Smart but not pretty

Everyone’s going gaga over Fallen Earth, which is a good thing. Allah loves variety. I’m glad to hear the game takes some deviations, that it is engaging and I keep hearing good things about the crafting (not that I give a darn about crafting, but I keep hearing about it).

Sounds nice, and I wish everyone involved 101% super happy success time. However, I won’t play it. Just looking at the screenshots turns me off. It looks really unappealing to me, visually. Of course I’m not arguing to make it pretty and full of saccharine; it’s supposed to be post-apocalyptic. It is what it must be. But I look at that world, and I see the way it looks, and I have zero desire to spend time in that. The screenshots I’ve seen around range from unengaging to depressing, so why would I go there? I wouldn’t.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Gameplay over graphics all you want. But my days of biting hard candies just to get to the (small) creamy nougat center of fun are over. I’m glad there’s fun in it. I’m glad it’s new. I just wish it wasn’t so ugly (in my view).

35 thoughts on “Smart but not pretty”

  1. I really dislike when people label the art “uninspired” or “unengaging”. It is a deflection of blame. Say instead that you are not inspired by the art, or that you are not engaged by the art. Own your disapproval, don’t try to pass it off to someone else.

  2. I’m still interested. The ugly factor has kept me from pulling the trigger so far, but then I remember that Asheron’s Call was ‘weird’ looking, yet was far more fluid than other MMOs. And not to mention “fun”.

    The 100% Explorer bartle result is desperate for some content.

  3. I hate crafting. I love awesome looking visuals. There is nothing in the Fallen Earth screenshots that make me want to play it, nothing. I’m sick of post-apocalyptic settings.

    I CAN’T STOP PLAYING FALLEN EARTH!!!

    Odd.

    You, my good disciples—and other fools with too much time on their hands—reading the cheerful titles of some of my books, like Gargantua, Pantagruel, Guzzlepot, The High Importance of Codpieces, Peas in Lard (With Commentary), etc., can more easily perceive that they’re not just about mocking and scoffing, full of silliness and pleasant lies—having seen, without having to look any harder, that their outer image (that is, their titles) is usually received with mocking laughter and jokes. But it’s wrong to be so superficial when you’re weighing men’s work in the balance. Wouldn’t you yourself say that the monk’s robes hardly determine who the monk is? Or that there are some wearing monks’ robes who, on the inside, couldn’t be less monkish? Or that there are people wearing Spanish capes who, when it comes to courage, couldn’t have less of the fearless Spanish in them? And that’s why you have to actually open a book and carefully weigh what’s written there. – François Rabelais

  4. It’s a funny comment, because the ‘pretty’ look of Aion is enough to drive me away, even if the game was not an Asian two faction PvP grind. One look at the shemales with wings and I was all set.

    Fallen Earth, like Fallout 3, has a distinctive ‘feel’ to it, and that feel is consistent from what I saw of it. But no, it’s not the eye-candy of more recent clones, yet I’m not sure wasteland wanderers scavenging around really notice it that often.

  5. Jason: I’ll own up to that. When I write something (anything) I assume that it’s gonna be taken for what it is, which is opinion. So I write in that mode just to avoid having to put a silly disclaimer at the end of every sentence. But sometimes you have to clarify, so here it goes.

    In my own personal opinion, based on my tastes, I’ve found Fallen Earth’s screenshots unengaging and not really attractive. It’s not a reflection on the art’s value in itself, just opinion.

    Brian: Dunno. Why should I play something I can’t connect with at the most basic visual level (like/not like)? We play games to have fun and hopefully enjoy a good experience overall. We shouldn’t play them to prove points – a.k.a “I’m gonna force myself to play something I know I won’t enjoy 100%”.

    It’s not that I don’t like post-apocalyptic. Once a month I light a candle to Saint Francis in honor of all the weeks of /played I spent in Fallout and Fallout 2. Current events? I think iD’s “Rage” looks very appealing, something I’d like to try (just visually) and it’s also post-apocalyptic. I just don’t get that feeling from Fallen Earth. You either connect to art or you don’t. *shrug*

    et al: I’m not being superficial. I’m being honest with myself. I think connecting to a game (particularly games which will require you to make a rather large time investment, such as MMOs) is crucial. If I can’t connect to it, and from that connection enjoy it, why should I bother?

    Goes back to what I said earlier about forcing myself. The moment I have to force myself to play something the whole experience starts degrading itself. I think everyone has gone through this.

