Good Graphics - The Sole Aspect of a 'Good' Game?

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Ryukouki, Oct 6, 2013.

?

Are visually impressive graphics hurting video games?

  1. Yes

    45 vote(s)
    42.5%
  2. No

    61 vote(s)
    57.5%
  1. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    [​IMG]

    No, I am not writing to criticize Call of Duty, not this time. I apologize in advance if I disappointed you. This is most likely going to be a two part article. This first portion is going to be a bit more "specific" in terms of discussion, whereas the next part (to be published sometime soon after this one) will speak in a more broad sense. As consoles get more powerful games are rendered in incredibly high quality. However, does a higher quality viewing experience create harmful side effects on the game? Does it create restrictions in terms of a better story or gameplay? The answer, I would have thought, would be very simple, but as it turns out, nothing in my world is simple, as I spoke to a few friends, colleagues, and older generation gamers, and quite a few of them believed that graphics alone was the sole factor in whether or not a video game is good. Let's hop in a little bit more and explore this ideology a bit more.



    I am most likely going to take some fire for this article. What appears to be a simple cookie-cutter answer is apparently a little bit more complex than what I had anticipated. I had a rather narrow testing sample, but the types of people I spoke to were more broad. I had the intense grass root gamers and then on the other end I had the casual type players. The surprising aspect that I had discovered was that a majority of them thought that good visuals on a game was the sole factor in whether or not the game was good for them. Naturally, I am a bit perplexed at this. One of the subjects claimed that a game like Super Mario Galaxy was "trash" because of the fact that the game was only rendered in 480p. As we know, the game received critical acclaim and accolades from media reviewers everywhere. It seems very ignorant. As another example, one of my subjects claimed that Final Fantasy XIII, considered by many to be one of the dullest Square Enix adventures to date, was considered like the Holy Grail, because of its marvelous visuals. Personally, I disliked the game. I was critical of its linear and limited gameplay. Others praised it. I do not see why. In regards to my questions, I should have received a clear answer, the expected answer. The one that dictates that graphics should not define a game. Yet, I received the opposite. I want to know why.

    [​IMG]
    I fail to understand the rationale in how "poor" graphics made Super Mario Galaxy a poor game.

    I was browsing an article on Siliconera. This particular article claimed that the new Pokemon X and Pokemon Y adventures, scheduled for release next week, were a huge graphical improvement over previous generations which affected gameplay in a positive way. This is the normal and expected answer, but the article also established that the graphics were not the only factors that affected gameplay; it was the modification of old mechanics and the introduction of newer ones that brought about such fantastic review experiences. When I conducted that small survey on my university campus, I received almost the opposite, as I had a good amount of people saying that graphics were the only thing that made an adventure good. I countered back with popular games that were released several years ago, with scores and data to back up my argument, but these subjects did not budge in their responses. It is indeed possible that I got a bad batch of study subjects here. I am still trying to understand why they thought in this way. A test pool of about fifty is not really enough to obtain conclusive results. I want to look for the definitive or "reasonable" answer though.

    In the meantime, let's go back and explore the other question I brought up: whether a game's increasingly good graphics made for a defining experience. The answer varies. It is subjective to certain criteria. Game graphics are not the sole factor in whether or not a game is going to be "good." Other factors involve gameplay complexity, depth, story complexity, clever mechanics usage; there are a lot more that I am sure you can pick up on. Could it also be that game developers are spending too much time sharpening the visual experience and making their games less complex? This is definitely a problem as of late. I mentioned similar observations in my previous article here. As a quick refresher, this was the article about gaming getting easier. A visible trend in the gaming industry is that indeed, gaming is becoming more of a cinematic experience. The work is being done for us instead of making us rack our brains a bit. There are too many instances of hand holding and quick time sequences that it drives me mad at times. I have not picked up a console game and thoroughly completed it in years. I find that games as of late are focusing too much on looking cinematic rather than focusing on making more complex gameplay. I find that the gameplay matters much more than a visual experience. For anyone that remembers Capcom's Onimusha franchise, they remember slightly older graphics, which countered back with an incredibly fast-paced, complex action experience. It is a bit of a shame that this franchise has died off. These are the kinds of games I want to see more of. I would happily throw off impressive graphics if it meant I would be getting a better user experience.

