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Do Better Graphics Always Make For A Better Experience?

The graphics debate always rages, especially when new, more powerful consoles hit the market.

There are those who will immediately say, "graphics don't matter" but quite frankly, those people are idiots. We're talking about an entertainment medium that relies heavily on the visual element at all times, so yeah, graphics matter. They just don't matter more than gameplay, which is the most important factor in any interactive experience.

The question is, do better graphics always make for a more immersive, more rewarding gaming experience? I guess if you approached the question logically, you could do this: Make a clone of any game on earth. Everything about each game is identical, with the exception of the graphics; one has a little better visual presentation overall. What sort of fool would take the one with the lesser graphics and pretend it doesn't matter?

But it's a little more complicated than that, isn't it? For instance, I love playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City every now and then. I just love the ambiance and atmosphere; I get a kick out of the '80s vibe. However, I would not want those old-fashioned graphics to be upgraded; for some reason, I think the game would lose a lot of its charm. Yes, some of that is nostalgia talking, but it's not all nostalgia. It's almost like that game was built for rag-doll physics and washed-out pastel colors.

Perhaps there are cases where lesser graphical quality actually contributes to the fun factor, huh? I dunno...I think I opened up Pandora's Box with this one. ;)

Tags: gaming industry, video games, game graphics, gaming culture

6/26/2014 10:08:22 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (27 posts)


Akuma_
Thursday, June 26, 2014 @ 10:33:34 PM
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Better experience? Yes. Because the term experience encompasses a wide range of things.

Will better graphics make the game more entertaining and enjoyable? Definitely not.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 26, 2014 @ 10:43:49 PM

The better graphics in FFX HD make it more enjoyable for me because I actually like to gawp at landscapes with nice textures and also character models.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, June 26, 2014 @ 10:44:47 PM

*Ignore my post, original poster deleted his comments and somehow it ended up here*

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 4:09:33 AM

The new soundtrack to the FFX HD Remaster was appalling though, most of the tracks lacked the punch of the originals and some were even out of tune... Also, I still think Yuna's character model looked worst than the older one. But over all I was content with FFX just getting my luck to 255 with all characters then ready to take on Penance :)

Also, nobody shall be throwing Final Fantasy VIII down a well. If there are to be any changes it would be to rename Final Fantasy XII as part of a another series. As it is nothing like FF.

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LimitedVertigo
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 10:03:38 AM

The FFX-HD OST is fantastic. We must have been listening to two different versions. FFVIII has one of the worst protagonist to ever grace a video game. FFXII has the 2nd best battle system (FFX being the best) in any FF game I've played and I've played all of them. It doesn't just deserve the Final Fantasy name but it belongs in the top 5.


I think this just shows two people can see a form of art in a completely different way.

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 12:52:57 PM

Really, I found the soundtrack to be appalling. Most of the songs lacked punch and the instruments just felt numb. Tidus' Theme actually begins out of tune. I was really let down byt the new soundtrack and I don't think I am being fussy as I thought The Kingdom Hearts HD revamp did an amazing job.

But yes, it is always interesting to hear different peoples opinions on FF, it's grande and varied now that you will always get some people who before a certain few over others. I for one believe Squall to be one of the best FF protagonists and his transition was wonderful to see - if anything that was the problem as he got all the attention and the other party members lacked depth.

My problem with XII is that it simply doesn't feel like a Final Fantasy. It feels closer to Dragon Age or The Tactics Orge games - which had many key members of them games involved with XII. The characters lacked depth and charisma, apart from Balthier who made the game slightly bearable. But the worst thing of all was pacing. The story was so slow, I found myself rushing through the games environments praying for some story advancement and it never came. The area in Bahumat was engaging, but it wasn't worth the 80 hour slog to get there. I didn't care for the MMO battle system or the license board either. It was just so really not like an FF game.

