Many gamers, even to this day, believe that a game is what it looks like. Everytime there’s a discussion about one game being better than the other, the first thing that the loyal fans throw at their opponents is that the game has “splendid” graphics. But is graphics everything? Is the gameplay mechanics totally unaccounted for?
The notion seems to be slowly dissolving, because of gamers being exposed to brilliant titles such as Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet 2 – which places almost nil emphasis on the way it looks. The driving point for the game is how it plays. But on the other hand, as much as I would like to restate my above point, there are examples the prove that the notion is still held strong by many gamers.
Case in point: Crysis 2. A graphical work of art, the game was hotly anticipated. Upon release, hardcore PC gamers found out that the fact that the game had to look even on all platforms limited Crytek from making it look better than it could have. So clearly, they are worried about how it looks, not about how it plays! They are perfectly willing to excuse the AI flaws and what not, if they are compensated with breath-taking graphics. Yes, AI – messed up. Have a look:
It is abundantly clear that there are some serious issues with the game’s AI. If you look into the past a little, you’d realize how Guerrilla Games’ PS3-exclusive shooter Killzone 2 was praised for its AI-brilliance ( coupled with its graphical excellence ). So did the guys at Crytek merely overlook this aspect of the game? It looks like they did. It also looks like all they were aiming for was raising the graphical bar – which they did; and kudos to them!
But then again, there are plenty of titles which have a stellar combination of gameplay and graphics, which set them in a totally different league. Case in point: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Uncharted 2 was one game that totally took the gaming world by storm, going on to win the 2009 GOTY award – which is the Oscars of the video gaming industry.
So in a way, today’s gamers are flocking to the best graphical titles, all the while supporting the other more innovative ones. In conclusion, and – as far as I can see into the near future: graphics > gameplay.