Humans can’t live very long without water.
Video games can’t live very long without water either.
Today, a video game can’t really be considered great until it has good water effects. It’s sad, but true.
Unfortunately for developers, water is also one of the most difficult things to get right. Water looks totally different depending on where it is.
The graphic effects on a glass of water, for example, look totally different than the graphic effects on a waterfall or lake.
Do you want to spend your day looking at pretty water? Here are the top 5 best water effects from the world of PC gaming:
Skyrim’s water effects are good, but they’re not the best we’ve ever seen.
First, Skyrim is showing its age. It was released nearly 3 years ago. At the time, the bubbling, cascading water looked magnificent – especially when you caught a fish leaping between the rocks.
Over time, however, Skyrim’s water effects haven’t looked quite as amazing – unless you install mods.
Modded or unmodded, Skyrim had the best water effects we’d ever seen in a video game at the time. From the mountain streams to waterfalls to rivers, Skyrim’s water effects made us actually feel like we were walking around the Nord land of Skyrim.
For a great comparison of vanilla Skyrim water with popular Skyrim water mods, check out the video below:
4) Total War: Rome 2
I put “Rome 2” on this list only because it was the latest entry in the Total War series.
Every Total War game since Empire: Total War has had amazing water effects (Empire was the first game which featured naval battles).
Whether you’re fighting a naval battle or you’re on the grand strategy map, Rome 2’s water effects look magnificent. Boats sway back and forth in the breeze and create small ripples on the ocean. Ships fire missiles at one another and particles sprinkle into the ocean anywhere they land.
All the other games on this list are first-person shooters or RPGs. Rome 2 is the only strategy game on this list –and it thoroughly deserves to be here.
3) Just Cause 2
Just Cause 2 is another game that looks remarkably well for being relatively old. While the game’s land-based textures are showing their age, the water textures look as amazing as they did back in 2010.
In Just Cause 2, players could interact with water in so many different ways. You could fly planes above water, drive boats through water, or swim underwater.
No matter how you interacted with water, it looked really good. The water effects in Just Cause 2 – along with the ridiculous gameplay – truly made the game come to life.
Bioshock is a relatively old game. Its water effects look slightly dated when played in 2014 – but they also look amazingly good for a game released way back in 2007.
Bioshock took place under, around, and inside water. Water played a huge role in the game – you played the game in an underwater city, after all. As a result, the developers clearly spent a lot of time making the water look its best.
The result was something amazing. Whether water was flowing through a crack in Rapture’s walls or you were swimming through a submerged area, Bioshock’s water was extremely memorable.
1) Far Cry 3
The Far Cry games have always paid close attention to water (although there wasn’t nearly enough water in the Africa-based Far Cry 2).
Far Cry 3, which took place on a small archipelago of tropical islands, had plenty of water. There were island lakes and streams along with oceans and amazingly deep underwater caverns.
If you like good-looking water in your games, then I don’t think it gets any better than Far Cry 3. Just watch out for the sharks when you jump into the water – they’ll eat you.