Jimquisition: The Best Looking Game of This Generation

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The Best Looking Game of This Generation

The Jimquisition takes a break from discussing consumer shenanigans to focus a little on the games themselves.

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Couldn't agree more Jim I think its a shame that the viva pinata games were never that successful

My guess was going to be VVVVVV, but then, this generation of console, etc...V6 does use its visual style to be highly distinctive and supplementery to the gameplay. Wouldn't have gone to VP, mostly because the satam cartoon of it hurt my brain.

Oh, COME ON Jim. You may not be the sharpest knife in the draw, but normally you aren't beaten to what you're saying by extra credits by *this* much. http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/graphics-vs.-aesthetics

See that? Season 2, episode 16. Over 50 weeks ago. 50 weeks! Almost a year. Ab-surd. *sigh* Oh well. Guess the actual content wasn't bad though. Even if extra credits did do it better.

EDIT: look at this! Yahtzee managed this in 2009 http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/6372-The-Conduit

Not saying Jim's point isn't relevant, but this really is leaving it late.

Those hands, what are they? I want to say Alien hands knowing you, but I'm not sure it looks rather rubbery.

OT: I do agree with you. One of the biggest problems I find with games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, is the graininess of the game on a big HDTV while Viva Piņata looks smooth and easy on the eyes. I don't know maybe the graininess is just for me or something, it bugs the crap out of me either way.

Great episode!

EDIT: Also thanks for the XII mention I bloody loved that game, I mean who couldn't like Adam West in a video game?!

Personally I think the overall estethics of a game are way more important than the number of polygons used: I agree that a good art-style can help a game age better.

With hands like that I think you could be excused for being shit at wanking.

Why do people think I am in some sort of arms race with Extra Credits?

We cover similar topics. Overlap is inevitable, and I don't really watch their show regularly so I don't know what they cover. In any case, just because one series may have touched on a topic that doesn't automatically disqualify every other series in the world from covering it too.

Seriously, this whole, "oh mah gawd Extra Credits did this" thing is just ... weird.

Hm... i go with Mirrors Edge. It worked with blinding whites and bright neon colours to get a, excuse me, fucking sexy visual design. It's a shame the gameplay was a bit lackluster so there probably won't be a sequel.

Jimothy Sterling:
Why do people think I am in some sort of arms race with Extra Credits?

They are intellectuals speaking on the gaming industry. So are you. Comparison is natural and inevitable, whether you like it or not. Ditto for Yahtzee.

Uhh, I don't really like cel-shading, because everything just looks lifeless and fake, similar to the environments in Borderlands. The characters and enemies look dandy, but the environments are the same brown/grey you bashed in this video. Also, how could you forget Beyond Good and Evil? That game is the poster child of game aesthetics, and it still kicks ass almost a decade after it's release.

Jimothy Sterling:
Why do people think I am in some sort of arms race with Extra Credits?

Apparently we're not allowed to like Extra Credits on this website anymore, so we get a sort of perverse glee imagining you destroying them on a weekly basis.

trollpwner:

Jimothy Sterling:
Why do people think I am in some sort of arms race with Extra Credits?

They are intellectuals speaking on the gaming industry. So are you. Comparison is natural and inevitable, whether you like it or not. Ditto for Yahtzee.

Comparison, sure, but this idea that I'm in some sort of race with them makes no sense. You do realize this topic has no deadline, right? It's not like I entered into some Phineas Fogg style wager with Extra Credits to see who could do a graphics episode first. You're acting like I'm "late" to a discussion as if there was a sell-by date on it, which is relatively demented.

Best looking is a meh idea.

Aesthetics, however, is where it's at and that's why I love it.

That's always been the problem with "Realistic" games, they start to drop off INCREDIBLY fast as technology starts to make leaps and bounds so it WILL look like DOOM one when the newer series comes out.

Also, Viva Pinata. The only game Rooster Teeth had to make a freaking spread sheet about.

Jimothy Sterling:
Why do people think I am in some sort of arms race with Extra Credits?

We cover similar topics. Overlap is inevitable, and I don't really watch their show regularly so I don't know what they cover. In any case, just because one series may have touched on a topic that doesn't automatically disqualify every other series in the world from covering it too.

