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10 Old Games With Outstanding Graphics

There are some games with extraordinary graphics and visuals that impress us to this day. Here are 10 old games with outstanding graphics. In this list, I included great-looking games released before 2012 that still hold up today. The entries are games that have a beautiful art style or high visual fidelity for the time, and also games that combine both those aspects.

Another note: we focused on 3D games, so while many 2D classics hold up well, they are not included here. Finally, we recommend playing most of these games on PC so that you can max out their settings, although all are available on consoles. We’ll also point out any remasters.

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10 Old Games With Outstanding Graphics

The brilliant BioShock was originally released in 2007 and it was a landmark of gaming. The underwater dystopian city of Rapture was an unusual yet welcome change from the conventional world design of games. There are multiple features of the game that are really impressive. The atmospheric lighting effects and of course, the wet surfaces and water effects were particularly beautifully done. If you want to play the BioShock games in the present, the remastered BioShock: The Collection is the way to go, but it’s undeniable how magnificent the original game looked back in 2007; it definitely holds up well even today.

Far Cry 2

10 Old Games With Outstanding Graphics

One can say that 2008’s Far Cry 2 is more of a tech demo than a game that emphasized how good the DUNIA engine was. Granted, the gameplay and gun mechanics still hold up very well to this day, and it’s definitely a fun game. But what’s really impressive is its impressive visuals.

The game is set in Africa, so the lighting and color palette are gloomy and dry. In my opinion, it suited the game very well. The textures, physics, effects, and shadows are also worth mentioning here. The textures and shadows were especially impressive for the time; they were sharp and crisp and clear. And of course, the effects and physics of Far Cry 2 haven’t been outdone in any other games of the franchise.


10 Old Games With Outstanding Graphics

2007’s brilliant Crysis is an obvious pick for a list like this. It takes place on a tropical island and the map is open-ended. Other than the vibrant and beautiful lighting, the game’s textures, effects, and especially the physics still hold up very well to this day. Like Far Cry 2, one can consider that Crysis is also kind of a tech demo to show off the CryEngine. But the gameplay was really good too. Crysis Remastered was released too, but its reception was less positive than the original.


F.E.A.R. is a game I talk about a lot in my articles, for good reason. For a game released in 2005, F.E.A.R. still is an extraordinary horror FPS game. In fact, it has one of the best villains in video games.

While most games can look beautiful because of lush woodlands and sunlight, F.E.A.R. utilizes technology that makes darkness and shadows so impressive. Basically, it is a dark and gloomy horror game, and the way it handles lighting and shadows is just magnificent. The effects and the quality of particles in the game are also very praiseworthy. When a gunfight takes place, it’s chaotic and the amount of debris and destruction is impressive to this day.

Mirror’s Edge

2009’s Mirror’s Edge is still one of the best parkour games ever. The sequel, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, failed to deliver up to its expectations but the first game still holds up very well. As you’re moving fast through the rooftops of the futuristic city, you hardly stop to appreciate the clean and detailed textures. But the lighting and the colorful nature of the game are very noticeable and that’s the best visual aspect of the game.

Dead Space

2008’s original Dead Space was a remarkable horror game. It’s safe to say that it’s the best sci-fi horror game yet. This is another game that utilizes dark shadows and atmospheric lighting to immerse the player. The futuristic design of the game setting coupled with the grotesque enemies was a sight to behold back then and it’s totally worth playing in the present as well. The Dead Space Remake was announced in 2021, and its release date is January 27, 2023.

Red Dead Redemption

2018’s Red Dead Redemption 2 is simply put a masterpiece. But when talking about the first game which was released in 2010, it’s undeniable how great it looks. The game is very Western and the setting is dusty and bright. This suits the game’s story and premise very well and it truly feels like the Wild West. I believe that Red Dead Redemption’s version of the West is better than that of RDR2. The textures and shadows are still impressive, and it’s totally still worth playing.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

2010’s Bad Company 2 is one of the best linear FPS games ever. It’s thanks to the destructible environments and of course, the super impressive graphics at the time. As you can see in the screenshot, the game doesn’t even look bad by today’s standards. But the best details come out when the gunfights take place. Everything is destructible and the amount of debris and ruin that flies around is insane. It’s an underrated Battlefield game. If you haven’t played it yet, you definitely should.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum was the game that started the Arkham franchise. To this day, Arkham Asylum is a near-perfect gaming experience. The graphics hold up extremely well; the atmospheric and dark lighting really suits the game and it’s executed perfectly. The game is set in the titular Arkham Asylum and it’s probably the best setting in an Arkham game. It was not as open as the other games, but it’s ridiculous how great it looked back in 2009. You can find the trilogy as part of the Batman: Arkham Collection.

Mafia II

Mafia II is an underrated gem and it has a special place in my heart. I can guarantee that you’ll love it as much as every other player who played this brilliant game does. The game is set in the open-world region of Empire City. While it doesn’t have many side missions, the world is so immersive and beautiful for its time. Even though this got remastered, the above screenshot is from the original version.

At the start of the game, it’s the month of December and there’s snow everywhere. It’s so beautiful in the winter and it only gets better after the thaw. There are countless realistic details all around the map. Mafia II will forever stand as one of the best crime games ever.

Sleeping Dogs

Sleepings Dogs is from 2012 and it’s set in Hong Kong. We talked about Mafia II earlier and how it had a really immersive world. Well, Sleeping Dogs also has a masterfully designed open world and I can guarantee that it’s one of the best virtual cities in gaming. Filled with side activities and fun encounters, this neon-lit city looks as if the game is modded with ReShade or an ENB at first glance. The lighting is fantastic, the texture work is great and it really looks outstanding for its time.

Grand Theft Auto IV

On the subject of exceptional virtual cities, we cannot ignore 2008’s Grand Theft Auto IV. While it was unfortunately a victim of the dreaded dusty and muddy colour filter that appeared in many games of the time, there is no denying that GTA IV looks absolutely phenomenal when we consider its level of detail and visual effects. Its physics effects need to be mentioned as well, as it may rival or even surpass the physics of Red Dead Redemption 2.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky

The second entry of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise and prequel to the masterpiece that was Shadow of Chernobyl, Clear Sky’s visuals are absolutely astonishing for a game that was released in 2008. In fact, I believe that its visuals are far more impressive than its sequel, Call of Pripyat. While Clear Sky is considered to be the black sheep of the franchise, the visuals of the game certainly deserve praise because of its lighting and texture work, especially.

Half-Life 2

2004’s Half-Life 2 is still considered one of the greatest FPS masterpieces in gaming history for good reason. Other than its fantastic narrative and world, its drastic visual changes from the first game were simply astonishing. When we play the game now, it’s unbelievable that it was released in 2004. I’d say that its visuals are similar to a game from 2008, and it’s an understatement to say that it was way ahead of its time.

Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins is a game that proved just how talented BioWare was when it came to creating excellent RPGs. While the gameplay of Dragon Age: Origins was limited, what’s amazing about its visuals is how clean the image looks at all times. Besides that, the environment of the game was also superb. With great characters with high-fidelity textures and an overall clean, smooth look, this game certainly stood the test of time.

Got any more games that deserve to be on this list? Let us know on the forums!