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RPGDot 2002 Awards
Best Graphics in an RPG

The RPGDot Team, 2002-01-06

In the last weeks of December 2002, you had the opportunity to vote for the best RPGs released in 2002. Nobody knows better what these are then you the player and as such The RPGDot 2002 Awards will look good on any game receiving one.
We thank all those who entered their votes and helped us in making it possible to select the best games.

Best Graphics in an RPG

Graphics, the eye candy of a game. It's a topic of many debates. There are those who don't give a game with mediocre graphics a second look, even if the quality of gameplay is great. And then there are those who can see beyond that. But without a doubt, great looking graphics add much to a game and can make a great game even better. There have been several new releases in 2002 that showed a high quality of gameplay and graphics and from these games you, our visitors, have made their choice and you made it very clear which game was the best.

The winner: Elder Scrolls 3 - Morrowind
Bethesda took the NetImmerse engine and tweaked it to the max, regarding visuals. Never before we have seen such a realistic 3D enivronment in an RPG. The views are breathtaking, that weather effects are stunning (take a thunderstorm or the ash storms for example), the water is a class of ist own.

While the game is very demanding on the hardware (even the most powerful PC's can't play the game with constant framerates above 25fps), the results are a big leap forward for the genre.


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Runner Up: Neverwinter Nights
Neverwinter Nights has the best graphics in a D&D game to date. Some of the lighting and shadow effects are the best I've seen anywhere (I'm particularly fond of the reflective effects on the armor). The creature models looked and acted as you would expect them too if you've read the creature descriptions in the tabletop game.

Sure, it was no Morrowind... but then, I'm glad it wasn't. My computer crawled at times in Morrowind with what they had... I don't want to know how bad it would have gone with a dozen enemies and players on the screen all at the same time casting massive spells or engaged in fierce combat. Neverwinter Night's graphics were where they had to be to balance game play with eye candy.

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Second Runner Up: Dungeon Siege
When Dungeon Siege was released back in early April last year, it was the first RPG ever to demonstrate that you do not necessarily need a 2D isometric engine in a party-based RPG. The ‘Siege' engine allowed gamers to easily control their party of up to eight characters in fully 3D thanks to the 360 degree camera with additional zoom in & out capabilities.

Dungeon Siege also proved that "3D" and "detail" are not contradictory terms. The overall graphics quality was simply amazing and gamers were immersed into a rich, beautiful looking game world with awesome lighting and weather effects, breathtaking character animations and fantastic environments.

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The Numbers
To make it complete we now give you the top 10 as voted by our visitors:

Elder Scrolls 3 - Morrowind
Neverwinter Nights
Dungeon Siege
Asheron's Call 2 - The Fallen Kings
Arx fatalis
Divine Divinity
Final Fantasy 11
Icewind Dale 2
Baldur's Gate - Dark Alliance
Dark Age of Camelot - Shroudes Isles

And 4,5% of those who participated were unable to select one of the games.

We, the RPGDot team also voted to create our own top 5:

Elder Scrolls 3 - Morrowind
Arx fatalis
Dungeon Siege
4. Neverwinter Nights 10,0%
5. Final Fantasy 11 2,7%

Again we rank Arx Fatalis much higher. But we are also more divided. The differences in the top 3 are not so big as you feel they are, but we still feel Morrowind is a clear winner.

Note that percentages are rounded to the nearest number.

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