: Ben's Week In Review: April 14

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Ben's Week In Review: April 14

It's already mid-April. ...is everyone aware that the PlayStation 4 should be here in only 7 or 8 months? Hard to fathom, really.

Here's your problem, Crytek

When I read Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli's comments concerning graphics superseding gameplay, I wasn't surprised. I don't think anyone who follows industry news was surprised. The popular Crysis series is often in the headlines, so we're all used to Yerli's statements concerning graphics by now. And the reason for that is because he doesn't ever talk about anything else. Yes, I'm aware he probably addresses a lot of other topics during interviews, and it's partly the media's fault for always turning his graphics-related comments into headlines. But can you blame the journalists when Yerli is always saying the new Crysis will be the best-looking game ever created in history? If you check the records, he has said that with every last franchise installment.

And when he says that the visual presentation is important, and that immersion is largely reliant upon a believable atmosphere, he isn't wrong. What's wrong is his "graphics are 60% of a game" comment. His problem and his studio's problem has always been the same- They really do put a premium on graphics and as such, it's almost always evident that - at least in some small capacity - the gameplay takes a backseat to the visuals. Crysis 3 is a perfect example. If "graphics drive gameplay," Cevat, why did the vast majority of critics and gamers consider your latest title to be a step back? I'd love an explanation for that.

This is an interactive entertainment medium. This will always, always mean that gameplay is by far the most critical element.

A couple franchises we may never see again...

I've been thinking about one every since it flopped: Duke Nukem Forever. It was just nominated for Japan's "Sh** Game of the Year, and that's because it was an absolute travesty. The question now is whether or not Duke will ever return...who out there is willing to try to rejuvenate the series, which has basically failed? Growing up with Duke Nukem, it's difficult to picture an industry when we're not at least talking about a new game. Yeah, we spent 13 years talking about one without ever actually seeing it, but it was still a part of the industry, wasn't it? Another series I really used to like was Red Faction; the original on the PS2 is still one of my favorite games of all time. This is one instance where I think the franchise should've remained an FPS. Yes, Guerrilla was good but I honestly think an updated FPS with that GeoMod (environment destruction) technology would be great.

But it seems inevitable that most publishers will see Red Faction as a dead IP, especially after several failed attempts from a financial standpoint. It also didn't help that critics weren't wholeheartedly backing a few of those games. I just wish the series hadn't fallen; it had a ton of potential and every once in a while, I get the urge to play the original again (as outdated as it would seem by today's standards).

Personal gaming update

I'm savoring every minute of Bioshock Infinite, and then I'll restart Tomb Raider and play it all the way through. That's a game I would also like to savor, and I didn't really get the chance when I reviewed it. My girlfriend and I are closing in on the end of the co-op campaign in Portal 2, which is cool, and I'm sorta looking forward to trying out Dead Island Riptide. The first one didn't really do it for me but I'm hoping the sequel will represent a significant step forward. Oh, and I should also be trying to put up a Guacamelee! review at some point this week, if I can get to it. I've heard good things about that one. :)

I almost picked up Halo 4 again because I feel bad that I got so close to finishing it, and I've completed every other Halo. The problem is that I get pissed the instant I start to think about it; it's just hard for me to forgive such a blatant flaw. Saving in a spot that results in no options and immediate death? Please. I'd much rather keep playing Infinite.

4/13/2013 Ben Dutka

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Comments (22 posts)

Lawless SXE
Saturday, April 13, 2013 @ 11:02:22 PM
Reply

G'day PSXE!

It's been a long time and I felt about due to check in and let you all know that I'm still alive. I would have done so last week, but had some log-in issues. Thanks again to Ben for helping me to sort those out.

I honestly think that Yerli is a tw@. Sure graphics are important, but his assertions that they are the most important thing in a game, or that they're capable of driving gameplay are ludicrous. It's the technology and ideas behind the games that do it, not how pretty the game is. I mean... I still think that XCOM was easily one of the best games of last year and it was not a visual wowser.

