Written by Rick Warren / Gfn2112
This certainly isn't a common list to find on the internet, but I feel like it's one worth doing. Photo modes are still relatively new to gaming, but since being introduced they've gone from a small distraction to a full-blown feature in games. This week I wanted to look at the ones that paved the way or went above and beyond. As always, feel free to share your favorite in the comments below.
One of the very first games that I remember having the feature is LBP. It was limited, only boasting a simple zoom feature, but it still excelled by being available in a world full of infinite possibilities. The environments, costumes and changing the mood of one's sackperson all helped create moments that were worth being captured forever. Whether it was taking a photo with a friend or getting a picture of something unique that you saw in a level, the system was non-invasive and effective. Photos could be saved and uploaded to player profiles, and this early concept of a photo mode fit perfectly into Media Molecule's "Play, Create, Share" model.
Next up, a clear innovator of the feature...
4.) inFAMOUS: Second Son
One of the first games to boast a photo mode this generation was Second Son, and it absolutely delivered. It offered deeper mechanics and photo editing options than had been seen in the past, and that are now present in nearly every photo mode today. The inclusion of a photo mode was welcome thanks to a gorgeous set of powers, and a beautiful interpretation of Seattle to use them in. Taking out groups of enemies with Delsin's smoke powers and dashing through the city using the neon abilities offered countless photo opportunities, and it made this game's photo mode one of my favorites.
In the third spot, a forgotten game...
With a late, brutal launch, Driveclub never took off. This means that many people have already forgotten the gorgeous racing game, and the strong photo mode that came with it. Still, despite its various setbacks, it did do one thing better than any other video game: weather. The level of detail was mesmerizing, from rain droplets on the ground to tire tracks being made in wet mud. Snowfall was heavy, and lightning was startlingly realistic. The ill-fated game's storms demanded attention, and the photo mode gave players a chance to meet that demand... even if it was only for a short amount of time.
In this week's runner-up, 2017's greatest spinoff...
2.) Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Saying that any Naughty Dog game is beautiful is just stating the obvious, yet looking at that beauty through a camera lens helped to remind me just how stunning they can be. The Nathan Drake Collection and A Thief's End offered some great photo modes, yet The Lost Legacy is the game that perfected the feature. During the open section in particular, I found myself constantly stopping to admire the scenery, and I ended up taking dozens of photos. Moving the camera's position, adding photo borders, and being able to change the face Chloe is making are just some of the features that make this photo mode special.
Finally, the clear winner for best photo mode...
1.) Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon is the best-looking open world game ever made. From the machines to the world, it's breathtaking and almost unbelievable. As you'd expect, this would make a photo mode a requirement. Instead of just throwing one in, though, Guerrilla went above and behind. It's by far the most feature-packed version of this mode I've seen, but the studio wasn't satisfied stopping there. They've since released updates that make the mode even more robust, adding features that focus on Aloy and the environment. Horizon: Zero Dawn gives regular players the ability to capture moments perfectly, and to create screenshots that look professionally made. This mode set a new standard for video games, and I can't wait to use it one more time when I jump back into the game to play Frozen Wilds.
That's it for this week. As always, there are honorable mentions in the comments. Check back next Friday for a look at the five greatest video game duos!