It’s been a hard year, everyone. And sometimes, the only cure for that is becoming completely immersed in a fictional world.
Whether it’s a book, a TV show, a movie, or a video game, we rely on fiction to distract us from reality and provide a break from the stress of living in the real world.
Everyone has different tastes, and games that some people might find immersive could be different for others.
But the one thing that helps in making a game immersive is realism – if things look like they’re real, or work as they would in real life, it feels easier to slip into the game world and forget your troubles.
So what should you try if you’re looking for realistic games?
We’ve taken the guesswork out for you – here are the top 10 most realistic games that you can play today.
List of Most Realistic Games in 2021
10. Resident Evil 2
Release Date: 2019 (remake) | Developer: Capcom | Supported Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PS4, Xbox One
When rookie cop Leon Kennedy showed up for his first day at the Raccoon City police department, he probably wasn’t expecting to find a huge zombie outbreak, a mutant supersoldier bent on his destruction, or that the police station is filled with elaborate puzzles.
But that’s what he’s facing, with only a college student named Claire Redfield at his side. Leon and Claire must fight their way through the ruins of the city and against grotesque monsters unleashed by the sinister Umbrella Corporation if they have any chance of making it out alive.
This remake of the 1998 blockbuster might not seem all that realistic – a huge zombie outbreak caused by an improbable virus, a host of monstrosities that spit in the face of modern science.
And Leon’s ridiculous boyband haircut might make you think that Capcom wasn’t really thinking about realism when they made this game.
But the game does use a range of mechanics that add a touch of realism to this otherwise fantastical FPS.
The most notable is the inventory system – both Leon and Claire have very limited carrying capacities and can only increase that capacity by finding bags or holsters hidden around the environment.
The ammunition system is similarly limited, making ammo conservation a very real worry for most players.
Many journalists have also noted Claire’s clothing as a refreshing touch of realism – she wears a jacket, jeans, and sturdy boots that make her running, jumping, and climbing abilities within the realm of the possible.
Unfortunately, not all of the female characters in the game receive this same treatment – Ada Wong, the supposed FBI agent that rescues Leon in the parking garage, spends the entire game in an impossibly slinky dress and completely impractical high heeled shoes.
You can get a copy of Resident Evil 2 here.
9. Detroit: Become Human
Release date: 2018 | Developer: Quantic Dream | Supported Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PS4
In a near future, humans live their lives alongside androids, robots who are sold as servants. But there is more to androids than meets the eye, and a revolution is boiling just beneath the surface.
Follow Kara, a domestic servant android, as she escapes her abusive owner alongside his young daughter. Help Marcus, a servant-turned-revolutionary who is hell-bent on releasing other androids from the bonds of servitude.
And investigate with Connor, a prototype android working with a grumpy detective to solve a series of strange crimes involving “deviant” androids.
Detroit: Become Human was critically acclaimed when it was released for a lot of reasons, but the thing that struck a lot of people was the raw emotional truths that Quantic Dream was able to portray through their characters.
Every one of the three protagonists has their own emotional journey to go through, and each is intensely relatable.
The choices that you get to make really matter to the narrative, and it’s easy to get lost in the stories of the characters and feel like you’re really living them.
The other thing about Detroit: Become Human that is intensely realistic is the motion capture for the characters.
There are a few big names involved in this title, such as Jesse Wiliams, who stars as Markus, and Clancy Brown, who stars as Detective Hank Anderson in Connor’s storyline.
The motion-capture technology used to capture the actor’s movements and expressions is top notch, making the game feel even more realistic.
We often find that sub-par animation of characters in video games can make them less immersive, but there’s no fear of that here.
You can get a copy of Detroit: Become Human here.
8. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Release Date: 2017 | Developer: Ninja Theory | Supported Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
When Senua’s lover died, she decided that she would fight to the ends of the earth and the spaces beyond it to rescue him.
Despite her affliction with a curse that plagues her with voices in her head, she fights her way through the dark realm of Helheim, seeking to kill the Norse goddess Hela in order to rescue her love.
This gorgeous dark fantasy title dazzled players when it was released in 2017, and for good reason. The graphics and gameplay are incredible, but the thing that struck people was the masterful handling of Senua’s psychosis.
The developers worked closely with neuroscientists and other mental health professionals, as well as real people who suffer from the condition, to create Senua’s experiences, and the game is regarded as one of the most accurate depictions of the condition ever created.
The emotional, harrowing journey that Senua embarks on will shake even the most aloof players to their core – you can’t miss this game.
You can get a copy of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice here.
7. Far Cry V
Release Date: 2018 | Developer: Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft Toronto | Supported Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PS4, Xbox One
Hope County, Montana is a war zone. Not a military war zone, but a sustained battle between the residents of rural towns inside the county and a ruthless, fanatical cult known as Eden’s Gate.
The cult has been kidnapping and indoctrinating civilians for a while, and there is little that traditional authorities have managed to do. That’s where you come in – you’re a deputy sheriff of Hope County that has become trapped in the war zone.
Along the way, you decide to join the local resistance and help them liberate the county from the cult’s brutal grip.
While the Far Cry games are considered less than the height of realism and known for their mildly outlandish plotlines and mechanics, Far Cry V does bring in a little bit of realism for players and that’s one of the reason for it to be a graphically demanding game.
The area of Hope County is rendered pretty realistically, death cult notwithstanding – the graphics are beautiful, the characters are animated beautifully, and their personalities are raw and real.
The same can be said for Far Cry: New Dawn, the recent spinoff game that takes place in Hope County after the events of Far Cry V.
The general vibe of Far Cry V is that you are helping real people, who are really suffering from the actions of the weird despots that have set up shop in their hometown.
Hey, it’s a video game – not everything can be realistic.