    This is just me, and just opinion. Other people thankfully can get past unappealing visuals and enjoy a game, or force themselves to play something past major hurdles (not saying it’s the case about anyone here). Unfortunately, I can’t. I’m not that type of guy. The visual layer is very important to me.

    I do agree that gameplay is more important than graphics, just like pasta is definitely more important than sauce; pasta is where the nutrition is. But just because that’s the case it doesn’t mean I should eat pasta without sauce, or go through a type of sauce I don’t like. If Fallen Earth was the only pasta around, well what are you gonna do? Eat it, even if the sauce doesn’t taste good to you. But it isn’t.

    Gameplay is more important than graphics, but not at the expense of other things. That’s why I said I’m glad there’s a good game in there, but I think it’s unfortunate it’s been wrapped in a package I personally find unappealing.

  6. The visuals is what holds me back…totally.

    I can’t bring myself to load such an ugly undemanding game on my 400 dollar video card…no matter the interest in the total gameplay.

    Now, I did not like Fallout 3, but visually it was appealing..but, then I am a fantasy nut, so there has to be something more fantasy like to hold me in…

    I think I will pass on the gloomy future stuff for now.

  7. I’m guessing there’s two different things going on here.

    One is the art style of the game, and that’s what people seem to mean when they say “gameplay over graphics.” Everquest looks too dated, WoW looks too cartoony, etc. I think Fallen Earth looks just fine in those regards, but then I’m not *too* particular.

    Then there’s the setting. The art reflects it well, showing a blasted world of rusting browns and dusty grays. Trick is, that’s a *depressing* world to be in. The gameplay may be fantastic, but I’m not sure I want to spend my time looking at a scorched planet.

  8. What Sok says is true, but there’s depressing and depressing.

    Take Half Life 2, for example. It’s a depressing world to be in. Police state. Oppression, alien and human, everywhere. Everything is decaying around you. Cities which are just huge palettes of bland gray, brown, rust and dust creeping in.

    But… that world pulls you in from the moment you start. It engages you from that depression. It uses that depressive feeling and expands on it, pulling you in. It was the same with Fallout/2, graphically limited as it was (even for its time); it’s done in a way that pulls you in.

    I guess in a way the problem I’m having with Fallen Earth is not that it’s bland. I can take bland when it’s supposed to be bland on purpose (as in HL2) and not an accident or a failure. What I can’t take so easily is -plain-, which is a different animal altogether, and it has zero to do with the latest video card features, bullet points and flashy stuff, and everything to do with the art direction, world building, design and if they fit or clash when they meet.

    Or even take WoW, for example. WoW’s graphics, even at launch, were bland in many places, but thanks to its art direction, world building and design they never felt -plain-.

    1. See what you say about HL2 and F2 I say about FE. It draws me in. The more I explore the more I want to. The vistas are pretty, you can see forever. It’s not a wasteland so much as it is the grand canyon. It is a typical screenshots don’t do it justice type of thing. There is not a depression vibe at all. It’s hopeful if anything. I just hope they rebuild things over time so it feels like we are making progress.

    2. “But… that world pulls you in from the moment you start.”

      The operative word there is “start” — you haven’t started with Fallen Earth if you haven’t installed the game and begun playing it. You’ve presented a false analogy. If you haven’t “started” Fallen Earth, how do you know if will or will not “pull you in”?

    3. One other distinction between games like Fallout 2 (which I haven’t played, so I may be full of it here) and Fallen Earth might be the “worldiness” of it. I often look at an MMORPG as a place that I’ll be residing in a virtual sense, and so when I look at them I wonder “is that a place I feel like living in?” I don’t consider that as much when looking at a single player RPG or a multiplayer FPS. Particularly in the former case the setting is there as a backdrop to a particular story, and I expect to finish that story eventually, whereas I expect to settle into an MMO for a while.

      That’s just an addendum, though — I agree with what you’re saying. I felt pretty much the same way about EQ2’s look. There just wasn’t a lot of character to it.

  9. I was critical of Fallen Earth’s visuals based on screenshots and videos.

    It looks a whole lot better playing it directly.

    It’s just like people I guess. The most beautiful woman I knew had such charm and personality, she literally glowed in person. It never came across in photos or on camera in any way.

    I wouldn’t call Fallen Earth a pretty game, but I’d say it has its moments. I stopped for a sunrise the other day, along with a couple of other players standing on a hill.

    I’ve complained about the prevalence of desert zones in other games, but somehow this works. Maybe it’s because I’ve been hooked into the immersion side of things, I dunno. It just works.

