Are Realistic or Cartoon-Style Graphics a better choice?

Much has been said recently about a promise from Blizzard that World of Warcraft’s character models would be updated. New models for mounts and the like are already beginning to appear, to much player fanfare.

This raises the question of graphics. While there’s no doubt that WoW‘s graphics have had some serious work done on them over the years, the character models are still long over due a facelift. But have WoW‘s disney-ish graphics stood the test of time? Are cartoon-style graphics like WoW’s superior or inferior to highly realistic textures and styling like what’s found in games like The Secret World?

What do you think? What games have the best graphics, can realistic character models and graphics stand the test of time, or are cartoon-styled graphics the way to go? What’s your preference?

  • Unknownman14

    On my opinion I am getting sick and tired of “*insert game* sucks because its not realistic *cough*battlefield 3*cough* enough”. For me its how they use the art rather than how pretty it is. On my opinion I lean to go for more cartoony style since I play games to get out of reality and play on another world.

    But overall graphics war is silly and a sad excuse to hate on something just to hate it. Everyone has their taste and everyone shouldn’t discriminate it.

  • http://twitter.com/ichihaifu ichihaifu

    One of wow’s strenghts is actually the caroony graphics style. Since its easy to upgrade and it doesnt start looking worse over time, like realistic looking graphics do.
    Also, cartoony graphics arent massive resource hogs on system.
    Thus, I prefer cartoony over realistic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260066056 Steven Diaz

    I love both, to be honest.  I feel it really depends on the game.  A game with a deep story like Mass Effect’s, or any game related to space for that matter, (ignore Mass Effect 3, makes my skin crawl) SHOULD have realistic graphics.  SWTOR is another game that I would have preferred realistic graphics in, although the cartoon-style graphics didn’t bother me much.  Planetside 2 also benefits from realistic graphics.  Borderlands 2 and most fantasy games (like Dragon Quest 7), and MMOs (like WoW), really go well with the cartoon-like graphics though.  Fantasy of that nature just lends itself well to that type of art.  

    So… yeah…  all those words to basically say that I like them both.  It really comes down to the particular game.  Olivia, stop asking me hard questions, makes my head hurt!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2IHERWUO5JIMFXDSDGS57K5B6E Trevor

    I’m a fan of TSW graphics actually. I’m in love with my character even though he is male and i’m male… omg! I’M GAY!

  • http://www.facebook.com/inkogni.alex Inkogni Alex

    MINECRAAFT!! the game and everything in it looks like a MikeB’s famous Donkey ASS, you can even try and throw few brick’s of *** and its still the same pixels you like and love . its not really fantasy or IRL and not even trying to be one or the other. but from games that have “better” graphics that all might minecraft i play EVE witch i see to be more on the realistic end and GW2 that has some magical donkey ass in it. cant decide whats better, i play for the gameplay and not for the looks ( D3 looks bad ass, but who plays that? )
    Hay GB!

  • Demi_God

    “Bold Colors no pale pastels.”

    I appreciate realistic looking games, but bright colors often improve the gameplay experience.  Warcraft3 is a good example, where early on the player base complained about the Cartoony look, but in hindsight, especially when it became an e-sport, it made everything easier to follow.

    The cartoon style also allows you to accentuate characteristics of a champion like in league of legends.  This often allows for more visual personality over a more realistic look. 

  • http://twitter.com/JQD Jeffrey Dailey

    It depends on the game. In a fantasy role playing setting like WoW the cartoon-style works for me. In a FPS or in The Secret World, that is more based in modern day and a real life setting, I prefer realistic graphics.

  • http://twitter.com/crbudzeak crbudzeak

    Contrary to popular thought, ultra-real graphics usually do not lend themselves to immersion the same way that cartoon-styled graphics do. In order to pull off the illusion everything has to match that level of detail. Environments can often be real or foreign enough to almost enhance the experience, but this deception is quickly destroyed by the wooden movement of the character model in contrast to its appearance. When you see something that is supposed to reflect reality, your mind stumbles on each unnatural hiccup in animation, movement, and interaction.When you have a super-deformed environment and character models, say as in WoW, the limits of movement and how you interact with the world is defined for you as you encounter it. You accept the still wooden animations and quirks as natural limitations and no longer question it in your mind.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1387796223 Ali Riyadh Alsadoon

     Realistic for sure, but a game over all quality has to be much higher. Good realistic graphics but bad game wont work, but the other way around works.

