What A Wonderful World

The passing years have provided me with a growing problem when gaming. In days of yore I’d get my game face on, knew what I had to do and get cracking. The plan was easy – complete the task at hand so I’d be on my merry way, eating mushrooms or shooting invaders from space. They were simple times with equally simple graphics.
Panau: Weather great. Worrying explosions. Wish you were here!
Panau: Weather great. Worrying explosions. Wish you were here!
Nowadays game graphics are vastly more realistic, visually stunning and often take my breath away. Although I don’t care to start the old debate of “can games be art?”, to me personally, they are, without a shadow of doubt. The trouble is they’re starting to throw me off and affect my game. I would often stop to gaze at the surroundings in Modern Warfare 2 and a headshot from the enemy would be my reward for staring slack-jawed at the mountains and lakes in the distance. I used to love and hate the Estate map in equal measures. I found it beautiful but knew I’d die constantly as I got distracted ambling round the house taking in all the details. Burnout Paradise was another to get me in trouble. The graphics may not be comparable to some other games but I’ve been caught out numerous times gaping at the sea, engrossed by the lapping waves, when I should have been barrel rolling over jumps.
Thankfully there are also games which allow me to sit back and enjoy the graphics at my leisure. Although I spent most of Just Cause 2 trying to escape the military, I was also free to wander through towns, cities, secluded forests and sun-kissed beaches soaking up the stunning world. I was genuinely taken aback by the game and thought it would be a long time until another surpassed it. Unfortunately for Just Cause 2 it was only a matter of weeks until John Marston hogtied my heart and galloped off into the sunset with it.
Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption is like nothing I’ve played before. In “real life” I enjoy a taste of wilderness and have experienced it firsthand in places like Dartmoor, Yosemite and the Nevada desert. RDR manages to capture the beauty of isolation perfectly. At first I feel my horse and I are the only things under that blistering sun but then I catch a glimpse of a rabbit hopping into the undergrowth, birds of prey circling overhead and the yapping of nearby coyotes. There’s life in them thar hills, it’s teeming with it once you know where to look. I’ve spent hours and hours on the game but I’m still slightly awestruck by the sunrise and watch it ascend the pink and orange hued mountains on the horizon, casting shadows over the plains, silhouetting the cacti on the valley floor below. Should you be unfortunate enough to require my assistance in multiplayer as cougars butcher you over and over again, know that your pleas for help will likely fall on deaf ears. I’m too busy marvelling at the draw distance. It may not have the scenic variety of Just Cause 2 or the city buzz of Burnout Paradise but I think it will be a long time until I find a game whose imagery I could gush over as much as Red Dead Redemption.







4 responses to “What A Wonderful World”

  1. Celeste avatar

    You graphics whore!!

    Kidding. It’s amazing isn’t it? The first game that did that to me was Oblivion I think. Although it’s visuals are still a little abstract compared to reality, they rocked my world.

    Gonna have to get RDR. Sounds like my kinda game.

  2. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    The first Just Cause looked beautiful as well, especially when taking in the scenery in your tiny agency helicopter. Just Cause 2 came along and it’s the most beautiful looking world I have seen. The arid desert region, the snow topped mountains, the golden beaches with deep blue sea everywhere. And all this on a standard def TV, I can only imagine the vibrant colours on a HDTV would just blow me away.

  3. wcd45 avatar

    Now if you only went and played the game instead of looking at the scenery and Lasooing people constantly then you might have at least made it to Mexico. Although this does add a some what disturbing insight into your personality =P

  4. Simon avatar

    RDR is truly stunning to look at, agreed.

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