  10. Maybe it’s because my first video games were the likes of Combat and Air-Sea Battle for the Atari 2600, but I would never *not* try a game based on looks alone. I’ve certainly played plenty of great looking games with uninspired, boring, derivative gameplay.

    Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but it calls into question your faculty for critical thought when your opinion of a game is so shallow. Unlike photographs, art, or film, games are an interactive medium. How seriously should we consider your ludological credentials if you don’t engage the medium in the appropriate fashion?

  11. Julian’s honesty = good and…

    I think we should be thankful that people who insist on crytek engine-level graphics aren’t playing the game – it means the players who ARE playing will be pestering the Devs for more and more substantive content rather than fluffy gx.

    fwiw the most evocative pc game i ever played was a text adventure published by Broderbund ages ago. With no gx at all the wonderful prose painted such a dark and vivid picture i literally had nightmares trying to figure out how to free the inmates of a concentration camp.

  12. Scott:

    “The operative word there is “start” — you haven’t started with Fallen Earth if you haven’t installed the game and begun playing it. You’ve presented a false analogy. If you haven’t “started” Fallen Earth, how do you know if will or will not “pull you in”?”

    Because, in the immortal words of Thomas “Tommy” Callahan III: “I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take the butcher’s word for it”.

    But seriously, I disagree with that. I think I already took the first step in “starting” – I looked at available screenshots and material around, which is always the first step. I looked, did not find it attractive, so the first step was the last. EOF as far as I’m concerned, and it’s something we do with hundreds of games every year. All of us.

    Or do we play -every- game without minding all the red flags in our heads? Come on now.

    “Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but it calls into question your faculty for critical thought when your opinion of a game is so shallow. Unlike photographs, art, or film, games are an interactive medium. How seriously should we consider your ludological credentials if you don’t engage the medium in the appropriate fashion?”

    And what is the appropriate fashion? Spending 20K a year on games just so my credentials (whatever and wherever they might be) can be properly backed up when people ask? Looking at screenshots and materials during the initial consideration of a game is a perfectly valid avenue of appreciation, and I will maintain this until someone comes over and pays me 20K/year so I can try every game.

    Look, I’m not hating on the game. I think it’s pretty cool it’s generating buzz, that it’s a bit different, that it’s got a lot of people interested and that it deviates from the norm a bit. Bully for them, and bully for those who enjoy it. But if I look at the screenshots and the first thing that comes to my mind is “Poser + military gear addon”, what do you want me to do? Force myself to like it?

    If someone doesn’t like how it looks, then that’s the end of it. Why is it okay to say “I don’t like the game’s mechanics, so I’ll pass on it”, but not so okay to say “I don’t like the game’s visuals, so I’ll skip it”? They’re both game elements as far as I’m concerned. Why does one choice make a person a connoisseur and another choice of the same value makes the same person shallow?

    I don’t think I’m being shallow. I think I’m being honest when I say that visuals matter. And whether we like it or not, they matter a lot more than we thought to a lot more people than we thought. That doesn’t make those people shallow. If anything, it shows different people have different interests and priorities. It would be shallow if it was a choice made for the superficial to the detriment of -everything- else, but since when are visuals something ‘superficial’?

    You’re right when you say it’s an interactive medium, but what I contend is that it’s also a visual medium (and if we doubt that, let’s play with our eyes closed and see how well we approach the medium like that).

    By the way, I’m not arguing for a trillion polys, all the bells and whistles, bleeding edge, $600 video cards and all that crap. But, that said, why -shouldn’t- visuals be important?

  13. Defensive Julian is defensive. Are you really surprised your post got this type of response from the crowd that reads here?

    Brian: Dunno. Why should I play something I can’t connect with at the most basic visual level (like/not like)?

    Did I say you had to play it? No. I’m mostly disappointed because I wanted more insight. If I want a brief version, I’ll just go read “lol i h8 FE gfx” on Twitter and save some time. The fact that you chose to post about it on here means that this is something significant to you. Explain it a bit more. Why are the graphics not engaging to you? How could they be made more engaging?

    Since I’m already posting more than my own Twitter-sized bit of snark….

    I don’t think I’m being shallow.

    Sadly, you are being shallow here. You might feel you are justified, but you are being shallow. Judging things solely on appearance and not caring about anything deeper is pretty much the textbook definition of shallow.

