While gaming in 2023 is indeed at an unprecedented level when it comes to graphics, as it’s pretty difficult to find a game that doesn’t have an environment that looks as realistic as the world we interact with every day, the situation wasn’t always like this. During its first stages, gaming looked absolutely horrible compared to the most popular titles of today, as you could literally count the pixels on the screen.
Gaming evolved gradually into how we mostly know it today, although we don’t have to forget that there are a lot of retro games out there nowadays that feature ‘ancient’ graphics. That’s precisely why people like them anyway, as not everybody is up for highly realistic games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 or EA SPORTS FC 24, for instance.
Some of the video games that are the subject of this article were released at a time when the graphics of video games, in general, looked very poor and obsolete compared to what exists today. GTA San Andreas, for instance, is a fabulous game if we consider the gameplay itself, but the graphics looked absolutely horrible compared to the industry’s current standards. Let’s cut to the chase:
The mind-blowing graphics of Crysis cannot be stressed enough. This is the first game in its series, and it’s basically a multiplayer shooter game where the player steps in the shoes of a guy who’s stranded in the jungle. Who knows what great dangers might lurk at every corner? That’s why playing this game never gets old, and you could compare it to the Egyptian Pyramids in some way. While it’s still uncertain today how it was possible for someone to build those pyramids thousands of years ago, making such a highly realistic game, such as Crysis in 2007, is also puzzling. Maybe aliens built the Egyptian Pyramids and also gave Crysis to us as a bonus, who can tell for sure?
GTA Vice City (2002)
Launched more than two decades ago, in 2002, GTA Vice City is one of the most popular and highly influential video games, and it still holds the flag high even today. This game represents a big open-world environment and some very nice graphics for its time. Back in 2002, when GTA Vice City broke out, it rapidly became a hit.
GTA Vice City follows the adventures of Tommy Vercetti, who’s not exactly the kind of guy you would like to play Call of Duty with. He likes to play Call of Duty in the ‘real’ world of GTA Vice City, actually.
Counter-Strike 1.6 (2003)
You probably know the drill when it comes to Counter-Strike games, as the legendary 1.6 is no exception: you are part of a team of terrorists or counter-terrorists, and you need to defeat the other enemy along with your partners. The first team that loses all of its members loses. On the other hand, if you plant the bomb as a terrorist and it explodes, you win. If you deactivate the bomb planted by your terrorist opponents, you win. If the others do these actions against you, you lose.
Counter-Strike 1.6 was launched in 2003, and it became one of the most played video games worldwide. While the graphics weren’t too impressive for their time, the sound effects were fabulous for their time and even for today’s gaming standards.
GTA 4 (2008)
At its release back in 2008, GTA 4 represented a huge upgrade compared to its predecessor, GTA 3, in every possible way. While the gameplay is extremely interesting and dark, along with the similar dialogues, the graphics in GTA 4 were simply amazing and probably even unprecedented for their time. Rockstar created a very addictive open world where Niko Bellic, a Bosnian war veteran, was the main protagonist, and he had to visit his cousin Roman in Liberty City (a parody of New York City).
Once arrived in Liberty City, Niko gets into all sorts of trouble along with his cousin, and they have no choice but to kill or be killed. GTA 4 was extremely well received by the fans of Grand Theft Auto games, and some believe up to this day that this 2008 game is even better than its successor, GTA 5.
Mafia 2 (2010)
Easily one of the best gangster games of all time, Mafia 2, which came out 13 years ago, easily takes the cake in our view. This game is an absolute classic, and there’s no wonder why some people say that it’s the best game ever made. The attention to detail that the developers had for this game is amazing, and the graphics were out of this world for the period when Mafia 2 was released. Even the facial expressions of the characters were extremely well done. The windows break very realistically if the protagonists shoot at them. Those are just two of the best examples that come to mind to explain the amazing graphics of this game.
In Mafia 2, the player will be in the shoes of Vito Schaletta, an Italian soldier who participated in WWII in Europe. Visiting his buddy Joe in the Empire Bay (parody of New York) of the ’40s, Joe will have to face challenges that are at least as difficult as the war. The world of mobsters where he became trapped doesn’t have any mercy on anyone, and Vito rapidly figured out the hard way that he has no choice but to play by its dirty rules.
How about your own favorite games that feature amazing graphics for their time? Feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in a comment below!
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