Wait, So Consoles Are All About Graphics And Not Gameplay Now?
It’s weird, this is one of those times when I feel really old because I was around and remember all of this, only it wasn’t actually that long ago. Perhaps you remember it too. The PlayStation 3 released to the world and its fans spent many forum threads, news articles and 4chan boards defending the fact that multiplatform titles on Sony’s console looked graphically inferior by saying that it wasn’t graphics that mattered but gameplay.
Of course, we all know that the real reason they said that was because they couldn’t actually argue the subjective merits of the games looking objectively worse on PS3 because, well, they couldn’t, but we hopefully all know now that it was just because developers needed some time and exposure with the PS3’s underlying technology in order to fully take advantage of it and once they had, games started to even out and at times even look better on the console.
Not that it mattered, according to the PS3 faithful, because again what mattered more was the way the game played and how it felt with a PS3 controller.
Only, now I hear the PS4 faithful (perhaps not to be confused with the PS3 faithful?) going on about how much more superior the PS4 looks, graphically. And I see these comparisons — tangible and objectively sound though they are — and go, “But wasn’t it you guys who once said that graphics don’t matter?” What gives?
We as gamers exist in a microcosm of society where if you’re good at something then you get flak for it and if you’re bad at something then you still get flak for it. Likewise, a game the likes of Watch_Dogs will release and look absolutely amazing at first which will cause gamers to caution restraint and then later on when it starts to look less impressive because realistic expectations force graphical downgrades, we start to hate on it and compare it to Aliens: Colonial Marines.
Excuse me, what?
Aliens: Colonial Marines looked great all the way until the review copies for the game were released. And the embargo for it only dropped on release day so that was our first real warning about it. On release day. We had no way of knowing how graphically inferior it was prior to that and therefore our expectations of the game were justified insofar as, we were shown a product and told we would get that product, but what we got was something less than the final product.
With Watch_Dogs (yes, it has an underscore, get it right) what we see is a game that blew the world away initially and is now getting hated on because it doesn’t look as good as it initially did, or: Everyone failed to manage their expectations of the game adequately. Come on, you didn’t seriously expect that the game would look that good upon release, did you? Surely not. I’m not going to rehash all of the points made excellently here but I do want to state that because a game looked good initially, that doesn’t mean it is always the way of things.
Or have you never been in a relationship where bad days existed?
It’s for that reason that I find a lot of this debate surrounding graphics to be entirely superfluous. 720p, 1080p, 30FPS, 60FPS, all of it just won’t matter in a year or two from today. So why are we breaking our heads over it now? Why aren’t we thinking long term? Are we just incapable of seeing anything more than a few months into the future?
Think about it. Because as I’ve said in a few of my recent articles, if the PS3 was condemned for its early failings then a lot of us would have missed out on some truly great games and the PS4 in its current guise might never have existed. Developers just need some time to wrap their heads around these new consoles, so let’s afford them that time and in a year or so from today, if they’re still doing this, then by all means go for the jugular. Right now, it’s early days and if you really cared that much about 1080p then you should have used that console money to upgrade your PC or something.
As for the rest of us… well, I really want to get my hands on an Xbox One. For one, I love the Kinect functionality and really enjoy the voice and motion controls. For two, the controller on the Xbox One is my new holy grail of gaming. And for three, I’ve fallen in love with the entire dashboard of the Xbox One and how seamless it all is. I just love it. Know what I don’t care about? 720p. Why? Because I will never have a direct comparison in front of me so I will never actually know — and therefore care about — the difference. As long as it’s not completely obvious, of course.
So, console gamers. Tell us again how much you don’t care about graphics because it’s all about the gameplay, while simultaneously complaining that every game releasing isn’t at the full 1080p and Watch_Dogs is a piece of shit because it lied to you. Go on.