Most Beautiful Game of the Year?

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Posted by Mikemcn (8175 posts) -

Just Cause 2 was a great game, a Huge open world, a great sandbox for pretty much anything you could imagine. Avalanche made a formidable successor to a game that many people wanted to love but never quite could. What they did best though, was that they created a tropical Island of fantastic proportions. It is a magestic, vibrant island filled with great locations and unique landmarks. 
 
I recently bought all the DLC for the game (50% off on steam.) and decided I would take the DLC monster Truck out for a spin, I wanted to put it through its paces so I took it to the lower right corner of the map, an area with nothing but a few rundown Dirt roads broken up by ruins, rivers and dense foliage. Not a single NPC or building in site, just, me, the landscape and a Flame covered monster truck.   

I was Quickly reminded of how beautiful this game was, the colors, and the shapes of the mountains, valleys, and beaches all come together to make something amazing. The sense of scale is unmatched, Rico is dwarfed by the huge trees around him, the jagged cliffs and the huge rivers.      

  
Color in this game is key to its beauty, it is the complete opposite of games such as Call of Duty and Gears of War, which seek to create something gritty and dirty. JC2 is all about vibrancy, everything pops, The obsession with dirty worlds in games is kinda of deppressing, I much more enjoy games when they are visually interesting and not just monotone. Certain games (Fallout 3) need that dirty feel, but often its totally uneeded.
Avalanche's use of texture Grading, allows for seemingly huge draw distances, the most distant objects are simply 2d pictures, created in a way for them to have depth. As you approach polygons are added on to make it become more 3 dimensional. The trickery is seamless. Games need to take advantage of this technique, it does so much towards creating a world. The days of fog at the edge of your view are gone. 
 
The other thing JC2 does so well is the size of the world, in the above picture, pick a point, any point. In Just Cause 2 you can go anywhere you want, from the snakeing rivers in the foreground to the snow capped peaks at the very back of the picture. You could play this game for 200+ hours and still not get a full grasp on everything there is to see in the world. 
 
Just Cause 2 is an amazing game, im sure it was a huge undertaking. It may have gotten fairly standard reviews from some people, but I think its underrated sometimes simply for its visual strength. Crysis may be technically (As in how fancy it's polygons are) more impressive, and Limbo and Flower may be more artistically unique, but Just Cause 2 easily deserves a place as one of the best looking games ever made. (Or at least the best looking game this year.)
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#1 Posted by Mikemcn (8175 posts) -

Just Cause 2 was a great game, a Huge open world, a great sandbox for pretty much anything you could imagine. Avalanche made a formidable successor to a game that many people wanted to love but never quite could. What they did best though, was that they created a tropical Island of fantastic proportions. It is a magestic, vibrant island filled with great locations and unique landmarks. 
 
I recently bought all the DLC for the game (50% off on steam.) and decided I would take the DLC monster Truck out for a spin, I wanted to put it through its paces so I took it to the lower right corner of the map, an area with nothing but a few rundown Dirt roads broken up by ruins, rivers and dense foliage. Not a single NPC or building in site, just, me, the landscape and a Flame covered monster truck.   

I was Quickly reminded of how beautiful this game was, the colors, and the shapes of the mountains, valleys, and beaches all come together to make something amazing. The sense of scale is unmatched, Rico is dwarfed by the huge trees around him, the jagged cliffs and the huge rivers.      

  
Color in this game is key to its beauty, it is the complete opposite of games such as Call of Duty and Gears of War, which seek to create something gritty and dirty. JC2 is all about vibrancy, everything pops, The obsession with dirty worlds in games is kinda of deppressing, I much more enjoy games when they are visually interesting and not just monotone. Certain games (Fallout 3) need that dirty feel, but often its totally uneeded.
Avalanche's use of texture Grading, allows for seemingly huge draw distances, the most distant objects are simply 2d pictures, created in a way for them to have depth. As you approach polygons are added on to make it become more 3 dimensional. The trickery is seamless. Games need to take advantage of this technique, it does so much towards creating a world. The days of fog at the edge of your view are gone. 
 
The other thing JC2 does so well is the size of the world, in the above picture, pick a point, any point. In Just Cause 2 you can go anywhere you want, from the snakeing rivers in the foreground to the snow capped peaks at the very back of the picture. You could play this game for 200+ hours and still not get a full grasp on everything there is to see in the world. 
 
