God of War III
Kratos’ first outing on the PlayStation 3 could only mean one thing: fucking awesome graphics. And they were, they were.
Well, that’s to sell the game short, a bit. God of War III has more going for it than it’s divine graphical presentation, but the graphics are what we’re here to talk about now. So, let’s to it!
I realize that it’s actually a bit stupid to try and elongate an article when the sole purpose is to say, “I liked the way this game looked better than the rest.” I mean, visuals are a bit difficult to define and discuss in-depth, unless you’re a graphic artist of some type. Which I am not. Or not really, at least. I have a sharper eye than most, maybe.
That being said, perhaps the best way is to explain why I chose this over, say, BioShock 2. That’s pretty easy; BioShock 2, on a technical level, isn’t nearly as impressive – technicalities such as texture work and lighting are unbelievably polished in God of War III; you’ve never seen Kratos’ pasty white skin look so real. Also, BioShock 2’s art direction suffered from a case of “been there, done that.” Literally. We had literally been there.
What about, say, Final Fantasy XIII? For its varied and attractive art direction, that certainly deserves a nod. And perhaps the artwork is more varied than what’s seen in God of War III, but at the same time, it’s a bit more derivative. Let me put it this way: Final Fantasy XIII fulfills all of the required aesthetics for a JRPG. Sure, it occasionally does so with some real bravado and color, but eh. It feels too much like going through the motions, but in HD this time. Also, I hate that game.
God of War III also scores points for its unique sense of brutality. And yes, I attribute that, in part, to the game’s art direction. Like during the game’s final battle, when the screen got covered in blood spurts from Kratos’ repeated punching of Zeus in the face? Super awesome stuff.
Well, there’s three vague and arbitrary points to back up my decision. That’s enough, right? To sum up, and in all seriousness, God of War III is simply the most visually striking game I experienced this year. From the outset, when I was scaling Mt. Olympus on the back of a massive Titan moving in real-time, the visual thrills never stopped. If anyone knows how to drag power out of Sony’s machines, it’s the people at Santa Monica. I mean, hell, God of War I +II looked amazing enough remastered in HD. This shit, however, is off the chain. Yeah.
Runner Up: Limbo
Holy crap. I’ve never mentioned this game on the site before. And I’d never even considered it for this award until about 15 seconds ago, when it hit me like a ton of bricks. To think that I was even going to give an honorable mention to garbage like Final Fantasy XIII, when this gem of a game sat unnoticed.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Limbo: It’s an amazing, unique little game that you should probably play. It’s a 2-D sidescroller available exclusively over Xbox Live, made by upstart indy developer Playdead. You take on the role of a boy venturing into a frightening wood to find his missing sister – but, the most unique thing about the game is its graphical presentation. Everything is presented as a silhouette – making the game, essentially, black-and-white. You’ve never, ever seen anything like it, I assure you. Sure, it may not be in 3D or have ridiculously detailed textures or whatever, but as a visual experience it has no peer.
You all should play Limbo. That is all.