    Imagine if someone said this about a woman, “Yeah, people say she has a nice personality, but I saw a picture of her with a gap between her teeth and I just can’t stand that!” Maybe gap teeth really do annoy this person, but they are being shallow because they’re merely judging on outward appearance and ignoring other factors. Worse, some may argue, they’re judging based on a picture instead of the person herself; perhaps that “gap” was a jpeg artifact.

    Now, imagine not merely thinking this, or even saying this to your friends, but rather saying it on a site that focuses on beauty. Now, can you understand why people say that’s shallow?

    In the end, yes, it’s your opinion. But you didn’t explain it at all, and some of us pessimists are going to simply assume the worst in what you’re saying. Personally, as someone trying to do original things on a low budget, your apparent attitude goes against everything I stand for. Without trying to give any insight, your original post just leaves me disappointed.

  14. Brian: Points well taken.

    The reason I didn’t go at length with my comments and just left it as summarized opinion was because I didn’t feel the need to do it about a game I wasn’t gonna play. I had the feeling that if I did go on a long tirade, pointing out all the numerous details in the screenshots that turned me off, I would’ve (rightly) be told that I was hating on the game for no reason. If you don’t wanna play it, then don’t, but don’t piss on it, and so on. Why point out the defects of something you’re not even interested in, etc.

    I didn’t want that. Didn’t even want to come across with that attitude. But hey, if you want the full explanation, let me know.

    Oh, and I’m -most definitely- not ragging on it because it’s indie, low budget or whatever label you wanna stick on it. I don’t think I’m even ragging on it. Why would I? I’m also trying to do original things on a (regrettably and most acutely) low budget myself.

  15. “In my own personal opinion, based on my tastes, I’ve found Fallen Earth’s screenshots unengaging and not really attractive. It’s not a reflection on the art’s value in itself, just opinion.”

    Eh… you don’t have to go that far. Its the difference between “This is ugly.” and “I think this is ugly.” I have found, on blogs, many people like to remove themselves from their posts despite the fact that they are posting an opinion. When you write and remove yourself from an opinion it winds up sounding like stated fact. “I thought it was unappealing.” vs “It was unappealing.” YOU are the most important part of your opinions, don’t sell yourself short. :)

  16. I liked Jason’s comment about owning opinions. It doesn’t need to go as far as suggested with the “I think” disclaimers, but there is a difference in tone. Posting in an authoritative manner on an objective subject is bound to rankle some people. It’s dismissive of their tastes.

    In Julian’s defence somewhat: I don’t believe it’s shallow to dislike a game, especially an RPG, based on its visual appeal because immersion and visuals can be deeply intertwined.

    Example: If you cast a spell and your caster has no corresponding animation and just stands there, that’s jarring.

    The way I see it, visuals are a gate. For my interest in any given RPG, visuals have to pass a sort of minimum requirement.

    This isn’t just about pretty or beautiful. I find “Love” very appealing visually, but I don’t think I could sink myself in, it’s too much digital soup. Somewhat similar situation with Earth Eternal, I like their style, but so much colour-overload that would constantly pull me over the fourth wall.

    Beauty has mathematical aspects that are common to everyone, but it’s also objective. Many of us have tastes that change. I’m already getting tired of “painterly” as a style: Unless it’s done beautifully to my eye (see Torchlight), it’s beginning to feel like a cheap wash on some products trying to present themselves as cool and hip (see Borderlands). Previous to that was cel-shading on games that had nothing to do with comics / cartoons. For others, these are acceptable styles into the next eon or so. YMMV.

    Going back up to first example with spellcasting, there are visuals that are crude and incomplete. Most of us would probably agree that EQ’s original forests of a few smattering of trees isn’t beautiful in today’s perspectives. I’ve commented before that sandbox MMORPGs often seem to cut corners on graphics and animation (see Darkfall).

    In the case of text games, I played my share of MUDs. I’d say no visuals > poor visuals. My imagination isn’t shallow either. =P

  17. Julian wrote:
    …I didn’t feel the need to [go at length with my commens] about a game I wasn’t gonna play.

    Why did you feel the need to post at all, then? You got enough backlash that you wrote a few lengthy comments trying to defend yourself. I think that explaining things out would have at least made it so that people would discuss specific elements rather than making what probably feels to be attacks against you personally.

    But hey, if you want the full explanation, let me know.

    Yes, please. :)

    Oh, and I’m -most definitely- not ragging on it because it’s indie, low budget or whatever label you wanna stick on it.

