Posted: May 30, 2007 (04:49 AM)
I don't normally talk about graphics. My reasoning is that they are not the be-all and end-all, and that even a graphically poor game can be a great experience. However, I am not naive enough to think that graphics don't play a part. There are pleny of people out there who are swayed by graphics more than any other aspect. To some gamers, a bad looking game is a bad game, period.
This is to understandable, as when you watch a demo, or somebody else playing, your first point of refernece is how the game looks. If the scenery is blocky, or if the model is poorly realised, this can lead to a negative impression. It is not until you get your hands on the controller that this impact is forgotten.
Looks are, therefore, important. Sony certainly thinks this, which is hwy they put so much stock in the target renders for Motorstorm. The fact that the game looks nowhere near as good as the trailers suggested is irrelevant. The fact that it is just another racing game is also irrelevant. The game has sold with pretty much every PS3. (Some might argue that this is because it is one of only 2 games worth buying, but that is a whole different issue.) How much of this is down to the looks is unknown, but they sure as hell sold some of the units.
Which brings me to Colin Mcrae : Dirt. I downloaded the demo from XBox Live Marketplace, and have had time to check it out. Now, I adored the first Mcrae game, but spent less time with each successive iteration. In fact, as driving game have gotten closer to realism, I have enjoyed them less. Dirt is different. Dirt hooked me. Know what did it?
Actually, it would be closer to the truth to say that the graphics hit my girlfriend. She looked up from Lord of the Rings Online with a statement of "Wow, those graphics are incredible!" To be honest, by this point all I had done was bounce around in the buggy thing, having a great time. I was actually more impressed by the AI that forced me off the track at a very opportune moment, and hadn't really had time to look at the background detail. So, I looked. I took it in. And, I was highly impressed.
I hated the demo of Forza 2. The detail did not impress me one bit, the fact that the gameplay was so sterile put me off. My girlfriend didn't even make it to the 2nd corner of the first track before she turned it off. This is hard without fun. Challenge has its' place, but neither I nor she are moved enough by the looks of that game to ever bother mastering it. I imagine Live races are going to be incredibly dull.
But, Dirt is wonderful. It is also hard, but the kind of hard that makes you want to get better. The three tracks featured each offer seperate challenges, and the buggy racing is joyous! The realism does not get in the way of the game at all. And, the stunning graphics are ... irrelevant?
I don't know for sure. This troubles me. I would like to think that had Dirt played identically, but had 50% less textures, that I would still have given it the same attention. But, I can not honestly say that is the case.
I thought back to the release of Need For Speed : Most Wanted, and how I desperately wanted to play that one. I realised that it was the graphics that made me want to. And then, I did some more thinking. And, I realised that since driving games all follow more or less identical mechanics, it is ONLY the graphics that differentiate between different series. Burnout is in a class of its' own. PGR uses 'Kudos', which is something that appeals to me. When kudos lost importance, I lost interest in the series. But, every driving simulation game relies on the same hooks.
The upshot is that I may or may not give Forza another go, but I will give Dirt the pleasure of £40 upon its' release. I haven't enjoyed a serious racer since PGR 2, and even then it was only early on. As soon as the game turned into 'drive supercars around the Nurburgring', I stopped caring. My 'mini only jaunts around Barcelona' filled out instantly whenever I hosted them, which tells me that more than a few players were of the same opinion.
The graphical bar has once again been raised, and realistic racers are suddenly back on my agenda. I was gobsmacked by Gran Turismo HD, and would love to get my hands on it. This from someone who never even looked at Gran Turismo 4!
Posted: May 30, 2007 (08:43 AM)
Posted: May 30, 2007 (09:37 AM)
It's too bad most of those games like like they'd be a drudgery to play, Sportsman.
I love a game with astounding graphics. But as you said, Lee, the gameplay does have to be there too. Great graphics contribute to enjoyable gameplay, but they aren't a substitute for it. There's nothing wrong with appreciating nice visuals, but those fade in time and then you're left with gameplay.
Posted: May 30, 2007 (10:52 AM)
Crysis is really shaping up to be the best looking game of all time, but the multiplayer footage I have seen so far is no better than Far Cry, to be honest. World in Conflict looks ridiculously good, though!
The laptop has DX10, but is not really powerful enough. I need more RAM and possibly a card upgrade before I put Vista onto my desktop, though. (3.2GHz Core Duo =], GeForce 6600 =], 512Mb =[ )
Posted: May 30, 2007 (06:40 PM)
I dunno about drudgery; Crysis is easily the most anticipated PC game, BioShock is a spin off to one of my favorite games of all time (System Shock 2), and Unreal Tournament 3 is the long awaited follow up to two of the best multiplayer games of all time.
Yeah I would upgrade that RAM to 2 gigs and get a new videocard for DirectX 10. The 8800GTS is a great card and can be found for around $260 (I know you don't live in the US, I'm just too lazy to figure out how to convert it) unless you want the 640mb version which runs at about $320.