  • http://www.facebook.com/miljan.stanojevic.503 Miljan Stanojevic

    Olivia are u single?

    • http://twitter.com/crbudzeak crbudzeak

      Really, dude? This isn’t a dating site. Good job on adding nothing worthwhile to the proposed topic and going straight down the Internet creeper route.

  • http://twitter.com/Deadalon Deadalon

    Gameplay matters more than graphics.  Better graphics usually means lower frames per second leading to worse gameplay.  

    • Krzysztof Kotarba

      depends on optimalization.. sadly many devs are lazy as hell.

      • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

        Or stuck with crappy engines, they cant control.

        • Key Foster

          lol

      • http://twitter.com/crbudzeak crbudzeak

        I think it has more to do with the money and time available to develop a game in order to release on time more than it does with the work ethic of the developers themselves.

  • Krzysztof Kotarba

    Cartoony least longer but creating heavy/adult mood is almost impossible, because always it will be cartoony and goofy. I think GW2 has good balance between some realistic looking characters and enviroment/art style looks painterly.
    I love Tera graphic it’s amazing mix of realistic and cartoony and i’m sure it won’t be outdated in near future.Today realistic graphic don’t get old as it used to be in 90′ or early 2000.

    • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

      Hard to say. While the realism graphic styles have come a long way.  You can’t tell if today’s realistic art style will stand up when compared to the next generation of realist graphics. 

  • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

    So many questions here.  Art styles, character modeling, texture mapping, particle density, all critical to the aesthetic of the MMO or other video game. 

    Currently a highly stylized art style last longer than realistic art styles. Should be very interesting to see how the current group of more realistic art styles stand up over the next few years.    

    Character models/polygon counts.  The higher the polygon count the easier to render a more realistic art style. During the last Guild Wars 2 holiday, I was pleased the individual buckles on the Mad King appeared to have their own ploygons.  But, I was horrified how Karka event was ruined by visual lag, input lag, models that rendered off screen so slowly,they would appear invisible during gameplay.

    With Blizzard updating the Orc and Human character models, it will be interesting to see how the community will react to the new models. 

    • tarsal

      Not many questions at all actually. The current games that use realistic art styles will stand up just fine. The plateau effect is already happening. You can only get so close to reality before you start dipping into the uncanny valley anyway.

      Will wow players like higher poly models? Of course they will.

  • Key Foster

    I pretty much agree with most of the people on this page, so ill just add my 2 cent lol.
    Basically I really like the realistic look with most games, because I get amazed at how far we have come as far as tech goes. For instance TES series. Bethesda have really gone for that realistic look and it goes together really well. TESO is looking very good also, it just needs to be fun, i don’t think Zenimax will disappoint. 

    But as far as quality goes i like both as long as the style that has been chosen is a quality design. Basically i don’t want sloppy cartoony graphics i want beautiful cartoony graphics, i don’t want sloppy realistic graphics i want beautiful realistic graphics, show that there was some effort put into the design.

    For WOW (MOP is beautiful!) i am really in tune with the graphic/art style that was chosen for that game, it fits (so to speak). Ironically Borderlands was about to be made with realistic graphics then in the end it was made with cartoony graphics, i was disappointed at first (before the game came out) until i (knowing i was going to buy it anyway)  played the game and fell in love with it lol.

    I play some of everything. Console/PC gamer since ATARI and DOS ( im not old) lol.

  • http://twitter.com/Stone_LX9 Stone LX9

    For me, it depends on the game. I would hate to see an Elder Scrolls game have a cartoon-style. In fact, any game with an adult theme the wants to be taken more seriously then a Looney Tunes cartoon should avoid that art style.
     
