Top 11 Games With The Best Water Physics/Graphics

Water in games has always been a deciding factor whether the game is detailed or not, especially when you try to interact with it. With AAA titles being released yearly, only a few of them stands out at how they apply realism in aquatic areas with physics that simulate the motion in real life.

Whether it is part of the gameplay or it just adds up to the graphical aesthetic that the game offers, water cannot be left out in games no matter what.

Which games blew everyone’s minds when it comes to simple water effects and how interactive they are? Here’s eleven games that impressed everyone the most when it comes to encountering the H2O in gaming.

And before we begin, I would like to leave a note that this list is not in a worst to best order. The review for the following games won’t be technical, and if it is, the emphasis will be on the water physics.

Beginning the list at number eleven…

11. Crysis

Developer Crytek
Release DateNovember 13, 2007
Platforms Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Despite the backlash it faced with its engine and the over-demanding system requirements to run this game, Crysis was ahead of its time with how it displayed a revolutionizing water physics. Even if computers struggle to run this game, Crysis is undeniably fascinating by how it managed to be one of the games that looked insanely beautiful in 2007.

You Must Read: Crysis Games Ranked From Worst to Best

If the original 2007 version doesn’t impress you enough, you can boot up the Remastered version of it and see how it maintained and improved the already pleasant looking game. You can shoot bullets in it, or even throw an explosive to see how the ocean reacts to your actions. Or you can just simply walk around and swim on it and see it for yourself.

Crysis doesn’t deserve all the hate it gets. The engine made this game a burden for gaming systems out there but at least the water effects is so well-done. By this time, graphics are starting to be a big deal and Crysis contributed to the craze of testing water physics.

10. Watch Dogs

Developer Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date May 27, 2014
Platforms Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U

Yet another title that is ruined by a disastrous launch and by hardware mismatches, Watch Dogs is still worth a shot by how Ubisoft capitalized on the sub-culture of gaming and decided to make it look hip with a hacker twist on a Grand Theft Auto-like open-world game. You play as Aiden Pearce in the city of Chicago, Illinois and we won’t go in-depth with the plot to avoid some spoilers, but I want to discuss how Ubisoft came up with something new to the gaming world.

The water in the game looks grimy and dirty, but that doesn’t stop the physics to apply. Although it isn’t a part of the game whatsoever, Watch Dogs still manages to capture that real-life metropolitan reservoir and to this day, it still looks stunning. How disappointing that Watch Dogs didn’t get a remaster for the newer consoles at the time, but oh well, there is a sequel to this game and the newest game just came out recently.

Till this day, Watch Dogs is a blast when it comes to its features, especially when you take Aiden for a swim. It is an open-world game, after all. So feel free to test one of Ubisoft’s masterpiece.

9. Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason

Developer Action Forms
Release DateOctober 29, 2013
Platforms Windows

Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason is a psychological horror game made by Action Forms in 2009, and it remains to me as one of the most underrated PC games of the 2010s. Set in the North Pole, you play as a meteorologist stranded in a missing ship. If that doesn’t get scary enough, then you should be shocked in awe on how water physics work in this game.

From water droplets, melting ice, realistic underwater sequences, and to the formation of puddles, Cryostasis creates that fear factor into thinking that the water itself will catch up on you. How come did this game get little to no attention at all? It is a hidden gem that should be appreciated because they don’t make games like this anymore.

Sadly, the game was badly handled and is forgotten immediately. The game was taken down on Steam and the only way to play this is to buy a physical copy of it. And if you manage to play the game, go and see how Cryostasis was ahead of its time.

8. Batman: Arkham Knight

Developer Rocksteady Studios
Release Date June 23, 2015
Platforms Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Although the game doesn’t allow you to go underwater, Batman: Arkham Knight has one of the most astonishing water physics in all of gaming. Similar to Watch Dogs, Arkham Knight is set in the fictional Gotham City, although it is still a debate whether the conurbation is based from New York, New Jersey, or Chicago.

Again, it is an open-world title that lets you roam whenever you feel like it. Batman can travel around the City of Gotham, and once you reach the pier, watch the water flow from the rain and the vicious thunderstorm. With Arkham Knight being the Batman game with the most splendid graphics to date, Rocksteady’s last ever entry for the series ended with a bang for sure.

Batman: Arkham Knight is also a flawed game. But if you don’t mind the Batmobile missions, you can still enjoy playing as the World’s Greatest Detective. Or you can just play Arkham City if you’re looking for that definitive Batman experience.

7. Red Dead Redemption 2

DeveloperRockstar Studios
Release DateOctober 25, 2018
PlatformsWindows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Yet another Rockstar title in this list, Red Dead Redemption 2 manages to be a key player to games with the most outstanding water physics even if it sort of holds the performance back in the PC version of the game. And the most infuriating part of the game is that the protagonist Arthur Morgan cannot swim that long.

But that won’t hold you back to admire the game’s beauty, especially that the fascinating setting adds up to the soothing but bewildering Wild West era. And as a prequel to the first Red Dead Redemption, the second game is several steps ahead to its predecessor.