    I haven’t followed the game’s development very closely, so I’m going to use a few generalizations here. But, you do understand why people might get defensive of an indie/low budget game they really enjoy when someone else comes along and complains about the graphics? A low budget means you’re not going to have the prettiest visuals, smoothest animations, etc. So, coming in and posting a brief message about how you don’t like an indie game because of the visuals is going to provoke negative feedback from the type of people who come here. At the extreme, you should realize that your post could be seen as a, “Hey, I only like pretty games, so I’d prefer a WoW-clone over an original game with sub-par graphics!”

    Rog wrote:
    I don’t believe it’s shallow to dislike a game, especially an RPG, based on its visual appeal because immersion and visuals can be deeply intertwined.

    Here’s the rub: they aren’t. You’re right in that they are a “gate”, but once you get into the game your mind tends to ignore the visuals in favor of the more game-focused elements.

    Here’s an exercise for you: Get a sheet of paper and a pencil, and without looking at any reference material, draw a screenshot in a major location from your game of choice; bonus points for color. Don’t work on pixel-perfect comparison, just draw what you think is a typical screenshot that people would recognize. Now, go to the location where you thought that screenshot would be and see how closely the two images line up. You’ll probably find that, unless you have a photographic memory, the gameplay elements (UI, your character, NPCs, doorway location, etc.) are going to be a lot more accurate than the rest of the visuals.

    This is why Ethic above says he loves the game even though the screenshots and setting don’t appeal to him. He’s focusing on the gameplay and enjoying that as the most important element. For him, the visuals don’t matter after the initial impression.

    Which is why statements along the line of “I refuse to even try that game because of screenshots!” are disappointing.

  18. Brian expressed most of my thoughts very well but have one to add. You might not have 20k a year to buy every game but Fallen Earth was in open beta for several weeks and it was fairly easy to join. If you are going to make a critical post on a games visuals it would be advisable to see the visuals in the manner they are meant to be viewed. Difficult to take anyone’s criticism seriously when they have only seen still shots of a live action game. The opinion is either not relevant or needs to be better expressed as a problem with marketing as opposed to the actual game.

    Ethic has seen my complaint about Fallen Earth and why I am not playing it on the COW boards. Dana Massey had a similar thoughts to mine expressed in an article at mmorpg last week.

  19. Pendan:

    “You might not have 20k a year to buy every game but Fallen Earth was in open beta for several weeks and it was fairly easy to join.”

    I don’t completely agree. It’s not my job to hunt for open beta spots, or have free time that coincides with these windows which are open (agreed, it’s large windows, but still). But that’s a minor point.

    My (personal) biggest point is that I (personally) refuse to use open betas as demos. If I join open betas is to test and report bugs. Besides if I offered critiques on software which was undoubtedly beta I would’ve been hit with the avalanche of “It’s in beta, you twit” obvious pebbles. So I can’t win.

    “If you are going to make a critical post on a games visuals it would be advisable to see the visuals in the manner they are meant to be viewed.”

    On this one I disagree. Screenshots are a perfectly viable way to appreciate and evalute much of a game’s visuals (assuming they’re not bullshots). It would be different if I had commented on the game’s animations, UI response, loading times, etc. had I not played the game or even watched a video of it. In that case I wouldn’t have had a single leg to stand on. But if we’re talking about art direction and art assets at a general level, screenshots are perfectly fine.

    $0.02

  20. Okay Brian, you asked for it man. :)

    My main complaints with the visuals are, in no particular order really:

    – It all looks washed out
    – Models look stiff
    – Shading is plain
    – Not much -appreciable- variety in the wearables

    What I did was I took a look at the official screenshots on the official page, which is the place to go for things like these so you don’t base your judgement on shots taken by whoever on whatever config.

    Some samples and thoughts:

    http://www.fallenearth.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/ScreenshotsFull/storescreen5.jpg

    WTF. Reminds me of the old “Blood”.

    http://www.fallenearth.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/ScreenshotsFull/storescreen2.jpg

    Stiff models left and right. I like the detail on the chestpiece on the center model, even if I’m not a fan of that kind of detail. The center one looks okay, but the ones on the sides ruin the shot. Completely stiff puppets.

    http://www.fallenearth.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/ScreenshotsFull/storescreen1.jpg

    Shadows are off on this one. Those dreads don’t look like they go nice with that head. Or with any other head of that matter. Completely unappealing locale, but that’s par for the course at any rate.

    http://www.fallenearth.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/ScreenshotsFull/July-09-Enviro-4.jpg

