Was Horizon Zero Dawn ever bested on a visual level?

chris 1515

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,403
Barcelona Spain
Every view in Horizon is a piece of art:












I think many misunderstood the procedual placement thing in Horizon. Procedual placement is used to create the maps, which happens in all modern open world games. Rocks, trees, bushes, grass patches etc. are not all placed singularly by hand. After using procedual placement every map is still edited and polished by hand though. Every location in the game is unique, has some interesting landmark and an artist's touch. Some even misunderstood the procedual placement thing to mean the game is procedually generating the world in real-time as one plays the game. Meaning that every player would have a different world. That is not true at all. The world is the same for every player down to every rock or bush on the wayside.
But I think in RDR 2, there is more work done by hand. I never told it is a technical problem. It is just a game with a bigger budget and 3300 peoples in the credit.

After the crazy thing is many tools and systems were created for HZD because they were doing FPS. I am impressed by what they have done for the first open world. I can't even imagine what they will do with a streaming beast like the PS5 with SSD storage, more RAM and a much more powerful CPU and a more powerful GPU and more experience and budget. HZD is a successful franchise and GG will have a bigger budget because of this.
 

Diablos

has a title.
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Oct 25, 2017
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I feel like the kneejerk thing to say is RDR2 is the only thing that bests HZD visually, but I don't think that's accurate. Sure, RDR2 looks more photo realistic but HZD in my opinion enjoys more artistic freedom, imagination, lighting and an overall very vibrant, lush presentation. They both stand out on their own... but I don't think it's proper to make direct comparisons because they are each striving for a different overall look and feel.

Despite your preference, HZD holds its own just as well imo.
 

chris 1515

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Oct 27, 2017
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Barcelona Spain
Name one RPG this gen with dialogue screens that look better. Of course the lip syncing and facial animations during those scenes wouldnt be as good as Uncharted 4 and GoW. They dont have rando dialogue trees with NPCs. Compared to Fallout, Mass Effect and other RPGs with dialogue trees, Horizon is in a league of its own.

The more choreographed cimematic cutscenes might not have facial animation as good RDR2 or Uncharted 4, but they are up there among the best of them.














The problem of HZD is not the quality of cutscene during the main story or cutscene. This the dialog in some secondary quest. The only problem for all dialog was the bad camera work in all dialog or cutscene and no body movement at all.

This was improved in the Frozen Wild,(camera work and body movement) very funny for Frozen Wild they said during the Q/A of the vegetation GDC presentation, they use photogrammetry. I suppose some of the improvements made for Death Stranding will be in HZD but keeping the unique art design of the game using post process.
 

Tyaren

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Oct 25, 2017
7,419
Snowy areas of the base game (the Frozen Wilds even improved overall detail, snow and ice rendering):







 

J2 Cool

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Oct 26, 2017
1,162
Idunno. RDR2 still looks like a videogame to me, though a good looking one. Still some weird facial animation and acting in Rockstar games. Where as The Order 1886 does unusual things, geometry and renders, that still don't feel like a videogame at all
 

BAD

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Oct 25, 2017
6,572
USA
Idunno. RDR2 still looks like a videogame to me, though a good looking one. Still some weird facial animation and acting in Rockstar games. Where as The Order 1886 does unusual things, geometry and renders, that still don't feel like a videogame at all
Yeah people definitely underrate the graphics of The Order. They make weird irrelevant excuses about its freedom. But truth is, you have free motion in hours of linear gameplay, like many other games. It’s incredible and looks beyond anything else in fooling people out of seeing real gameplay.
 

chris 1515

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Oct 27, 2017
4,403
Barcelona Spain
This is probably one of the games with the biggest number of public technical, artistic, game design presentations and articles.


All GDC presentation











SIGGRAPH





Digital dragons


Yeah people definitely underrate the graphics of The Order. They make weird irrelevant excuses about its freedom. But truth is, you have free motion in hours of linear gameplay, like many other games. It’s incredible and looks beyond anything else in fooling people out of seeing real gameplay.
I am probably one of the few people to finish The Order 1886 two times because of the graphics and there is too some limitation. As good as the game looks the linear side of the game help a lot. For example in UC4, the Nathan Drake house at the end looks as good as TO 1886 but you can't reach this quality of assets, lighting all the time if we could use full raytracing/global illumination it would be possible.

