Photo: Mass Effect: Andromeda / EA

Visually Stunning Video Games That Are Simply Garbage

Over 3.3K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of Visually Stunning Video Games That Are Simply Garbage
Voting Rules
Vote up the beautiful games that fell short everywhere else.

Pretty video games can be a gamble for development companies. It takes a lot of resources to make a game look nice, and some games just can't live up to the hype that looking amazing brings. This leads to pretty bad games with good graphics finding their way to the market.

Horrible video games with great graphics can cause a lot of controversy, which isn't new to the community. There's little worse than saving up for a new game that looks amazing, only to find out five hours later that it plays terribly.

Photo: Mass Effect: Andromeda / EA

  • 1
    474 votes
    Photo: MadMind Studios

    Released on May 29, 2018, Agony enjoyed a truly gruesome and unique look that unfortunately didn't translate to the gameplay. A poor story, atrocious voice acting, an inconsistent save system, and truly grinding gameplay suck nearly all the enjoyment from the game. IGN's review of Agony says it best: 

    For every moment of jaw-droppingly detailed environments overflowing with gore and blood, there are moments of acute frustration due to poor level design, repetitive gameplay, and downright aggravating mechanics. It was almost as if Agony was trying so hard to be a “video game” that it lost sight of what made its trailers so grotesquely appealing to horror-loving gamers around the world.

  • Racing games have a long history of gorgeous graphics, and Need for Speed: The Run lives up to that legacy. Racing games are also usually fun, which is where Need for Speed: The Run falls short. The tracks and gameplay were railed by critics for being overly linear, and a progression system that keeps players from online play did little more to endear them. Considering how racing games are usually best enjoyed with people to race with, that's a pretty big oversight. But hey, at least the cars are pretty.

  • 3
    738 votes

    On release, The Order: 1886 was lauded as a beautiful, atmospheric game. That didn't stop it from being critiqued for being boring to play. IGN suggested it was pressure to create a game that felt mainstream that harmed the beautiful narrative of The Order: 1886. 

    It's nearly a requirement to fit RPG or FPS mechanics into major titles, which is a shame. Walking simulators, like Tacoma and Firewatch, have found success in the indie market, and it's hard not to wonder why AAA studios are so hesitant to embrace the genre.

  • 4
    1,141 votes

    No Man's Sky may go down as one of the most divisive games in history. Its very existence was so offensive to certain players that they began bombing its Metacritic score in an attempt to destroy its marketability. That's unfortunate, because it's actually a really pretty game, when the player is lucky enough to find a pre-modeled world.

    The game famously relies on procedural generation to create its environments and creatures. The issue is when design aspects are literally cobbled together randomly, there are bound to be some duds. In No Man's Sky's case, there are a lot of duds.

  • 5
    274 votes

    The Deer God is an indie title boasting some amazing pixel art. Critics described it as moody and complex, but ultimately lacked the polish needed to be a fun experience. The gameplay, which revolves around a good/evil morality slider, confused players by arbitrarily placing value judgments on killing and eating certain animals. The platforming mechanics in the game are also pretty punishing. It's not uncommon for players to watch their character starve to death in a pit for lacking pinpoint precision on their jumps.

  • El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is a game that, for better or for worse, tried something different. Its striking, highly stylized graphics are absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, the gameplay doesn't follow suit. A stylish brawler akin to Bayonetta and Devil May CryEl Shaddai lacks the mechanical complexity of the more successful titles in the genre. Critics called it a boring button-masher. No matter how pretty a game looks, it still has to be fun to play.