Games of the Year

RPGFan Games of the Year 2023: Best Visuals

GOTY 2023 Best Visuals Final Fantasy XVI

Winner: Final Fantasy XVI

The Final Fantasy series is known for having the most gorgeous, bombastic, and high-budget visuals in the industry. From Final Fantasy VII‘s bombing mission intro, FFVIII‘s blend of CGI and real-time rendering for dramatic setpiece moments to FFX‘s stunning art direction and use of color, FFXIII‘s eye-popping graphical prowess, and Final Fantasy XV‘s realistic-yet-still-fantastical world, the series has long been a showcase for artistic prowess and technical visual design.

Final Fantasy XVI combines nearly all these elements and creates one of the most stunning-looking games in history. While the world is vibrant and painstakingly detailed, the Eikon battles are where the game truly shows off its use of scale, color, depth, and direction. Every flash of blazing fire and bolt of purple lightning illuminate gorgeous lands and life-like characters while creating unforgettable visual spectacles that will likely only be surpassed by the eventual Final Fantasy XVII.

by Des Miller

Runner-Up: Octopath Traveler II

The first Octopath Traveler introduced the HD-2D visual style, and like most of that game’s elements, Octopath Traveler II improved upon it. Very few games genuinely blow me away visually, but Octopath Traveler II is one of those rare cases. Crediting this series with capturing a similar feel to 16-bit classics has been so overstated that it has reached near-meme status. Yet it’s true, and a big part of that is due to the visuals. This style is becoming more common in classically inspired RPGs and remakes from Square Enix, like LIVE A LIVE and the upcoming Dragon Quest III HD-2D remake. Octopath Traveler II is the best example yet of HD-2D’s beauty.

by Jimmy Turner

Readers’ Choice: Best Visuals of 2023

Winner: Final Fantasy XVI (34% of votes)

Runner-Up: Baldur’s Gate III (15.8% of votes)

Des Miller

Des Miller

Des is a reviews editor, writer, and resident horror fan. He has a fondness for overlooked, emotionally impactful, and mechanically complex games - hence his love for tri-Ace and Gust. When he's not spending hours crafting in Atelier or preaching about Valkyrie Profile, he can usually be found playing scary games in the dark. With headphones. As they should be played.