I would say it’s near impossible to write about visually stunning games without mentioning Firewatch.
Three video games with stunning visuals and scenery
By Ash Sabinin, Contributor
Video games have come a long way since their creation and people continue to find ways to make them more aesthetically pleasing for the players. Below are some of the games that I found caught my eye when talking about the artwork that goes into them.
Journey is a game that I downloaded on PlayStation 4 a few months ago and I found it to be absolutely breathtaking. With a very simple plotline, it really gives the floor to the beautiful artwork. There’s next to no text or dialogue in the whole game which creates a calm, self-paced game. The soundtrack mirrors the beauty of the artwork and paired together they create a beautiful setting that feels like a piece of cinematic art that should be viewed in a gallery.
Your story begins in a seemingly endless desert and you’re travelling towards a mysterious mountain in the distance, although with no hints or cues as to where to go or what to do, this game can take a different form for different players. The character cannot speak yet they can create a chime noise which may affect certain environments and can be used to interact with other players as there’s no chat function to communicate in. It was released back in 2012 and yet, 10 years later it’s still such an intriguing game and I think it’s in part due to the simplicity of the game and the ability for the player to draw what they wish from the experience. Journey is a spectacular game that really allows the players to be in control of not just the plot line but also what message, if any, they take away from the game.
If you’re an avid gamer or into games with great visuals, you probably knew this one was coming. I would say it’s near impossible to write about visually stunning games without mentioning Firewatch. While I haven’t played it personally, I’ve watched many play-throughs and even had one of the backdrops of the game set as my lock screen for a while. It was released in 2016 and people absolutely loved everything from its clever plot to the striking scenery. Firewatch was made by Campo Santo and follows the life of a man who works alone as a forest fire lookout. It’s a calm but lonely job, in a remote cabin, watching for signs of smoke or flames in the forest with his only communication being a walkie-talkie that connects him to his supervisor until some strange things start to occur. It’s a single-player, adventure game with countless twists and turns. The artwork is next level and uses beautiful colour choices that layer upon each other to create such a gorgeous landscape. It’s available on PlayStation, Xbox, PC and Nintendo Switch, but I would recommend playing on whatever has the best graphics to really take advantage of all the captivating scenery that surrounds your character.
Last but, most definitely not least is Abzu, a well-crafted game that explores the true beauty of the underwater world. This game was also released back in 2016 and features the same artistic director as Journey. From the very beginning, we dive into the beautiful deep ocean, slowly descending into the endless darkness where we eventually find enchanting scenes that showcase the wonderful nature of marine scenery. You can travel amongst the different areas and ecosystems to discover new species of plants and animals. This is a game that creates a sense of peace and calm in the player, presenting them with a small break from reality to scuba dive and explore a variety of eye-catching environments.
Your goal, which is only a goal if you wish it to be, is to repopulate areas with animals that fled for reasons unknown. There is no push to follow any certain storyline which allows the players the freedom to explore as they please. Abzu’s setting is gorgeous but also potentially eerie depending on the person playing it so if you have a fear of the ocean, this may not be the game for you. However, there is no threat of death or failure so, for some it may be a good way to explore the ocean from the safety of their couch.