And the game is very static out of the enemy and the player and Order NPC, there are not other people with animation when you are forced to walk in the city everything is very static.

Snowy areas of the base game (the Frozen Wilds even improved overall detail, snow and ice rendering):







The game looks very good in nature, village but the streaming limitation is reached in Meridian. I am sure technology and HDD limited GG a lot.

EDIT: I forgot the making off

 
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jett

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Oct 25, 2017
21,608
I feel like the kneejerk thing to say is RDR2 is the only thing that bests HZD visually, but I don't think that's accurate. Sure, RDR2 looks more photo realistic but HZD in my opinion enjoys more artistic freedom, imagination, lighting and an overall very vibrant, lush presentation. They both stand out on their own... but I don't think it's proper to make direct comparisons because they are each striving for a different overall look and feel.

Despite your preference, HZD holds its own just as well imo.
Ehhh



































RDR2 is so much... more than HZD. The world is more massive, more varied, more expansive. These shots are just base PS4 pictures. To me this game was an unbelievable technical and artistic accomplishment.

Personally, until next-gen hits, I always find any comparison between RDR2 and another open world game to be absurd and unfair to the other developer. Everything about Horizon is smaller and lesser, because it simply is a game with a much smaller scope, budget and resources allocated to it.
 

chris 1515

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Oct 27, 2017
4,403
Barcelona Spain
One of the best looking game this gen for sure.
This is the best looking car game. There are only some colorimetry and lighting I prefer on Gran Turismo and Drive Club weather system which uses middleware for the sky Truesky. But as a whole package, Forza Horizon is more impressive knowing it is an open world car game.

 

Tokyo_Funk

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Dec 10, 2018
2,865
Horizon is a beautiful game, but the lighting can't touch Metro Exodus when it is ray traced. Every game just looks flat after seeing Metro.
 

Tyaren

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,419
The world is more massive, more varied, more expansive.
The world of RDR2 is not more varied than HZD, lol.
You have many different biomes on a pretty small space there, different cultures and tribes, a wild mix of prehistoric, postapocalypse, sci-fi and fantasy settings.
 

jett

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Oct 25, 2017
21,608
The world of RDR2 is not more varied than HZD, lol.
You have many different biomes on a pretty small space, different cultures and tribes, pre-historic, sci-fi and fantasy settings.
Large portions of that game look similar and repetitive. For instance this game has that one jungle area near the one big city (I think), but that jungle looks like the same square meter copy pasted ad nauseam.
 

BAD

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Oct 25, 2017
6,572
USA
The world of RDR2 is not more varied than HZD, lol.
You have many different biomes on a pretty small space there, different cultures and tribes, a wild mix of prehistoric, postapocalypse, sci-fi and fantasy settings.
There’s far fewer handmade points of interest and unique decorum in the wild and cities of Horizon compared to RDR2. Much of that is because RDR2 had many more people working on it, but we aren’t comparing employment registry.
 

Fuchsia

Member
Oct 28, 2017
4,305
Battlefront 1/ 2 needs some more love, the games are flat out gorgeous.
Completely agree with this. I still remember how blown away I was when seeing Battlefront 1 (2015) for the first time in motion. Good lord that game looked good. Endor was a showpiece. It's a shame that the blaster bolts don't have the same look in Battlefront 2 (2017) as they did in Battlefront 1 because damn did those things look great.

Battlefront 2 does look insanely good in its own way though. Running through Kamino I'm kind of in shock at how it looks just like I remember it from Attack of The Clones... Except almost better.

For large-scale multiplayer games, they have accomplished visuals that are incredible impressive. I'm glad Battlefront 2 has been improved so much gameplay-wise because it's just so fun to play and exist in that universe now.
 

Edgar

Member
Oct 29, 2017
5,031
The world of RDR2 is not more varied than HZD, lol.
You have many different biomes on a pretty small space there, different cultures and tribes, a wild mix of prehistoric, postapocalypse, sci-fi and fantasy settings.
It is tho, rdr 2 is bigger and has more variety to locations, assets, settlements whatever you wanna call it.
 

Desfrog

Member
Oct 29, 2017
700
This is probably one of the games with the biggest number of public technical, artistic, game design presentations and articles.


All GDC presentation











SIGGRAPH




Thanks for linking all these, will be interesting to look through, especially with the sequel likely being on the horizon.
 