Just Cause 2 is an amazing game, im sure it was a huge undertaking. It may have gotten fairly standard reviews from some people, but I think its underrated sometimes simply for its visual strength. Crysis may be technically (As in how fancy it's polygons are) more impressive, and Limbo and Flower may be more artistically unique, but Just Cause 2 easily deserves a place as one of the best looking games ever made. (Or at least the best looking game this year.)
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#2 Posted by dbz1995 (4962 posts) -

Great review of JC2's visuals. The screenshots look great also.

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#3 Posted by CaptainTightPants (2831 posts) -

My laptop gets like 12 FPS on it    :)  

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#4 Posted by Icemael (6860 posts) -

Just Cause 2 was definitely stunning. I don't think I'd put it above Alan Wake, and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood has yet to come out, but it's definitely up there.

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#5 Edited by I_smell (4219 posts) -

It does look very very good; maybe it is the best this year.
Especially impressive because this is about as open-world as it gets, which in any other game would mean the graphics would be at a huge handicap.
It's cool that you can fly a jet at a million miles n hour and not have trees n buildings poppin up out of nowhere.

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#6 Edited by Zajtalan (1261 posts) -

no sorry


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#7 Edited by Mikemcn (8175 posts) -
@Icemael said:

" Just Cause 2 was definitely stunning. I don't think I'd put it above Alan Wake, and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood has yet to come out, but it's definitely up there. "

I haven't seen Alan Wake live, but the lighting in that game is certainly impressive from videos i've seen. As for assassin's creed, AC II was graphically great at times, The Venice carnival areas especially with the fireworks and shadows of the dancers by torchlight. But often the textures seemed a little off, the cutscenes were very weak (The opening cutscenes are some of the worst looking cutscenes i've seen in recent memory.) and the water wasn't ideal. But Brotherhood could certainly change that, i hope it does. But its predecessor worries me a bit.
 
@Zajtalan said:
" no sorry

"

Please tell me why though, I want to at least hear why you don't agree, its only fair.
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#8 Posted by MooseyMcMan (12541 posts) -

Great looking game, but I still think God of War III takes the top prize for graphics. Or is this just for PC games? Oh well. 

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#9 Posted by Diamond (8678 posts) -

I don't think it's even remotely close to a good looking game personally.  Just about everything in JC2's visuals looked wrong to me.  The textures on rocks, the oversaturated color palette, not a ton of detail on anything really...
 
God of War 3, Heavy Rain, Alan Wake, and Red Dead Redemption all seem far superior graphically to me.  Still comes down to taste at some point of course.

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#10 Posted by Bam_D_Leprechaun (820 posts) -

All I had seemed to do in JC2 was run around blowing shit up and being retared (kinda like a bored day in GTA) but man, the game was beautiful, i need to play it again

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#11 Posted by Mikemcn (8175 posts) -
@MooseyMcMan said:
" Great looking game, but I still think God of War III takes the top prize for graphics. Or is this just for PC games? Oh well.  "
By no means is it PC only, i just happen to have JC2 on PC.
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#12 Posted by TwoLines (3508 posts) -

Holy mother.. that last screenshot looks awesome.
I should buy this game someday...

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#13 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (7965 posts) -

Wow  That really does look amazing.  It's too bad that my vision makes some of the checkpoints and objectives very hard to see, or otherwise, I'd probably have this one in the collection.

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#14 Posted by LiquidPrince (16859 posts) -

Nice screenshots, but I wouldn't call it the best looking game this year, by far.

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#15 Edited by ZanzibarBreeze (3210 posts) -

I say this with full sincerity: that's a really good looking minimap. Some minimaps are vague or unclear, but that looks like it's well detailed and is it's easy to tell where you are and where stuff is.

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#16 Posted by jaymorgoth (267 posts) -

Idk as much flak as it gets for it's gameplay portions i find that FFXIII graphically is amazing.  I have seen anything look more stunning on my HDTV then that game even just on the opening system. So what you want about everything else when it comes to graphics that game is a stunner.  It's either that or Bayonetta, so much going on and it still looks slick as hell. (the Xbox 360 version anyway)

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#17 Posted by HandsomeDead (11853 posts) -

It does have a beautiful environment but everything else about that game is ugly, which is a real shame. Jumping out of a plane at its highest point and free falling to the Latino James Bond style music is incredibly cool and then you land and awkwardly shoot badly voiced, badly animated, badly scripted Commie AI for the entirety of the game. 

