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The Daily Grind: When have graphics surprised you?

Eliot Lefebvre

Graphics aren't the only part of games that matter -- witness World of Warcraft's continued market presence with a five-year-old highly stylized engine -- but they're certainly a major draw for some. And as has been said before, these days it's hard to find a game for current consoles or the PC that isn't graphically stunning. We're a long way from the large polygons that made up EverQuest models back in the genre's infancy.

But polygons aren't everything. Sometimes there are visual treats, little flairs of animation, just the right amount of detail and lighting. Sometimes a game that you weren't expecting to impress you with graphics manages to do so -- even if you're generally not someone who focuses on graphics. Whether you're running around in Age of Conan or Final Fantasy XI, there are vistas and pictures that impress above and beyond technological constraints.

So, when have graphics struck you and made you take notice of something? Was it a game that looked astonishingly well-rendered for its time, or one that was fairly basic even when it got released? Were they stylized in a way you found appealing or just surprisingly realistic?

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