    Nice models, plain but correct texturing. Still it looks all washed out. Two characters in the distance, both wearing some sort of green fatigues, essentially indistinguishable from each other (not that they have to be at that distance, but you get the feeling if they were closer they’d be indistinguishable as well). The weeds popping up everywhere might be there to convey an environment in disrepair, but they feel visually out of place and not blending in most shots.

    http://www.fallenearth.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/ScreenshotsFull/July-09-Enviro-3.jpg

    Better looking models, different lighting (still plain, though), but the building on the right sticks out like a sore thumb. Plain as hell texturing. Shadow angles are off again.

    http://www.fallenearth.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/ScreenshotsFull/6-10-09_screenshots_014.jpg

    Interesting shots. Lots of variety that isn’t variety at all. This shot tells me I’d have to work hard to try and look truly different than anyone else if I wanted to. Granted, the shot is probably trying to show vehicles, not wearables, but that sticks out to me.

    http://www.fallenearth.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/ScreenshotsFull/6-10-09_screenshots_011.jpg

    Yikes. Puppetty, stiff model. Impossible lone tree on the right on hard slope. Grass arranged in evident straight lines and floating in the air.

    http://www.fallenearth.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/ScreenshotsFull/6-10-09_screenshots_008.jpg

    Zombies that look more lively than your alive characters. A shot that’s basically a splash of browns and heavily washed out greens. Shadows are off again.

    http://www.fallenearth.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/ScreenshotsFull/screen_22.jpg

    Interior with (at least) 14 light sources and not a single shadow. Character(?) on the left with feet disappearing under the floor. Two chairs(?) on the bottom left showing superimposed geometry.

    http://www.fallenearth.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/ScreenshotsFull/screen_21_0.jpg

    :(

    http://www.fallenearth.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/ScreenshotsFull/screen_09.jpg

    Stiff models, shadows at wrong angles yet again.

    http://www.fallenearth.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/ScreenshotsFull/screen_08.jpg

    Color exists! Hooray!

    That’s about it.

    You can say it’s kind of silly to be fixated on these small things to the detriment of the good game that’s behind it (and I never said it was a bad game. I hear good things about it). But on the other hand, small things don’t disappear and they add up. I know that if I were to play it I’d be constantly jarred every time I encounter one of these things.

    One can say visuals don’t matter much, but I say visuals are what you’re staring at 100% of the time while you’re playing the game, so they matter by default. I’m not saying they matter more or less than other things, just that they do.

    1. Okay Brian, you asked for it man. :)

      And here I am reading it!

      (From the previous comment)
      (assuming they’re not bullshots)

      You do realize that your post above is why developers even feel the need to fake screenshots, right? Because someone is going to come along and judge the game solely on the screenshots, even when other people come along and say the screenshots don’t represent the game well.

      About half your complaints center around shadows. Unless graphics rendering technology has completely passed me up, I seem to remember shadows as being difficult and very expensive to do properly. Hell, I turn off shadows in most games I play because they add little for me and they can absolutely kill my performance even on my relatively beefy desktop system.

      But on the other hand, small things don’t disappear and they add up.

      For many people, these things do disappear. After a while people play the game and start focusing on the gameplay elements more than the visual elements that do not affect gameplay. But, as you said previously, they are a gateway that people will use to judge a game. I still think it’s a shame that you might be denying yourself from playing what appears to be an awesome game just because of incorrect shadows. But, to each his or her own.

      Have fun.

  21. I’m going to have to agree with Julian in his complaints, at least the overall complaint. The graphics of FE are a huge turn-off. It’s not because of low quality graphics but more because of the emotions they convey. More accurately the lack of emotion they convey. The FE graphics remind me a ton of EQ2’s, stiff and lifeless. In a game that’s all about immersion stiff and lifeless graphics are incredibly jarring. You don’t need fancy top of the line art assets or next-gen shading features. What you do need is a strong consistent style that conveys the emotions of your world.

    Even Ascii can work for this type of style, I find Dwarf Fortress to do a great job at relying a thematic world to me, but it’s just not the same for FE’s graphics. The incredibly stiff models, the ‘pop’ of objects with their surrounding environment, and bland and uninteresting architecture creates a world that looks inorganic. Rather than being able to believe I am running around a post-apocalyptic game world I see a collection of placed game play assets.

    The key with graphics and level design is they don’t need to be great but they have to not detract from the game at the very least. I don’t think FE quite covers that gap.

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