Video game engines are an essential building block to create open-world RPGs, MMOs, FPSs, and more. Every video game runs on some kind of game engine. Game engines are capable of outstanding worlds as we have seen in recent years. Engines are what give us the gorgeous graphics, stellar gameplay mechanics, and unique characters.
Unfortunately, not every game engine is created equally. Some game engines are created in-house while other developers purchase commercial licenses to use an engine. The game engines on this list are ranked by their potential, their portfolio, and the graphics of the games they have created.
10 Worst: Telltale Tool
The fate of Telltale Games was certainly tragic, but some may wonder if their game engine was the reason they were not as successful. The rebirth of Telltale will be using a new game engine so hopefully, they have a better chance. Now, you may be wondering why Telltale is on this list when it has made some exceptional games.
Well, the last few years Telltale had been making games, the engine was seriously out of date. None of the developed games of Telltale looked like modern video games. The graphics were severely downgraded from what we could get with another game engine. It’s potential had run out and its previous games were not enough to save it.
9 Best: Source
Valve’s proprietary game engine, Source, has created a load of exceptional video games. From Half-Life to Counter-Strike, the Source engine has done a great job at keeping gamers happy. However, there are more recent games that have used the Source engine or at least a modified version.
Respawn Entertainment created the Titanfall universe with the source engine. The first game has lost its graphical prowess, but its sequel and Apex Legends still look great. Furthermore, the game engine allows Apex Legends to have artistic style with its cinematic trailers and in-game graphics.
8 Worst: Creation Engine
Bethesda has not been on everyone’s good side lately. Fallout 76 has continued to upset players in more ways than one. Bethesda’s own Creation Engine is a sad engine that has lost potential in so many ways. Bethesda created the Creation Engine based on the Gamebryo Engine.
The only games to take advantage of the Creation Engine are The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout 4, and Fallout 76. Skyrim is the only game on this list with great recognition and even then the graphics have not held up well. The graphics of all these games are not what the could be in 2020.
7 Best: Havok
Havok is an Irish-based game engine owned by the company, Havok. Havok’s parent company is Microsoft. Havok has been used to create game since 2000. During its 20 years of service, it has produced critically acclaimed video games such as Black Ops 2, Assassins’s Creed III, and Uncharted 4, and more.
Havok is still being used today, which shows how much of a popular game engine it is. Developers are capable of building a wide range of game worlds. Its portfolio of games is one of the best on this list which makes it an exceptional game engine.
6 Worst: Fox Engine
Fox Engine is the proprietary game engine from Konami Digital Entertainment. Fox Engine has been used to make many of the modern Metal Gear and other projects such as P.T. The canceled Silent Hill game would have also run on this game engine.
The primary reason Fox Engine is one of the worst game engines is because of its small portfolio and the missed potential of the engine. The graphics of the Fox Engine can be really great as we have seen in past games. Unfortunately, the lost potential is what makes it a lesser game engine.
5 Best: Unity
Unity makes the list for best game engines because of the availability indie developers have to it and the games it has been used for. Games like Outer Wilds, Inside, and Ori and The Will of the Wisps run on the Unity engine. Unity has been used to make games since 2005 and has slowly gained traction among developers.
Indie games stand out among indie developers in a few different ways. One of those ways is through art. Unity has allowed indie developers to create outstanding pieces of art. The games in the Unity portfolio range in variety which makes it a great game engine.
4 Worst: Snowdrop
Ubisoft announced the Snowdrop engine the same time they announced Tom Clancy’s The Division. The gameplay trailers of the game looked great. The Snowdrop engine was capable of realistic graphics, dynamic weather and so much more. Unfortunately, when the game launched it did not meet what was advertised.
Ubisoft was hit with a lot of backlash and the Snowdrop engine was not as impressive. Snowdrop has only been used for a handful of games with none of them being exceptional titles. Hopefully, Ubisoft can prove players wrong with their next major title.
3 Best: Unreal Engine
Unreal Engine made an appearance in 1998 and was designed for first-person shooters like Unreal. However, the game engine has been used for a wide variety of genres. This Epic Games proprietary engine is currently on its fourth iteration and continues to deliver exceptional games.
Most recent games that have used Unreal Engine include Gears 5, The Outer Worlds, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. These three games alone received great recognition for their gameplay and graphics. It just goes to show how Epic Games knows what it takes for a great game.
2 Worst: Frostbite
Electronic Arts has moved from other game engines to use the Frostbite engine for all its games. The only studio under the EA brand that does not use the Frostbite engine is Respawn Entertainment. So, Dice has used the Frostbite engine for all of the most recent Battlefield games and the Battlefront games.
Frostbite is graphically amazing. However, the load times for games running on the game engine are too long. Plus, the most recent Frostbite games have been full of bugs. Battlefield V was plagued with bugs, which is a primary reason the game didn’t do well at launch. The game engine Frostbite has some kinks to work out.
1 Best: Cryengine
Cryengine and Frostbite are graphically equivalent, but Cryengine beats it in some areas. The Crysis series was known to be graphically demanding for PC. Crytek, the developers behind Cryengine, has created a variety of games using this engine. From science fiction shooters to Rome-torn streets, this game engine can do it all.
Ameture game developers can also download the engine free. They are capable of downloading the engine and playing around with it as much as they like. It is only until commercial use is needed when developers need to pay. Cryengine is graphically demanding but the load times are nowhere near what the Frostbite engine is.
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