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We have come a long long way from
disproportionately put together polygons and boxy environments. Not to say that
those polygons and boxy environments didn’t offer a great gameplay experience,
it’s just that games today look exceptionally good! And offer an amazing
gameplay experience with even more immersion. With games running at 4K with
realistic textures, dynamic environments, ambient light reflections that mimic
reality and many other visual details, gaming on PC has never been better!

Keeping that in mind, I’ve put together a list of games that, in my opinion, look fantastic. This is in no way an exhaustive list of the best-looking games and I’m sure there are a lot of games out there that can be added here.

1. Battlefield V

Just like its predecessor and weirdly named Battlefield 1, Battlefield V has gone beyond what you would call a “good looking” game. Even without ray tracing, Battlefield V looks beautiful. The realistic light reflections on different objects, the crisp high definition textures, the shadows, all combine together seamlessly to make one hell of a WW2 game. Turn on ray tracing, and the visual fidelity goes to the next level. Even more realistic reflections, shadows, and lighting effects just make your jaw drop.

A great aspect of Battlefield V is that you don’t necessarily need a beast of a PC to enjoy its beautiful visuals.

2. Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider has become a benchmark for testing the credibility of all graphics cards. That’s because of its demanding visuals and ray tracing implementation. In the latest Tomb Raider game, light passing through the leaves in the jungle, cracks in ancient tombs, scattering underwater looks mesmerizing and at the same time, realistic. The way light bounces off different objects, Lara’s hair physics, the increased draw distance and the dense foliage makes the tribal jungle setting of the game come to life. (When I mentioned “disproportionately put together polygons” I was talking about OG Lara Croft’s pointy boobs :p).

3. Control

Control is Remedy’s latest offering with ray tracing which produces realistic reflections on every surface. And not just the lighting effects, Control has probably the best particle effects and the sheer number of particles that can be present in one frame is astounding. Using your dash and “force push” abilities just obliterates the environment into countless tiny physx objects. The office setting of the game means there are a lot of desks, chairs and small appliances lying around. Dash through them, look back and you’ll see everything just fly off in the air. It feels amazing! And for me personally, Control made me realize that 1080p is not good enough anymore.

4. The Division 2

The Division 2 is a realistic virtual implementation of Washington D.C. and the developers state that it’s a 1:1 representation of the city. Regardless of whether that’s true or not, the game looks gorgeous. The tattered buildings, extremely well-detailed environments and broken-down vehicles on the streets actually make you feel like a survivor in post-apocalyptic Washinton DC. Although it lacks ray-tracing, it still is one of the best looking games, period.

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5. Anthem

We all know what a train wreck Anthem’s launch was. Everything was so buggy, to the point that some players were not able to progress through the game because their character got stuck or the game just froze. And, some players even reported that their PCs crashed and they were forced to hard reset. But, we’re not here to shit on Anthem so let’s give credit where credit is due.

Visually, Anthem is stunning! The world of Anthem brings in a lot of verticality, something that we don’t see that often. Flying around in the Javelin exosuits feels liberating and adds another dimension to the surface-based warfare that most games have. There are a lot of particle effects, dense foliage, ambient lighting, shadows, and reflections, making Anthem one of the best LOOKING games of 2019.

6. The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3 came out back in 2015 but the sheer depth it encompasses has earned it a spot on this list. Keeping aside the deep story, character development, combat, and environments, which were in my opinion among the best till date, the graphics can hold their own even four years later. Even if certain aspects look faded, there are a ton of mods out there to make them all shiny once more.

I have a bias for Witcher 3 having spent countless hours playing the story and side missions but most importantly, enjoying the beautiful vistas of Skellige and Velen, the densely populated areas of Novigrad and the dynamic forest areas of the map where the trees swayed with the wind. Being in the Northern Kingdoms is something I can never forget. CD Projekt deserves our money.

7. Star Citizen

Star Citizen is the most ambitious project and the biggest crowdfunded game with over $250 million since 2011. And, the game hasn’t even released yet. In the words of Chris Roberts, director of Cloud Imperium Games, the assets of the game are designed with high polycounts instead of having details baked into their textures.

This is one of the reasons why the game looks so good and requires a beefy setup for a playable experience. To put it simply, it is a space exploration game with a single-player campaign based in the same universe. And, space has never looked more stunning. The ships have immense detail, the planets are gigantic and going from one planet to another is completely seamless. The scale of the game is so huge that nobody, probably not even the developers know when it’ll end.

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8. Final Fantasy XV (Windows Edition)

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Originally released in 2016 for Xbox One and Playstation 4, Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition was ported over to PC early last year and was notorious for being a highly demanding title that could have been better optimized. I initially started playing the game on my Intel i5-8600K (stock), GeForce GTX 1060 PC and didn’t get into it mainly because the performance and visuals were disappointing. Now with my upgraded rig, I can actually make out how much detail is present in the game. The character details on Noctis and his friends really brings them to life with their flying jackets and the sheer texture quality. The world looks stunning as you climb to a high spot and just pan the camera, especially in 4K.

9. Deus Ex Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the follow up to the beloved 2011 Deus Ex: Human Revolution which was also a great looking game back in the day. Mankind Divided came out in 2016 with a visual overhaul which made the game look and feel better than ever before. The dystopian future city of Prague is filled with drones, augmented citizens, armed guards and neon lights. This dark and gloomy world pulls you in with its high-quality textures, rain effects, reflections on the street and dialogues with NPCs. Mankind Divided adds a lot more verticality to the gameplay as well, giving you an even broader approach to how you execute missions.

10. Forza Horizon 4

Racing games have come a long way and Forza Horizon 4 is a prime example of that. It blends together the visual fidelity of an open-world game with the rush of a racing game. But why did the developers have to make the outside world in a racing game look so good? They could have just made the cars and the tracks look good. This is exactly why Forza separates itself from the other good-looking racing games like Project Cars and Dirt. You actually feel like you’re driving on different terrain and in a variety of weather conditions. See a brick wall or wooden fence? Just drive through it to see each and every brick and piece of wood fly into the air. Switch to the first person to feel even more immersed. Forza Horizon 4 is a game that you should play with the proper equipment like a steering wheel, pedals and all.

The only gripe I have with Forza Horizon 4 is the lack of visual damage to cars.

This completes our list of the best-looking games on PC and once again, this is in no an exhaustive and there are plenty of games that can fit here. And to that end, let us know in the comments down below what games would be on your list!

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