Seriously, this whole, "oh mah gawd Extra Credits did this" thing is just ... weird.

That's like asking why Fanboys are idiots. No one really knows, they just are.

This is why it irks me to see so many 2D side-scrollers going with 3D polygon graphics which tend to be unflattering on them in my opinion, when they've been able to make gorgeous looking 2D artwork since at least the 90's.

Also, I feel a sudden urge to replay Wind Waker.

Jimothy Sterling:
Why do people think I am in some sort of arms race with Extra Credits?

For similar reasons that people think console wars are somehow productive or worthwhile, I would guess. Some folks are just incapable of accepting different things without trying to make one better/worse than the other.

Besides, pertaining to this particular complaint (ie: being "late"), EC has a bit of a head-start on the Jimquisition, so it's to be expected that they'll have covered more topics than Jim will have had time to approach yet. Even if the shows had started at the same time it would be a nonsensical argument, but the fact that they didn't should make it that much more obviously silly.

Jimothy Sterling:

Comparison, sure, but this idea that I'm in some sort of race with them. You do realize this topic has no deadline, right? It's not like I entered into some Phineas Fogg style wager with Extra Credits to see who could do a graphics episode first. You're acting like I'm "late" to a discussion as if there was a sell-by date on it, which is relatively demented.

Fair 'nough. Just expect to hear it mentioned if they do an episode on something before you.

CAPTCHA: curry favour

Now don't you start!

Jimothy Sterling:
You're acting like I'm "late" to a discussion as if there was a sell-by date on it, which is relatively demented.

Your point about stupid people is irrelevant on the internet.
Also,YES,finally someone said this: games with bold aesthetic visual styles,which are feasts for the eyes will always look better than half thhe mainstream games this generation.

I generally agree, but I don't think it's impossible for a game that sets out to create a 'realistic' environment to stand the test of time. You mentioned Halo, and I think so far that game has actually aged pretty well, certainly better than some games from four or five years later. Also, I'm pretty sure that I will never stop being awestruck by just how damn pretty Venice and Florence look in Assassin's Creed 2, no matter how old it gets, and that's a game whos actual graphical quality wasn't actually anything special when it came out. Good, but not exceptional, and it still never fails to make my jaw drop the views look so good. Mind you, it's kinda impossible to make Renaissance Italy not look pretty.

Actually, I couldn't help but be bothered by some of the wierd animations in the cell shaded games and notice some wonky textures in the Viva Pinata thing. So much for the test of time. All I really want is games mixing it up a bit more, I'm less of a Fan of the cartoony visuals, I like the more modern variant better. I would just prefer that we see less washed out enviroments.

While it doesn't exactly fit in to the topic of next gen graphics, I feel remiss in not pointing out that any game can simply choose to stick to stylized 2d, and look beautiful forever.

Seriously. Odin Sphere is one of my favorite games ever, and that has a lot to do with the fact that it is orgasmic-inducing gorgeous in glorious 2d.

I agree, game with color are more appealing these days as the dirt palette is rather prominent. Borderlands 1 suffered from this to an extent. It had the Fallout wasteland brown color palette but it also had SOME color. The Eridian Promontory comes to mind with its whites and blues. Borderlands 2 looks downright awesome with its bright visual.

As for cell shaded games of last gen I'd have to say Dark Cloud 2. Fantastic RPG that I'm just itching gets added to PSN since my PS2 works only when it feels like it

Why the fuck is there a political bullshit add for wisconsin on here? I would guess that most of the fanbase on this site is spread out and not concentrated there, I HATE POLITICS

Kinda wanna play windwaker now :S

Being a fan of Podtoid I expected Jim to talk about Viva Pinata as soon as I saw the title. Although Viva Pinata does look good, I'm not sure I would say it's the best of this generation. Maybe I'm just saying that because I hate the game, but recently I saw a video of Kinectimals gameplay and I have to say it does the same kind of visual style much better. The fur and foliage effects in that game are brilliant, and the colours are really nice.