    For WoW, the style just fits. It can make an eight year old game still look beautiful at times.

    WoW doesn’t take itself too seriously, It’s almost like a Saturday morning cartoon come to life. If they ever decided to delve deeply into an adult theme, it would look pretty of silly. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Keller/100000218559506 Chris Keller

    cartoon style games stand up to the test of time better. If WoW used realistic graphics it would have ended years ago because the human/orc textures would turn everyone off, while cartoon they were able to wait till sometime soon. 

  • Gelana

    I’m with a lot of the of the ppl here as well. I like both styles, but more or less i think it depends on the game. I don’t know if i fully agree on the fact of, the more adult it is the more of a realistic feel a game should have. Again that depends on the content of the game. Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to fantasy games like WoW, or Final Fantasy just to name a few, if it’s too realistic it can make it feel fake too. It’s supposed to have this sense of…. well… fantasy.

    I do agree that WoW’s current model of graphics works on a number of levels. One that we are talking about a game that is almost a decade old. One of the things that was brought up in Legendary the other week is that it’s hard to believe it’s the same game engine from 8 yrs ago. The upgrades to the graphics over time, I think, keep a relatively fresher feel to the game. Also another point is that you don’t have to update it as much as some of the “higher end” games too to keep it looking current. Breaking away from PC games a bit but looking at the original God of War to Ascension. Granted I love the original and I look past the dated graphics, but it wouldn’t compete in today’s market. Same goes with The Sands of Time series or Legacy of Kain.

     People still play FFVII cause of the game content and scream for an updated current version. I bring this up for a reason. Look at how large the game world of FFVII is. Granted yes I’m now talking console games instead of PC, but heck make it a PC game. Something along the line of the graphics of say A Secret World would take FOREVER to produce. Not to mention the resources it would take from a computer to generate. Thus making the production a total epic fail in my eyes cause only a select few would be able to really play it for all it’s worth. Now lets do that to WoW…. There is going to be a good chunk of people that wouldn’t be able to play the game on there current machines. Yes there will be the few that will update there computers but there is going to be a chunk that; just aren’t going to raid anymore, or only level alts until if and when they can update there PC. Lets not forget the base too that will just stop playing cause it’s just to frustrating having 5 FPS. It would be a bad move for Blizz to do a full overhaul like that, at least in my opinion. That and as mentioned WoW already has it’s own feel, why take away from that?

    Anyway, I’m falling off topic. I think overall WoW’s graphics are perfect for the game that it is. Honestly it just works…. and I think this is one of those games that if it went to realistic it would loose a lot of it’s current fantasy feel.

  • Gelana

    accidental repost sorry

  • Gelana

    I’m with a lot of the of the ppl here as well. I like both styles, but more or less i think it depends on the game. I don’t know if i fully agree on the fact of, the more adult it is the more of a realistic feel a game should have. Again that depends on the content of the game. Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to fantasy games like WoW, or Final Fantasy just to name a few, if it’s too realistic it can make it feel fake too. It’s supposed to have this sense of…. well… fantasy.

    I do agree that WoW’s current model of graphics works on a number of levels. One that we are talking about a game that is almost a decade old. One of the things that was brought up in Legendary the other week is that it’s hard to believe it’s the same game engine from 8 yrs ago. The upgrades to the graphics over time, I think, keep a relatively fresher feel to the game. Also another point is that you don’t have to update it as much as some of the “higher end” games too to keep it looking current. Breaking away from PC games a bit but looking at the original God of War to Ascension. Granted I love the original and I look past the dated graphics, but it wouldn’t compete in today’s market. Same goes with The Sands of Time series or Legacy of Kain.

