The debate about graphics in video games is an on-going and sometimes confusing discussion. With Microsoft claiming that more processing power is being given to developers and Sony boasting of the strongest and most sold console it can be difficult to parse what really matters. Recently I wrote that graphics aren’t that important if a game focuses on the right things. So I’m somewhat concerned with a recent announcement that Rise of the Tomb Raider will, “Push the Xbox One to its limit”.
Who’s Keeping Score?
I thoroughly enjoyed the reboot of Tomb Raider and thought the game looked and played brilliantly on the Xbox One. And I found it pretty amusing after all the bragging and arrogance about the “better graphics” on the PS4, that it had more inconsistent and arguably poorer performance. And not because of any limitations in the PS4, but because they pushed the system beyond what it could run stably. Given that reality I was shocked when I read the announcement about pushing the Xbox One to its limit with the next Tomb Raider title. I can’t help but ask… Why? I mean sure, we are told that, “developers have yet to fully show what the hardware is capable of at the moment”, but did the first game lack any significant graphical quality to warrant “pushing the limits”? They pushed the limits of the PS4 with the first Tomb Raider, and the result was inconsistent frame rate performance. In light of this, how can we have confidence that the same thing won’t happen with the Xbox One?
The real problem with this is how insignificant graphics have become. Keep in mind, I didn’t say that graphics are insignificant, but how insignificant they’ve become, meaning they matter a lot less. The Order 1886 looks absolutely fantastic, and yet all the negative reviews have focused on the boring experience and lack of a lengthy story. Nobody is coming to the defense of the game or boosting its review scores because the good graphics make up for the lack of experiential importance. So having your developers focus on pushing the graphical boundaries is like carrying tiny pebbles up a mountain to help build a rock wall. You’re investing lots of time and energy into something that has very little impact. Hopefully the pebbles don’t weaken the foundation and cause portions of the game to crumble or weaken because I’m really looking forward to the continuation of the story and the intriguing character arc of Lara Croft. The ceiling of graphical limitations has, for all intents and purposes, been reached on these current consoles, so can we just calm down and focus on experience and content? What do you think?
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