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Daily Debate: What Video Game Has the Best Quality Animation?

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Normally when we are talking about animation over here at Rotoscopers, we’re strictly talking about animation found in movies an TV shows. However, animation is all around us, including in commercials, apps, and especially video games.

Animation in videogames has come a long way over the years. Some videogames’ cut scenes even rival that found in theatrically released movies. Some videogames have fantastic animation throughout the entire game, not just the cut scenes. There’s also lots of different types of animation, including 2D (such as Dragon’s Lair) and CGI (Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, The Legend of Zelda).

So with that being said…

What video game has the best quality animation?

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About Morgan Stradling

Morgan is a native of Arizona and desert rat who loves the heat--she doesn’t even turn on the AC in her car in the middle of the summer! She loves big eyeliner, SURVIVOR, Lady Gaga, and, of course, animated films. She just graduated with her MBA in Marketing from ASU and now works as a Project Manager for a tech company. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
  • Matt W

    My vote would be for 2D anyway, Skullgirls. The physicality and complexity that they are able to communicate in such a short amount of frames feels amazing. The fast paced and dynamic actions are so beautifully hand-drawn that it makes it really stand out. I’m a sucker for crazy smear frames as well. A close 2nd would probably be Rayman Origins/Rayman Legends with the 2D animation.

  • Dante Panora

    Well, there is the two Broken Sword point and click adventure games from back in the 90s. They had some absolutely beautiful backgrounds and could display movie-quality animation in the cutscenes. I wish we had more adventure games like those, even if they were really expensive.

    In terms of CGI, those Sonic The Hedgehog video games usually have very high quality intros. They are probably the best thing about some of the more recent sonic games.

  • Solina Castro

    Anything final fantasy related gets my vote. Just look at how beautiful final fantasy 15 looks! And even final fantasy 10 looks amazing and that came out more than 15 years ago!

  • Trine 2 is an amazing looking game. I played some time ago on my Wii U. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8c857a259c8451942e471f348d2a0a3e1e49fe5f7e2d162f3d81dd8015746603.jpg

  • Fadi Antwan

    I think Uncharted 4 is the best looking game I’ve ever played. Not to mention that it’s PRETTY darn good.

    • Dean

      Modern realistic games use motion capture and simulation, rather than the blood and sweat of real animators.

  • aquapyro

    Can think of 5 games that have the best quality animation.

    Street Fighter 3 Third Strike
    Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
    Final Fantasy 15
    Kingdom Hearts 2.8 (3 will soon beat that when it releases)
    Injustice 2.

  • Phoenix Wright

    There are so many games out there that are just absolutely gorgeous, but I’m going to choose a game that is coming out soon. I feel like I might have talked about this game before around here, but it just looked absolutely amazing. It’s called Cuphead and its done entirely in the style of 1930’s cartoons. All the animations are hand drawn and I am super excited for it. I think everyone here should watch the trailer, because I know you guys would all adore the art
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TjUPXAn2Rg

  • Jeremiah

    Even though games isn’t my subject, at ALL, I was going to take a stand for my guys Zelda and Link. But the header did it for me as Morgan seems to be showing her Link fangirl.

  • Jesse

    The Professor Layton games have beautiful cutscenes. And the movie is stunning too.

  • I don’t play much video games. But of the ones I have, all of the Mario
    Kart games looked advanced (like the graphics) for their time periods.

  • Kamal Walker

    I say the Sega Genesis version of Aladdin has the best animation because it was animated by some of the animation team that worked on the movie. It was also the first game to bring traditional hand-drawn animation in video games. I would LOVE to see these types of games again.

    • Yes. I was always a nintendo boy, but Sega MegaDrive(as it was called in Au) Aladdin had some damn smooth animation that made me jealous..

  • Sebastian

    I was amazed by Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep 0.2. The graphics, animation was very smooth and the detail, the detail was gorgeous. It looked stunning in the unreal engine 4. I can think of another game which is coming out next week, called Rime. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/369dd3aceb836ec3a191911ed318565a7dc5b585cf3b573610bf6374d94a4e3a.jpg It looks like it got clashed with the hand drawn animation from TLM to Moana’s believable looking CGI. Just gorgeous and stunning

  • JMB

    It’s very difficult to answer, as there’s always so many titles trying to push the boundaries set by works that came out just the year before, so whatever reigns absolute ruler of best graphics and animations from a more technical standpoint is often short-lived. Then there’s also taking into account both character animation and motion capture animation, and there’s always a mixture of both nowadays.

    I think the two most recent juggernauts that excel in this area would be Uncharted 4 and Final Fantasy XV. Both have painstaking attention put into the characters’ animations, and it’s all aided further by both having top of the line graphics. This one’s a few years old now, but I loved the facial mo-cap work for L.A Noire.

  • I like the choice of Breath of the Wild as the header, because that game has some terrifically varied animations. Check out all the different ways Link can do something as simple as mounting a horse, for instance. The game’s visuals (and animations in particular) are among Nintendo’s best.

    To add a 2D suggestion (and another Switch one!), Wonder Boy and the Dragon’s Trap is a beautiful looking game. The character design feels plucked out of a comic strip and the many frames of animation actually help improve the control flaws of the original game.

  • Alex Beezley

    It has been several years since I played this, but from what I can remember, Rayman Origins has very impressive animation throughout the game.

  • Being a huge fan, I’d have to say Ratchet and Clank has some of my favorite video game characters/animation. The games (especially the ones on the new consoles) look absolutely amazing! The environments are colorful and detailed, and the characters are always fun and appealing.

  • When I play games I constantly cringe at the quality of animation. I’ve been playing through the new Zelda and although I’m amazed at the scenery and creativity, there aren’t many times when I’ve been super impressed by the animation. I know there’s a limit to how much animation they can put in these things, but I think they could have done more when he meets main characters at least.
    And when will games give up on the sweeping cameras in their cut scenes? It’s like I’m watching a try hard Michael Bay film. ugh..