While I'm here, I just want to say that I'm actually impressed by the PS4, but not likely to pick one up within a reasonable time after launch until there are some huge announcements waiting in the wings. I'm really only excited for Knack on the device at the moment. I've never really liked KZ, inFamous is one of my favourite franchises, but I'm not sure about SS and DriveClub... weeeeell, yeah. Besides that, most of what else has been announced is also going to be available on the PS3 and unless there is a huge quality gulf, in terms of the gameplay, AI, etc and not just visuals, I see no reason to make the jump until something truly impressive and "next-gen" comes along.

Personal Update:
I've been on the road now for two and half months -ish. I've travelled through Outback Queensland and am pulled up in a bloody cold little farming town.
Not playing many games, sadly, but reading and writing a lot more. Can't really note all of the books I've read so far as there's been around a dozen, but I'm currently on Tandia by Bryce Courtenay. Not far into yet, but quite enjoying it. Really makes one realise why Courtenay was seen as one of Australia's foremost living authors until his death last year...
As for my writing, I've done at least four times as much since leaving home as I did in the two months prior and the basic narrative planning is complete for the first time. Makes for a massive relief to have the entire idea down on paper. Unfortunately, progress has now stalled as I've been forced to pull up and work in order to replenish my funds. Let me tell you, picking apples six days a week, eleven hours is not fun, but so be it.
I'm still enjoying myself. Cruised down to Dubbo (a 700km journey) yesterday to see Triple J's One Night Stand and that was fantastic! Just really loving life at the moment.
Anyways, I'm about to run out of internet time so I'll cap it off there and get back to you all at some point in the hopefully not-too-far future.
Peace.

P.S. Congrats to all the new contributors to the site, I'm already loving seeing the new perspectives, even if it isn't nearly as abundant yet as I'm sure it will be in the weeks and months to come. Although I must admit that I'm a bit miffed at Ben for waiting until I'm 2000km from home before putting out the call. I would have loved to have had the chance to write for PSX. By the way, if you feel as though you need even more people to help you out, could you wait until about October, as I'm planning that to be when I get home :D

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 1:34:51 AM

Welcome, adventurer!

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Dukemz_UK
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 5:55:49 AM

Welcome back Lawless

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Beamboom
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 9:46:53 AM

Great to hear from you again old buddy - now enjoy your next months too, and Live Life!

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Simcoe
Monday, April 15, 2013 @ 9:32:45 AM

Thanks for the update, Lawless! Now if we could only get some kind of update from Bikersaint....

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Wrote
Saturday, April 13, 2013 @ 11:57:54 PM
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That crytek comment got me thinking how much graphics actually matter, and I realise they really don't, my favorite games of all time would still be my favorite if they looked worse, and a lot of said favorite games look great because of a great art style. I'd say its 30% graphics 40% gameplay 30% story and everything else. Or maybe graphics even less cuz I'm here for the gameplay.

Pgu: been playing deus ex hr, and I didn't like it at first but its now super addicting my only problems is that stealth isn't as easy as I'd hoped being the mgs fan I am. Its super awesome though.

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Wrote
Saturday, April 13, 2013 @ 11:57:57 PM
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That crytek comment got me thinking how much graphics actually matter, and I realise they really don't, my favorite games of all time would still be my favorite if they looked worse, and a lot of said favorite games look great because of a great art style. I'd say its 30% graphics 40% gameplay 30% story and everything else. Or maybe graphics even less cuz I'm here for the gameplay.

Pgu: been playing deus ex hr, and I didn't like it at first but its now super addicting my only problems is that stealth isn't as easy as I'd hoped being the mgs fan I am. Its super awesome though.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 1:43:36 AM
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Here's my theory: Gearbox thought they could be the ones to bring Duke back to life so they bought the rights. However, a bunch of piecemeal, unpolished work also landed in their laps.

They didn't know if a full Duke game after all these years would actually garner much interest so they decided to pack up all those pieces of the game made over the years into what barely amounts to a cohesive game and sell it on that infamous name as both an experiment to test the Duke name in the market and to profit to make some bank to be put into getting their own Duke game off the ground.

No one put that game out thinking it could be well-reviewed, and they said they got it because they wanted to make their own game. Hope I'm right. Who wouldn't give Duke a second chance if Gearbox signaled they would take another one seriously, even the ad campaign could make fun of DNF to win people back.

