The competition in any Best Visuals category is typically very strong. Whether it’s incredibly beautiful graphics on the powerful PC platform, or that unique visual touch that doesn’t come around too often, it can be a challenge for any great game to win this award. The fact that our winner this year is a PlayStation 4 exclusive should speak volumes about the level of visual quality that is contained in our Best Visuals of 2017 award winner.
Best Visuals of the Year Nominees
There was no shortage of potential nominees for this award and it took some arguments to narrow the field down to our final five. We believe the nominees cover a great range of what the term Best Visuals means to gamers, from the unique design of Cuphead, to the fast moving graphics of Forza 7, and the spectacular open world landscapes of Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Each one of them could easily have won the award, but in the end, the final decision was unanimous.
Best Visuals of the Year – Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn hit the gaming world by storm in early 2017. Guerilla Games managed to develop not just an original IP, but a game that spoke to a great variety of gamers. Whether its appeal to you lies in its open world, its enticing story, or its beautiful visuals, gamers around the globe fell in love with Aloy and her world. In order to surpass the other nominees in our Best Visuals category, Horizon Zero Dawn had to work hard. This is not an easily won award for any PlayStation 4 title.
From the very beginning that we laid eyes on the world of Horizon Zero Dawn, we knew we were in for something special. An open world filled with so much detail, ranging from beautiful landscapes and wide open scenery, to detailed dungeons and character designs, sure leaves an impression. We often felt a desire to simply explore the environments, discarding the excellent story in favor of enjoying the view. The urge to frequently smell the roses was very strong.
Perhaps one of the most impressive feats accomplished by Guerilla Games is how smooth the game runs, even on aging hardware such as the PlayStation 4. Clearly, a lot of attention was paid to optimizing and squeezing every last bit of power from the hardware available to them. The result is a stunningly enjoyable experience that almost makes you forget that you’re limited to a lower resolution and frame rate than what a PC gamer like myself is used to. Every important detail is meticulously designed and you can practically feel the love that went into it.
Given the scale of Horizon Zero Dawn, it stands to reason that every gamer will find his or her own personal favorite area when it comes to its visual design. For that, and many other reasons, Horizon Zero Dawn was the clear winner in a year that offered stiff competition in the Best Visuals of 2017 category. I would also wager a guess that our Best Visuals of 2017 award will not be the last one that Horizon Zero Dawn competes for. It’s extremely well deserved, and one of the must play games of the year.