     People still play FFVII cause of the game content and scream for an updated current version. I bring this up for a reason. Look at how large the game world of FFVII is. Granted yes I’m now talking console games instead of PC, but heck make it a PC game. Something along the line of the graphics of say A Secret World would take FOREVER to produce. Not to mention the resources it would take from a computer to generate. Thus making the production a total epic fail in my eyes cause only a select few would be able to really play it for all it’s worth. Now lets do that to WoW…. There is going to be a good chunk of people that wouldn’t be able to play the game on there current machines. Yes there will be the few that will update there computers but there is going to be a chunk that; just aren’t going to raid anymore, or only level alts until if and when they can update there PC. Lets not forget the base too that will just stop playing cause it’s just to frustrating having 5 FPS. It would be a bad move for Blizz to do a full overhaul like that, at least in my opinion. That and as mentioned WoW already has it’s own feel, why take away from that?

    Anyway, I’m falling off topic. I think overall WoW’s graphics are perfect for the game that it is. Honestly it just works…. and I think this is one of those games that if it went to realistic it would loose a lot of it’s current fantasy feel.

  • http://twitter.com/JerryWheatfield Jerry Wheatfield

    “Cartoony” graphics should follow the “feel” of the game, not necessarily the genre. As somebody else pointed out, WoW doesn’t take itself too seriously and the graphics follows suit.

    Some of the other fantasy MMO’s like LoTRO can’t quite pull off this look (thank goodness) and sell a different atmosphere.

    There is room for both in gaming. Just don’t expect many to gush, fawn and swoon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thelaughingman19 Samuel Holmes

    Art style is subjective. I can’t say one is better then the other, but my preference is a nice medium. Not hyper realistic, but is over cartoonist. 

  • http://openid.anonymity.com/weird a bit weird maybe but

    For me, I’m one of those people who get affected by what I’m experiencing. If I play diablo a few hours, I feel sad, but if its bright and beautiful like in gw2 and wow, I’m happy.

  • tekert

    I think there is misconception about the “graphics” the term i’d like to use is “art style” and “technology” separately. Having said that, art style is subjective so, really, opinions doesn’t matter or is just taste, some ppl will talk about “feeling” or “fits” just because of that, again, art style.

    Now to throw opinions into the mix, for me, im the one that likes asian art, there are good articles about American art style, specially
    with cartoons over the years and the change in animation style, again,
    these are characteristics and maybe more subject to comparison, and that’s where I would like to talk, in the gaming area, if you look closely at the animation (correct me np, im not an expert) asian look to me a bit better, I wish I could talk more about european or russian. but I don’t know much either, american always tend to be a bit “disney” to me and the art follows, some times the style spreads like a “pandemic”, wowotization I call it.

    And, well, my point is there, i don’t
    like that. Someone mentioned Borderlands, i dont know but the way the
    snow areas looked but those big black lines, awaful to me, again, taste,
    i disabled them right away but the character textures where so dull
    that it felt like a way to cheap the work on the visual aspect, and
    again I dont like that for example.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Quinn/504633100 Jason Quinn

    I personally love WoW’s more cartoonish art style. It does look a little dated but it exudes a very playful fun nature that I don’t get with some games. GW2 is somewhat a hybrid of both.
    I prefer cartoonish art styles because I enjoy imagining what it would look like if I were actually there as opposed to games where they want to show you exactly what it should look like in real life. 

  • tarsal

    In the past,a realistic art style brought with it the risk of becoming dated. Since this is not much of an issue now, its pretty simple; the style should follow the content.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomi.turku Tomi Turku

    Waiting for the day when we hit photorealistic graphics. After that they won’t get outdated anymore. But on the question at hand, I think we need both and diversity is good. As a bad example: who in their right mind would play World of Goo with realistic graphics?

  • http://twitter.com/NerdnGeekInc Raven Frosth

    I prefer the realistic character looking models, like in Rift, SWTOR or AoC.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rasmus.nielsen.75491 Rasmus Nielsen

    I think it completely depends on the game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Aldraran Jason Ames

    I prefer Graphics that fit the story the developers are trying to tell, but i believe that cartoon type grapghics are much more enduring with the passage of time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.ackerman.96 Jason Ackerman

    I guess if I had to choose I’d prefer a more realistic style of graphics.  I do like both styles at time though.  Where I do have a problem is WoW compared to almost every other MMO.  I love the feeling of scale and having huge building towering over me.  I FEEL that WoW kind of cheats and that is because almost ever building in the game and even some of the characters feel as if someone inflated a jumping castle.  I know it goes with the art style that they use and it works for that, but I like large halls that give more of a grand feel.  If you took the buildings in WoW and deflated them you would have some very small building.  I know a lot of people are probably going to disagree with me, but this is my option.

