Blog: Graphics > Gameplay or Gameplay > Graphics?

By on April 4, 2011

I go for the second one.

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First Impressions
My reaction is
“Ouch…OUch…OUCH!” – those were my only reactions when a few days back, I loaded N4G and saw that the top stories were dominated by critics, fanboys, bloggers and upholders of the visual craft ripping Crytek a whole new one.

Wow. All that hatred, negativity, abuse and back lash because the company failed to implement DirectX 11 on their game?

Present me one story that had Crytek say that Crysis 2 will feature DX11. One story.

But it’s based on CryEngine 3, it’s gotta have DX11, man! Well, yes. Ideally, it should. In fact, asap. But the whole backlash revolved around how Crytek failed to deliver on their promise. What promise? As far as I know, Crytek had only promised a visually spectacular game on the consoles, and to some extent, they have delievered. They didn’t promise “the best looking game” but a visually great one and it largely is.

Die fanboy, diee!!!!

And almost adding fire to fuel comes along a comment from Bethesda who says that those who do not consider graphics a vital element of their game are “lying” through their teeth. This sort of comes across as disappointing for a company that has largely banked on solid gameplay over graphics to get through. Their recent titles, Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3 – they were backed up by solid gameplay. Graphics bordered on passable to outright hideous. Did anyone complain then? Nope.

So, why single out Crytek? Were they crowned the president of the Games Should Have Awesome Mindblowing Graphics Otherwise Not Association? If those fanboys had attempted to play Crysis 2 and not continuously complain about how the texture resolution is half of that of Crysis 1, they would have found an enjoyable game that breaths new life into the stagnating FPS genre. The on-the-fly weapon customization is a superb mechanic that allows you to dynamically change the outcome of a fire fight in real time. Then there is the Nano suit, possibly the greatest thing of the game and one of the most innovative gameplay addition in recent times. The Nano suit forces you into creating a strategy before jumping in in a fight. You feel the tingle of the suit in your hands as you contemplate over an area filled with enemies while you sit atop a high ground, cloaked and with a silenced sniper at the hip.

Would I be saying the same thing if Crysis 2 had Fallout 3 like graphics? Yes, I would. Yeah, the animations would had been choppy and frame rates would had suck, and the NPCs would had been hideous as hell but I would still be up on that high ground, cloaked and contemplating a strategy to bust out enemies without being detected.

My point is, graphics are not the be-all and end-all of a game. And this is coming from a complete visual effects nut. Yes, at some point in my gaming life, I would love to see photo realistic graphics and ultra-realistic physics engine blowing me away into a surreal experience. But I want that technology backed up by innovative, ground breaking gameplay. Like a beautiful painting you don’t understand, there is only this much you can drool before you get bored of it.

Graphics should be a supplement to gameplay – undoubtedly the heart and soul of a game. Why do we still dabble in to retro games? Why is Xbox Live Arcade and PSN Arcade, flourishing? Because the games of old had mind blowing graphics? Nope, it had amazing gameplay that we still remember to this day.

For me it will always be gameplay over graphics, as long as it’s not excuse to purposefully produce bad visuals.


Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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  • Craig Young

    I agree with you MF.

    Crysis 2 has great graphics, I personally have no complaints. The gameplay is cool and the truth is, apart from manipulating vehicles (I don’t like that interface), I don’t really think about gameplay – which is good. It should be seamless.

    The suit is definitely the hero of the game indeed, as it is meant to be.

    That said, I do have some issues with Cyrsis 2, but they definitely aren’t graphics related.

    Though it’s purely subjective, I simply prefer TPS over FPS because they feel more natural while FPS somehow makes me feel disoriented and unable to ‘see’ the game, as it were.

    ‘ppreciate the rant!

    (btw way, would it be wrong to ask for a little explanation on DX11 and NPC’s?)

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