The past and present of isometric graphics in games

Julio Franco

Posts: 8,803   +1,705
Staff member
Games with isometric graphics—a slightly rotated view with a top-down perspective—were a big deal several years ago. Static, isometric maps, mostly used in strategy and role-playing games, allowed the developers to create spectacular, detailed visuals, and most of them have...

[newwindow=""]Read more[/newwindow]
Not regarding the question I have a comment.

The most limiting feature of isometic views is not mentioned, namely the ability to see how far things are away. I never noticed this before, but when I started playen AoEII again because the free add-on forgotten empires came out, I had trouble building my farms symmetrically around the Town Center (ocd anyone?). Wikipedia has a nice example

Other than that it is very much true that these games age really well, the graphics in AoE II don't even bother me.


Posts: 625   +125
I sunk way too much time into both 1602 and age of empires 2. This list seems to be pc exclusive? If I had to add another game to the list I would add Super Mario RPG. It looked fantastic for its time.


The best thing about isometric graphics is that even years afterwards they don't look that bad. I can still enjoy Diablo 2 and Starcraft 1 a lot. Sometimes high-quality isometric is better than low-quality 3D.


So MANY kickass games using ISO; Landstalker, Fallout 1 & 2, Planescape Torment etc etc so I REFUSE to choose one :D


Posts: 3,320   +2,068
That Shadowrun Returns looks pretty cool. They all do, actually. Props to the artists who generate this kind of isometric view.


It's hard to complain when you're basically running/playing around in a "work of art". ;)


Posts: 239   +61
Planescape Torment, Diablo 1 and 2, Baldurs Gate series and Titan Quest games are my favorites of all time. Planescape world is still astounding.