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Top 5 great games with bad graphics

Top 5 great games with bad graphics

In honour of all the stick Twisted Metal’s visuals have been getting after the game’s first PS3 reveal, here’s a rundown of the best PlayStation games to have fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Just to be clear, games that do simplistic graphical styles, but do them well (e.g. 2D Street Fighter titles) haven’t been included. These are all games that could and should have looked better, even at the time of their release…


Silent Hill
PlayStation (1998)

Oh dear God, someone put a bag over its head. Silent Hill is the greyest, dullest, gloomiest looking game ever made, but it gets away with it all by making it look deliberate. It’s not terrible draw distance, it’s fog. It’s not pop-up, it’s a cross-dimensional split. It’s not fuzzy textures and a low polygon count, it’s distorted reality. So ugly, it’s scary.


Grand Theft Auto
PlayStation (1997)

Look at the state of that! No one minded so much about the 2D graphics and top-down view, but why did it have to be so horribly pixelated? Why is the camera so jerky when it zooms in and out? It’s bizarre to think that this technically inept mess came from the same studio that has since brought us four 3D GTA games that have stretched the boundaries of what’s possible on their respective hardware. But it was still fun, and still established a brand that was to become one of the most successful and influential in all gaming history.


Twisted Metal: World Tour (a.k.a. Twisted Metal 2)
PlayStation (1997)

This was the first game I ever got for my PlayStation, and I remember when I first started playing it, my housemate sqeezed himself behind the TV and started fiddling with various cables, convinced it was supposed to look better. I kept telling him it was an ugly game until he finally accepted – but he still couldn’t bring himself to look at it. I didn’t care, Twisted Metal: World Tour still stands as one of the most fun games I’ve ever played – like it was so ugly it was grateful I would play it, so it put in extra effort.


Disgaea: Hour Of Darkness
PlayStation 2 (2004)

Turn-based strategy games aren’t known for their graphics but even by these low standards, Disgaea is a right munter. You can’t even argue that it doesn’t matter. Being the incredibly complicated game it is, it’s important to be able to see what’s going on, and the screen can become a confusing jumble of fuzzy pixels and jagged, flashing squares at time. It’s still utterly, utterly brilliant though, of course.


Bishi Bashi Special
PlayStation (2000)

It’s the best party game of all time, but is also unbelievably minging to look at. Most of the animations have, like, three frames and the way digitised graphics are used in some of the mini-games makes Pit Fighter look good. Honestly, if you’d bought this for your brand new Mega Drive (Genesis) a decade earlier, you’d have been thinking, “I thought it could do better than this…” But you wouldn’t care once you invited some mates around for a few rounds of Uncle Launcher and Perm Mania and realised you were having more fun than you ever thought possible.

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  • bitcrusherrrr

    The difference here though is that they look awful because of hardware limitations and most are psone games. Twisted metal ps3 just looked *pancake*, no excuses.
    **edited for poor language choices**

  • Chris

    Rubbish. Utter, utter, utter rubbish!

    The game’s have weak graphics by todays standards, but back in the day no one was moaning about any of them

    Silent Hills graphics are gloomy by design
    GTA was top down, because straight up 3D viewpoints in a game of that size weren’t possible
    TM:WT was just fine
    Disgaea was turnbased and as such the graphics were ‘functional’ at worst
    and Bishi Bashi Special’s graphics were cultural fit for the game

    Twisted Metal Ps3 is pre-pre-pre-alpha their only mistake was not to label the trailer as such

    One of the worst things I’ve ever read

  • Gavin Mackenzie

    One of the worst things you haven’t bothered to read, more like.

    You certainly didn’t read this bit:

    “No one minded so much about the 2D graphics and top-down view, but why did it have to be so horribly pixelated? Why is the camera so jerky when it zooms in and out?”

    Back in the day, ALL of these games WERE cricitised for having poor visuals. It is NOT just hardware limitations making them look bad.

    The point of this article is to illustrate that Twisted Metal’s visuals might not matter that much anyway.

  • R2D3

    I miss the original Carmageddon, if they could make a remake of that game with today’s graphics and physics…. That would ROCK!

  • NormanD

    If there’s one thing in the list that I could agree but also disagree about it’s GTA, their games have always looked bad, R* has always been the ultimate gameplay over graphics company. Even GTA IV and RDR could look way better but it doesn’t matter because they’re amazing games to play.

  • MRequine

    Alot of the games over 20yrs ago had far better game ply because the GFX sucked, but games like chaos Engine gr8 GFx for it time but the gm ply ws vry gd.

  • Scott

    Horrible list man. You can’t just randomly pick games from different genres, they each have different limitations and standards. Sure, they all look like crap today, but at the time not all were horrible.

  • hazy

    The only one here I would ‘disagree’ with is Disgaea.
    I love how those games look.

  • Gavin Mackenzie (2)

    Sorry that I wrote this.