AegonSnake

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,038
The problem of HZD is not the quality of cutscene during the main story or cutscene. This the dialog in some secondary quest. The only problem for all dialog was the bad camera work in all dialog or cutscene and no body movement at all.

This was improved in the Frozen Wild,(camera work and body movement) very funny for Frozen Wild they said during the Q/A of the vegetation GDC presentation, they use photogrammetry. I suppose some of the improvements made for Death Stranding will be in HZD but keeping the unique art design of the game using post process.
they definitely improved it in frozen wilds.

and yeah, Death Stranding has some fantastic enhancements. Lighting is far more realistic and at times on par with RDR2, and it has the single best character model in a game this gen.



 

Chaz

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
3,146
Scotland, UK
Name one RPG this gen with dialogue screens that look better. Of course the lip syncing and facial animations during those scenes wouldnt be as good as Uncharted 4 and GoW. They dont have rando dialogue trees with NPCs. Compared to Fallout, Mass Effect and other RPGs with dialogue trees, Horizon is in a league of its own.

The more choreographed cimematic cutscenes might not have facial animation as good RDR2 or Uncharted 4, but they are up there among the best of them.
I mean I don't disagree. AC:Odyssey is also exceptional in that regard.
But we are supposed to be judging the overall package, so the fact U4/RDR2 doesn't have dialogue trees isn't a negative to the visual presentation of those games. HZD is a phenomenal looking game but overall, the games I mentioned previously are more visually consistent on every facet. Its not a 1:1 comparison
 

jett

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Oct 25, 2017
21,608
To be honest I always thought people were too harsh on Horizon's facial animations. It looks fine for what it is. But I played the game in 2018 so I don't know if they improved them after release.
 

Opa-Opa

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Oct 16, 2018
1,230
People should play more Red Dead Redemption 2.

It’s beautiful in screenshots, sure, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s impossible to be beaten, imo.
 

KKRT

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,142
It’s not that impressive (certainly not a generation ahead visually) compared to the big PS4 exclusives tbh. Star Citizen is impressive because of 1) it’s scale and 2) the fact it was a crowd funded game.
1. Its a moving target, it will be always improving
2. Technology behind it, there are a lot of features in it that are non existing in other games that make a big difference, like for example planet wide shadows or particles animation that scales with framerate, damage model or signed distant field around ship geometry that allow for very precise effects and collisions.


Btw why are people saying PS4 or PS5 exclusives, the most technologically impressive games are multiplatform ones anyway.
 

Tyaren

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,419
this is just a straight up lie

there is more to variation than different bioms or whatever
Calm down. Let's not accuse others of lying when we just have different opinions or recollections of games.

Yes, there is more to just biomes (which Horizon does already have more of though) to game world variation. There's for example also different cultures in Horizon with the 5 different tribes (Nora, Carja, Shadow Carja, Oseram and Banuk) each with their own distinct culture and architecture, or what about changing up the entire genre of the setting? While RDR2 is just set in the wild west, Horizon features prehistoric looking environments, architecture and culture (little settlements of hunters and gatherers, untouched nature), post-apocalyptic settings (destroyed and overgrown American cities), fantasy settings (oriental, domed cities towering high on rocks) or sci-fi settings (desolate high tech laboratories or underground cauldrons teeming with mechanic life).
 
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Dragoon

Member
Oct 31, 2017
6,549
May sound like a hot take or I remember it wrong.. but the Order 1886 despite the game coming out right at the beginning of the generation. I basically felt like I was playing a game in CGI graphics most of the time. A real shame it was a let down in other departments.
 

CaLe

Member
Oct 28, 2017
371
I just finished The Order 1886 and think it might actually be the best looking game I've ever played. The cohesiveness of that world is on another level entirely. Nothing feels out of place, including the magical elements. It's unfair to compare it with open world games that render at higher resolutions, but just in terms of visuals I really think it might be the best looking game I've ever played. Like, to the point of distraction where I'm just in awe of it as I'm playing.


In case anyone needs a reminder of how good the game looked.
 

DigSCCP

Member
Nov 16, 2017
1,770
Uncharted Lost Legacy, God of War and The Order are above Horizon in my opinion.
When it comes to OW RDR2 takes the crown in screenshots, but when it comes to things in movement Horizon is ahead.
 

newmoneytrash

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,222
Melbourne, Australia
Calm down. Let's not accuse others of lying when we just have different opinions or recollections of games.

