Forums - Gaming Discussion - Reviews - Should Graphics Effect The Score?

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?

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Too long.

RE4 wouldn't have gotten the scores it did if it didn't look better than every other game that was released at the time. Or gotten game of the year if it didn't look better than the 360's launch line-up.

Imagine you live in a house, one that stands up against ferocious storms, is rich in history and culture, but looks old and unappealing from the outside.

Would you prefer to move into a shoddily built home, with insides that do not stand out among other homes, as long as it looks good on the outside?

(In short, Gameplay and Story make the game, Graphics only add to the experience. If the Gameplay and Story aren't strong, then the graphics have nothing to add on to.)




Guitar Hero 3/ Smash Hits

Depends what the reviewer sees as graphics.

Games like Brain Training have functional graphics... if they were any fancier and too cluttered it would be annoying.

It's fine to rate graphics, as long as they are not weighted equally with other more important aspects..... but even then rating graphics should be tailored to the game, Mario Kart doesn't need great graphics, so if rating out of 10 for varios things like IGN, you might give MKWii a 7 for graphics, but that 7 would hold less meaning for the final score than a game that relies more on it's looks.

If graphics can effect the gaming experience then they should effect the review score. End of story.

While there are a number of valid points here, these situations are the exception rather than the rule. Quality gameplay and graphics tend to be highly correlated, as both are indicative of high production values and effort. Games that are relatively ugly compared to other games on that console, will on average, have inferior gameplay.

Debating with fanboys, its not
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Critics loved Persona 4 so that should tell you something.

Visuals should count, but they shouldnt really affect the score much.

wii vs HD


who cares about graphics?


Depends on what the game is trying to do. Puzzle Quest is one of the most fun and addicting games I've played in a while but it won't win any graphic awards, however what is there looks good and serves the game.
A FPS on 360 with stiff animations and jaggies should lose a point though.

But what reviewers are failing to score on is the FUN factor and replayability. Look at movies - I might drop $13 for a brain dead but high octane movie (we all have) but I won't buy the DVD. Those movies generally get mediocore reviews, but compariable games (looks great, great rental but isn't worth owning) get high scores. IMO if the game doesn't keep you coming back time and again, then it shouldn't be getting even an 8/10 irregardless of everything else.


Graphics should definitely count, but as already said, not as much as gameplay.
But the graphics of a game can most definitely affect the experience of the game, because we have a little something called immersion.
Of course, many things add up to immersion, but graphics can be a huge factor in this.
A game like Killzone 2 would be less immersive, if it had worse graphics.