The most beautiful games of the year: These graphic highlights await us in 2021

The most beautiful games of the year: These graphic highlights await us in 2021
The game year 2021 also starts off a bit leisurely by default. The really big releases don't expect you in January. The only real highlight of the first month of gaming is probably Hitman 3, with which those responsible at IO Interactive conclude the World of Assassination trilogy about the bald, barcode-bearing assassin. But don't worry: You don't have to worry about gaming lull this year. Numerous publishers and developers have already announced well-known new releases for 2021 and even presented a few real graphic highlights. The most beautiful games that await us in the coming weeks are summarized in this special.

Table of Contents

1 Horizon Forbidden West 2 Gran Turismo 7 3 Resident Evil Village 4 Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 5 Kena: Bridge of Spirits 6 Sable 7 Returnal 8 Season 9 Scorn 10 Crimson Desert

Horizon Forbidden West

In Horizon Forbidden West you will explore the former California, including iconic locations like the Golden Gate Bridge. Source: Sony / Guerrilla Games With Horizon: Zero Dawn, Guerrilla Games 2017 gave us one of the most beautiful games on the Playstation 4. Aloy's adventure through an end-time America paints a completely new picture of the post-apocalypse: Instead of zombies, nuclear-contaminated wastelands or gray-brown ruins, the open-world title offers us a varied, colorful and, above all, lively game world. The forests, swamps and snow-covered mountains of the map are populated by fantastic robotic beings who are sometimes more or less friendly towards us - and contribute to the unique game concept with their individual design. We are now all the more excited about the successor Horizon Forbidden West, which is due to appear for Sony consoles in 2021. Not only does the powerful hardware of the PS5 promise even more impressive graphics. With the new setting, the US east coast, a completely new, beautiful environment awaits us.

Gran Turismo 7

The visual representation of Gran Turismo 7 will probably be so demanding that the racing simulation no longer runs on the old PS4. Source: Sony It was almost eight years ago that racing game fans could look forward to a fully-fledged part of the Gran Turismo series. Sure, in 2017 there was the stopgap GT Sport. But when Gran Turismo 7 finally appears this year, thousands of car freaks will have hearts and maybe also their pants open a little. Because what developer Polyphony Digital has shown so far about his latest title is really breathtaking: sublime, shiny oldtimers, aggressively roaring horsepower monsters, from the rear spoiler to the steering wheel in the cockpit perspective, everything here gives a deceptively realistic picture. The routes are in no way inferior. With really successful light and weather effects, every circuit is a real eye-catcher. We can therefore hardly wait to heat the slopes with ray tracing, 4K resolution and 60 frames per second. With Gran Turismo 7, the next generation of racing simulations awaits us without a doubt in the coming months!

Resident Evil Village

This time, no zombies await you in Resident Evil Village, instead you have it to do with werewolves and other monsters. Source: Capcom

Capcom has proven how beautiful horror can be in the past two years with the remakes of the classic Resident Evil 2 and 3. Racoon City was breathed new life here with the help of the RE Engine. Not only iconic locations like the local police station shone in a new splendor. The well-known characters like Leon, Claire and Jill were given an all-round successful makeover. And even zombies, Tyrant and Nemesis presented themselves even more disgusting, more terrifying than ever. Now we're excited to see what the developers will be able to do on the next-gen consoles. They will get Resident Evil Village in 2021. According to Capcom, this should be a grippingly staged battle for survival with ultra-realistic graphics. The makers have already proven this with a few first trailers in which dark forests and snow-covered mountain villages full of bloodthirsty creatures gave us a cold chill.

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2

Also In Hellblade 2, the German Melina Juergens will again take on the role of Senua. We are looking forward to it! Source: Ninja Theory Admittedly, Senua's saga hasn't been seen too much yet. Not even a release this year is definitely certain. But we're just cautiously optimistic that we will be able to plunge into another adventure full of Nordic mythology within the next twelve months. Also because Hellblade 2 promises an impressive look. Even the predecessor Senua's Sacrifice was graphically a real board. Especially the motion capture recordings, which captured our heroine and her inner conflict authentically on the screen, were among the highlights of the action adventure. With the release on the Xbox Series X, the fastest and most powerful Microsoft console of all time, things can only get nicer. This is also proven by the teaser material shown so far, which may have been pimped up for marketing, but was completely incorporated into the engine. Senua's Saga is a real visual treat.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

A clear highlight of the previously shown material from Kena: Bridge of Spirits were the little black balls of fur named " Reds ". Source: Ember Lab A Disney film to play yourself, this is how Kena: Bridge of Spirits works. The charming little adventure was presented as part of the Playstation Showcase in 2020 and should find its way to PC, PS4 and PS5 this year. In the baggage is a heartwarming story about the eponymous heroine, who is supposed to protect the world from rotting, as well as fast-paced hand-to-hand fights - but above all a really cuddly staging. I mean, look at these furry guys. Don't you just want to hug them? The makers of Ember Lab have so far only been active in the animation sector, for example for Coca Cola, Hisense or the Major Baseball League. Now they concentrate their skills fully on interactive storytelling. And it's worth it: Kena: Bridge of Spirits with its fantastic world, its sympathetic characters and the handcrafted animations is a party for young and old.