A bath with your horse wouldn’t hurt, and see how crisp and clear the water is. If there’s a third RDR game, they better make the water more interactive.

6. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

DeveloperNaughty Dog
Release DateMay 10, 2016
PlatformsPlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows

Since when did Naughty Dog make a bad Uncharted game? Never. With their final installment being their best game ever, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End captured everyone’s heart with the conclusion of Nathan Drake’s adventures, including the missions where he has to deal with the openings and the depths of the blue sea.

Either you have Nathan travel with a water vehicle or have him swim underwater, Uncharted 4 never fails to perplex anyone who are coming across the water. The PlayStation 4 hardware sure can display its full potential, and Uncharted 4 manages to be one of the most likeable games from the minimal details of the water streams to the grandest features of it.

Who knows? Maybe Uncharted 5 will feature more water in it. I just love it when the game brings the adventure into the maritime. It never gets old.

5. Grand Theft Auto 4

DeveloperRockstar North
Release DateApril 29, 2008
PlatformsWindows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One

With Grand Theft Auto taking a leap on a newer hardware, Rockstar North’s first entry for their HD Universe Grand Theft Auto IV is nothing but excellency in the game’s physics. But we’re not discussing about the ragdoll physics, no. Instead, we are focusing on GTA IV’s water effects since it is something that the series is missing before this game came out.

Go and test it however you like. Depending on what firearms you use, the splash effects it make differs from the weapon. And when you swim or travel in the harbor, it creates a realistic effect that Grand Theft Auto doesn’t have, especially when you place a chopper above the water.

People still prefer GTA V over IV, but I think IV is a better game than V overall. The detail they put on Grand Theft Auto IV really defined that generation of gaming.

4. Assassin’s Creed: Origins

DeveloperUbisoft Montreal
Release DateOctober 27, 2017
PlatformsWindows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia

As the game that took the Assassin’s Creed series in a new direction, Origins has some up’s and down’s, and one of its positive sides being the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile River. The naval combat isn’t as good as Black Flag, but you can’t deny how the water reacts in the game especially when collisions are made.

With the setting being the Ancient Egypt, the color palette of the game affects the tint of the water, making it brownish and suiting for the time period they’re in. And when diving underwater, the law of physics still apply. Speaking of going underwater, you can see creatures underneath, giving you some hints of details on how they worked on this game.

If you fancy playing Assassin’s Creed with an RPG twist in it, Origins is for you. It isn’t anything like Black Flag, but it is something close.

3. Dishonored 2

DeveloperArkane Studios
Release DateNovember 11, 2016
PlatformsWindows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Dishonored is a love letter of all starts, and I’m sure you will fall in love with the game’s visuals and aesthetics, especially the view you will witness once you see the ocean. The gameplay itself is already a thing of beauty, and water being a part of it is even better.

Once you go underwater, you can see oxygen bubbles appearing on the screen and the waves you see is just a little touch of realism in a fictional world of Dunwall. And if your character rises from being on the water, it takes a moment to get back to the normal vision that you are accustomed to.

We need Dishonored 3 so bad. And I hope they make a third one now that we just entered a new era of the ever-changing gaming world.

2. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

DeveloperUbisoft Montreal
Release DateOctober 29, 2013
PlatformsWindows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, Switch

Ah, yes. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Not only it is considered as the best action-adventure game, AC4 is also regarded as the best game where you play as a pirate at the 18th Century, where the Golden Age of Piracy is prominent. You cannot play a pirate game without a ship and of course, the sea. But let’s just set the fast-paced gameplay aside and enjoy what the harbor can offer.

The Caribbean Peninsula works perfectly as the setting for Captain Edward Kenway’s ventures, and what makes this game so great when it comes to water physics? That’s right, I cannot bring up Black Flag without the revolutionary mechanic of the game, the naval combat. Ship battles in Black Flag makes the seawater stand out, as if it is a part of the war itself.

Either you swim or travel with the Jackdaw, the ocean feels so vibrant, not to mention that the sea shanties being sung by Captain Kenway’s pirate crew adds up to the game’s rich atmosphere. So sharpen up your swords and be prepared to plunder as many sugar and rum as you become a menace of the sea.

1. Subnautica

DeveloperUnknown Worlds Entertainment
Release DateDecember 16, 2014
PlatformsWindows, Mac OS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Switch

Subnautica is an open-world adventure game made by Unknown Worlds Entertainment back in December 16, 2014 for various platforms and I must say: This is like Minecraft if it was set beneath the ocean. The only goal here is to explore underwater, unless you play its story mode. Subnautica’s water design is like crafted with magic itself. It’s so wonderful to look at.

Aside from coral reefs and the wildlife you encounter, water physics in Subnautica still occurs even if you spend most of the time diving underwater. Give it a shot and you will feel like you’re actually below the sea level, especially when you play in VR. Sure, you will feel sluggish at the start of the game, but you will see the changes once you progress.

It isn’t those kind of games that you test with various items. Just being there is enough to see how they put so much attention to detail on the water itself.