Friday, 5 June 2015

Fallout 4 And The Graphical Backlash

Long time, no post. But I had to talk about this next installment in my favorite series. I may come too biased, for those disagreeing with what you're about to read, but I'm making a lot of effort to try and stay objective.
 This pre-rendered CGI scene lacks Tress-FX hair and cloth physics!

It's Fallout 4, damn it, it's finally announced and I'm happy about it. Not hyped, mind you, but excited enough. It's not that it took a long time and we kinda expected it for a while -- let's face it, Bethesda is no Valve, -- we kinda guessed it would make an appearance at 2015's E3, but it's also the toned down trailer. Skyrim had an epic teaser, presented a new scale for The Elder Scrolls, and that awesome frikin music. Fallout 4 doesn't fall short of epicness, but it's a familiar, yet grave world we're being shown.

 See? Not all bright skies and pretty colors.

It's Fallout in a colorful Boston, or what's left of it, a cluttered mess of a city built on the wreck of the one that blew away along an atomic bomb. One of the many things people picked on and were turned off by is that fancy color palette. "It's not realistic," said someone, basing his statement on his poor knowledge of Prypiat (calling it Chernobyl) and of what he saw in STALKER, "postapocaliptic nuclear devastations should look all grey, black and brown". It's a game about people surviving nuclear devastations and turning into all sort of mutant abominations (most looking the same), while having the stylized view of a 40's - 50's pop-art future. I don't get why people want photorealistic graphics so much, because reality isn't that impressive looking, and I don't get why they're asking it from Bethesda, the company that always stylized their games. I am actually very surprised, now thinking about it, why they didn't adopt those visuals for Fallout 3. And the atmosphere is all there, the rust, the menacing wasteland, the crazy ghouls, the monstuous deathclaw, The Ink-Spots, it's still Fallout, greenish-grey or rainbow sky, and I am hoping for some dynamic weather to go along with all that voice acting (I think it's Ron Perlman, and not Troy Baker, as some speculate).
If you're asking, New Vegas was dusty looking because  it was set in the arid Arizona desert and enforced a wild west theme, which was grand. Old Fallout games were also inspired by the pop-art of the 40's and 50's, ofcourse, but they wanted to portray a rusty wasteland, while that Americana theme rested in a very deep background. Colorful doesn't necessarily mean zany, not in a game where we're shown a mother holding a baby being blown by the blast of an atomic bomb that set off in the distance. 


But if that's not enough, we must also complain about textures, which to me look amazing for a game with such a vast open world and deep role playing structure. While some argue that the tailer looks too much like Fallout 3, others say it looks almost nothing like a Fallout game. I don't even... On the left extreme, some people also complained that it's possibly being built on the Gamebryo engine, the same engine as Skyrim. One of the things most people complained about Skyrim is that there are too many loading screens, one for every damn door. I don't know if that's also the case in Fallout 4, and hopefully they managed to circumvent that somehow, but it's hard to mantain a photorealistic HD world and make it cluttered with all sort of objects you can interact. I would rather have less loading screens and also be able to loot every damn thing that isn't nailed to the ground. It's a processor's worst nightmare. Besides, I'm pretty sure there will be official HD packs, plus mods, and then some. Well, at least for the PC version, but console exclusivists shouldn't ask for better graphics on a game of this magnitude, or their precious disk toasters might catch fire. But then there's those who disagree with mods, to which I say "you mad, bro?" Then there are those who disagree with Bethesda, because some guy named Todd... Something is a big douche for reasons. And there will always be those who disagree with the game's first person/third person perspective, nostalgic about the days gone of isometric turn-based gameplay most of them never touched, but at least they're not arguing graphics, I think. Anyway, there's always someone out there who will be displeased with something, somewhere.

I guess it's cool to be all negative these days, it must be a new trend complaining about graphics, while the gameplay is in shambles, getting worse (read "dumbed down" if you will). And also yes, it's okay to complain (read "whine, moan, and bitch") when a game is downgraded, when a publisher or developer is lying to us with fake trailers instead of showing the actual product in action, and when they're nickle and diming people with cut content sold separately. If you don't like the game, I get it, I also can't stand Final Fantasy or any JRPG for that matter, but I'm not complaining that I can't play as something other than 12 year olds in bikinis. CoD kiddies shouldn't speak of graphics either, those pricks, as I shouldn't speak of turn-based gameplay. I never understood why people would take turns in hurting one another, but then again I can't stop time to mark a well placed hit with a mini-nuke on a bloke's head either.


So, lastly, tell me what you think about all this graphical shenanigan, and if it's okay to be excited about Fallout 4.

(Screens and trailer "stollen" with gratitude from

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