Graphics are the icing on the cake of a solid RPG. Yes, some of us are vain and not only want a great story and wonderful gameplay, but we want it to look beautiful as well. If we're going to invest tons of hours into an RPG, it has to look worth it, no?
Our pick for the graphical masterpiece of 2009 is Demon's Souls. Some might wonder how this dark and brooding game could win an award for outstanding graphics. The simple answer is that this game is the definition of atmospheric.
From Software his nailed the visuals on this PlayStation 3 exclusive. Character creation is the start. Players can design their mage to look like a lovely vixen or can make an ugly horse-faced warrior. The game's unique areas are extremely detailed, and help to permeate an aura of fear throughout the gaming experience. In Demon's Souls, nothing stands out as more impressive graphically than the bosses. From the gigantic flying manta Storm King to huge lumbering Tower Knight, the bosses are the grand and help elevate Demon's Souls above the rest of the pack.
Muramasa: The Demon Blade looks like a watercolor painting come to life with every little detail in the background as vivid as can be. In every single area, the scenery is amazing. The beach stages with crashing waves are so beautiful it will have some gamers stopping just to admire them. The rain-soaked areas are dark and dreary, helping to drum up the perfect atmosphere for the locale. Flowing waterfalls and sunsets are gorgeous, and the entire visual package is enough to impress gamers who normally don't even care about graphics.
We love Little King's Story. It feels like a fairy tale, and the graphics are some of the most polished we've seen for a Wii title. Vibrant and rich with colour, this is one of those games that, with its cartoonish look, has so much charm and personality in the visuals that it enhances the overall gameplay experience. This is one game that will make you feel warm and cozy simply by looking at it... until you start crushing other nations that is.
by Sam Marchello, Michael Cunningham