The release of Sable was actually planned for 2020. After a postponement, the time has finally come this year. Source: Shedworks Sable is not an opulent graphic masterpiece with lifelike characters or a realistic game world. The indie hit, which was presented for the first time at E3 in 2018, is more convincing due to its unusual presentation: Basically, the adventure is very reminiscent of Journey. A mysterious, dreamlike desert world awaits you, which you can explore all by yourself and at your own pace. However, the makers of Shedworks rely on a cartoon-like line-art aesthetic that we have never seen in this kind in the gaming world. The developers drew inspiration from the works of Studio Ghibli and comic artist Moebius and blended all of this into an emotional adventure. One can only hope that the gameplay framework will also look good under the beautiful facade when Sable is released for the PC later this year.


Returanl comes from the shooter specialists Housemarque. They already developed Resogun or Alienation, among other things. Source: Housemarque

Third-person shooter meets science fiction, meets psychological horror - the return. Set in a dark future, we take control of Selene, an astronaut who is trapped in a time warp on a hostile alien planet. And now with the help of her high-tech suit and various weapons she has to somehow get out of this never-ending nightmare. All of this is staged with the help of Unreal Engine 4, which provides impressive images on the PS5. In the scenes shown so far, Returnal impressed above all with the great character design of his heroine, who looks lifelike down to the last skin pore. But also the weird, alien worlds and the nasty opponent design with demonic tentacles and glowing red eyes have done it to us. Good, and of course the tough thunderstorm effect. In short: a real action heavyweight is coming up here. So the release on March 19th can't come fast enough!


Not much is known about Season yet. What we do know: It appears exclusively for the PS5, revolves around a road trip by bike and looks really picturesque! Source: Scavengers Studio Another title from the "artistically valuable" category is Season. The PS5 exclusive first hit the big gaming stage in December of last year when it was presented at the Game Awards. In the few days and weeks after that, the adventure was able to win the hearts of many players. Why? Well, on the one hand it could be due to the interesting premise of the game: With your so far nameless protagonist you go on a meditative bike road trip, on which you explore the world and capture its beautiful sides for posterity. On the other hand, there is also the beautiful art style of the title: The hand-drawn images could come from an animation film one-to-one. Whether it's a Mediterranean town in the sunset or a cornfield gently swaying in the wind - the beautiful scenery of Season already makes you want more. So we hope that developer Scavengers Studio will come out with a release date soon.


Is Scorn really pretty? This can be discussed. The design of the horror adventure is unique in any case. Source: Ebb Software With Scorn, a highlight awaits us in 2021 for everyone who likes to have a shudder. Ebb Software's debut work is an old-school first-person horror adventure. The makers draw inspiration from the works of H.R. Giger pulled. The Swiss artist is best known for his amalgamation of man and machine, for example in the design of the grotesque alien from Ridley Scott's film of the same name. The world of Scorn is correspondingly disturbing: bloody fibers, pulsating veins, grotesquely deformed bodies. The game offers a strange mix of meat, steel and apparently extraterrestrial, which in the end remains somehow indefinable. It seems as if the developers reached deep into the nightmare box and pressed everything into a mushy, organic shape. So you constantly have the impression that you are moving through a huge living entity. The environment seems like a "character of its own" that contributes its part to the environmental storytelling.

Crimson Desert

Above all, the landscapes and the lighting of the Crimson Desert made a very atmospheric impression so far . Source: Pearl Abyss At the Game Awards 2020, the developers of Pearl Abyss caused a sensation. The trailer for her latest work Crimson Desert was a real eye-catcher! The open-world action-adventure is the spiritual successor to the MMO Black Desert Online. This time, however, the makers were able to fully concentrate on an impressively staged single-player experience - and you can see that! In the first gameplay trailer, the title shone with really nice tracking shots over snowy mountains, green forests and dusty canyons; with great light, weather and particle effects as well as realistic figures, which especially impressed us with their facial expressions. Oh yes, and then we still haven't talked about the fast-paced, bloody fighting. Or the fact that you can ride dragons! In short: Crimson Desert could be one of the graphic highlights in 2021. If the game can really deliver what the trailer promises for the planned winter release.

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