Sébastien Linage, who is a lead artist for Electronic Arts, published a video that completely nails what I value in rendering.
This video is just a montage of in game scenery shots from Need For Speed: The Run. There are no action scenes, no race, no cars running, no tires screaming: only a flyby through the environments crafted by the team who worked on this game. The scenes and the rendering are just that beautiful: beautiful enough so simply showing them with some soundtrack already makes a nice video.
Those guys really did an awesome job in that regard.