eGamer Awards 2012: Best Graphics (Artistic)
This year we saw some graphical powerhouses to stand in awe of, and to avoid the conflict of last year, we’ll be doing something so logical we should have done it ages ago. Yes, this year we’ll be separating realistic and artistic games, and be looking at both equally, because that’s how it should be done. Let’s see which game had the best graphics out of all of them. But first, the rundown.
A great many gamers think that graphics in gaming is purely visual, but in the end it doesn’t matter how many polygons a game can push out or whether it has enough bloom to burn brighter than the sun. What we look for in this award is an experience that is either visually absorbing or artistically brilliant, but technically excellent. The graphics should be seen as incredible because they portray what they intended to and capture the game’s vision. Whether the game in question opts for an artistic style, realistic simulation, a cinematic experience or lush, open and brightly coloured worlds, it comes down to how well the game managed to achieve the design it tried to, and of course how damn good it looks while doing so. The graphics of a game can also play an important role in immersion, and as such we look for vibrant, memorable visual experiences that are dynamic and exciting to look at. All in all, this award will be given to the game that achieved its vision and impressed us the most with its graphics.
Borderlands 2 was a visually absorbing game, and the most impressive thing about its art direction was the phenomenal variety of it. The game was just packed with different locations each with their own distinct appearance and visual tone, and it was seriously impressive to experience. Borderlands 2’s art also plays a massive part in its charm, and why it’s such an engaging experience to have. The constant variety of locations and impressive visuals ensured that the game never got boring to look at, and this title did more than enough to impress us. This makes it a worthy contender for this award.
Dishonored was a game we loved for its unique art direction and brilliant execution of it. Hands down this is one of the most awesome and unique visual experiences you’ll come across this generation. It was hard to put a finger on where its inspiration came from, because it had some BioShock in it, some Prince of Persia 2008 and plenty of its own ingredients, all wonderfully put together. It certainly wasn’t the prettiest game to look at, but that was exactly the intention, and the world created with the game’s visuals is certainly something to marvel at. Its world was bright, yet dark, old yet subtly modern, and beautiful yet in many ways ugly. And this is what made the visual experience so compelling. The game, in motion, almost seemed like it was a painting, and it was heavily stylized and distinct. It’s just a graphical style we could appreciate and feel will still look attractive and unique in the years to come.
Journey is one of the most gorgeous games you’ll ever see, and it really was as though you were watching a moving painting. The impeccable attention to detail, beautiful landscape and wonderful lighting and art direction kept us staring at our screens in fear of our jaws dislocating. It seems like describing it isn’t worth as much as the screenshot above, and it really does speak volumes of this game’s visual and artistic quality. For such a small game, Journey accomplishes some truly incredible things with its graphics, and we were just impressed beyond words at the experience we had.
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations continued the series’ proud tradition of making our jaws drop to the ground in awe of its visual splendour. If you ever wanted to play an anime, then this is your go-to game. Sure, since the series’ debut it hasn’t made strides to best itself or take any giant leaps forward, but in what it does it truly has no equal. It really was a pity though that the cinematic boss fights didn’t feature in this game, because they were undoubtedly the most magnificent parts of the previous titles, graphically speaking, but there was nothing but admiration to feel towards the game’s visuals. This was undoubtedly a beautiful game, and it keeps making us excited to see how far it can go in the future.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead was another highlight of this year, and for many reasons. From the outset you might have been hesitant about the strength of a narrative like this, especially one containing tons of gore and zombies, in a cartoony styled game, but The Walking Dead more than proved that its masterfully capable of capturing its audience not just with its brilliant writing, but also with its excellent art direction. It fit the game perfectly, and all the praise goes to its execution, which was just impeccable.
This one was actually easy. As amazed as we were by all the other nominees, there was one that clearly stood above all of them, and really wowed us practically every single moment we spent with it.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Journey was the obvious choice, and it really was the easiest one we had to make. Journey is without a doubt one of the most astounding audio and visual experiences we’ve ever had, and not just this generation. We’re talking in video game history. There was never a moment in this game where it wasn’t absolutely beautiful and jaw-dropping, and it truly was art in motion. It literally is flawless in this aspect, and masterfully done. The praise we’re giving it now seems trivial in comparison to the actual experience, and that’s just testament to how extraordinary Journey really was. The only way you’re ever going to get an idea is if you play it for yourself, but as far as we’re concerned, it has no equal. This makes Journey our choice for the best graphics award of 2012.