  • integerx

    I prefer a realistic artistic style. I understand what you are saying about cartoony graphics able to be endure because the art is specifically designed to cover up things like lower poly models and lower resolution textures, but I think that is less so with the current graphical quality. I think we’ve reached a graphical technology threshold where the advances in graphics are much more minute than most people can perceive. I also think the result of this is that even the mid to lower end graphics, by their very nature, look stylized as time passes instead of simply outdated. I think this trend will become even more prevalent as time goes on.

  • Oldschoolremag

    Most people seem to be confusing the graphical style with graphical quality. ‘Cartoony’ does not equal poor quality. I find WoW’s art style to be fairly charming, its quality is…lacking. I stopped playing pre panda, but go ahead and compare a worgen or goblin to the old models. Or just switch your worgen from wolf to human form. The difference in quality was plainly noticeable when I last played. I imagine the panda’s quality is a step up from that since I’m hearing the new areas look good.

    Of course if you’re an mmo player, you should be tolerant of lower quality graphics. Skyrim on max settings is absolutely gorgeous, but I have a feeling it would turn WoW into a slide show running at about one frame per minute at peak hours in Stormwind and Orgimmar. Try it with Swtor’s gem of an engine and your computer would likely off itself just to end the suffering… that is if it could survive the bland art style, mediocre combat, ultra linear gameplay, lack of endgame, joke of a space game, absurd f2p implementation… Sorry, still suffering from PTSD after that trainwreck.

  • http://twitter.com/Hoigwai Hoigwai

    I don’t have a preference, I feel that the style needs to fit the setting. In general I think a very heavy blade runner style mmo would lend itself to a stark hyper accurate art style. While something like wow which is fantasy but is fantasy with a tongue in cheek feel. WoW has never taken itself very serious so a hyper realistic art style just would seem out of place.

    All of that said, I would think the more stylized the art the more enduring it will be. One issue we as humans have is the more accurate the art is to real life the more we can find flaw in it.

  • crothcipt

    For me it depends on the game.  Having played in a few beta’s, and both styles didn’t follow with what the game was about.  It pretty much has to do with the immersion factor is the style even a style to be taken seriously.  In wow I can’t play a orc or a draenei cause they are to cartoonie, and I can’t take them seriously as they take themselves.  

     

  • Deadnstien

    It depends on the game. A Game like WoW that doesn’t take itself to seriously, that is just as much comedy as it is drama, the cartoony look just works. Where as a game like The Secret World which is going for a more serious, real world feel, cartoony would just be out of place.
     
    The setting makes a difference as well. A game set in the real world or at least a fair facsimile like a GTA game or Skyrim lends itself more to realistic. Where WoW with zones like Zangarmash, would just be silly in that style.

    I think these reasons are why a lot of games like GW2 are taking the middle road. They want the flexibility of the cartoony and the substance of the realistic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kyle-Eggers/100000868131517 Kyle Eggers

    Graphic matter less then the game look at FTL, the game play and if it is fun matters more.  I do like more realistic and shiny graphic though.

  • http://twitter.com/YggyD YggyD

    In either direction you go as long as it is done right it can work.  It is hard to explain but I have seen games go way to cartoonish and it feels childish but I have also seen ultra realistic games go to far and it feels to gritty and rough.

