Detail, polygons, shaders… all very important. What I find most important are textures. Artistic and accurate textures can bring life to anything, even simplistic character models and environments. Water looking good — that’s a decent feat, trees with individual leaves, fire, rain, all these things are important little details — like the flipflops flipping in GTA V. They add to the immersion and life of a game.
I can not fathom how these next gen consoles are coming out and not supporting 1080p across the board. It seems ludicrous that it wouldn’t be the driving force. My 4 year old motherboard, chip, and memory and year old lower-midrange video card have been running my games at 1920×1080 60hz since early this year.
When XBox came about it was not quite up to par with computer – I’ll use Deus Ex as a comparison – Max Payne, the Matrix style 3DMark. XBox 360 was decidedly better offering 720p. I was playing Battlefield 2 @ 2560×1600 in 2005.
As the latest consoles are released I am playing virtually everything at 2560×1600 (same monitor) ultra 60hz or 1920×1080 ultra 120hz as that is the highest my 120hz display will do. Battlefield 4 runs smooth, no problem on my current machine, though I’m sure it would give my living room machine a hard time. For the price of a new console I could add new cutting edge hardware to my main machine, trickle it down to the living room machine and stay right on top of everything. I could also get significantly better detail as companies fill in the lower textures they release with (Crysis 2 comes to mind).
The textures in Battlefield 4 are bad, they look so low in places. I am not sure how the servers handle drawing, or if textures even come into play with performance but possibly that is why they did it? The way it looks to me, is they made one texture set for everything – all consoles, all fashioned for 1920×1080. I can’t even say if they’ll improve any of the textures. Maybe they don’t care enough.
It doesn’t need to be that way. Crysis 2 looks AMAZING with the updated textures. I hope more companies do it, but at least in the case of Crysis. I had already played it through on two difficulties before it was released, so I didn’t get as much mileage out of the textures as I could have.
I am seeing all these posts about next gen, the people going gaga for the detail. I know you don’t want the complexity of PC gaming but it’s bothering me these are the benchmarks for quality. It appears companies can increase the resolution as Ubisoft appears to be doing with Assassin’s Creed Black Flag — so maybe they’ll all get there once companies learn the tricks for optimization, but it seems like a low bar to set when so much more is possible.