Posted March 1, 2016 by Dawid Venter in Feature

Just how important are jaw-dropping graphics in a game?


By now you would have heard the saying, “Graphics does not make a good game” numerous times in your life. It’s a saying that holds a lot of truth. Star Wars Battlefront anyone? Graphics really does not make a good game, but when the gameplay matches the graphics there’s very little in this industry that’s more satisfying.

Several weeks ago I completed the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection. Throughout my experience I could not help but note how well it had aged. Surely it had been improved for the remastered version of each title, but it had a recipe that very few games get right. It plays exceptional well, has a well-written story and dialogue, great use of sound and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Most of you will know by now that I have some form of love for retro games, so graphics don’t really bother me all that much, but I could not stop looking at all the detail in the game. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is nearly 10 years old and the remastered version looks better than several current gen games I’ve played on PS4. It’s a testament to the power of the PS3, for those few developers who could squeeze everything out of it.


This was once a PS3 game? How?

I’d then play a game like Gunstar Heroes on the SEGA Megadrive. It launched towards the end of the Megadrive era and pushed the little console to its limits. There were bits of 3D environments here and there and never do you see any form of slow-down with all the co-op action going on. Playing it these days will still have your eyes eating the visuals up for breakfast. It’s another game that gets the balance just right. F-Zero on the Gamecube is another example of a game experience being improved via some fantastic graphics.

Now, imagine for a moment that the Uncharted series, Gunstar Heroes and whatever else looked like a dogs breakfast, but played beautifully – would you be interested? Very likely not. There’s proof of this. Look at Indie games. Most Indie games are made up of brilliant gameplay mechanics, as it’s generally got little else going for it. Yes, you get the Ori and the Blind Forest‘s of the world, but the smaller companies can’t afford spending a huge budget to make something look anywhere near as good as most AAA games. Creating beautiful graphics takes a team or artists and designers, and that does not come cheap.

Ori and the Blind Forest

An Indie game with a bigger budget makes your eyes happy

I’d love to say that I don’t care about graphics. It would be a blatant lie. If there’s something that’s playable and makes my eyeballs melt with its beauty I’ll definitely be more keen to play it. If you’re in denial and believe that graphics don’t matter then why do you upgrade your PC or console? It matters. It’s what sets this generation apart from the previous one and brings life-like images to life.

Just how important are jaw-dropping graphics in a game? It’s definitely important. Yes, I’d much rather tone down the graphics a bit for an improved gameplay experience, but match the gameplay with outstanding graphics and there’s very little in this games industry that gets as exciting. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Rise of the Tomb Raider and the upcoming Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End are prime examples of current generation games getting it right. VR is the next medium to provide the pleasure your eyes desire, it’s just that it comes at a price (literally). Sometimes, just sometimes, the graphics can wait.

Dawid Venter

Married to a gamer wife who kicks my ass at most shooters. If it's got analogue thingies, with buttons that's connected to a big box I'll play it no matter the format.