't. It feels really painful to play as you're advancing through the level it feels as if you're constantly being looped at the same area, not to mention it's only one button to attack and a jump button. It would have been a great Ps1 game or N64 game
  • Kage_No_Shi - June 21, 2011 7:39 a.m.

    @FauxFurry - Been waiting for it to make an appearance myself...It's SUPPOSED to debut this year, so I guess around Fall it'll come out, at least hopefully. I'd like to see a PC release of it, but I'll take it on the 360 marketplace.
  • Parsley - June 21, 2011 8:30 a.m.

    I agree with rayman winning but uncharted 3 is an interesting omission
  • Fredeur - June 21, 2011 8:38 a.m.

    Where the hell is Journey ?
  • AlmightyFuzz - June 21, 2011 8:56 a.m.

    I cannot wait for Rayman! Also Bastion looks pretty damn cool, I wasn't aware of it until now.
  • LTS - June 21, 2011 9:57 a.m.

    when I saw the little Tetris bit from the Rayman origins showing at E3, I think a little part of me died inside and went to heaven.
  • LTS - June 21, 2011 9:59 a.m.

    Bastion reminds me a bit of Legend of Mana
  • rxb - June 21, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    Thanks for putting me on to BloodRayne Betrayal, looks a bit like a 2D Bayonetta. Beautiful.
  • IvansTreehouse - June 21, 2011 1:07 p.m.

    Wow... Mario games: eat your heart out! NOW!!
  • 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
  • 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.

Showing 1-20 of 35 comments

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