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LowKey
Saturday, June 28, 2014 @ 6:41:49 AM

L V, You are wrong. Squall would kick that little Emo cloud's butt any day. FF VII is the most overrated game ever. FFVIII was awesome.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, June 26, 2014 @ 10:34:58 PM

VII, Yes...VIII, throw it into the deepest well there is.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, June 26, 2014 @ 10:34:35 PM
Reply

It depends on the gamer. I'm more than okay with retro style/outdated visual games because I grew up with those visuals and I can identify with them. They remind me of some great gaming moments in my life. In regards to new releases as long as a game is free from bugs and other things that take me out of the gaming experience I can settle for less than spectacular visuals.

Gameplay > Visuals

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 26, 2014 @ 10:41:56 PM
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Depends on what is changed I guess, you can always snazz up what is there and I think that's always good but some things would just break.

If we got that FFVII remake and more realistic people were performing the same antics and saying the same things from the original script it'd be terrible.

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souljah92
Thursday, June 26, 2014 @ 11:32:19 PM
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I think for the most part if a developer takes the time to make awesome graphics then the game-play is right up there with it, and definitely makes for a better experience.

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Geobaldi
Thursday, June 26, 2014 @ 11:51:20 PM
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Frankly I don't really care how pretty c game may look. I look past graphics as they can't hide the fact that a game may be good or not. I look at the features of a game itself. What content is there. Story, gameplay elements, character progression, etc. The last thing I look at is the graphical element of a game. You can argue all you want, but graphics don't mean a thing if the game isn't any good. As far as I'm concerned, people that judge games based on the way they look are just idiots. Countless times I've laughed at people that scoff on games just because they didn't like the graphics of a game. Later on, a lot of them have come back to tell me just how wrong they were. Seems like the current generation of gamers is more concerned with pretty pixels, instead of substance.

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DIsmael85
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 12:03:26 AM
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I like to say that graphics matter just as much as gameplay. In this day and age the more artsy it looks combined with awesome gameplay is a win all around. I love old school style games, like Hotline Miami, however, I will take my Last of Us or Uncharted over it any day of the week.

Last edited by DIsmael85 on 6/27/2014 12:03:44 AM

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Corvo
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 12:49:13 AM
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Everything this gen can look exactly like TLOU, but with better ambiance effects, and that would make this gamer happier than anything. Games shouldn't rely solely on graphics to be a good game. That's like saying a woman can only rely on looking pretty to be successful.

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VampDeLeon
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 2:52:18 AM
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I liken graphics to how book covers are to readers. The visuals play an important part in persuading anyone to try it out. That's why in theory remakes of older games are exciting since it'll allow those who missed out/never heard of such game to actually play it without the ugly graphics turning them off, and those who played them to experience not only the nostalgia but being able to see how they were meant to be played without the limitations and the need for their imagination to see it past what it already looks like.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 5:15:36 PM

"I liken graphics to how book covers are to readers."

Not a very good comparison. You see the cover once; the entire experience is in your head. It's not visual at all, as opposed to games, which are the epitome of "visual."

The cover of a book is about the same as the box art for a game.

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 4:13:57 AM
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Graphics are not everything, I cant easily go back to an old game and enjoy it. That's not just nostalgia talking either. I went back to play Parasite Eve 1 for the first time not long ago as it was never released in the UK & I loved it! I now regard it as one of my favourite titles on PS1.

However, when we switch consoles, I do expect a certain standard to upgrade to and from what I have seen of the PS4 yet, it has not hit that mark. Most look like top tier PS3 games up-res'd. While the games will still be enjoyable, it makes me less enthusiastic to go out and buy a new console if the console fails to take the next step forward.

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slow and smart
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 6:47:47 AM
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when the gameplay etc is the same then better graphics is an nice extra.
[But some games have super graphics and the gameplay is not so good,i can not be happy with these games,because for me gameplay is what it is all about,for me that is the heart of a game]

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tlpn99
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 7:46:51 AM
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If Rockstar did an updated definitive edition of Vice City I'd buy it. I'd love them to do San Andreas, I really liked that game.

