Winner: Odin Sphere
Atlus | PS2
We drool as much as anyone at the amazingly realistic, cutting-edge 3D graphics of games like BioShock and Crysis, but we have to be honest. The most captivatingly gorgeous game of 2007 was the seriously old school, completely 2D, totally hand-drawn storybook come to life, Odin Sphere.
The graphics here are so artistic it's hypnotic, if not literally breathtaking. The retina-searingly colorful caricatures are often huge and always surreal, drawn with such detail that you can't imagine them possibly moving until they do. The final master touch is the way beards, capes, and other supple objects undulate softly, bringing the whole scene to life as if the entire world is breathing.
Some games grab you with their striking realism. Odin Sphere discards reality entirely in favor of a hand-crafted world so exquisitely fantastic that real life can't hold a candle to it. To call it a videogame version of Cirque Du Soleil doesn't do it justice. It's just beautiful, plain and simple.
Honorable mention: GrimGrimoire
NIS America | PS2
The RTS gameplay is great stuff, but when you've got people stopping in their tracks to watch the game's beautiful graphics, you know you're playing something special.