I’m a sucker for roleplaying games. From tabletop pen-and-paper games like Pathfinder to online games like WildStar, I have a weak spot for good story and character customization. My weak spot for the latter may be a little too weak, as I’ve been known to eschew armor with better stats for armor that “looks more like something my character would wear.” That’s not such a big problem in the tabletop games, but thank goodness for the new trend of armor transmogrification and/or costume slots. But anyway, I usually get into RPGs for the story and not so much for the item management. I enjoy getting a better sword or staff as much as the next person, but min-maxing for optimal stats has never been a huge concern of mine.
Optimal graphics, however, has recently become an annoying concern of mine. (Again, not a problem with the tabletop games.)
I recently picked up Dragon Age: Inquisition. I’m not very far into the game yet, but so far I’ve found it enjoyable and the gameplay is a nice mix of fast action and tactical planning. The story has me engaged and I’ve finally found my ideal character (Dalish elf mage) to get through it the first time. But my copy is for the Xbox360 and not for the newest generation of gaming consoles, like the Xbox One or the PS4. I’ve played epic games like Skyrim and the Mass Effect trilogy on my 360 without trouble, but with this game I’m finding some things graphically problematic. I’m not the kind of person who needs to see a game in its absolutely highest resolution so every pore on a character’s face is detailed, but things like pixelation and slow rendering do take me out of the moment in a story cutscene. That sort of thing has been happening to me with my 360 copy of Inquisition, where my Dalish elf’s face tattoos will look blocky for a few moments or the banner of my Inquisition will be out of focus when I brandish it dramatically. It makes me wonder if it’s the beginning of a new trend, where you get the “lower rez” version of a game on the older generation, and if want it to look as awesome as it was advertised you have to invest in the brand new generation of consoles.
Or maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe it’s not a trend, but the game itself. A few friends of mine who play it on their PCs have spoken of similar problems. And I get that the gaming industry is still an industry that’s trying to sell you new products so it survives. (I realize my above statement about a “trend” is more akin to “basic sales.”) And while not all of us can afford to drop hundreds of dollars on a new console or upgrade our PCs with shiny new hardware, blocky graphics doesn’t get in the way of a good story, and I’m still enjoying Inquisition’s story so far.
Or maybe I should just go back to tabletop games, where this sort of thing isn’t a problem…
“You see an elf in front of you. He’s wearing a brown tunic, with gray hair and blue eyes.” “No I don’t, I have gray eyes.” “…let me see that sheet.” “Well it says I have blue but I decided I wanted gray eyes.”
…or is it?