Graphical Anomaly

I don’t particularly like public transport. Why? It means I have to spend time in busy buses/trams/trains, which I don’t like. I like to walk if I can. The Trafford Centre is a half hour walk from my house, or a 5 minute bus journey. I’d much rather walk. I save money, get exercise, and usually get to think. I’ve written songs, essays and various other things while walking. Now, that might just seem a random start for you, but most of this article was written on one of my walks. Well, planned. Whatever. The real reason I mention it is because I noticed something when I was walking and I overheard some people speaking. I can’t remember the full conversation, nor why I was listening in, but it was about how amazing the latest Need for Speed looks. Am I the only one who doesn’t care?

Now, you don’t need to take Need for Speed as the straight example. How many reviews/previews have you read that contain the phrase ‘and it looks amazing’? For chrissake, who actually really wants a massive graphical experience? Why the hell should we all go ‘Ooh shiny!’ like a bunch of schoolgirls noticing the arrogant pricks known as the PE students (What? I’m not bitter or anything). I don’t want a brilliant graphical experience. I don’t want another Crysis. Yes, it was inordinatly pretty, but how many people go it looking pretty AND running smoothly? Those overclocker druids had to redo their scales for it, since nothin was getting 30fps on it, and 30fps was their bare minimum.

A pretty scene yes, but how smooth was it?

Yes, near photo realism. Bet the person who took this spent thousands on their PC

It wasn’t even that amazing a game in my humble opinion (Complaints/Cheers to the usual place. I can’t say that yet can I? Ah well.  The comments below is what I meant). It had some interesting mechanics, but it was exactly the same thing over and over again. Drive down road, see village, destroy everyone, drive again. Yes it was fun, but tiresome after a while, and as soon as it got to the mountain, it got even worse. Why was it so bland? Because Crytek spent all their time working on making the Cry engine look pretty. If they’d mayhaps spent a little more time on those aliens, and less making trees, who knows what could’ve happened? Whats even worse is they spend all this time on pretty graphics, but a fair proportion struggle to see that.

Crysis on Low. Thats how I saw it, and probably how most other people did as well. (Pic taken from

Maybe this is all just backlash from the time before I built Julie (I named my PC. What of it?), and I couldn’t run anything interesting. Hell, I had a hard time running Dungeon Keeper 2, but still, I don’t like a big graphics shift, when they could spend the time optimising their engines and making sure it would always run smoothly. Yes, the higher graphics should look pretty, but I shouldn’t have to throw everything down to low and pray to Khorne with a sacrificial lamb in tow, just to get it running. Yes, it was a crap PC, and I never expected anything to run after the 20th crash, but even moving on to Julie now, Prototype has lags even on low. So we need to stop the graphics arms race now. Half Life looks amazing. On a machine nowhere near as good as this, but better than my original crock of rubbish, it ran smoothly on medium. So people need to stop making shiny things, and focus on gameplay. It worked back in the day of the point and click adventure games of the 90’s, so why can’t it work now?

Just my £6.46 on the subject.

    • Elfie
    • September 28th, 2009

    OI! I’m a PE STUDENT!!!

  1. I agree to an extent. Crysis was a crap game, and while it looked pretty (I had it on med/high) I didn’t really care because I was just feeling constantly disappointed. The graphics:fun ratio was definitely off.

    I’m not saying though that I can accept a game that looks crap – at the end of the day I think graphics play a big part in how immersive an experience can be, but by no means that a game needs to be photo realistic. Bioshock and Far Cry 2 are the best examples I can think of off the top of my head; they both look gorgeous but they also scale really well and run smooth. And as you said, the Source engine is brilliant for this.

    I think the big thing though is what better graphics enable in design. When developers have more to play with, the more they can experiment with art styles – Borderlands is a great example. It looks amazing and unique – and without graphical advances you just wouldn’t get that.

    So, I think what I’m saying is that, for me, stuff needs to look pretty because that’s what I expect from a modern game and it enables them to have their own style; but it shouldn’t require new hardware to do so.

    Nice article by the way – flows nicely, made me chuckle. Your images are broken though.

  2. Ah, the images ARE broken. I’ll spend some time sorting that out. The first one I stole from somewhere else so it might not like that.

    • Javaguy
    • September 29th, 2009

    Crysis wasn’t great. Nor was the aliasing, horrible mipmapping (YES I CARE D:) or dodgy, dodgy FPS. I stand by my slightly odd pronouncement that, overall, I found HL2 prettier. Sure, it had less of the whizzbang effects but it looked cleaner & ran faster.

    The new NFS DOES look nice, though. ^_^

  1. October 15th, 2009
  2. February 9th, 2010
  3. March 17th, 2010
    Trackback from : Favouritism « How to Play
  4. December 2nd, 2010
    Trackback from : Eon Gaming – Favouritism

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