General Question

DeanV's avatar

Are video games getting too photorealistic?

Asked by DeanV (14193 points ) July 21st, 2011

Having watched the new Battlefield 3 trailer, I was struck just by how real it looked, mostly in the lighting and sound department.

I’m sure I’m going to buy Battlefield 3, and I’m already in the beta for it, but I was almost a little put off just by the realism present in the graphics, even if the gameplay itself isn’t all that realistic.

So at what point does a game stop being a game and start being a simulator, or when does it become too similar to real life to really enjoy?

Yes, I know BF3’s gameplay is nothing like some other “simulators” like ARMA II or Manhunt, but the graphics look freaking fantastic for a video game.

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16 Answers

mrrich724's avatar

Games are already simulators. The thing is, it will ALWAYS be a game. When will you be able to go out in space and blast The Covenant with plasma rifles? (Probably never) So until that day comes, even if the 3rd Halo in line looks like real life, it is still allowing us to do something we’d have no other way of doing.

Also, you’d be surprised how real it can look while still looking like a game! Since N64, me and my buds have always been like, “wow, any better than this and it’s gonna look like real life.” Then another system comes out that blows us away and illustrates how it can still look better, but not like real life; and how “not-real” the previous system actually was. LOL

athenasgriffin's avatar

I find it unnerving when the people in Computer Graphics movies are too much like real people. It is like they are people without souls, which is strange and disconcerting. However, in video games, it doesn’t bother me.

Nullo's avatar

They’re getting too photorealistic at the expense of actual gameplay.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Is there a photorealistic game in existence which doesn’t involve blowing people to bits? Something like a doctor game where all the wounded come to get their legs amputated or one that allows you to assist the families who’ve had their homes destroyed to rebuild their society? I know it wouldn’t be popular. But if realism is what we want, it doesn’t get any more real than that.

Hibernate's avatar

Realism doesn’t come from having to deal with dramas all day long then go home and play your real life all over again. I cannot understand people who watch drama movies to much , it’s like their life is so perfect and they live secluded with their friends and they don’t deal with all the bullshit from life. [one per month or so should be enough]

@Nullo depends what sort of games you like. There are a lot of games that offer a realistic playthrough while giving a close enough aspect of how things are in real life too. You can see people interacting with almost every item encountered in game though not all offer a realistic feel.

Sad part about trying to be so close with the real life is the requirements for the game increase a lot.

mrrich724's avatar

like you said @RealEyesRealizeRealLies it wouldn’t be popular, LOL

I was bored just reading the description of your game, hahahahah

Blackberry's avatar

This is what we’ve been waiting for. I know some people that are freaked out by this (as well as the ‘realness’ of HDTV) and I don’t get it. It’s amazing and I can’t wait to see what else they can do.

Qingu's avatar

Yes. They’ve been too realistic for years. Game characters have entered the uncanny valley where their near-realism actually makes them appear freaky and unnatural. I would love it if games were more stylized. Stylized graphics look better and age better than attempts at realism (compare Wind Waker to Twilight Princess, for example; or Final Fantasy 9 to Final Fantasy 8.)

All that said: I think we ought to distinguish between “realism” as a graphical style and “realism” as a sort of experience of being in a real world. In my opinion, one of the most realistic games I’ve ever played was Shadow of the Colossus. It’s a game about fighting giant living statues, so it’s obviously not realistic in the sense that Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty. But the sense of immersion, the sense of weight and physicality to the creatures and to your character (and especially his horse) was much more “realistic.” Likewise, a stylized Zelda game, where you can touch and interact with everything in your world, can feel much more real than a photorealistic action game. I like games that are realistic in this sense.

flutherother's avatar

A good game should be immersive which doesn’t mean it has to be realistic. The graphics, gameplay and sound are what make a great game. It is like the movies. Superb CGI doesn’t make a great film and with the best films it isn’t a priority.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

No way, I love it. And I’m looking forward to playing this game.

filmfann's avatar

Madden NFL is breathtakingly real, and doesn’t involve people blowing up, except on steroids.

I agree with the reference to the Uncanny Valley, but we aren’t there yet.

Symbeline's avatar

Eh, they sure look prettier than what I played nearly 15 years ago. Although graphics always seem a high point of gaming, this is done as one of the many ways to get you into their atmosphere and story. At least many times. But a real simulator would utilize gameplay to reflect real life, not visual or auditory presentation.

I guess some games do, in fact some video games have that as a purpose, but nowhere near enough to define the industry as we know it.

@Nullo I disagree. Castlevania Lords of Shadow may be a really pretty game and a total ripoff of every famous action game that recently came out, but it won’t forgive you if you can’t tackle differing objectives that doesn’t just include killing monsters while everything looks nice. And when it does come to just killing shit, you better at least remember how to connect some combos together.
I could come up with a million more examples, and while I’m actually a lot more old school myself (gimme what I’m pretty sure are mummies hucking toilet paper at me any day) the variety in new gameplay ideas being offered aren’t just developers sacrificing gameplay for looks.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Also, I didn’t see it mentioned above that some of the higher end graphics are limited to cut-scenes. Of course the gameplay is quite spectacular, visually, compared to what it looked like at the birth of 3D gaming. The most realistic graphics still seem to be in the cut-scenes.

Symbeline's avatar

Cough Metal Gear Solid 4 lawlz.

Good point though, but I guess no one mentioned that since they’re not interactive, at least mostly.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

True. Just thought it was relevant to the discussion. Gameplay graphics are pretty impressive, but more and more effort seems to be put into the cuts-cenes than I have ever noticed before. Some games, La Noire is a good example, seem to be 50% game and 50% CG movie.

Symbeline's avatar

Yeah, not saying it isn’t relevant, as I say you bring up a point. I just don’t think it happens enough to define the whole of gaming as such. It’s like crappy movie games; they’ll never take over lol.

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