Thanks to the 4K-capable PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, console gaming now provides one of the largest, most appealing libraries of 4K content. Those who use beefier PCs for gaming may scoff, but the new pseudo-generation of consoles has opened up the field like never before, and helping usher in an era of games so beautiful you’ll smack your gob. If you have 4K HDR10-compatible TV, and either a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, we’ve put together a list of games that really show off the power of your setup.
‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’ (PS4 Pro)
Launched in early 2017, Horizon: Zero Dawn‘s visuals are nothing short of stunning. You play as Aloy, an explorer and hunter coming of age in a post-apocalyptic tribalist society. On your journeys, you unearth tech that has been hidden for centuries, hunt furious robotic dinos, and navigate an expansive wilderness. There are few better games to put your brand-new 4K TV through its paces.
‘Assassin’s Creed: Origins’ (PS4 Pro, Xbox One X)
The Assassin’s Creed franchise has been a storied one, to be sure, but after some bumps with prior entries Unity and Syndicate, Ubisoft thought it best to pump the brakes and take its time on the next installment. While we didn’t love the pacing and progression, there is no doubt that it’s was one of the best-looking games around, and a great game to keep around if you’re looking for something really pretty to throw on the screen.
‘Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt’ (PS4 Pro, Xbox One X)
Expansive and imaginative, The Witcher 3 stands among landmark games of this generation. It’s pretty simple, at least in core premise. You’re an old guy with special powers that allow you to hunt the monsters that plague this Polish-inspired “R”-rated medieval fantasy adventure. But that’s all you really need. This is Skyrim with consequences and characters. At the same time, it’s a beautifully realized world with horrific monsters and eerie spirits. It’s a fantastic way to really punish your gaming systems and see what they can do when pushed to the limit.
‘Shadow of the Colossus’ (PS4 Pro)
Shadow of the Colossus is still an amazing game to see in action. As visually striking as it is somber, the 2018 remake gave this PlayStation2-era classic a 4K facelift, complete with a PS4 Pro-optimized patch so that you could tackle gigantic beings and fell them with a magical sword. There is little to say that hasn’t been covered by others many times before. Even if you don’t have the upgraded PlayStation 4, this is a phenomenal title that you should experience at least once. For those that do, though, it’s a must-buy and a great demonstration of what is to come.
‘Middle Earth: Shadow of War’ (PS4, Xbox One)
While discussion of Shadow of War was initially overshadowed by its reliance on microtransactions, the game is definitely a stunner. Vast landscapes, jam-packed with ferocious orcs and fantastical beasts make for a stellar sensory experience. Plus, open play style and fantastic world design allow this one to stand on its own merits, whether or not you put more money into it.
‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’ (PS4 Pro, Xbox One X)
What better game could there be to make the most of a new TV than one that is all about exploring the unknown, seeking adventure, and delving into the mysterious, the forgotten, and the fantastical? Rise of the Tomb Raider is a solid addition to the classic franchise, easily among the best in the series. And it is a showstopper. Striking, foreboding, exciting, and alluring all at once.
‘Forza Motorsport 7‘ (Xbox One X)
Microsoft Game Studios’ Forza racing sims have always served as tech demos for the visual capabilities of the Xbox consoles, and Forza Motorsport 7 is its current crown jewel. Running 4K HDR at 60 FPS, it’s one of the sharpest games around. It may not have the same hyper-saturated dreamscapes as others, nor does Forza sport imaginative monsters or locales, but for a full-featured photo-realistic driving experience, there is little better.
‘Dragon Ball FighterZ’ (PS4 Pro, Xbox One X)
Dragon Ball Z is a bright and imaginative anime about punching people and shooting awesome energy blasts at one another. You would think, then, that it would be a perfect fit for the fighting genre, but for years developers have struggled to capture that essential magic of the raucous and indulgently juvenile show. All that went out the window with FighterZ. A tight and honed game in its own right, FighterZ goes a few steps beyond and offers up some eye-popping attacks, all lovingly brought to life with stellar animations and attentiveness to accuracy. If you have ever been a fan of fighting games or the Dragon Ball franchise, FighterZ gets an easy recommendation. And that goes double if you have the hardware to really bring those Ki blasts come alive.
‘Forza Horizon 3’ (Xbox One X)
While the main, numbered Forza games focus on simulating real-world racing physics, Horizon takes that concept on spring break. To a music festival. And amps it up quite a bit.
No longer are you stuck running circles around the Nurburgring dozens of times over as many hours (though no worries, if that’s your thing). Forza Horizon 3, the latest in the sub-series, lets you use all the ridiculous, high-end hypercars you have come to love, but setting them against trains or jets. Other times, you will be making white-knuckle stunt runs, zipping through a slalom on the beach in the Warthog jeep from Halo. It’s the kind of over-the-top racing fantasies that we don’t see much of these days. If you’re looking to bombard your eyes with sharp colors and plenty of detail, you would be hard-pressed to find anything better.
‘Gears of War 4’ (Xbox One X)
One of the original next-gen visual showstoppers, the Gears of War series has always liberally flexed its graphical muscles. Gears of War 4 is no different. While the plot stumbles over itself, the controls are sharp and it’s still a stunning game to look at. Plus, there is little end to the fun if you’re a fan of the classic Horde mode.
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