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#18 Posted by Animasta (14903 posts) -

I will definitely agree with you on this one

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#19 Posted by TheMustacheHero (6649 posts) -
@LiquidPrince said:
" Nice screenshots, but I wouldn't call it the best looking game this year, by far. "
He said best environments.
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#20 Posted by nicolenomicon (840 posts) -
@ZanzibarBreeze said:
" I say this with full sincerity: that's a really good looking minimap. Some minimaps are vague or unclear, but that looks like it's well detailed and is it's easy to tell where you are and where stuff is. "
Not really, I barely use it since the game puts up holograms of arrows whenever I need to go somewhere.
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#21 Posted by ZanzibarBreeze (3210 posts) -
@SL33TBL1ND said:
" @ZanzibarBreeze said:
" I say this with full sincerity: that's a really good looking minimap. Some minimaps are vague or unclear, but that looks like it's well detailed and is it's easy to tell where you are and where stuff is. "
Not really, I barely use it since the game puts up holograms of arrows whenever I need to go somewhere. "
Okay. Having not played the game I can't really comment. I was just extrapolating from the screenshots.
Avatar image for shadow
#22 Posted by Shadow (5293 posts) -

I gotta go with God of War 3 for this one.

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#23 Posted by Akrid (1391 posts) -

 I whole-heartedly disagree. I never felt there was any great care put into the areas of the game. Everything seemed like it was made out of a handful of assets per area and was placed around in a vaguely aesthetically pleasing manner. A game like assassins creed had almost entirely unique assets, I can't remember a building that looked the same in that game. Also AC had a deep understanding of the architecture of the time period and executed it perfectly. Just Cause mainly consists of non-descript shanty towns and  vaguely militaristic concrete buildings. Just Cause 2 may take the prize from official sources for technical excellence (although I would disagree with that as well) but I personally find beauty in design and it frankly doesn't have any.

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#24 Posted by EnchantedEcho (803 posts) -

Because of it's beautiful setting, it is probably the best looking game I've seen this year in my opinion. For those who say Alan Wake, I love that game but some of those textures (mostly facial) are really bad, probably due to its long development time.

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#25 Posted by VisariLoyalist (3130 posts) -

Starcraft 2! that's the answer to everything

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#26 Posted by LiquidPrince (16859 posts) -
@TheMustacheHero said:
" @LiquidPrince said:
" Nice screenshots, but I wouldn't call it the best looking game this year, by far. "
He said best environments. "
My bad. But still, even that. Not the best.
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#27 Posted by Karn (714 posts) -

I shall be the first to say.
 
*fap fap*

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#28 Posted by damswedon (3241 posts) -

Just Cause 2 looks great until you start flying, then you notice the change in textures when getting close to something.

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#29 Posted by DarkShaper (1378 posts) -
@Karn said:
" I shall be the first to say.  *fap fap* "
Your avatar made that 10x better.
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#30 Posted by BeachThunder (14579 posts) -

If we're talking about visuals, I would go with the Whispered World, even though technically it was released last year in Germany. BTW, those are some nice screenshots, especially the second one. 

  
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#31 Posted by Geno (6768 posts) -

JC2 definitely looks pretty great, and its scale is nothing to scoff at. I wouldn't say it's the most beautiful though, an Anno game was released this year (Venice). 

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#32 Posted by Jeust (11739 posts) -

Great game! Glad you're enjoying it. 
 
For me the most beautiful game of the year is Alan Wake. :p

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#33 Posted by Ryax (4580 posts) -

yep. running this game maxed out is so awesome. flying really high then jumping out and looking around is amazing. 

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#34 Posted by Mikemcn (8175 posts) -
@Ryax said:
" yep. running this game maxed out is so awesome. flying really high then jumping out and looking around is amazing.  "
Yep i did that again today, still awesome, you see everything from way up there.
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#35 Posted by Griddler (3374 posts) -

Gotta be Red Dead Redemption for me, simply because of the detail.

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#36 Posted by leebmx (2345 posts) -

I have this game one the XBOX and I love it for the times when I want a world to dive into and just drive about it. Getting into a helicopter and tooling about is just great. however I don't think it is a game I will ever finish because all the missions are the same and the shooting is pretty poor. Also as beautiful as the world looks in the countryside and moutains when you get to the built up areas it just doesn't feel like a living breathing space like GTA4. 
 But yes I think the non-urban areas are fantastic and I am constantly amazed at the detail and work which must have gone into making something of this ambition. Just wish they had put as much care into the gameplay and cities.