  • http://twitter.com/moosewithaj john nuyen

    I’ll take cartoonish thanks, AOC,GW1/2,SWOTR,and even a Elder scrolls have pushed me away from realistic characters. I mean if I wanted to look at half naked women there’s at least 7 topless bars around where I live (I’m 38 so age isn’t a problem) or there’s my fiancee’ or redtube or such. No the thing that’s held people to wow is the very simplistic thing of lore and gameplay. AOC fell victim of its on greatness. The GFX were the best (way to many naked big breasted chicks in tortage). It had a majority of its players falling in love with the graphics and not the game play or story. Which is great for initial sales but in the long run it ruined it completely. No rule of thumb should be if the game’s graphics might seem dinky don’t shove it out to sea. Give it a try, look at Minecraft, GFX that date back to circa 1989 and its one of the most loved games because it based itself on the simple fact people like to build things and such. not just stare at a high res butt/boobs all day. Decent Editorial

    Side Question Olivia: Those books behind you are they classical literature (Dickens,Shakesphere) or technical/gaming books?. Been dying to know.

    • http://twitter.com/oliviadgrace Olivia Grace

      There’s a huge mix! I’ve got a lot of foreign-language books, I speak French and German, and am trying to learn Swedish, so books on that. There’s a lot of fiction, I’ve always read a lot. There’s a lot of books on gaming psychology and anthropology, I did my Masters dissertation on it, and a bunch of books from previous study courses and old jobs, so management, real estate, finance, etc. And a few technical books on other things! You can only see about a quarter of my stupidly large book collection in the shot :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=862175353 Gavin Morgan

    WoW although looking its age gets it just right, plus the game runs on a massive amount of different spec machines.

    Formula = win

  • http://twitter.com/TheFeyLife Fey

    It doesn’t matter which style is used! Gameplay people, gameplay! Ahhhhh!!

    Don’t get me wrong. Fancy graphics and unique art styles are nice and I quite enjoy them. But that’s not what’s important. People that hate on any game because the graphics look “dated” or stylized drive me nuts.

    If a game is fun, the gameplay is solid, and you enjoy playing it, it shouldn’t matter what it looks like. The graphics and art style of any game is the icing on the cake. A beautiful cake from a bakery with layers and stylized frosting looks amazing. But in the end, you cut the cake into pieces and shove it in your mouth. A simple home made cake could potentially be just as tasty.

    On topic: Personally, I enjoy both realistic and “cartoony” graphics. But it should NEVER be an argument about how good or bad a game is. “Oh WoW is terrible because it looks dated and cartoony. Ugh! I don’t want to play that game”. It’s silly, and shallow.

    /end rant

    • Dennis Schmidt

      It might not to you, but does to many.  Here is why: it’s called immersion.  All games require a certain suspension of disbelief.  Are you really a fireball conjuring mage, or a jedi knight, or a space pirate?  Of course not.  The environment helps reinforce the setting and potential story a game tries to convey.  MMOs in general are also MMORPGs, as in Role-Playing-Games.  The environment and setting play a major role in the game immersion, which is a critical for successful RPGs.  Of course gameplay is just as critical, if not more so, but its graphics does affect the RPG aspects of MMOs.  This mechanic isn’t just for RP-ers either, let me ask you this: Pick whatever game you think has the absolute best gameplay out there, now put a skin on it that is completely dated and/or betrays the world the game is supposed to espouse, does this affect the game experience?  It might not for you, but I would guess for many it would.

      • http://twitter.com/TheFeyLife Fey

        I’m not saying it’s not important overall. I’m saying it should never make or break a game. I -am- an RPer and I’ve been RPing in DnD for yeaaars. You know. On paper. No controls, no screen, graphics are NOT required. They’re nice. They’re fun. They can make a game come to life. But graphics are only icing.

        If anything, WoW’s proves how successful a silly looking world can be and that we don’t need 10 shades of brown to immerse ourselves into a game. But at the end of the day, people don’t log into WoW just to look at the art.

        Going out on a limb a little bit on this one, but I really don’t think people would just get up and leave if they made it more realistic in a future update. Because the gameplay would still be the same.

