Consoles have their advantages (mainly exclusives), but if you want the absolute best looking games and the smoothest performance, then PC gaming is the way to go. Now, many people will argue that the visuals of a game don’t really matter as long as the gameplay and the story are up to the mark. I implore all those folks to check recent surveys and statistics that break down the modern gamer’s preferences.

As per the latest survey by the Entertainment Software Association, gamers are most likely to splurge for a game that looks photo-realisitc than a title with a better setting or plot. Here’s the chart. As for the genres, shooters reign supreme (no surprise there).

10 Best looking PC GamesBut I digress, I’m not here to judge others’ tastes or preferences. Getting back to the topic at hand, in this post I’ll list the best looking PC games and which graphics cards you need to run them at every resolution with the highest (or highest possible) settings and get the buttery smooth 60 FPS experience. Usually the GPU is the limiting factor and as long as you have a quad-core, Intel i5 (4th Gen and up) or the equivalent AMD processor, you shouldn’t have any major CPU bottlenecks.

Since SLI is now redundant due to lack of support from developers and negligence on NVIDIA’s part, we won’t be recommending it. Without further ado, let’s get started:

Project Cars 2

10 Best looking PC Games

Requirements

Preset: Ultra

1080p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970/1060.

1440p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980/1070.

4K: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980Ti/1080.

Project Cars released in 2017 alongside Forza Motorsport 7, but the former looks better than the latter thanks to well implemented reflections and in part to NVIDIA’s fancy Gameworks effects. It might not be the best game, gameplay wise but when it comes to looks, its possibly the best racing sim. The cherry on the cake is the VR compatibility of the game. So if you want the most immersive racing experience, this is the game.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

10 Best looking PC Games

Requirements

Preset: Ultra

1080p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060.

1440p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070.

4K: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

The latest game in the long running Deus Ex franchise is a visual masterpiece, with some interesting mechanics and a decent story but thanks to Square Enix, a lot of content was cut from the final version of the game. Regardless, the game looks absolutely stunning despite the fact that its a bit old now. Soft shadows, crisp, detailed textures, well designed models and simulated hair, its got all of them and then people complain about optimization. It was just too demanding on the older GeForce 900 series cards.

Mass Effect Andromeda

10 Best looking PC Games

Requirements

Preset: Ultra with HBAO

1080p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060.

1440p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070.

4K: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

Whatever you say about BioWare’s much ridiculed sequel to the Mass Effect trilogy, in the end it does look pretty. The terrain, the characters (at least when they’re not talking), the special effects and even Ryder’s stubble looks breathtaking. This is mainly thanks to EA’s advanced Frostbyte engine which is now maintained by a dedicated team over at DICE and has been adopted by the majority of EA’s minions (I mean studios).

Far Cry 5

10 Best looking PC Games

Requirements

Preset: Ultra

1080p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970/1060.

1440p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980Ti/1070.

4K: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti.

Ubisoft’s depiction of Montana in the form of the fictional Hope County is many things. Somewhat controversial, insanely fun, a bit repetitive at times, but it sure as hell is beautiful. The French developer’s games often push the limits of visual-realism especially on the PC, and Far Cry 5 is no exception. Unlike Kyrat (Far Cry 4) or the islands of Far Cry 3, there’s a lot of diversity here when it comes to the landscape and there are always enough opportunities to take some gorgeous shots.

Assassins’ Creed Origins

10 Best looking PC Games

Requirements

Preset: Ultra with low SSAO

1080p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060.

1440p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070.

4K: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

Another title from the developers over at Ubisoft Montreal, Assassin’s Creed Origins sees a return to the immensely popular franchise that pretty much made Ubisoft the big publisher it is today. The extra time was used to polish the game and make some much needed changes to the stale formula.

The result was an Assassins’ Creed set in ancient Egypt which is now hailed as one of the best games in the series. The developer ditched NVIDIA’s proprietary tech, but the in house ambient occlusion and anti-aliasing techniques gets the job done without any significant penalties on performance. The notable upgrades over Syndicate include the water textures, post-processing as well as overall terrain and character detail.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

10 Best looking PC Games

Requirements

Preset: Ultra w/o Godrays

1080p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060.

1440p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070.

4K: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

Hellblade was developed by a small indie team, but the game looks as good (if not better) than many AAA titles on this list. Featuring facial capture tech and a whole bunch of other visual effects like godrays, courtesy of the Unreal Engine, Hellblade: Senua’s sacrifice is a must-try for every gamer, regardless of preferences. The game has a truly satisfying combat and a well written plot to back it up, while the visual fidelity is also nothing short of impressive.

Kingdom Come Deliverance

10 Best looking PC Games

Requirements

Preset: Ultra high w/ shadows, shaders and pp at low.

1080p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060.

1440p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070.

4K: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

Warshorse Studio’s very first game, Kingdom Come has it’s flaws but ultimately manages to stand out on it’s own. The core strength of Kingdom Come Deliverance is it’s combat, but the game also has a respectable story. The graphics are too quite picturesque and the character models are the one of the best in any game. In fact, the game is so demanding that none of the current-gen GPUs can max out the graphics setting at 4K and attain 60 FPS. If you set the game to ultra, a pop-up informs you that those settings are suited for future hardware. Perhaps it’s a bit unoptimized, but for the most part its just the polygon count and the level of detail that are too high.

Arma 3

10 Best looking PC Games

Requirements

Preset: Ultra

1080p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970/1060.

1440p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980/1070.

4K: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980Ti/1080.

Arma 3 is PC only which means the developers didn’t have to scale down the graphics to make it run on the technically handicapped consoles. This makes Arma 3 one of the best games to stress test your GPU as well as CPU. The game utilizes pretty much all your CPU cores and supports draw distances upto 25 kilometers. It may be four years old, but the visual fidelity and the physics are way ahead of it’s time and even the most powerful systems can’t run the game at 60 FPS with all the settings maxed out.

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition

10 Best looking PC Games

Requirements

Preset: Ultra w/o GWs

1080p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060.

1440p: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070.

4K: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

Final Fantasy XV looks sweet on consoles, but on the PC it’s on another level. It looks absolutely godlike. With a good deal of tessellation, 60GB worth of HD textures, NVIDIA Gameworks effects and a slew of other technical do-dads, it not only tops the list of best looking PC games, but is also reasonably optimized and you don’t need a super-computer to get to that magical 60 FPS mark.

Further reading:

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