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Reader Results > Staff Results

Graphics are an integral part of any video game, and they are one of the first things a discriminating RPGamer will use to discern between the games they'd like to play versus the ones they may not. For many it may be the only reason to begin a game before knowing much else. It is one of the key items that set video games apart from other forms of storytelling. So, when readers vote for a game as best graphics, it is one that will often stand out in other forms; even so, the visual impact must be there. So the readers choice for best graphics is one they've chosen for many other categories: Star Ocean: Till the End of Time.

Best Graphics 2004 Winner
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time

Because the game spent so long in development and localization, it was a primary concern that the latest incarnation of the Star Ocean series would be able to compete with the other PS2 games that had been localized at a faster rate. Released in Japan in early 2003, it took more than a year and a half for the title to cross the pond to the anxiously awaiting audience in North America. Their wait seemed to be worth it, as Till the End of Time awed many people with how well its graphics stood firm against the other games available on the PS2. As such, the readers gave their approval to a game that stands the test of time, placing their hope and patience in a title that nets first in the reader's voting.

Second Place - Tales of Symphonia

In the past it would be unusual for a GameCube game to receive a nod in the graphics department. Last year, Wind Waker placed for the readers, mostly due to its original and outrageous look. This year stealing away the second place vote is another game that has already won multiple awards and is a GameCube title to boot. Tales of Symphonia is a game that stuck out in many reader's minds as one of the nicer looking games available this year. Using vivid coloring and an artistic anime style, it was important, that with the characters constantly moving in battle, the graphics be top notch. Tales of Symphonia carries the Tales game tradition of being able to please fans in all sorts of fashions. In this instance, it pleased many to see how nice it looked.

Third Place - Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings

Bringing up the rear and acting as another surprise this year, was a second GameCube title that the readers enjoyed the graphics of so much they voted it into the top 3. Proving that the GameCube is a viable system for superior games, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, with its card-based battle system, had a lot of artwork that needed to be both informative as well as novel and pleasing to look at. Each item, spell, and other effect in battle has various animations that set them apart from each other, showing that Namco was paying attention to the little details. And it managed to do it well enough for the readers to sit up and take notice, when it came down to choosing the top three titles for graphics.

by Anna Marie Whitehead

Honorable Mention - World of Warcraft

Honorable Mention - Shadow Hearts: Covenant

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