For me when I go back I seem to struggle with the driving mechanics of the game. Yes I got them both Vice City and San Andreas on my PS3. I know if they did an updated version of those games I'd buy them too.

I bought the definitive edition of Tomb Raider for my PS4 after I completed the PS3 version I traded it in. Guess I'll always buy an updated edition of a game as I want to play the best version there is.

Last edited by tlpn99 on 6/27/2014 7:50:37 AM

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Cideus
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 8:26:34 AM
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As long as the gameplay is good and has a deep progression system, graphics don't really matter to me.

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MRSUCCESS
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 9:53:57 AM
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The things that are most important are the following:

Story- (I don't want to play something that doesn't have meaning behind it unless it's Gran Turismo)

Gameplay - I don't have a lot of patience for terrible cameras, and gameplay mechanics that just don't make sense

graphics - Yes it's nice to see a beautiful landscape but it's not the most important part. It does make the whole experience better but let's take a look back at those games that looked terrible (in those times) but you still enjoyed.

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Harerazer
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 10:06:43 AM
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I'm of the "graphics don't matter" camp and i am certainly not an idiot. I am, however, a Real Gamer and not a fly by night, change with the weather game Player. I also have been gaming long before you knew what a control pad/stick was. Anyone ranking graphics above gameplay may be who you are referring to, Ben. You should make a note of that.

As for the article, you'll always get a "this is more important than that" answer but it should be qualified to make it viable. Minecraft lays to rest the argument about graphics being #1, period. Of course better graphics enhance the experience but if the game is poorly programmed then all the graphical magic in the world isn't going to make it fun to play. "Better" graphics will make any game better so the topic itself, as stated, is kind of pointless and sensationalistic. Whipped cream on shit is going to make the shit better but it's still shit.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 5:17:46 PM

Nobody ever said graphics are #1. I made it plain in the article that gameplay is the most important element.

And yeah, if you say "graphics don't matter," that means they don't matter at all...and yes, it means you're an idiot.

"I also have been gaming long before you knew what a control pad/stick was."

No, you really haven't, considering I was playing at the dawn of gaming.

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Crabba
Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 6:33:23 PM

Hmm.... first you say "I'm of the "graphics don't matter" camp" .... then "Of course better graphics enhance the experience"..

Which is it?? lol. Either it matters, or it doesn't matter.

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DIsmael85
Saturday, June 28, 2014 @ 7:57:16 AM

Oh snap! We got some epeens popping up. Playing since the Dawn of gaming? Playing before anyone knew what a pad/controller was? Wow, talk about being so egotistical about your hobby. Either you're super old and immature or you're just lying . Either way if you both have then you should know graphics are up there with gameplay considering since they dawn of gaming graphics have always been improving. I'm sure folks will dislike this post all day long, but the fact still remains, graphics always improve.

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glets86
Saturday, June 28, 2014 @ 6:19:46 PM
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It's not the graphics that's the sure thing! I have a 3DS XL and I enjoy games very much, not because of the graphics but the games are fun to play!

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Ather
Sunday, June 29, 2014 @ 5:20:27 PM
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Graphics are a key point of gameplay, but should not be the be all, end all of gaming. For some to say the Wii clearly sucks just because it didn't have HD is wrong. Hold the system to it's own merits. Hold a game the same way. How's the sound? The gameplay? Controls? Storylines? Focus too much on pretty little pictures, and you'll soon find horrible games that sure do look good. Because that's all people focused on. I'd rather sacrifice a bit in the graphics to get a fun experience with tight controls and immersive plot. If you're not careful, you'll get a Mega Man HD remake featuring extremely detailed graphics of some old geezer in spandex. But at least he'll look good in all his spandexed, wrinkled glory. Sure he'll now fire popcorn at his enemies instead of plasma, but at least you can enjoy seeing the butter on the popcorn. Who cares if it even makes sense. At least we've got superior pictures to look at.

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