In arguably the biggest thing to happen to gaming in 2015, Fallout 4 was finally announced earlier this week much to the huge excitement of many gamers.
Despite the fact that the three minute trailer is absolutely splendid, showcasing in-game footage as well as hinting at one or two other things, some people will always find something to complain about. Rather than being relieved that Fallout 4 is actually going to be playable in the near future or giggling with glee at the fact that it looks fantastic, a select few have been complaining about, you guessed it, the graphics.
In short, it’s a joke and the complaints are extremely pointless. Take no note of them.
This week – much like many fellow Fallout fans, no doubt – I have been playing Fallout 3. Much like the announcement of XCOM 2 earlier this week put me in the mood to revisit Enemy Unknown, the Fallout 4 reveal got me so psyched that I simply had to start up Fallout 3 one more time. For the record, I have never finished Fallout 3 or New Vegas, despite owning and playing both. Now that Fallout 4 is definitely on its way, I have set myself the goal of seeing them both through to their conclusion.
Anyway, the point is, playing Fallout 3 remains an extremely enjoyable experience. It’s testament to Bethesda that the near-eight year old game holds up as well as it does. The game is incredibly fun to play but many criticised it, and rightly so, for its fairly drab color palette. The Wasteland in Fallout 3 is filled with browns and greys and whilst these do help to create a distinct atmosphere and tone, they’re not particularly pleasurable to look at. Nevertheless, the lighting is still impressive and the visual spectacle and draw distance for a game from 2008 cannot be ignored.
Alas, Fallout 4 appears to be a massive improvement in terms of the art style. Fallout 4’s trailer focuses on color-filled areas and locations, almost reminiscent of Destiny. The primary colors such as the beautiful blue of the sky create a Boston that looks incredibly attractive, despite it being fairly run down due to the nature of Fallout. Someone pointed out that it shares similarities with Bioshock Infinite, at least visually, and that can only be a good thing. Frankly, Fallout 4 looks like a game that I really want to run around in, picking up quests and seeing all there is to see. One of the images from the trailer is so pretty that it has now found itself as my desktop wallpaper.
So why are people still complaining about Fallout 4’s graphics? I’m not going to claim that Fallout 4 is the best looking game ever made because judging by the trailer, it’s not going to be, but since when did Fallout games have to be the visual benchmark for a console generation?
I could talk about how pretty Fallout 4 looks for hours, but the reason we’re all going to be playing the RPG, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, is because the Fallout games are just so damn fun to play. The fact is, Fallout 3 isn’t a very pretty game but it doesn’t matter. It’s so much fun to play and that’s what counts. This brings us on to the age-old debate of whether or not graphics more important than gameplay, but ultimately, anyone who thinks that they are, especially in a Fallout game, is quite frankly deluded. Some people expected Fallout 4 to be the pinnacle of gaming visuals because they’ve had eight years to make it, but Skyrim never set the benchmark and nor will this because it’s not supposed to.
Moreover, many have rightly pointed out that some people just won’t be satisfied regardless. The worrying thing is, not all of the people who complain about the graphics are just trolls – they are people who genuinely believe that the graphics are a problem. See the Tech Times’ “Fallout 4 Graphics Look Underwhelming Compared With The Witcher 3” for evidence of this idiocy. I recently wrote a piece on visual downgrades and whether or not we should accept them, as well as how CD Projekt RED sees them as an “inevitable” part of games development. What you must understand here is that Bethesda has not shown off the best-looking game of all time in its first Fallout 4 trailer, rather, it has opted to be honest and to show what the game will actually look like when we get our hands on it (and more gameplay is expected to be shown at E3). Would you rather we were shown a product that won’t exist like most game trailers insist on doing? No, of course you wouldn’t. It’s refreshing to see a big-budget studio show off a legitimate product.
I feel ashamed in this day and age that I even had to write that last sentence; that in 2015 publishers can’t abide by the Sales of Goods Act by selling a product that matches its description, but we all know that that is a habit many of the biggest studios have unfortunately gotten into.
Long story short, you can’t have it both ways. Either you’re shown an overwhelmingly good-looking game in initial trailers and then get let down (I’m looking at you Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed Unity, and just about every other Ubisoft game), or we can be realistic and get excited for a product that will actually live up to its own advertizing. It seems that all too often gamers are not making the smart choice and that needs to change. If you’re one of those unhappy with the way Fallout 4 looks and I haven’t changed your mind, consider this. Nothing is perfect to look at. Not even you. It’s time to get a grip.