The fact that it sold 2 million copies would suggest any such experiment was a success for very little actual work (stitching the game together).

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/14/2013 1:44:51 AM

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Rogueagent01
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 3:18:07 AM
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People like Yerli scare me, I feel he is the European equivilant of Wada. Graphics in certain games are very important, but others don't need to go down that road because they excel at the other aspects of the games that make most of us consumers happy i.e. gameplay & story. If he gets his head out of the clouds then Crytek might actually make what I consider a top notch shooter, till then they'll be coasters on my table.

PGU: Playing Dust514 till I hit the SP cap and then working slowly on Yakuza 4, Rainbow Moon, Dragon Age 2, and several others in my backlog. Just got around to Dante's Inferno and have to say I thought it would be better. The story is good, it is just the horrible targeting system that keeps me from finishing it.

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Dukemz_UK
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 6:55:09 AM
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Graphics aren't as important as gameplay, story, characters and atmosphere.
Some examples: Game of the Year for many in 2012 was The Walking Dead: it had average graphics, even simplified gameplay, but a captivating story and characters. I and others on this site preferred Uncharted 2 over 3, because even though 3 had better graphics and improved technical gameplay, 2 had a more gripping storyline, and introduced characters we sympathised and identified with.

I certainly hope someone gives Duke a proper "bells and whistles" goodbye. A gaming icon like him deserves it.

@Ben: I've experienced the dreaded instant kill respawn save point before in a FPS. My only option was to restart the level.

PGU: While the kids were on Easter holidays here in the UK, been playing age appropriate games with them, like Move games, the Pixeljunk series which they love and Lego videogames. I've swopped the kid's games for Sleeping Dogs and House of the Dead with Move (OTT but great fun). Also got the wife to tackle The Walking Dead (Telltale version) as she loves the tv series

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duomaxwell007
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 9:25:00 AM
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sooo hows defiance going? >.>

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___________
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 9:29:41 AM
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so freaking bored lately theres nothing to play!
everythings pretty sh*t like the recent walking dead, or army of two, or really boring and repetitive like GOW ascension and judgement.
and its not exactly looking up from here, we got dead island riptide which its predecessor re wrote the rule book on repetitive boring fetch missions!
really nothing interesting and half decent releasing till june with remember me and the last of us!
sigh.

trying to relieve my boredom by revisiting NFS most wanted but theres only so much you can play that game till it gets boring.
and really depressing, just reminds me how much i want, no need, a new burnout game!
so disappointed by leggo undercover as well, man ninty SERIOUSLY needs to start cracking down on developers and saying no sorry this sh* t is NOT acceptable!
otherwise there really going to struggle competing especially when next gen systems release!
leggo undercover was suppose to be one of the flagship titles for the wiiu, and its even more basic, repetitive and boring than the other leggo titles!
thats like saying someones created something more bland than celery, i mean its IMPOSSIBLE!
no fighting what so ever, just hit x and the enemies fall down and you arrest them.
oh joy how FUN!
christ, in what world would that be considered a acceptable combat system?
seriously, what the hell!?
ninty, you really need to step up your standards 10 fold otherwise you can kiss your a$$ bye bye!
one of this industries creators, no make that 2, have already gone bye bye!
so please dont let it be 3 from 3!
atari?
dead!
SEGA?
..... might as well be!
please dont make it 3 from 3.......

oh how the great have fallen!
first companies like lucas arts, $ony liverpool, zipper entertainment, THQ, ninty, SEGA, atari, crapcom, $E, antivision.
to famous beloved franchises like duke nukem, red faction, ratchet and clank, the getaway, grand theft auto, gran turismo, SOCOM.
christ, almost becoming a law if something has its roots steeped in history, its guaranteed to fail!


Last edited by ___________ on 4/14/2013 9:38:51 AM

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Beamboom
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 10:04:37 AM
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My "gaming headliner" from last week is that I actually tried Minecraft. Yay me!

Up until last week I've only just seen it in videos on the internet, watched my son playing it and so forth, but never actually played it myself. In my narrow-minded, prejudiced gamer head it just didn't look any fun.