Avatar image for marz
#37 Posted by Marz (6018 posts) -

Yah i'm pretty amazed at what this engine is capable of, wish more developers used it.  I'd say it's one of the better looking games to come out this year, at least until Crysis 2 gets released.

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#38 Posted by AhmadMetallic (19301 posts) -
@Mikemcn:  you made me wanna play some JC2.. havent touched it in a coupla months 
 
*plays JC2*
Avatar image for jimbo
#39 Posted by Jimbo (10472 posts) -

Nothing has really impressed me visually this year that I can think of.  Will have to check JC2 out at some point. 
 
In the last couple of years, I'd have to take Far Cry 2 and PoP '08 for visuals.  They both looked incredible.  Uncharted had its moments too.

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#40 Posted by Death_Unicorn (2878 posts) -
@BeachThunder:
I need to go clean up...
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#41 Posted by PATERSON (256 posts) -

The second screenshot is truely beautiful!

Avatar image for vinny_says
#42 Posted by Vinny_Says (5914 posts) -
@Mikemcn: 
I really liked far cry because of the tropical jungle setting, it made me feel relaxed for some reason. Will I enjoy this game? I was at the best buy the day it came out but I hesitated and since forgot about it....
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#43 Posted by emkeighcameron (1895 posts) -

Fully agree with the OP, nice post

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#44 Edited by HitmanAgent47 (8553 posts) -

I don't think it's the best looking game of the year, however for those who doesn't think it looks good at all really hasn't played the pc version. I was looking at a video review, it doesn't look exactly the same as the version i've played and looks kind of dull if you go to gametrailers and watch the video review. That video review makes it looks like a ps2 game tbh. In the options there are a ton of graphical settings and maximum settings does make the game look decent. For an open world game, this looks way better than red faction gurreilla. I'm not sure if it looks totally better than assassin's creed 2 on the pc, that game sort of looks plain however it does have good graphics too for the pc version even if it's a DX9 port this time around directly ported from the xbox360 version. I think the best way to challenge the claim of the best looking game of 2010 is to post 720p screenshots of other games, non bullshots with lifebars and huds to compare otherwise it's all speculation. I don't deal in speculation or what looks good in motion only and has really bad graphics if you look directly at screenshots because it's full of art design with effects on low rez polygons. Of course if others like that sort of things, i'm not here to tell you your preference is wrong. Just cause 2 lacks good art design, however it does have alot of scale and good enough graphics for an open world game.    
 
Of course at 720p screenshots, you lose alot of detail, yet it's still a detailed game.    

   

   

  


 

Avatar image for holybins
#45 Edited by holybins (176 posts) -

I agree that the draw distance and sheer scale of the environments is awesome.  Every time I play this game, despite the strange missions structure and mediocre missions themselves, I am in awe of the environment they have created, and how free you are to explore it. 
 
I think the parachute helps a lot in the exploration aspect...who would want to drive around that whole island, either to explore or find a damn plane?  Nobody!  Parachute + black market dealer are key... 
 
If you haven't played this game, you're missing out!
 
--Chuck

Avatar image for ninjakiller
#46 Posted by ninjakiller (3427 posts) -

Uncharted 2 brah....Uncharted 2.  

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#47 Posted by Mikemcn (8175 posts) -
@blacklabeldomm said:
" @Mikemcn:  I really liked far cry because of the tropical jungle setting, it made me feel relaxed for some reason. Will I enjoy this game? I was at the best buy the day it came out but I hesitated and since forgot about it.... "
Try it, its open world like far cry with alot more sandbox gameplay. And few games are more tropical than JC2. GET IT!
Avatar image for glak
#48 Posted by Glak (580 posts) -

Damn dude, that looks real nice
Now I'm really thinking about getting into PC gaming

Avatar image for evo
#49 Edited by EVO (4029 posts) -

Good timing on this thread; I only just bought it recently and couldn't agree more. 
 
The other night I had a genuinely breathtaking moment... I was grappling my way through a dense jungle at night for some time before coming across a small hill. As I grappled a tree at the top I slung myself over and opened my parachute. 
 
"Oh my god".

Over that hill sat the most gorgeous city skyline I've ever seen in a game. I just paraglided my way slowly into the city, taking in the view of the lights against the night sky.
 
Also, I played this game on shrooms a couple of nights ago, but that's a different story.

Avatar image for mikemcn
#50 Posted by Mikemcn (8175 posts) -
@EVO:  I hope you mean this type of shroom.
 

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