From the early days of video games – improvements were often measured simply in terms of ‘graphics’. From blocky non-descript pixels that relied a lot more on imagination and magic – these days, some games on high-end PCs, as well as the PS5 and Series X, are staggeringly photo-realistic. However, striking visuals are not necessarily only about realism. In fact, as video games evolve as an art form, games that opt for a distinctive style are equally as impressive. And this year, we had a range of games that were a feast for the eyes including a painterly indie with a deep narrative, an atmospheric modern take on a 2D sidescroller and even a cartoony-styled adventure that boasted Pixar-like quality. However, one game caught our eye more than any other…
Forza Horizon 5
Bienvenidos a México! Welcome to Mexico! Yes, after yesterday’s triumph in Audio-Design, Forza Horizon 5 garners a second award. This time, we’re gushing about just how visually beautiful the game is. Of course, it helps that this is one of the first games to truly utilise all the power of the Series X. However, even in playing it on the One X, it’s clear that a lot of care and attention went into, not only each vehicle in this game, but also to the Mexican location itself. It’s like Mexico and the cars are characters in the game. Screenshots (like the one above) give you some indication of some of the staggering vistas you can look forward to, however, not until you are yourself riding through a rainstorm or a huge cloud of dust as you leave your wonderfully-stylish competitors behind you do while playing on Xbox’s flagship console do you really realise what a visual masterpiece this Forza Horizon 5 is.
Runner-Up: Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Honourable Mentions: Metroid Dread, Chicory: A Colorful Tale