Sunday, December 14, 2014

Screenshot of the Week #16: Top notch graphics!

                I played many video games on PC this year and one question came to my mind after finishing each AAA title released in 2014. Why did the evolution stop or slow down (in the best cases)?
                I’m a declared fan of RPGs, but that doesn’t mean I ignore the other genres is just easier for me to talk about the one that I love the most. As I look over the reviews I wrote this year I can’t find a single one about an FPS game. I did purchase games from this genre with the idea in mind to write a review when I’m done with them, but I find it extremely hard to write about these games.
                When I played FPS games in the past I looked first at the technology, because this was always the genre for technological advancements and innovations. Over the years each new release of pixel shaders meant for me better looking FPS games, but now, in the year 2014, I look at these games and I’m horrified.
The gameplay didn’t progress much, it is looping into repetitive action sequences and missions with an attempt of story that most of the time is nothing more than filler cutscenes to justify more shooting and killing. But shooters can still be fun if the most important element, the shooting, is done right. But nailing the shooting requires a lot of technology and effort.
                The shooting mechanic is not just the action which requires the player to aim at the target and press the button to spray bullets in that direction. To be executed properly, this entire mechanic requires a lot of attention. Not only the aiming or the firearms weight and feel play an important role, but also the enemies AI, the environment physics, the sound effects and the visual effects, all play a huge role for this one game mechanic.
Sadly, because of multi-platform development, the technology invested in the creation of video games is rusty and sometimes outdated by titles that were released years ago and shooters seem to suffer the most because of this.
                I played three FPS games released this year and none of them were even close to the 2014 standards, yet each of them had an AAA game price tag and I wonder why. Ironically enough some of the indie developers have started to embrace better graphical engines (UE4, CryEngine 3, etc.) and use them create brilliantly looking titles, while some of the AAA developers can’t even bother to add destruction physics for the vegetation.
                It is hard for me to write an objective review when it comes to such situations, I feel the urge to rant about such titles from developers that can’t respect the PC gamers enough to use the proper technology in their games instead of porting it from the consoles version.
To make things even worse, many of this outdated looking games release in a poorly optimized state and run horribly even on gaming rigs worth thousands of dollars (…).
                Evolution means moving forward and while the hardware continues to do so, some of the popular titles seem to go backwards and their numbers keep increasing becoming a threat for this industry.
.gif animation?!

                Some good news, the stress fog that was following me in the last couple of weeks is lifting off and this will make things so much easier on me.
                 I’m still working on multiple review, but I’m having hard time writing about the FPS games I’ve been playing (now you know why), but hopefully I’ll finish everything and post it before the New Year.
                I bought Elite: Dangerous, which is probably going to be my last major purchase this year. Now I’m waiting for the release on Tuesday to check the game out and see if is worth a spot on my 2014 best video games list. I’m going to put some heavy hours into the game so I can take an informed decision about this.

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