One other game from this generation that has really impressed me with graphics is Deus Ex: HR. I don't know how well that will age because a lot of it is down to the really nice texture effects. They really make things like metal and clothing look fantastic. But another part of it is to do with the aesthetic of the game. The goldish tint it has to everything and the way they blend the futuristic world in to everything works so well. It's got so much style to it and it's really immersive.

El Shaddai will probably age well since it's got a big focus on aesthetic over fidelity (although it's not lacking fidelity). It's very colourful too. I also think games like Darksiders with it's bold comic book style visuals will stand the test of time.

I also really love Wind Waker and it's graphics really do look fantastic. It still looks better than a lot of games released now. It's definitely thanks to the cel shading, but not all cel shaded games look great. I've noticed that a lot of cel shaded games tend to have a low poly count. I guess developers think they can get away with not making super high detailed models because the cel shading hides it somewhat, but I can't help but see it. Thankfully, Wind Waker doesn't fall in to that trap. Because of that I don't think I've seen any cel shaded game that looks better.

But I disagree that Borderlands looks good. I don't think you can even call it cel shaded. It seems to fall in to this category that pretty much all "cel shaded" games of this generation seem to. like Crackdown, The Darkness 2 and Afro Samurai, they seem to fall in to this category of only being partly cel shaded. I don't like it. Sometimes it can look good, but a lot of the time to me it looks half-arsed, or like the developer didn't want to go full cel shaded because they thought it would put people off. But all to often it ends up looking lazy. Like in Borderlands, it just looks like they are using "cel shading" as an excuse to not bother with high detail models or a lighting engine. They just make the textures look hand drawn and put a black outline round everything, and call it cel shaded. I just wish people would do it properly, but with high detailed models. There are some games that do and they look stunning, like Eternal Sonata or Tales of Vesperia. That is how cel shading should be treated.

EDIT: Reading through the thread reminded me of a game that I wanted to mention but I forgot! It entered my mind and then instantly left. I guess I'm getting old before my time. Anyway, I meant to say Mirror's Edge! That game looks fantastic! The stark colour contrast and the clean, sleek and well realised visual direction are really gorgeous. That's a game like Deus Ex where realistic/high fidelity graphics can come together with a strong aesthetic to make something fantastic. Too often people create this dichotomy between realism vs. aesthetic, but those two games prove that the distinction is fallacious. You can have both, and when you do you end up with something really special.

What about The Witcher 2?
I consider it one of the best looking games of all time, with a suitably grim but extremly colourful and contrast-laden art style. I have yet to see a game that looks more aesthetically pleasing (and I am disregarding technical graphical fidelity here, it is largely irrelevant, after a certain point).
It even looks great when the settings aren't at the highest (though it is preferrable to keep 'em as high as possible if your PC allows for it - which mine thankfully does, save for switching on Ubersampling which literally does nothing visually, but makes the game run much worse... though still playable on my machine).

I mean I do see your point, but I still kind of think The Witcher 2 is an exception in that regard.

This is why I want a Jak 4, and not a photorealistic Zombie Game Naughty Dog!

Jimothy Sterling:

trollpwner:

Jimothy Sterling:
Why do people think I am in some sort of arms race with Extra Credits?

They are intellectuals speaking on the gaming industry. So are you. Comparison is natural and inevitable, whether you like it or not. Ditto for Yahtzee.

Comparison, sure, but this idea that I'm in some sort of race with them. You do realize this topic has no deadline, right? It's not like I entered into some Phineas Fogg style wager with Extra Credits to see who could do a graphics episode first. You're acting like I'm "late" to a discussion as if there was a sell-by date on it, which is relatively demented.

I can probably see comparisons with your show and "Extra Credits" for intellectual discussions and seeing where our view falls in the two directions, but that is the only time I would mention them here. I think it might be people favoring one show over the other. Or maybe people prefer to just listen to one view and get confused when more information on an old topic is brought up.

On-topic: I agree that having abstract characters tend to give more "character" and "life" to a game, but I think one reason this is not encouraged so much in these days is due to cost to make games and marketing. I'm taking a Maya class in college and the tool seems like an expensive canvas that has a complicated user interface. Plus, I assume anyone taking a 3D modeling class are only familiar with making the model for a human body. So doing an abstract model like, say, pinatas, are never covered in modeling classes in college.

