Video games visuals have come a long way from the primordial white pixels of Pong. Each new year of gaming brings fresh new developments and this year holds no shortage of visually spectacular games. Now that 2023 is ending, it’s time to look back at titles that pushed the boundaries even further. We present you these certified hardware hogs– the most visually spectacular games of 2023.
Baldur’s Gate 3
Baldur’s Gate 3’s graphics probably wouldn’t turn too many heads compared to AAA FPS games, but none of those offer the same level of freedom and gameplay versatility. Not to mention Baldur’s Gate 3’s visuals are how you usually would imagine your Dungeons and Dragons campaign in your mind’s eye.
Besides, Baldur’s Gate 3’s engine (which was based on Divinity: Original Sin 2) was more than a treat for hardcore CRPG fans coming from the archaic Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2.
You can be forgiven for admitting that Starfield feels dated. It even reused some Fallout 4 animations and that was released in 2016. But where Starfield lacks in graphical development, it compensates in terms of visual style.
You won’t find many space games out there pulling off the NASA-punk vibes as coherently. Starfield being able to strike a sci-fi balance between dizzyingly advanced and contemporary puts it in its own unique visual niche. It deserves to be here for being a thematic trendsetter.
Alan Wake 2
Alan Wake 2 is a given. It’s one of the most graphically-demanding games of 2023– well, as is the case for most Remedy Entertainment titles. But it’s that very adherence to graphical fidelity that makes Alan Wake 2 immersive as both a mystery and survival horror game with a clever narrative twist.
It’s a game bold enough to incorporate live-action cutscenes and cinematics in its storytelling. With its level of graphics, it can be hard to discern which is CGI and which is live-action the first time you see Alan Wake 2’s live-action clips.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
There had to be an open-world marvel here, and poetically enough, the choice goes to Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. It’s about as visually stunning as its predecessor but with an improved color-grading and more life-like lighting.
Of course, the mere fact that you can interact with all the New York buildings (their exteriors, anyway) and that they’re not just for a sense of scale is what makes Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 even more… amazing.
Scaling back to linear games, we have to commend Atomic Heart here for bringing something typically unseen in the gaming space. It’s a mostly traditional FPS, but the atompunk and Soviet-punk design elements provide that oppressive, retro-futuristic look you usually don’t see in many games outside of the Fallout series.
If that wasn’t enough, the character designs here (especially for the Fembots) unapologetically leaned towards fan service– a visual spectacle nonetheless. More than anything, it evokes gaming classics such as Bioshock when it comes to gameplay and iconography.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Like Alan Wake 2, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor made many gaming systems run on fumes (especially PC). It’s one of the heaviest contenders for just how far you can push graphics in a video game. Coupled with a Star Wars design philosophy, it’s quite possibly the closest you can be to living in a Star Wars universe through the comfort of your gaming device.
The cherry on top of this delectable cake would be the lightsaber combat. It’s every bit as glorious and electrifying as the lightsaber scenes in live-action Star Wars media. Even the mere satisfaction you get from activating the lightsaber blades makes this game worthy to be among the most visually spectacular games of 2023.
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is at the Top of the Most Visually Spectacular Games of 2023
Technically, Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is just an expansion, but it came with so many visual and graphical improvements, that it put Cyberpunk 2077 again back to the top spot of video game tech. It’s all thanks to Path Tracing.
This new visual tech is the future, and Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is the first game to give us a taste. As you can imagine, it’s the most realistic simulation of light physics in a video game so far. That paired with Cyberpunk 2077’s overwhelming and indulgent cyberpunk dystopia puts it at the top spot among the most visually spectacular games of 2023.