I was thinking about reviews recently for games and noticed something, something i'm sure most of you noticed long before me.
In a lot of reviews, at least recent reviews i have noticed the following sort of thing
"What the game lacks in gameplay and depth it makes up for by being one of the best looking games we have seen" etc we all have seen that line displayed in one way or another.
Now my question is for games do the graphics really matter that much? Should they effect the overall score for good or worse in a review?
The way i see it games that look good but suffer gameplay wise tend to do better review wise then games that have good gameplay but don't look the best.
To me the most important thing in games i play is firstly gameplay. That is the thing that matters most to me. If i sit down and play a game that looks amazing but doesn't feel fun gameplay wise i will lose interest fast. I think of games i have played over the past year or so in this generation. I think of games like GTA4, GTA4 was breathtaking the first time you see it, but after you look past the graphics i think we see a very repetative linear gameplay element. The first thing you do is get a car then drive someone home, then chase someone, kill them then get back in your car. To me that is all GTA4 was. The same old same old. Now for the first few hours that is great but i wonder how many people who completed GTA4 have been back to it since?
There are so many games out there now thinking that if you make a game with awesome graphics means your probably get high scores. We have gone in the wrong direction with reviews i feel. We should be giving high scores to games because they are fun to play, they bring us into the narrative and make us feel that our actions really do shape the world in which we are playing in.
The FPS genre over the past few decade has been re-invented time and again. But if you think about it, has it really? You get a gun, you get bullets, you kill some guy, you save the day. A long this path we have had games that go into this genre and they re-define parts of it so it is not as repetative. You get Fallout 3, not the best graphics game we have seen but the gameplay level is very absorbing. The same with Mass Effect, again not the best looking game but gameplay wise it is different, it brings you into the world. Of course those games are not true FPS games but they give you more invlovment by doing the shooting perspectives, it is more imersive i think. The same can be said about BioShock. Bioshock does have good graphics but it is not its shinny underwater world that makes the game good it is the atmosphere of the gameplay. The really amazing games through time i don't think survive with legend status because of their graphics. I remember playing games like Mario and Doom etc and thinking i never once looked at the actual graphics and think wow this looks great, i was too busy trying to keep bowzer off my ass or trying to find some armor while hearing the imps making the sound they made but couldn't see them etc.
Point being what i remember most from games as the years go by is the memories of the actual game experiences themselves, not because i remember a tree looked like a real tree or a dude falling over after being shot looked real and so on.
So reading a lot of reviews especially in this generation do you feel graphics are more important then gameplay and do you feel if a game has good gameplay but poor graphics it should get lower scores? Or vice versa do you feel a game should get high scores if it has good graphics but not so great gameplay?