GammaSquad’s 50 Best-Looking Games Of All Time (#5 – 1)

06.10.14 3 years ago 73 Comments


And finally we reach the end of our celebration of the best visuals in gaming history. Maybe we missed a few you think we should have included, but hopefully we also made the case for a few games you may have never considered.

Once again, here are the two criteria games on this list had to meet…

a) They need to have been technically impressive at the time they were released, and…

b) They have to have held up aesthetically (or at least have the potential to hold up aesthetically).

Okay, now onto the final five entries in our 50 Best-Looking Games of All Time

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Before we go on, a quick recap!


2K Games

Part 1

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50) EarthBound

49) Phantasy Star IV

48) Super Mario Galaxy

47) Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse

46) Final Fantasy IX

45) The Walking Dead

44) Borderlands

43) Silent Hill 3

42) Resident Evil 2

41) Chrono Cross



Part 2

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40) DmC: Devil May Cry

39) Metal Gear Solid 3

38) Zone of the Enders

37) BioShock Infinite

36) Secret of Mana

35) Halo

34) Ratchet & Clank

33) Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

32) Earthworm Jim

31) Metroid Prime


Factor-5/Studio Ghibli

Part 3

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30) Final Fantasy X

29) God of War II

28) Super Metroid

27) NiGHTS

26) Darksiders

25) Ni no Kuni

24) Super Mario Kart

23) BioShock

22) Grim Fandango

21) Star Fox



Part 4

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20) Conker’s Bad Fur Day

19) The Last of Us

18) Crash Bandicoot

17) Samurai Shodown

16) Punch-Out!!

15) Super Mario Bros. 3

14) Street Fighter II

13) Super Mario 64

12) Battletoads

11) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time



Part 5

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10) The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

9) Mickey’s Castle of Illusion

8) Doom

7) Donkey Kong

6) Super Mario Bros.

…and now, the final five.

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5) Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Blast Processing wasn’t real. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news Genesis kids, but it’s true. The Sonic games, in particular Sonic the Hedgehog 2, were just so fantastic looking Sega was able to convince gamers there must be some sort of magic lurking within the humble Genesis.

The reality was Sonic 2 was just so well programmed it managed to move faster and generally outshine a large portion of the games on the beefier SNES hardware. Sonic 2 wasn’t just a technical marvel, it was absolutely bursting with detail, personality and, dare I say it, ‘tude. Sonic looked so good he set off an entire console war — how many games can say that?



4) Resident Evil 4

How the hell did they manage to pull off Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube? Resident Evil 4 was of course bleeding edge stuff that continued to hold up well against even HD games well after its release. Unlike more recent Resident Evils it was also an effective horror game, playing brilliantly with light, shadow and atmosphere.

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3) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was a major milestone for 3D gaming. For the first time gamers had a polygonal environment to explore that wasn’t just an abstract collection of triangles and cubes, but felt like a living, breathing world. The haunting, ethereal Lost Woods, the bracing, adventurous feeling of Hyrule field, the dread-soaked Ganon’s Castle — Ocarina of Time brought together technology and art design to create indelible, evocative locations the likes of which gamers had never seen before, and have rarely seen since.

2) Shadow of the Colossus

The massive, shambling Colossi of Shadow of the Colossus are masterpieces of technology and art design — to this day few video game characters are as awe and dread-inspiring as Team Ico’s creations. The world these monsters inhabit shouldn’t be underappreciated either though. Vast, misty and wind-swept, it’s a world that provides you with no mercy or hiding place once you encounter one of its massive denizens. Shadow of the Colossus almost doesn’t feel like a game. Sure, there are challenges to best, but simply existing within its beautiful world often feels like reward enough.

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1) Yoshi’s Island

We all know the story by now — Yoshi’s Island was created when Nintendo higher ups wanted Shigeru Miyamoto to make a Mario game using then-trendy pre-rendered Donkey Kong Country style visuals. He rebelled, instead creating a game that looked like it had leapt from the pages of a children’s coloring book.

Yoshi’s Island was one of the first really overtly stylized video games ever made, and that style still holds up brilliantly. Even today, Yoshi’s Island still seems to pop right off the screen, beckoning you into its immensely charming world.

Why is Yoshi’s Island #1 on our list? Because it represents the ideal all video games should pursue when it comes to visuals — create a unique style all your own, then back it up with the best technology available (Yoshi’s Island was secretly the most technically advanced game on the SNES). That’s what making great-looking games is all about.

So there you have it, the full 50 in all their gorgeous glory. As always, it’s been fun hashing this thing out with you guys, so don’t hold back — hit the comments and let us know where we got it right, and where we got it rage-inducingly wrong.

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