High-Definition gaming is here, and it is absolutely beautiful. Going hi-def is kind of expensive, though, so in this list we take a look at the ten games that best show off the capabilities of the Xbox 360 and should help justify that expensive new HDTV to your mom or wife or significant other. This isn’t a list of exclusive games; just the best looking games overall.
1. Gears of War
Gears of War has been out for well over a year and it is still one of the best looking games on the market. Everything is highly detailed and polished and absolutely stunning. Great lighting. Gritty, realistic environments. Detailed characters. This game has it all.
Assassin’s Creed is a love it or hate it game when it comes to the gameplay, but there is no arguing when it comes to the graphics. The cities are incredible looking and it is an absolute thrill to simply climb somewhere high and just take a look around. The animation is also seamless and smooth and near-perfect.
DiRT is easily the most realistic looking racing game on the Xbox 360. The car models look great to start with, but you’ll be really impressed with how they build up a layer of dust and grime during a race or how they tear apart when you crash. The environments are incredibly detailed and great looking, and little touches like fences and barriers around the track and bend and break are very much appreciated.
Two years later, and Fight Night Round 3 is still one of our favorite games on the Xbox 360. It just plays so incredibly well. But part of that great gameplay has to do with the great graphics. The player models are absolutely realistic and look great. But when you get into a fight and you can see sweat flying after a punch lands, or you can see cuts and bruises and swelling on the fighters’ faces, that is where Fight Night really stands out.
5. Viva Pinata
It seems cute and cuddly at first glance, but don’t pass up Viva Pinata because you think it is a kids game. The fuzzy little piñatas are amazingly great looking, and the gardens they inhabit are lush and completely wonderful. The animation is also very good, and just sitting back and watching your piñatas play around in your garden is one of the simple joys of videogames that is too often overlooked.
Stranglehold was all style and no substance, so while it might not rank high on a list of games with the best gameplay, it does stand out in terms of presentation. The character models, particularly for Chow Yun Fat’s Inspector Tequila, look phenomenal and are incredibly well animated. The environments are also very realistic and blow up and tear apart very nicely.
It is amazing how little details can make an already great game stand out even more. Lots of racing games can offer spectacular looking cars and photo realistic tracks, but few have attempted realistic weather and that is where PGR4 really shines. Rain collects into puddles in the streets. Water droplets form on the cars. Snow falls lazily to the ground. And your windshield wipers flick back and forth. It is beautiful.
Lots of things stand out in CoD4, but I think the environments are the real star here. The game world just looks absolutely realistic. Take a look at the Chernobyl missions, and then look at real pictures from there. The game looks exactly like the real deal. It is haunting, yet beautiful, and absolutely impressive.
Oblivion’s visuals haven’t held up quite as well as other games in the two years since its release, but it is still a gorgeous looking game. The wilderness in particular is still very impressive and stands as the most natural and real looking forests and lakes and wildlife we have seen yet.
Right from the start of the game when you miraculously survive a plane crash and then stumble into an elevator that takes you into the depths of the ocean to the underwater city of Rapture, BioShock hooks you and never lets you go. The crumbling city is filled with tons of little details and just plain great things to look at. Special effects for ice and fire and water are also spectacular.