    I'm starting to get a bit wordy here, so I am going to close this article off. In general, when we look at games, graphics should not be the sole factor in whether or not a game will be good. It should be better to say that a game is "good" if the gameplay is brought to an acceptable and "complex enough" level and whether or not certain subjective criteria have been filled to make for a definitive experience. Take the new Pokemon games. They have mixed up the formula enough for early reviewers to say that this instance is a definitely good experience, a fresher one that has not been seen since the second generation. As far as what I have brought to the table, do you guys as a community agree with some of the points brought up? Do you think that graphics are the only deciding factor? Or are there other factors? Do you also find visually impressive gaming to have adverse side effects on the quality of gameplay? Chime off below, I look forward to seeing these responses.
     


  2. Thomas83Lin

    Thomas83Lin Retro Gamer

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    I've never judged a game solely on graphics alone. I fail to see how graphics determine if a game is good or bad. I believe gameplay is everything.
     
  3. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Neither have I, which is why when I tallied the results from that mini-study I conducted, I was quite shocked at what I was seeing...
     
  4. calmwaters

    calmwaters Cat's best friend

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    Well in 8-bit and 16-bit days, I don't think graphics were that impressive. So fast forward to now, where there's all this 1080p, 4Ghz shit powering some monstrosity. But anyway, graphics are not the sole definer of what makes a game good. I'm surprised so many of the people you talked to believed this. I think I'll mention this too: Blu-ray players can be bought to play movies on your televisions. You can also get games in this format and play them in your PS3. If you asked people who own a Blu-ray player and watch movies on it if they think the movie is good because of the graphics, how many people do you think would say yes?

    But calling a game bad because it was shot in 480p is just fucking stupid: honestly, there is just no end to people's stupidity. And mind you, the people who say this are normally younger than 20. It's become more apparent now since the game engines have become more complex that we care about how a game looks and how it plays. We just took that it played for granted in the olden days and that was the way it looked. Now we're pickier, hence the "PC Master Race" comments you'll be getting on here.
     
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  5. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Heh, how do you think I felt when I calculated the tallies and read the "justifications?" I was surprised as you. It's why I brought it up to the table in the first place; because of the abnormality of these results I want to know whether I got a bad testing batch or whether or not there's another factor present. In regards to the 480p comment, this was a casual gamer in his mid-twenties.
     
  6. calmwaters

    calmwaters Cat's best friend

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    Can I write this deduction about active and casual gamers, then? The ones who are casual believe whatever the game reviewers tell them, whereas the active gamers might believe what the game reviewers say, but will still try it out so they can get their own opinion?
     
  7. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

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    I wouldn't put much stock into those responses, because the average person is going to give you the same response across most visual-based mediums ("Transformers was sooooo good! Did you see all those robots? And they exploded, too! KABOOSH!"). As long as their eyes got a treat, they couldn't care less about plot construction, character development, etc.

    They're not necessarily wrong. I mean, if that's what floats your boat, hey, who am I to argue? It's not exactly fair or reasonable to expect casuals to engage with the material as if they were true connoisseurs.

    As for my own view, I find it funny when people try to dismiss visuals as meaningless ("Graphics don't matter, and if you think otherwise, you're just a fanboy!" etc. etc.). Fact of the matter is, video games are a visual medium, so yeah, visuals are a pretty big deal. If your visuals are ugly or cluttered, that's going to seriously hurt the game.

    And really, you don't even need to be taxing on the hardware; a good aesthetic design goes a hell of a long way. For all its technical prowess, Gears of War looks like utter shit next to Rayman Origins.

    Graphics/Aesthetic aren't everything, but they're far from nothing.
     
  8. Dork

    Dork Newbie

    Because a game can't have good gameplay and good visuals, right? A good game is determined by many factors, though the gameplay is most important, it still needs others for it to make it complete.
    And graphics can mean anything. Super Mario Galaxy proved that good art direction can make up for a lack of raw system power.
     
  9. DinohScene

    DinohScene Capture the Dino

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    People are far to spoiled.
    That and everybody seems to get it wrong.

    If a game has shitty aesthetics, it'll be a visually bad game.

    These days, developers try to put all their resources into graphics etc.
    Which severely impact gameplay and storyline.
    Aesthetically... it won't improve much also.


    Personally, I'd rather play a "shitty graffix" game that has a good storyline then a "ohmahgurd graphix wank wank" game with a shit storyline.
     
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  10. ipwndeveloper

    ipwndeveloper GBAtemp Regular

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    I believe graphics are a nice addition, to the story of the game. Its like a good book, just because the pages are made of gold, does not mean the story is gold.
     
