Graphics aren't everything, but a pretty picture and realistic dismemberment physics are never a bad thing to look at. I'm sure that you all remember at least one or two games in your gaming life that have completely changed your perception on what "good" graphics really are. Listed after the jump is my take on five of the most influential games in the recent past that brought sexy back way before that ri-donk-ulous song hit the radio and your iPod.
Let us begin...
Do you remember feeling your jaw drop the first time you saw this game in action? I do. Super Mario 64 was the must-have title and the reason the Nintedo 64 sold at launch. To put it simply, this game laid the foundation for 3D platforming and adventure games for years to come.
4. Resident Evil 4
RE4 was the most highly-acclaimed title in the Resident Evil series. Two of the main reasons for this was the dramatic change in viewpoint and the downright stunning graphics that made getting your head chopped off by a chainsaw-wielding madman (a.k.a. Grim) that much more painful to watch.
3. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
This title is an absolute given. Oblivion has truly redefined the subject of "video games as art." At any given moment in the game, there are literally a million details on screen that are worthy to just sit back and behold for a moment. I found myself pinching my cheek the moment I emerged from the sewers and into the breath-taking open landscape that awaited me. Oblivion is without a doubt one of the most beautiful games ever created. But even with all that, it still can't beat the top two of this list.
2. Gears of War
Every shooter game ever made now bends over and calls this game "Daddy." Viceral, violent, vulgar, and beautiful? Yep, that pretty much sums it up. American History X's curb stomp has got nothing on how satisfying it looks in Gears of War. Expect more games in the future to adopt the style GoW has brought to the table and making many people ask "Halo who?"
And the number one game that kicks Justin Timberlake in the junk while saying "I'm the one who brought sexy back" is...
1. Final Fantasy VII
Ground-breaking is not even close to describing what FFVII did in every category of graphics, gameplay, and sound. The CG cutscenes alone were enough to make every gamer rub their eyes in disbelief. Furthermore, do you remember how Leviathan, Bahamut, and Knights of the Round looked the first time you used them in battle? It really is no surprise that FFVII tops the list of most influential, graphically-stunning games in recent history.