The Top 7... prettiest games of 2008

Barely sneaking in at the end of the year is Prince of Persia, Ubi’s latest re-imagining of a franchise that seems to outstay its welcome every single time. This outing, however, has our attention (and admiration) thanks to its slick lighting effects and some of the best textures we’ve ever seen. In place of the traditional mud-colored palaces and earthy palette are open stretches of gorgeous land buzzing with life and foliage that actually sways in the breeze. Compare that to the previous games:

Also in place are brilliantly animated cel-shaded graphics that sizzle on the screen. While Sands of Time and its follow-ups may have the edge in the gameplay department (we’re not terribly keen on the “press one button to do everything” idea), Prince 2008 visually ousts its predecessors with ease. This extends from the aforementioned environments and graphics to the very characters themselves:

The last time we saw the hero currently known as Prince he was half emo-haired pretty boy and half charred asshole. If we have to choose between whatever that thing on the right is supposed to be and the new Prince, with his weathered face and robust wardrobe, we’ll go with fancy pants any day.

Or maybe we need a mix of the two? We dressed our six-foot, super-cereal Warrior Within Prince with a lovely feather boa, fashionable GamesRadar tee and just-casual-enough tie. Hm, we still prefer the new one. If only he didn’t talk like Brendan Fraser in the Mummy movies…

As for prominent female leads, uh, Prince ’08 gets our vote. Maybe you’re into frowny vamp chicks with impractical costumes and corpse teeth. We’re not. Sorry if we prefer Elika’s stately visage.

Perhaps the highest praise we can heap on PoP is the fact that this is what an HD Zelda game could have looked like (minus the rampant typos – seriously, there are a lot). Running through the many temples, palaces, dungeons and vast overworld constantly reminded us of Twilight Princess… if it were made with technology invented in the past five years. Nintendo, we’re begging you, please take advantage of modern computers.

Dah-huh! Not sure who was salivating eight years for another 3D romp ‘em up starring the world’s favorite/only bird and bear duo, but those who stuck in out were rewarded with a luscious landscape bursting with color. Hats off to Rare for once again crafting a visual feast with the same flair as Viva Pinata.

That completes our list, but as a quick aside, we really, really want to stress the accomplishments of Wario Land: Shake It! It’s not on this rundown because we already wrote a whole article about it and the fact that most Nintendo-published games are pretty.

Hear more about this article in TalkRadar.

Dec 8, 2008

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Top 7


  • TheWebSwinger - December 10, 2008 12:39 a.m.

    I agree with a lot of these. Where, though, is De Blob? Also, I just don't think Valkyria Chronicles is THAT good looking. P.S. I hate Anime, but that new Naruto game is gorgeous. Just sayin.
  • Smeggs - December 9, 2008 11:08 p.m.

    WTF? The girl in the new PoP looks like the main lady in Law and Order: SVU!
  • screath - December 9, 2008 10:35 p.m.

    I think that Banjo-Kazooie should have been more than just a runner up. It looks like a pixar film come to life. There are few games that even attempt to be this good-looking. It's the prettiest game on the Xbox 360 in my opinion. Maybe it doesn't deserve number one, but runner up? Come on now.
  • jar-head - December 9, 2008 9:27 p.m.

    second page last vid=KOTOR pod racing...ha
  • sixboxes - December 9, 2008 3:40 p.m.

    I like the discussion up here. I think that's why maybe GR's top 7 format is good, because there's no way in hell they can do a definitive list with just 7 slots, so that bumps the comment count. I also think this list proves that as this gen strives toward more realistic visuals, they move away from more appealing visuals. Almost every pick was a game with really stylized aesthetics.
  • TriLink - December 9, 2008 3:04 p.m.

    Where the hell is Okami?? I WANT OKAMI!
  • AyJay - December 9, 2008 10:50 a.m.

    i was gonna put a comment on about how u shoulda put brawl on, but then i read the last paragraph. ur right, all nintendo games are pretty
  • Ravenbom - December 9, 2008 9:48 a.m.

    I almost thought this article wasn't written by Elston, until I read the last sentence, that is.
  • Hurricrane - December 9, 2008 3:21 a.m.

    I'm so glad you guys mentioned Tales of Vesperia... GO AND BUT IT ITS A GREAT GAME!!!!!!!!!3!!!11
  • Corsair89 - December 9, 2008 2:28 a.m.

    preeeety! ^_^
  • WiLdFiRe567 - December 9, 2008 2:20 a.m.

    i really dont think this counts but Okami 4 Wii or did that come out last year? any ways remake so if u wanna call me on it go ahead i dont mind
  • superfunk - December 9, 2008 2:03 a.m.

    Look I don't want to be called a halo nerd but come on all of the different colors were there. Sure some of the levels were dark green and brown but some were exploding with color. A of the covenant weapons blasted blue and the spartan laser red but the choices were still pretty good.
  • FierceDeity - December 9, 2008 1:42 a.m.

    wow wipeout really is a lot slower than f-zero gx
  • Jacob816 - December 9, 2008 12:37 a.m.

    for fuck sake, please stop looking the rearview mirror in WipEout and crashing!
  • cart00n - December 9, 2008 12:28 a.m.

    Yeah, I'm with Jimmy, how DID Fable 2 not make the list? Gorgeous sunsets, brilliant lighting, fabulous color palette, what's not to like? I mean, seriously, I so totally expected to see this on the list, I thought there was another page to the article that hadn't been put up yet. Is it because it's a sequel? Because I notice Viva Pinata 2 didn't make it, either (perfectly aware that PoP and Banjo are sequels)...
  • Z-man427 - December 9, 2008 12:27 a.m.

    I would have crapped myself if PoP hadn't been on the list. lo and behold, it was #1. i love how the concept art look just like the actual game.
  • Dude - December 8, 2008 11:24 p.m.

    I thought Mirrors edge would have been #1 but, whetev
  • EdHas503 - December 8, 2008 11:13 p.m.

    "WipEout HD’s time trial track blasts you down a psychedelic kaleidoscope sure to send some unlucky gamer into a seizure so riotous you won’t be able to tell if he’s dancing to the game’s infectious beats or, you know, actually about to pass out." Epic LOLlypop
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - December 8, 2008 10:49 p.m.

    @ lewis42025: Ninja Storm was actually on the list for a while, but I opted to go for DBZ instead. Both great-looking games though. Also, TF2 and Oblivion came out last year.
  • RonnyLive19881 - December 8, 2008 10:31 p.m.

    Banjo and PoP are pretty but VC looks ugly to me. I beat it only cause the story was interesting and the game play was great but the grapghics were barly better then Wind Wakers, just with amazing particles. The character models were just creepy looking. Only if they went for the PoP look it would have been awesome!

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