But I gotta say: I get it. I understand why it is this huge success.
Never before have I touched a game that to *this* extent just needs to be hands-on played in order to understand it.

It is fascinatingly fun to be able to affect the surroundings to this extent, and the graphics and "bricky nature" of the game actually is to the games advantage: Everything is bricks - period - so your own artistic abilities are not that challenged. It's like making stuff in Lego. It doesn't matter if it looks a bit rough on the edges(!) cause *everything* is rough and bricky. So it kinda makes everything look better, if that made any sense. We can all be creators in Minecraft - and *that* is a fantastic sensation.

So yeah, testing Minecraft has really opened my eyes on how insanely important game design is.
It made me realize that good games are *not* dependent on graphics - graphics is more used as an effective way of camouflaging mediocre games.

I'm definitely a "late bloomer" when it comes to the Minecraft craze, but I can easily see myself play this game a lot more.


Last edited by Beamboom on 4/14/2013 10:18:16 AM

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xenris
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 10:23:39 AM

You should try terarria. I like minecraft but Terarria just was so much better for me.

I think you would like it because there is more stuff to do. Lots of armor sets to collect, rare weapons to craft and find, and even boss fights.

It kind of has more RPG elements than minecraft which is probably why I like it. It is also 2D and looks great :)

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Beamboom
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 12:55:22 PM

Hmm I've read about that game, I believe the guys over at the PSXE forums are excited about that game too.

Well, after this I'll sure not judge a book by its cover any more!

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SirLoin of Beef
Monday, April 15, 2013 @ 6:51:07 AM

I got into Minecraft later too, Beamboom, so I know exactly where you're coming from. I heard about it from a lot of friends who played it but the graphics really turned me off.

Then I played it.

Now I can't stop playing it! It definitely is a proof that solid, fun gameplay trumps graphics.

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Solid Fantasy
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 11:07:56 AM
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I wonder how Yerli felt when the MGSV or Ground Zeros trailer was released. Those graphics were pushing photo realism and as good as MGS's graphics have always been they have been third to gameplay and story.

PGU: Metal Gear Rising might be the most challenging game I have ever played! I refuse to dull it down to easy though.
And Skyrim might be more addictive than cocaine.
And oh how I wish we could get the old school cheats on the Twisted Metal reboot.

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Solid Fantasy
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 1:45:46 PM

Also, here's a fun fact: best I can tell Nvidia does not support the Sony 24" 3D TV. Not sure why this is even an issue, but so much for any 3d PC gameing.

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Beamboom
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 2:56:14 PM

Oh no, what a bummer. :(
I wonder why that is an issue too. Incompatible tech sucks!

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Akuma07
Monday, April 15, 2013 @ 1:32:08 AM

Enjoy Revengeance difficulty :)

That game was the most satisfying Platinum trophy I have ever got.

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Hand_of_Sorrow
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 6:16:34 PM
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pgu: i'm getting tired of playing shooters, go here, shoot bad guys,
go over there, shoot more bad. i picked up, sniper elite v2 thinking
it would be a change of pace, but its not really.

can'nt wait until gta v and the last of us arrives.

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Akuma07
Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ 10:17:59 PM
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Bought Bioshock Infinite over the weekend.

Starting to realise that I am getting over FPS games.

I am not that thrilled with BI just yet, I played for an hour till I got bored and went back to watching Game of Thrones.

The fact that I haven't even touched Black Ops 2 single player campaign yet also kind of tells me that. Even though I platinumed every single Modern Warfare on the ps3.

The graphics in BI look really dated, and uninspiring to me. I kind of wish I bought it on the PC now.

So I now believe, graphics do matter, to some people. Clearly I am at the point in this generation where the graphics aren't cutting it for me sometimes. Metal Gear Rising was an awesome game, I loved every bit of it. Were the graphics amazing? Or were the graphics just good enough for me to focus solely on the gameplay? At the same time though, the graphics in Black Ops 2 are completely crap, in comparison to other games, but yet I sink countless hours into the Multiplayer.


Last edited by Akuma07 on 4/14/2013 10:19:54 PM

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