You can get a copy of Far Cry V here.
6. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Release Date: 2015 | Developer: CD Projekt Red | Supported Platforms: Windows, PS4/PS5, Xbox One/Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch
Geralt returns in the third installment to the Witcher game series; this time, he’s searching for Ciri as she runs from the terrifying, monstrous Wild Hunt.
Recurring characters return and old mechanics are improved as Geralt searches for the only family he has left in the world.
Realism in this game comes mostly from the environments – they are beautifully rendered, making the world that Geralt lives in feel interesting and real.
On top of that, the enemies have responsive AI and the environments have dynamic day/night cycles that affect enemies and other combat aspects.
You can get a copy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt here.
5. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Release Date: 2007 | Developer: Infinity Ward | Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii
This Call of Duty takes place in what must have seemed a near-future in 2007 – the year 2011. A radical leader has executed the president of an unnamed Middle Eastern country.
At the same time, a movement towards ultranationalism has ignited a bloody civil war in Russia. You experience these conflicts through the eyes of a US Marine Force Recon sergeant and a British SAS commando. Will you survive combat?
This entry is a little bit older than some of the others on our list, but it’s still a notable entry for realism.
Most of the realism comes from the combat system – the use of different stances to affect stats, the lack of armor or health items, and various other mechanics make combat in Modern Warfare.
The game’s basis in real-life also adds to the realism – you have the opportunity to fight in real locations, against enemies that are based on real military units from various nations.
You can get a copy of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare here.
4. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (2014)
Release Date: 2014 | Developer: The Astronauts | Supported Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Paul Prospero didn’t come to Red Creek Valley, Wisconsin for a case. He came because he got a letter from a 12-year-old fan named Ethan Carter.
When he arrives though, he discovers that Ethan, along with his entire family, has gone missing. As Prospero explores the town and searches for clues, bodies begin piling up, and time may be running out for Ethan Carter…
This atmospheric horror game is lauded as a beautiful exploration of open-world gaming.
The realism comes from the beautifully rendered environments, open-world formatting, and complete lack of HUD or hints that make the player feel like they’re fully on their own in this sleepy little mining town.
You can get a copy of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter here.
3. Metro Exodus
Release Date: 2019 | Developer: 4A Games | Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4/PS5, Xbox One/Xbox Series X, Stadia, Amazon Luna
Fans of the critically acclaimed Metro series will love the latest installment into Artyom’s saga.
After the events of Metro: Last Light, Artyom becomes obsessed with proving that there are human survivors outside of Moscow, and has begun making dangerous trips to the surface to prove it.
It turns out that Artyom has been right all along, and he and his wife Anna must embark on a long journey to safety outside of the world they’ve come to know.
4A has really put a lot of effort into realizing the world that Metro takes place in, and it only gets more elaborate with each game that’s released.
The handmade weapon system makes more narrative sense than a more traditional weapons arsenal, and Exodus has dynamic weather, a day/night cycle, and seasonal environmental changes to make it feel like this world is truly alive, rather than just a static backdrop for the storyline.
You can get a copy of Metro Exodus here.
2. The Last Of Us Part II
Release Date: 2020 | Developer: Naughty Dog | Supported Platforms: PS4
Five years after Ellie and Joel escaped the Fireflies in The Last of Us, things seem to be looking up for everyone’s favourite duo.
They’ve settled down in Jackson, Wyoming, and have made friends and connections with the residents there. But everything changes when a group called the Washington Liberation Front rolls into town.
Their leader, Abby, kills Joel as revenge for him murdering her father. After the tragedy, Ellie embarks on a journey to Seattle to track Abby down and get revenge.
While we are fully aware of the problems that this game presented in its developments and the narrative decisions that upset fans of The Last of Us, we have to admit that this game is very realistically rendered.
The motion capture of the characters is absolutely beautiful, with genuine emotion often coming through on their faces.
The relationships between the characters are raw, poignant, and emotional, making you feel for them in very visceral ways.
Characters retain injuries and scars after encounters, making them feel like they’ve actually been injured, rather than just taking a hit and healing up.
The graphics and environments that Ellie and Abby must get through are also gorgeous – the overgrown forests of Washington and the rolling plains of Wyoming are rendered in incredible detail that will take your breath away.
You can get a copy of The Last of Us: Part II here.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
Release Date: 2018 | Developer: Rockstar Studios | Supported Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Stadia
In 1899, the Van der Linde gang flees Blackwater after a botched ferry heist.
Knowing that civilization’s progress will soon end the age of the outlaw, they decide to accumulate enough cash to retire from their life of crime.
Follow Arthur Morgan and John Marston as they do jobs for money, trying to build a better life for themselves.
This prequel to the blockbuster Red Dead Redemption was met with great excitement when it was announced, and it didn’t disappoint.
The fictionalized Wild West area of the US that the games take place in have been carefully, lovingly rendered in some breathtaking tableaus – many locations are based on real places, and the development team has stated that they were committed to representing the time period as accurately as possible.
The gang’s encounters with lawmen are built to be accurate as well – Rockstar implemented a bounty system that is similar to the one found in Grand Theft Auto V, and the levels directly affect the law’s response to the gang’s activities.
You can get a copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 here.
What Game Has the Best Graphics Ever?
While all of the titles on our list have great graphics, the current winner for the best graphics ever is Red Dead Redemption 2.
The game’s breathtaking vistas, attention to detail, and the developer’s insistence on basing their Wild West on real places rather than on films, art, or other games makes them both unique and highly realistic. Just looking at screenshots of this game is enough to make you think that it deserves the title of “best graphics ever.”
Over To You
And there you have it! The top 10 most realistic games. We hope you enjoy checking these titles out, and maybe getting a little distraction from the stresses of daily life. Happy playing!