Graphics and gameplay are two important factors which go together in making a masterpiece of a game. If one is really good, and the other is lacking, the game will be incomplete. Hence both should go side by side, but unfortunately, they don’t.
With each generation of gaming we have seen graphics step up a notch. This generation was no exception. With the introduction of High Definition consoles, which pushed graphics to the limits, we have observed increased in graphical prowess, but a decreased focus on gameplay.
Fan wars broke out between the Xbox and PlayStation fanboys regarding which had better graphics, and these are still going on. But in this battle of graphical supremacy, another important factor of videogames lost its appeal. Gameplay.
At the end of the day, the reason we play games is to have fun. Graphics are something which aid in providing fun by stimulating our vision, but if the gameplay of a game is crap, the game will also not be considered worth playing.
Gameplay is a factor which always should dominate, and graphics should complement it. Developers have always attempted to make graphics better with each game they produce. But this mindset has run amuck this generation.
In the 6th generation of gaming we have seen various games which were not only visually compelling, but also had gameplay which made those games magical. Shadow of Colossus, Super Smash Bros. Melee, the Original Halo, and Final Fantasy X are some games which come to mind. These games were not only visually beautiful, but offered memorable gameplay. On the hand-held front, we had games such as LocoRoco, The World Ends With You, Patapon etc which may not have had breathtaking graphics, but had gameplay which we loved.
Fast forward to this generation, and we will see a ton of games which are visually excellent, but gameplay wise are either boring, or are just games which are the same as their predecessor, but with better graphics. Rage and Final Fantasy XIII are games which had top-notch graphics, but gameplay wise did not really appeal.
This shows that the developers are shifting their tendency toward graphics and lowering their focus from gameplay.
The Wii is a perfect example of how gameplay triumphs all.
We are not saying that we should not develop in the graphics department; we are saying that graphics and gameplay should go side by side. Super Mario Galaxy is a perfect example of such a merger LA Noire is also a game which offered not only fantastic graphics, but also unique and intriguing gameplay.
Many PC elitist will say stuff like, “PC gaming is where it’s at”, or “Consoles are holding down this generation of graphics”, and this type of mentality is what is fueling the developers to produce games which are all visuals and no substance.
Just recently, Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinsk said that he wanted next generation consoles to have graphics to melt your face. This type of desire is understandable, as we all like a visual improvement when we buy a new console, but this should not happen at the cost of gameplay.
Stats are showing steady drops in the sales of hardware as well as videogame software. This can be for many reasons, but we think this may be due to the fact the games are following patterns which do not offer gamers anything new to do.
Graphics Vs Gameplay. We think that they should complement each other and that developers should develop innovative ideas so that we can play in new ways. This will not only keep us gamers happy, but also attract new people to the gaming world. What is your say? Do you think that modern gaming is headed in the right direction, or does it need changes?