  11. ThatDudeWithTheFood

    ThatDudeWithTheFood TRIANGLEZ

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    I think it really depends on the game's art style.
    Mario is never going to look super realistic and that's fine so I don't think the game's graphics should ever be a major reason why anyone thinks it's bad unless there are a lot of graphical bugs that hinder the experience.
    However something like Call of Duty that does have realistic graphics should be judged a lot more on it's graphics than Super Mario Galaxy. Still I don't think you can judge Call of Duty only on it's graphics because there still is a lot more to it.
     
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  12. Coto

    Coto GBAtemp Addict

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    Keep in mind, that to achieve a "good 3D engine", the developer must polish it and improve (or keep the best effects for later) things such physics and feature good artist designers.

    That engine seems more and more polished, and well, you see the final results, like Capcom, TRI-ACE, Namco, and other does.

    TL;DR version: There is a high chance you'll find better "visually improved" games from big 3rd party companies, on a sequel-like improved either visually complex features, or better gameplay experience retaining older projects, under equal timelines
     
  13. ßleck

    ßleck Console Peasant

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    I don't know. Help.
    First of all people think graphics are importnant because... Well a video game is a visual presentation. People enjoy having a clear game because it's pleasant to the eye and the game is easier to understand. If you have a game where everything is messy and you can't tell stuff apart, people will think the game is unplayable. Nowadays with people getting used to their CoDs and whatnot they expect those great graphics to return in other games and if they don't get those graphics they will think the game is unplayable. So basically great graphics become a standard for video games.

    I, like possibly many others, disagree with this. Graphics are a nice little extra at best. It isn't entirely necessary even though some games might need it more than others. The same thing can be said about the story. But if you only play a game for the graphics you can go see a movie and if you only play it for the plot you might want to read a book. If you want to decide if a video game is good or not you should rather look at stuff like the gameplay.

    Now the actual question. I don't think good graphics hurt video games. With todays technology why wouldn't you add amazing graphics to your game. Good graphics can't make a game worse. But if your game is already very bad it's probably going to stay that way. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't add good graphics. Bad graphics don't make bad games any better either.
     
  14. SickPuppy

    SickPuppy New Member

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    A good game is one that catches your interest, one that you keep coming back to and keep playing. I think the gameplay has to be good first, otherwise why would you keep playing it regardless of graphics.

    After playing strictly Wii games for a long time, I thought I'd give a PS3 game a shot, I looked at the available games and saw Darksiders 2. I recognized the title because of the hype the game got. So I tried it out and was really disappointed, I expected more from the graphics, it being a PS3 game opposed to being a Wii game. I played it for about 10 minutes before quitting it, I thought the gameplay and graphics sucked. Went back to playing mario.
     
  15. The Milkman

    The Milkman GBATemp's Official Asshat Milkman

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    Throwing milk at the bitches!
    "Oooooohhhhh nooooooo! A small amount of people had different opinions from me! FRONT PAGE NEWS!"

    Even Kotaku couldn't do a better job.
     
  16. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Heh, like I said earlier, it was a test that I was baffled by. And if you think that you can do a good job at this, I advise you to talk to staff and apply for Magazine Staff. Since nobody's really willing to make open-ended discussions and devote time to it, someone's going to have to take the initiative.
     
  17. Chary

    Chary Never sleeps

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    The only time I ever bought a game based on graphics, is when I bought Pokemon Ruby instead of Pokemon Silver. And I was six years old.
     
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  18. The Milkman

    The Milkman GBATemp's Official Asshat Milkman

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    Throwing milk at the bitches!

    I would expect the magazine staff to devote time into things such as (gasp) news, hell i'll even settle for some reviews. Having USN articles on the front page is nice and all, but does that suddenly open the floodgates for the mag staff to just post this sort of thing up here? Its as if you're saying "Welp, community does everything the mag staff can do now, might as well post generic topics on the front-page for discussion!"

    Not saying I don't like the idea. I'm saying for godsake man, make it something that requires a bit more logic then band-wagon hopping!
     
  19. calmwaters

    calmwaters Cat's best friend

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    I thought you said the msg staff. But regardless of logic, there will always be some people that will already be on the bandwagon.
     
  20. Guild McCommunist

    Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    Good graphics don't make a good game but they really help make a game good.

    It's hard to convey some things in a game without good graphics. It makes characters more real and easier to relate to, scenes more memorable, environments more scenic and atmospheric, and just help give a game a sense of grandeur.

    I wouldn't necessarily say graphics make a game but no one thing does. A game can't float alone on good gameplay or a good story or good music, it's a culmination of several different elements, and graphics is one of them.



    I forgot GBAtemp is a no fun allowed zone and we can't try to provoke interesting conversations by putting interesting topics on the front page.

    Thank you our almighty mag staff moderator.