Do Better Graphics Equal Better Games?

Progressing further into the future, brings with it many benefits. In the realm of video games, we’ve gotten prettier looking landscapes, more expansive virtual worlds, and higher frame rates to smoothly engage in chaotic action. I’ve already gone into detail about Sony’s new PS4 Pro. But basically, it’s a new system which aims to boost the visuals of already beautiful games by giving developers a more powerful box and 4K capabilities. But is all of this extra power actually pushing the art form of video games to places that we haven’t yet seen in the past? Furthermore, what’s even the point of refining graphics, if video games are still just recycling mechanics over and over again?

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It seems strange how so many people, including companies like Sony, continue to emphasise power and graphics. Sure the games are more appealing to the eye, but what would the PS4 Pro improve when it comes to me actually playing a game? If graphics truly were the thing that all people and developers wanted above all else, than the Order 1886 should’ve been a absolute hit and not the failure that it was.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has found themselves somewhat dissatisfied with the games that have come out during this current console generation. So far in the last three years or so, I have yet to play a new game that really impresses me on a scale other than visuals and graphics. When it comes to gameplay and narrative, I still feel as if many of these experiences could’ve been made on last generation tech. It’s a recurring problem that continues to stump me even now as I write these words.

Have you ever played a game and felt a sense of Déjà vu? Like you’ve already played something before, but now it just has a new coat of paint? This is what I feel games are starting to become. Although video games do look better nowadays, many are still heavily derivative of what has come before. 

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This entire issue came into my head as I was playing Mad Max around last year, and its stuck with me ever since. Mad Max is a game that combines the melee combat of Arkham Asylum, with the driving of Twisted Metal and Grand Theft Auto, and an open world that’s pretty reminiscent of Far Cry’s outpost and radio tower filled map. Basically, it was another open-world game that offered nothing new to the table. Even something that isn’t out yet like Days Gone, looks just like another generic third-person shooter with zombies.

However, the one thing that actually gets me excited for the future of this industry, is the prospect of virtual reality. While ideas may have started to run out in regards to normal genres in traditional gaming, VR presents a clean slate. It’s a chance to add some new fire into the medium, and I’m glad to see companies beginning to see value in this kind of technology in relation to entertainment. And VR is just one of the options, without mentioning the advent of augmented reality and stuff like the Microsoft HoloLens.

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So to finally sum up, do better graphics equal better games? No. But there’s also nothing wrong with great visuals and technical performance. In fact, all of this adds to games rather than detracts. Still, it’s worrying to see a brand like PlayStation create something that is supposed to be all about having more power, when the games themselves have other problems.

All forms of art come to a point where everything further on is just an iteration or an improvement. Whether or not we’ve truly hit that wall of creativity when it comes to gaming, is right now relatively unknown. But virtual reality and other innovations such as augmented reality, might just be the jolt to take video games one step further.

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5 thoughts on “Do Better Graphics Equal Better Games?

  1. Much as some people will say otherwise, we weren’t ready for this generation yet. Everyone always expects a huge leap in graphical fidelity, and we got it in some cases, but at the expense of frame rate and gaming experience. This, I suspect, is why these half way generation consoles are coming along now. This may have been the time when this generation should have started. The power to get the graphics is there, so more time could be spent on developing a solid gaming experience rather than faffing about trying to balance graphics and frame rate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gameplay and a good story will always be more important than graphics to me. VR has the potential to put us in the games on a whole other level. Once VR is perfected, I’m not sure if there is any significant advances that can be made for game graphics.

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  3. You know, you’re right. Graphics don’t blow me away like they did before. I used to feel a sense of awe at incredible graphics, but now it’s unique storylines and gameplay that leaves me with a lasting impression. I guess that’s why games like Mad Max, Killzone Shadow Fall, and The Order 1886 were so boring to me. Once I started to gloss over the pretty coat of paint, I saw those games for what they really were.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post. Better graphics definitely don’t make a game better, but it does help the average consumer to a little less critical of the title. It’s a sad truth, but one that seems to drive much of AAA game development today.

    Liked by 1 person

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