Graphics seem to lead the way in game development these days with games looking more gorgeous all the time. Horizon, Hellblade, Uncharted are all gorgeous games that play beautifully. BUT sometimes gorgeous doesn’t equate to good (The Order 1886 I’m looking at you!!). So Graphics vs Gameplay what is important?
Here are 7 games I really love to play that aren’t trying to make your eyes bleed.
Oh Sir – Insult Simulator
This is a fantastic game that pits you against AI or a friend in an epic battle to come up with the best insult. Life bars reduce, combos can be built, characters have weaknesses you can exploit and it is bloody hilarious. The story mode’s final battle is against god doing an impression of Morgan Freeman.
Also if you are a fan of Monty Python’s Flying Circus there are quotes and references aplenty. Even a trophy for getting “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries” as an insult. If you don’t get that reference Google it!
Overall it is great fun and is best played with a mate on the sofa. Check it out now.
You are a space trader, warrior, pirate, bounty hunter – your choice, cruising space trying to turn a profit and solve a mystery. Combat is similar to Assassin’s Creed Black Flag’s ship section. It is all about broadsides, positioning and tactics. Battles are frenetic but fun. Upgrade your ship, hire fighters to help you, join factions, complete quests and become a space badass.
It’s a really good space-faring game with complex mechanics and a lot of interesting things to do. Might be worth engaging your warp drive for.
Steam World Heist
This was in my top five games of 2016, it is a space robot cowboy turn-based strategy roleplaying game!! It’s a lot cooler than that sounds.
You travel through space fighting a threat to space robot civilisation. Characters have different abilities, cover is a significant tactical consideration and there is a bullet rebound mechanic that allows you to pull off some truly awesome takedowns. You can also shoot off enemy’s hats and collect them!
This is all wrapped up in a charming story with fun and engaging characters and difficult but rewarding gameplay.
SRPGs are my favourite gaming genre and this sits there with the best of them. Grab your robo Stetson and six-shooter and scrap some metal ass.
Thomas Was Alone
In the argument over Graphics vs Gameplay this game certainly does not impress from a graphical perspective. But does that matter? Mike Bithell’s charming game is all about moving squares, rectangles and other geometric shapes though 2D puzzles. Meh! I hear you cry. However, if you bear with it it’s an utterly beguiling game that challenges you mentally and engages with you emotionally.
The game gives you little geometric characters who have different skills and abilities that you must bring together to solve some fiendish puzzles. Some can float, some jump higher than others, some are small and can slip through tiny spaces.
The brilliance of this game is not about puzzles (which are very clever) but the narration by Danny Wallace. His commentary imbues your blocky protagonists with such incredible character, giving them motivation and reason. There are petty rivalries and budding romances all given life without faces, features or complex animations.
It is a real testament to the design and scripting of the game that such a simple concept can be so affecting.
Get this game if you are looking for a mental challenge, as well as laughing and crying along with your 4 cornered friends.
Wasteland 2 – Director’s Cut
This is a new purchase for me, I’d heard good things about it and saw it on PSN for £8 so grabbed it. It is a port from a crowdfunded PC game based in the original Fallout universe.
You create a party of 4 Wasteland Rangers and can bring up to 3 others with you that you meet along the way. It’s another turn-based SRPG all about positioning, understanding strengths and weaknesses of weapons and choosing the right skills.
There are a lot of skills and choosing, managing and levelling them is a game in and of itself. Either improving combat skills, knowledge skills like safecracking and special skills like animal whispering.
You also unlock perks, which can have a significant impact on how the game plays out.
It isn’t all shooting though, you can talk your way out of trouble, reprogram robots to fight for you and complete a number of side quests that are varied and interesting.
One word of warning though, it does contain one of the worst voice acting performances ever. Vultures Cry, a Native American Indian, is truly awful. Worth having along though as she’s a superb sniper and can charm animals.
It a big game with a lot to do and also doesn’t take itself too seriously, well worth a punt.
One of my favourite PlayStation 4 games and was my first video upload to PS4 Fun YouTube channel. Don’t Starve is a fiendishly difficult survival game dressed up as a cartoonish frolic. You can choose various characters and are dumped in a randomly generated world with no tutorial and no clue. You have to figure everything out for yourself… and you will die. Repeated deaths in games can be frustrating, not so Don’t Starve, because each death is a learning experience. Eventually, after horrific burnings, eviscerations and famine have ended your pathetic squishy life, you find that you have a farm, armour, weapons and a fridge.
Expansions have added new worlds with new challenges and also a co-op mode you can play with friends on your sofa.
Its external charm hides a hardcore game that rewards experimentation and nerve with real payoffs. If you are easily frustrated this possibly isn’t the game for you. But if you like a challenge with a sense of humour you can’t go wrong with Don’t Starve.
This is actually one of my all-time favourite games. The other games on this list are indy titles, by contrast, Valiant Hearts was made by Ubisoft. This tells the story of 4 individuals and their experience of the First World War. A Farmer, his son-in-law, a Belgian medic and an American soldier.
Ostensibly it is a 2D puzzle game, but it is so much more than that. It was created with input from 2 educational and historical societies and is a powerful exploration of the futility of war and its human cost.
Not as fun as the others, but a game that puts storytelling, communication and insight front and centre over photorealistic character models. It is moving as well as challenging and has an utterly devastating but entirely appropriate ending. This game should be part of school history lessons as its attention to details and historical accuracy are commendable.
Not a game for those who want to shoot swathes of enemies, but for those who want a game that challenges mind and emotion as well as actually teaching you something valuable, then this is the game for you.
You can access a full playthrough on my channel by clicking on this link.
Graphics vs Gameplay Summary.
We all love gorgeous looking games and want graphics vs gameplay to be a union not a battle. I started playing games in 1979, Space Invaders on an arcade machine, not pretty but great fun. Since then I have been through console and computer iterations from ZX81 all the way through to the PS4. The games I always remember and look back on fondly are the ones that were fun and challenging to play, not the pretty ones.
Little gems of games that are fun and engaging are often much more value for money than their big brothers. My view is that so-called AAA games have a lot to learn from the Indy community, where innovation is more important than looking pretty.
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