Yes, there is more to just biomes (which Horizon does already have more of though) to game world variation. There's for example also different cultures in Horizon with the 5 different tribes (Nora, Carja, Shadow Carja, Oseram and Banuk) each with their own distinct culture and architecture, or what about changing up the entire genre of the setting? While RDR2 is just set in the wild west, Horizon features prehistoric looking environments, architecture and culture (little settlements of hunters and gatherers, untouched nature), post-apocalyptic settings (destroyed and overgrown American cities), fantasy settings (oriental, domed cities towering high on rocks) or sci-fi settings (desolate high tech laboratories or underground cauldrons teeming with mechanic life).
your whole argument is that red dead is a different genre that you think is more boring, i guess?

that still doesn't mean that red dead is inherently less varied. there is a variation in the amount of content and the nature in the world that is subtly changed as you explore and poke around that it feels so much more natural. variation isn't just a checklist you can put on the back of a box, it's how the world exists and how you interact with it. it's much more than just different character models. red dead is significantly more varied than horizon which a lot of the time felt empty and confined
 

leng jai

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Nov 2, 2017
10,961
Uncharted Lost Legacy, God of War and The Order are above Horizon in my opinion.
When it comes to OW RDR2 takes the crown in screenshots, but when it comes to things in movement Horizon is ahead.
RDR 2 definitely looks better in screens, in motion it has a lot of issues with blurring and ghosting.
 

Cmdr Krunch

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Aug 17, 2019
23
Canada
If we're talking just consoles then yeah, like many others mentioned: RDR2 and Death Stranding at least. If we're talking PC too then that's a different story.
 

Damn Silly

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Oct 25, 2017
3,297
I mean, as someone who admittedly has long since stopped really caring about photorealism, my initial thought was Cuphead. Literally playing a cartoon.

But if we have to focus on something shooting for realism, Microsoft Flight Sim seems ridiculous in that regard. And games that others have posted are definitely at least Horizon's equal.
 

Bansai

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,033
You're not convincing anyone with those gifs, no matter how many you put.

Yes, I'm talking to you, you know who you are. ;)

this thread should've ended after the 1st reply ^^
 

Cloud-Strife

Member
Sep 27, 2019
650
Every view in Horizon is a piece of art:












I think many misunderstood the procedual placement thing in Horizon. Procedual placement is used to create the maps, which happens in all modern open world games. Rocks, trees, bushes, grass patches etc. are not all placed singularly by hand. Afterwards every map is still edited and polished by hand though. Every location in the game is unique, has some interesting landmark and an artist's touch. Some even misunderstood the procedual placement thing to mean the game is procedually generating the world in real-time as one plays the game. Meaning that every player would have a different world. That is not true at all. The world is the same for every player down to every rock or bush on the wayside.
This GIF always surprises me with how good it looks. If not for that icon over the fire, one would think it was a prerendered scene.
My respect for RDR2 but the kind of enviroments you can find in Horizon are just incredible also the way the game handles gameplay is the icing of the cake.
 

chris 1515

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,403
Barcelona Spain
You're not convincing anyone with those gifs, no matter how many you put.

Yes, I'm talking to you, you know who you are. ;)

this thread should've ended after the 1st reply ^^
Again hyperbole, every games depending of what the goal is do something better than the other.

But I don't like the op thread title. I think something less hyperbolic would have been better.

The only things RDR2 is better without hesitation than the other open world is production value the world is more handcrafted, more attention to details, animations. After the unified volumetric system is good, lighting is probably the best in an open world and above HZD. Death Stranding is better than HZD in lighting too.

I will not comment more about RDR 2 because I only see video because I don't like post GTA 3 gameplay of Rockstar games and I don't want to buy another of their game after GTA 5 where I hated the shooting and couldn't play more than a few hours of the game.
 

BLUElight

Member
Oct 28, 2017
253
Horizon is an amazing looking game and I could see making a case for it on the basis of art direction or a preference for the more fantastical elements.

But I can't imagine playing both Horizon and RDR2 and thinking that Horizon is a better looking game.

RDR2 takes it for me.
 

Vault

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,905
Horizon looks awful when the characters talk or move.

RDR2 is miles better on every level
 

bane833

Member
Nov 3, 2017
4,129
RDR 2 looks better on X. But the image quality on the PS4 Pro is trash. So RDR 2 (X) > Horizon (Pro) > RDR 2 (Pro).