As for the marketing, most of these games are meant to show how awesome their graphics are in commercials and cutscenes. Since other grim/gritty games like "Call of Duty" sell well, developers will probably mimic that graphical approach to get some profit. This might explain why a lot of "WoW killers" try having the same graphical approach like WoW, but doesn't look original (like 38 Studios' "Project Copernicus" MMORPG).

PsychedelicDiamond:
Hm... i go with Mirrors Edge. It worked with blinding whites and bright neon colours to get a, excuse me, fucking sexy visual design. It's a shame the gameplay was a bit lackluster so there probably won't be a sequel.

This. It was realistic without being gritty. It was a completely grime-free game set in a world you can actually imagine walking through at some point. The darks were really dark and brights really bright, with lots of primary colors in between. I especially liked the blur effect as your character's eyes adjusted between being indoors and outdoors. Great, now I want to play it again.

Mortal Kombat 10, God of War 3. And Uncharted 2 makes good use of color too.

Also, I think Ninja Gaiden does that well too. This one game spawns every generation though. It was Ninja Gaiden, then Ninja Gaiden Black, Ninja Gaiden Sigma, finally Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus. Still, very colorful game that got visual and content updates with every iteration. We'll see Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus Extreme next gen, that much is certain.

But seriously - Mortal Kombat 10. To hell with Viva Pinata.

I agree with you here Jim, games like Final Fantasy XIII/2, Eternal Sonata, Star Ocean, Blazblue and Valkyria Chronicles all look great in HD.....I've also noticed a pattern there too.

Ah... Yes... Viva Pinata!
I remember when I first received an Xbox 360, my mother rented it, it looked amazing back then to my eyes. And seeing this video just reminds me of how beautiful it still is. The creatures are adorable, and I remember spending hours hitting pinatas with a shovel because they weren't the canine variety or some sort of disease ridden manifestation... Or something. It was like 6 years ago, sorry.

But, morbid shovel bashing aside... I have to say, and I'm sort of sure Jim and others here will agree that the "realistic" games are beautiful in their own right... Graphics, game play, or even just the simple cherished memories!
And even other games not mentioned by him I also was reminded of... Namely, my favorite game of all time... Okami, for the Play Station 2. Despite buying it only just last year, I fell in love with it.

But... Rambling aside, I must say I agree and respect Jim's opinion (Call me a kiss ass all you want), as well as everyone else's.

No love for Okami in your last gen section?

image

Stylised graphics will always age better than titles going for photo-realism.

That's why Journey will still look awesome in 10 year, and MGS 4 won't

While it might not be the "best" of the generation, I'd rate World of Goo very highly.
The power available in the current generation allows you to basically display a old school Disney animation in real time and I'm always surprised at how few people do it. There is room in this world for Wallace and Gromit as well as the latest action blockbuster.
If you need a timeless feel, go 2D.

No Little Big Planet? That was honestly the first game this gen where the visuals truly captivated me. It had a realistic texture to the fabric and wood, but it was colourful and vibrant.

For me personally, the movie that utilized blu-ray the best was Planet Earth. Especially when a flock of over 100.000 snow geese fly by, or when you see a shark jump out of the water in slo-mo.

Preach on, Jim. I'm so sick of "gritty photorealism". It's even affected the manga art-stylings of Japanese games, for the love of Tezuka!

trollpwner:
Oh, COME ON Jim. You may not be the sharpest knife in the draw, but normally you aren't beaten to what you're saying by extra credits by *this* much. http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/graphics-vs.-aesthetics

See that? Season 2, episode 16. Over 50 weeks ago. 50 weeks! Almost a year. Ab-surd. *sigh* Oh well. Guess the actual content wasn't bad though. Even if extra credits did do it better.

EDIT: look at this! Yahtzee managed this in 2009 http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/6372-The-Conduit

Not saying Jim's point isn't relevant, but this really is leaving it late.

And MovieBob beat Yahtzee to the punch by a few months as the Game Overthinker. But so what? In three years, does the problem still exist? It certainly does. And if all the gaming pundits and commentators want to offer their personal opinions on an issue that is still hugely relevant to the industry, they should definitely feel free to do so. It's interesting to see where they agree, where they differ, and why.

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