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Graphically Impressive Games More Than a Decade Old

In this list, we’ll count down some of the most graphically impressive video games that are more than a decade old at the time of writing in 2023. For the sake of variety, I will only include one game per franchise and one game per year. While some of these may not be as impressive when we consider the gameplay, their visuals still blow us away to this day.

This list is not ranked in any particular order.

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Crysis 3 (2013)

Graphically impressive games that are more than a decade old

Crysis 3 was one of the most jaw-dropping games of the year in 2013. It featured ground-breaking physics and super-realistic textures that were rare to be seen at the time.

Indeed, at a glance at Crysis 3, it’s impossible for someone to believe that it was released in 2013. As the setting, it featured a post-apocalyptic America with overgrown vegetation and ruins.

With spectacular lighting and shadows, every location looked realistic and immersive. The Crysis series is known for its exceptional visuals and the third entry of the franchise proved it further.

Max Payne 3 (2012)

Graphically impressive games that are more than a decade old

Many veteran Max Payne players tend to dislike the plot of Max Payne 3. However, I believe that it had a great narrative and plot, despite being incomparable to the first two games.

A gritty and dark third-person shooter, Max Payne 3 featured exceptional physics and semi-destructible environments. It’s safe to say that the game looked cinematic at the time, and its graphics still hold up very well. The gunplay felt realistic and satisfying because the bullet impacts were felt thanks to the physics that made enemies ragdoll realistically and destroyed cover.

No matter what anyone says, Max Payne 3 is one of the greatest third-person shooters of recent memory.

L.A. Noire (2011)

Another brilliant game by Rockstar, L.A. Noire is one of the greatest detective video games of all time. Its revolutionary and ground-breaking facial animations were not seen in any game at the time.

The facial animations aren’t the only element of the game’s visuals that manage to surprise us. With the game’s superb recreation of Los Angeles combined with the high-fidelity textures and lighting, L.A. Noire still remains a game that should not be forgotten, and one that truly deserves a sequel.

Selecting a single game for this entry was quite difficult, considering the many other visually impressive games of the year, like Batman: Arkham City and Battlefield 3. Ultimately, L.A. Noire won this place because of its realistic visuals along with the marvelous facial animations and physics.

BioShock 2 (2010)

Red Dead Redemption almost won this spot, but I chose to include BioShock 2 because of its unusual setting and fabulous art style. Set in the underwater city of Rapture, BioShock 2‘s beautiful world features atmospheric lighting and distinct architecture – not to mention the splendid underwater areas with aquatic plant and animal life made even more beautiful with the gloomy lighting.

There are sections in the game that feature areas with vegetation, and they also have high-fidelity textures and shadows. None of the game’s locations feel out of place and everything blends perfectly with the gritty atmosphere of the game.

Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)

Another Rockstar game, GTA IV still remains the best GTA game in some players’ hearts. It’s all thanks to its mind-blowingly immersive and lifelike depiction of New York City and the greatest physics system to ever be featured in a GTA game to date.

While its color palette is dark and dusty like many games of the era, the textures and the actual environments are what make this game so visually impressive. At night, the city looked gorgeous with all the lit billboards and streetlights.

Alongside the cities of the Yakuza games, I consider GTA IV to have one of the best urban settings in gaming history.