Are Graphics Really That Important?

The birth of a new console generation usually comes along with a graphical leap. The comparison between Dead Rising and Dead Rising 3 is pretty big however the new console generation almost always means that innovation is set back a couple of years. The 8th generation of console developers seem so focused on using the increased processing power on making everything prettier. In doing so they ignore some key elements that should be their main target for improvement.

The first of these things that is more important than a better shadow count is the game’s frame rate. Many people will argue that the frame rate is a graphical asset the people who claim this would be wrong. Whilst frame rate is directly affected by the processing power of a machine’s graphics card and it’s CPU it doesn’t come under the same category. A bad frame-rate will directly influence how well a game can play whereas bad graphics will not. There are also people out there who claim that they can’t tell the difference between 30 frames per second and 60 frames per second. For a lot of games this is understandable since they are not designed around such a high refresh rate however games like Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance rely heavily upon having all 60 frames per second and if it dips too much then the player will become frustrated with their shortened window for reaction.

The next thing that should be focused on over graphical updates is the amount of objects displayed on the screen. Whilst this increase will usually be used for additional rocks, plant life or other cosmetic additions it’s rarely used to increase the amount of enemies or an increase in level size which is a shame since additional cosmetic objects will quickly blend into the background so as to not draw attention whereas an increased enemy count or level size will always be noticeable.

Then there’s physics, this is another asset that is usually used cosmetically and it’s easy to forget just how drastically a unique physics engine could change a game. Some obvious examples of this would be the Portal games as well as the Super Mario Galaxy games, both of which would be completely different if they hadn’t focused their efforts on the physics engine.

Despite all this talk of why graphics should be ignored in favour of things that can change the game play I still enjoy good graphics, when a game becomes beautiful instead of simply impressive I’m happy. However practicality trumps beauty any time.



  1. Diago says:

    So now that the Xbox one is showing an obvious 50 to 100% less power, this question turns up once more Whahaha

  2. kevin says:

    Game play, story are why I buy games .graphics are okay but for someone grew up playing since Panasonic & Atari console graphics have never been my determining factor.

    • jb223 says:

      I look for the same thing in games, but games like Uncharted illustrate that great graphics really help sell great stories. Part of that might be down to facial animations really selling scripts, another part is down to really making environments feel real. Graphics aren’t necessarily a determining factor to me, but I’d personally rather settle for great looking fully realized worlds & characters over faster paced gameplay & graphics.

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