I pulled the ripcord on GDC a day too early to catch the Unreal Engine 4 demo being unveiled there yesterday, but it's now on YouTube for the world to see in quasi-blurry 1080p. Even with iffy compression, the visuals being generated in real-time are definitely drool-worthy. Have a look:
When I spoke with Nvidia on Wednesday, they told me the demo would be running in real-time on a single GeForce GTX 680 graphics card. I think this offers a nice glimpse into what's truly possible with today's PC graphics hardware, which is, you know, something like 15X the speed of today's game consoles, with higher mathematical precision and superior programmability, as well.
Part of what I see in these visuals is a certain "noisy" or "irregular" quality. That's a good thing; real-life images are very noisy. You don't notice clean, sharp polygon edges being mapped to a grid for display, like you see in even the best PC games these days. There's also evidently some nice potential for storytelling in UE4, with the facial expressiveness and fluid, lifelike character movement on display here.