Nowadays, when hearing people saying how wonderful a game is they talk about the graphics. Too many times have I heard “It’s got really good graphics, you should buy it!” I am myself guilty of thinking a game would be awesome just by looking at screenshots. But often there have been games that, after all the technical hype, have disappointed.
For example, Tomb Raider: Underworld was one of the games that got me excited and heady. It promised to be free roam and the player would be able to see the famous heroine Lara Croft getting dirty, wet from rain and scratched by branches etc. Crystal Dynamics promised the next generation of Tomb Raider, and I was drooling. I was let down. Not only was it not free roam- yes the maps were large and wonderfully vibrant- but it was terribly short. The plot was unimaginative and hardly complex despite some surprises. It took a little less than eight hours to complete, and this was even after I explored every landscape extensively.
The graphics were high-quality but the storyline suffered. It was not the old Tomb Raider with its blocky landscapes that I had grown to love. The levels then were much longer and had many sections; it took days/weeks to complete rather than mere hours. The first Lara was only 230 polygons rather than the 9800 in Underworld.
Would you rather have a game with mind-blowing graphics with a boring, predictable storyline, or ‘blockiness’ and a plot that gets you extremely engaged? Perfect Dark has just been re-released on the 360 marketplace after being originally for sale in 2000, and is just as popular now as it was then, if not more so.
To be fair, the gaming market is extremely competitive nowadays: every game trying to outdo each other and promise a more amazing experience. Avatar: The Game is proof that technology is moving far too fast, with a 3D game. Because of this, Ubisoft produced a game that was visually advanced but became surrounded by negative reviews and feedback, and the main gripe? The game play and story were bad.
However, a game that proves you can have outstanding graphics and a storyline worth playing is Uncharted. Uncharted is the game that stands out in my mind as being both a treat for the eyes and a worthy plot. The characters were motion captured so the movements were realistic. The landscapes are perfect, and Nathan Drake’s jeans get wet when he walks through water- they worked hard on every detail and the game has been very popular in response. Call of Duty is another set of games that can both deliver quality graphics and storylines where others have fallen short. There is no doubt that both fields can be well-considered on a game.
So, my main argument is: I think people are focusing too much on the polygon count these days and expecting far too much. Consoles have evolved rapidly in the last few years and the games are finding it hard to keep up. Shouldn’t we learn to be patient and appreciate what we have at the moment and not wait for the next generation, because who knows if it’s going to be any better?
That’s why I still have my old Xbox and Game Boy color and plan to keep them, because the old games never seem to grow old. That’s my opinion anyway.