  • Dennis Schmidt

    I personally like the cartoon feel too, WoW graphics don’t bother me, and despite an aged game, the graphic landscapes in the new Pandaria zones is stunning.  Here is my reason, I play MMOs because I want to belong to that world, having graphics too realistic brings me back to reality, and while I am playing that is not where I want to be.  Cartoony graphics for me reinforce the fantasy elements of the MMO.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.mayer.9887 Mark Mayer

    Instead of “cartoony” let’s use “stylized”.  Or at the very least, that’s the term I’m going to use.  Perhaps it’s not any more correct, but at least it doesn’t have the stigma of “cartoony”.  

    I, too, prefer the stylized graphics over realistic graphics.  As you said, they definitely stand the test of time better than realistic graphics do.  And the reason, simply put, is that stylized graphics simply have more “art” to it.  You can’t really improve art by cramming more processing speed into it. You might find better artists (although that’s more of a subjective call), or the artists might get more creative and embrace the style and get bolder with it (the new Grand Armored Gryphon and Wyvern mounts) and you can smooth out the polygon count, but the art shouldn’t change *much*.

    Realistic graphics, on the other hand, are ever the victim of their improving technologies.  Every year those graphics get closer and closer to climbing out of the Uncanny Valley, and every year we look back to last year and we see just how far down hill last years graphics were.  Where the juxtaposition of higher polygon count *stylized* avatars standing right next to the lower ones might make snort a little bit, if you do the same thing with realistic avatars, your eyes start to hurt and you wonder why you even put up with such comparatively crap graphics.

    That said, I think its important that game developers put out games with “realistic” graphics.  Their eternal zeal in creating more and more life-like models improves the industry as a whole, so that we can one day reach that Ready Player One singularity, where graphics and the real thing are nigh indistinguishable. 

  • Ryan Carbotte

    For me, it mostly depends on the game. When we’re talking about a fantasy game like GW2, I very much prefer the slightly more exaggerated, stylistic approach – it gives a specific feel to the environment. I’ve never had a problem with the art direction in WoW either – again, in this case too, the stylistic approach is very well executed.
    I think it’s also important to make a distinction between “realistic” “cartoony” and as you put it at one point in the video “high quality”. When you bring a game like Borderlands 2 into the mix, the art direction is very much stylistic & cartoony, however, it’s also an extremely high quality graphical style. On the same hand, WoW is also cartoony in nature, but suffers from a significant amount of low quality assets, mixed with high quality ones – compare the Human to the Pandaran, and you’ll see they are millennia apart.

    There is certainly still a space for the hyper realistic games, but again, I stand by the fact that it’s very much tied to the universe the developer is trying to bring the player into. In this case, I’ll use The Last of Us as the example – this is a game that’s intended to bring the player into a post-apocalyptic world that is much like our own. For that reason, it’s execution of realistic graphics is a key element to it’s success.

  • Torguish

    Cartoony graphics are also good for giving a chance for not so supet-tech computers. I mean look at dishonored, i find the game beatiful but it’s graphics are ”cartoony” AND its easily playable my mid-range computers.

    Like she said, they stay longer without looking ”dated”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rammur65 Roger Means

    WoW i dont have a problem with its kind of their style they made it look like warcraft the old warcrafts. basically its their art style.

  • buck wade

    when i watch video game reviews I notice that ones with realistic graphics are praised like, “wow its realistic” like its something original, despite every realistic looking game have almost the exact same goal: realism. Because of this they usually lack originality. When critics review a game with cartoon graphics, they don’t even seem to say anything about it. Its bassically, “Oh hey look at how realistic this game is despite over a bajilion games looking exactly like the same damn thing”, and “Oh look at this unrealistic, cartoony game, despite all of them looking different from each other”. Why can’t there be games that look less realistic but still realistic to make it look a little more uniqe. Nope. Every game that looks realistic, HAS to look super realistic, making it have bad graphics. God am I sick of these people.

  • buck wade

    I’m not saying that realistic games are bad, I’m saying they get more praised than cartoon looking games because critics are obsessed with realism instead of games that try to look unique on their own. Speaking of dated graphics, I really like the graphics in disgaea 2 and have no problems with it. Sure it looks dated, but thats what I like about it: it feels like this old cartoony arstyle. So really, it mostly comes to to personnel taste in art.