So I’ve been having this debate with many people late, hardcore gamers, casual gamers and non-gamers and it’s all given very different results. How good do graphics need to be? How much more do we need to advance them? When they did the test animations for Finding Nemo, the originals were deemed too realistic and the animators were told to tone it down. And that is how I feel the trend is going to eventually go down, at what point is it too much?
I look at the gaming generations and each generation has had a significant jump in visual quality, especially from the 4th generation to the 5th (16-Bit SNES to 32-Bit PlayStation). It was the first generation that brought in 3D graphics which made an attempted to be realistic (Granted now painfully dated, but back then our minds were blown!) and we didn’t think it could get any better, but it did more and more! But from the 7th to 8thgeneration (PS3 era to the current era of PS4) there really hasn’t been a noticeable change.
When I got my PS4, it was an underwhelming moment since during the early stages, most of the games that were released on the PS4 were still being released simultaneously with PS3. While it was an underwhelming experience, it also made me think…are graphics really that important anymore?
As we progressed throughout gaming, graphics were always a big factor of the overall appeal to gaming and we always were excited to see how different our favorite characters were going to look! For example, Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid and Lara Croft from Tomb Raider have advanced significantly throughout the consoles. However, from the 7th and 8th generation, there really hasn’t been that much of a change.
But then it brings in another thought, while the visual quality hasn’t changed much, the quantity has. We’re seeing levels bigger than ever, more true to real life than ever and maybe that’s where the graphical advancements are going.
What’s even more strange, a lot of games are now including a retro mode, where the games are showing a 16-bit SNES visual style, because why not! It’s fun, it’s cool to look at and brings back some old nostalgic memories. The best part, those games are a ton of fun, they focus on substance and gameplay which in the end that’s what gaming is!
One series that has the major focus on the graphics is Call Of Duty, when Modern Warfare came out, we were all blown away by the visuals of that game and at the time was revolutionary gameplay. However, as COD has advanced, it really has become just cut and paste, with the exact same gameplay style and very little substance. The same goes for the EA Spots games, but that’s a whole different bag of shit!
In the end, graphics do matter in gaming, we’d all be completely lying if I said it didn’t. I feel that the visual style of Injustice 2 is where the visualisation of gaming should cap at. At least for now, we don’t need focus too much on the visual quality and advance it anymore. When do we stop? Is it when the game is difficult to distinguish from game to real life? It’s not a game anymore, it’s just a simulator.