Mikes Rant – Graphics Snobs Should Shut Up and Enjoy Gaming



/ 4 weeks ago

mikes rant 2

Mikes Rant 6 – Why Graphics Snobs Should Just Shut Up and Enjoy Gaming

Having been a PC owner for many years now, I can entirely understand that we all want things to look good on our systems. The demand for this can lead us into making some pretty hefty purchases be it a new processor or graphics card. There is the argument for RBG lighting but that in itself is a contentious issue I won’t touch. At least, not yet. There is, however, a section of such enthusiasts I cannot stand. Those who make a big deal about graphics in games.

At the risk of again sounding old, I remember gaming when it was a much simpler time. Pixels ruled the earth and the concept of a curve or perfect circle was ridiculous. It is perhaps for that reason that I am a lot more forgiving with games when it comes to the graphical performance. The way some people talk though, how a game looks on their insanely powerful system is the be-all and end-all. The game itself is practically irrelevant.

So, therefore, I ask you this question –  Is it too crazy to suggest that the most important factor in a game is the way it plays, not the way it looks?

So many remasters!

The call for updated graphics has seen many games in the last few years ‘remastered’. Offering all new graphics and very little else, these epitomize to me a major problem that consumers are creating and game companies are lapping up. Aside from Shadow of the Colossus, which was excellent, and Resident Evil HD, again excellent, I struggle to think of a ‘remaster’ in recent years that was truly a step-up from the original game. In those particular instances though, particularly the former, it should be noted that it was remade from the ground up. This wasn’t a lazy port.

The problem is, however, that consumers are leading us down this road and it’s a road that only a select few of us can really enjoy.

Having seen games in 4K resolution and 60+ FPS, trust me, I get it. They generally tend to look fantastic and Final Fantasy XV on Windows is perhaps, in this instance, one of the best looking games around. Does it now, however, strike you as a little ridiculous that on the highest setting practically no PC or GPU exists that can cope with it? If so, why then are they making graphics setting that high?

In a sentence – They are making it because if they didn’t, someone would moan about it!

Developers are enjoying this!

At the moment, the demand for Ultra HD updates to games is music to the ears of developers. The lazier amongst them are finding that they don’t need to make new games. They can simply repackage old ones. The recent Devil May Cry HD collection is a perfect example of this. In the effort to shovel out a prettier version of the game, consumers (particularly those of the PC version) have found that the game plays poorly. They spent all the time on making it look good and practically zilch on making sure it runs well.

The problem is though that the demand for those wanting graphical excellence is driving developers to do this. It’s creating a remit of ‘well, as long as it looks good, we’ll sell copies’. This, by proxy, is allowing them to get away with not having to do the difficult things such as creating games that play well or, heaven forbid, creating a whole new game entirely!

We’re being taken somewhere we don’t need to go!

At this point, some of you might be thinking that this is simply a case of jealousy. I can’t afford a 4K system and that’s why I’m complaining. The thing is though, I have a system that is entirely capable of playing games at 4K and playing them well. To be honest you do not need a particularly insane system to have a crack at 4K. Admittedly though, you need a decent one to do it well in gaming.

The thing is though that some people see 4K as some kind of golden land. That it must be achieved even at the detriment of the game itself. I have honestly seen people, particularly with again Final Fantasy XV, playing it at sub-30FPS while in 4K mode. Why? What do they think they are achieving with this? Is the overall look better? I personally think not.

I had the option to go 4K with Final Fantasy, but it didn’t provide a solid solution. So what did I do? I went down to 1440p. The game still looks fantastic and I never dip below 60FPS. This is, however, an attitude I feel that more people need to take in the future if we’re going to get games that are fun to play.

All flash, no substance!

The recent release of Sea of Thieves is a perfect example of where I feel we are heading with graphical snobbery. We have a game that on the surface looks fantastic both visually and to play. Once you pay the £50 to get your copy though (which incidentally I think is a rip off) within an hour the graphical glory is gone and what you are left with is a sparse game that quickly becomes repetitive and boring.

As far as I am concerned, the only way that Sea of Thieves can be enjoyable in the long run is if you have 3 other friends who you can play it with. If we are not careful though, this type of game might become the dystopian future we have to (not) look forward to. To prove this isn’t an isolated incident if you want a couple other examples I will happily oblige with Subnautica and No Man’s Sky. All graphical flash and zero substance!

I worry that all we’ll see from major developers moving forward is remakes of old games with no thought to improving the actual game itself. Worse still titles that are solely based on the looks.

It is a testament to a game that despite being over 30 years old the vast majority of us could still happily play Super Mario Bros. Could you say the same for the latest Call of Duty? I doubt it.

Final Thoughts

Don’t get me wrong, I love it when a game looks great, but I’m slowly getting really disappointed that it’s all about looks these days. You would think that with examples such as FTL, FNAF, and Minecraft that it should be patently obvious to developers that you don’t need to create a fantastic looking game to have one that’s a hit with the community.

I again, however, stress that I think that the small minority of gamers who insist on graphical excellence are currently leading developers into a happy place of that all a game needs to do these days is look good. Take Star Wars Battlefront 2 as an example. I think most would agree that we would have rather seen less time and attention spent on graphics and more spent on actually improving the playability of the game itself.

We have only just proven that for less than £500 you can have a gaming system capable of a solid 1080p performance. For less than £400 you can have 720p and if you’re happy with that, I’m proud of you. You are part of the solution, not the problem.

So I say to the graphical snobs reading this, yes, having a game that looks awesome is fantastic and to a degree, I understand your position. Be careful, however. Your demand for the highest and most insanely realistic looking visual effects might be taking the rest of us somewhere we don’t want to go.

What do you think?

Is Mike right about this? What is more important to you? Graphics or gameplay? – Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer

Given that Mike can only afford to game on a potato-PC, his opinion in Mikes Rant may not reflect that of eTeknix as a whole. Due to various actions that some believe may lead to blindness, we cannot attest that Mikes vision is very good anyway to enjoy anything good.

For More Mikes Rants, check out –

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Comments

One Response to “Mikes Rant – Graphics Snobs Should Shut Up and Enjoy Gaming”
  1. Coretz says:

    Have to agree here. What’s the point of a game looking good if you can’t play it? If any program is poorly optimized, if it’s not very stable under any usage scenario, then it’s incomplete at the least, and the developer should be ashamed.

    Now if a game is well optimized, be that clean code, few bugs, then I’m okay with its max settings being hard to run at whatever preferred experience; just means ya need better hardware if it’s slow (note that I think such games also should run well on lower end hardware if enough graphics options are turned down, without turning resolution down more than two levels of the user’s preferred). But no amount of super awesome hardware is going to fix a game that just refuses to run smoothly.

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