It’s the age old debate in the video game industry, do graphics matter more than gameplay? Do the controls matter more than the story? No matter how well you market your game, the gameplay will always matter more. Case in point, Fallout 76. Since it’s release, it had bugs and glitches up to the eyeballs. The marketing was fantastic one must admit. The trailer, music, posters and exclusive items for pre-ordering hooked most people in. They when the opened the package, they found something rather lackluster and disappointing. Customers were angry, quite rightly. When Grand Theft Auto 5 was released, it didn’t have the best graphics of the time. Many graphic improvement mods have since been made. But, the gameplay was ground-breaking. The map was huge, you could do just about anything and that’s why GTA Online was also a success. Here are more examples, why looking and sounding good will always be trumped by gameplay and the story.
A staggering Far Cry
Cast your mind back to 2012 and Far Cry 3. ‘Do you know what the definition of insanity is?’ was the line Vaas gave in his maniacal yet calm voice. It became the slogan and headline of that year for the video gaming world. We did not know what we were in store for. An epic tale of a man, his girlfriend and his close group of friends that have to face a terrorist group of pirates on a paradise island in the middle of nowhere. The character you played was Jason. You were tasked with stopping this group of murderous thugs that were being led by Vaas, who had clearly gone insane on an island where there were no laws and no one to fight against his path of chaos and bloodshed. He and his gang had taken over Rook Island and after kidnapping and murdering some of Jason’s friends, it was time for him to meet his end too.
The gameplay was amazing too. You could craft items from the land, using animal pelts to make arrow quivers, medicines from flowers and plants as well as making yourself superhuman with potions. You could customise your firearms and load up on things you needed to complete missions. While all these options lay at your feet, you never once thought of the gameplay as being generic of a first-person shooter. In fact, you really thought of yourself as someone stranded on an island filled with psychos and you wanted to help the native tribe. The graphics were some of the best any flagship titles ever had and yet, they never overshadowed the quality of the story.
The modern day options
Nowadays we want more than just a keyboard and mouse gameplay experience. We are now living in the emergence era of virtual reality. It’s not quite mainstream right now, but we are edging closer and closer to this becoming the new norm. Take a look at the Best Kids VR Games on the market right now to get a feel for what the options are. One of the best stories is Wilson’s Heart. In it, you play as Robert Wilson who one day wakes up to find that there is a hole in his chest that has been stitched up. He awakes in a strange hospital and the year is 1940. Strange biological experiments were occurring all over the world at this time, and you apparently, appear to be one of the guinea pigs. You lurk through the dingy corridors of the hospital where you meet some scarily bizarre characters.
With a few jump scares here and there, you try to get some answers as to what has happened to you. It turns out your heart has been surgically removed and that there is a curious device in its place. This is a story that you experience in first person and you can only do so with an Oculus Rift together with Oculus Touch controllers. As you have probably guessed by now, it’s a horror game that examines how powerful how connection is with our own body and what our physical autonomy really means to us.
As we move forward in video games, we have to always keep in mind that graphics and marketing will never truly satisfy us unless we have amazing stories that captivate our imagination and truly challenge us. Gameplay must be fluid and allow us to interact with the environment we’re placed in but again, it should never overshadow why we chose to enter into that world. Virtual reality games need to keep this in mind as they slowly become the mainstream platform.