There are many mountains and hills in England.

A great realization I know. Doesn't make it more interesting if I restrict myself to the England clipping Assassin's Creed Valhalla (buy now € 59.44 ) relate, not reality.

Anyway, mountains, many. And I am right in the middle with my egg. This virtual England is pretty big, so you're happy when you can fall back on a trusty steed that will bring you quickly across the map.

Unless a hill suddenly appears in front of me. Or a mountain. And there are quite a few of them in England, in case I haven't mentioned it by now. Then my dear horse brings me exactly: nothing.

In a fit of search for reality (is that the opposite of escape from reality?), The developers decided that my little surrogate Rosinante, instead of galloping through the area at lightning speed, suddenly groans at the pace of a particularly unmotivated mealworm as soon as the equivalent one Donald Trump terror ramp shows up in front of her.

I have a horse, an ultradoof horse

Realism sucks: Why games should just be games - Column (1)

Realism annoys: Why games should just be games – Column (1)

Source: PC Games

One can argue now how realistic that is (my guess: not very). But in these moments it is always quicker to get down, to wiggle up with your own slippers and only then, when it goes down again, to whistle the happiness of the earth under your own virtual behind.

Lots of words, but I have one point, I promise, and there it is: reality is crap. So not generally, although one could find good arguments for this assessment at the moment. No, I mean in terms of games.

Why do I grab a gamepad or mouse and keyboard and go into virtual worlds? Apart from the group of those who enjoy the farming, bus and tax declaration simulator, certainly not, because I want to experience exactly the same thing there as in real life. I don't care if something is unrealistic as long as it works in the context of the game.

Especially in blockbuster titles that rely to a certain extent on a realistic setting, the trend towards the most accurate representation of what you would expect in the real world has been rampant in recent years, if not, then definitely Drive on.

My horse example is not the most annoying representative of this circumstance, but a paradigmatic one: The fact that the horse slows down on the way uphill has no function, makes no sense, apart from the fact that it is (apparently) realistic. This doesn't make the game any more challenging, there aren't any new possibilities, nothing changes, except that I trip my foot and "Och!", "Oh!" and "Maaann!" moan. Why this one unnecessary detail when I can hop unharmed into a haystack from a height of hundreds of meters as usual, highlight enemies and objects in red at the push of a button and, thanks to DLC, trot through England on the back of a huge wolf instead of a horse?

Another example: Red Dead Redemption 2. I haven't played the western until now because of a moral decision that was once made. But some things that I hear about it and that I have already seen myself while watching, don't necessarily make it harder for me to do without. Each ammunition is picked up individually, animals are skinned realistically, umpteen elements last twice, threefold, umpteen times as long as it would be necessary because realism is the focus.

Can be done, does not have to be

Realism annoys: Why games should just be games - Column (3)

Realism annoys: Why games should just be games – Column (3)

Source: PC games hardware

Before you get scolded: I understand (unlike Valhalla, where the horse brake is just stupid) why this decision was made. Yes, all of these little things add up to increase immersion and condense the atmosphere. And that obviously works. Not only in our test, rather RDR2 did a fantastic job elsewhere too and for good reason it is considered one of the best games of the past hardware generation.

And yet I find this compulsory realism stupid. If, in the end, really feasible credibility is never accepted anyway, to slow me down as a player to such an extent, then the anger prevails, no matter how much effort has gone into every virtual square centimeter of the game world.

Less annoying for me as a player, but also worthy of criticism for completely different reasons: the developer's urge for perfection and realism in places where neither would really be necessary. I well remember a preview event too Drive club, from which the dear colleague who had taken it over came back and knew to report that the screws on a ferris wheel in the background of the route had been individually modeled. Why did he know that? The makers proudly told him and presented the metallic masterpieces up close with a developer cam.

What was this detail used for? Except for getting polite applause from slightly irritated press representatives, probably not enough. Nobody should argue to me that you would "feel" this attention to detail because the overall game package is more coherent – nonsense. It's a damn screw in one place I'll never see on console racers. And even if I noticed this insane thing, I doubt I would thunder into the nearest wall in ecstasy. Given that Driveclub was ultimately a mediocre experience at best, which has meanwhile also been unplugged, one can hardly argue against the fact that the screwing effort would have been better invested elsewhere.

Well, the "you can feel" argument is something like The Last of Us Part 2 even more likely to persuade, where the sand realistically dribbles out of sand hit by a ball. Yes, I understand that such little things may have an influence on an intuitive level. Nevertheless, the question arises to me: Would the Apocalypse Adventure be a worse game with a few more realism cuts? Does this perfectionism justify an incredibly long development time, inclusive documented utilization of the workforce in the form of unacceptable, excessive crunch periods? Exactly the same goes for the horse testicles that shrink in the cold in Red Dead Redemption 2 – it is a coincidence that developer Rockstar too regularly in criticism due to poor working conditions stands?

Question 1: No, it doesn't. Question 2: No, it isn't.

Shift down a gear

Games are becoming more and more realistic, game graphics are becoming more and more realistic. This is an unstoppable and definitely positive development. They are no longer just there to be fun – they can shock, they can be instructive, they can trigger a whole bouquet of emotions. And yet I am convinced that they should not lose their primary function in their basic features, and above all that it never makes sense to want to depict reality for the devil. Will never work one hundred percent anyway.

I am concerned with proportionality; My aim is to first check something that can be done to see whether it should be done; It's about the fact that the game industry, the bigger it gets, does not get lost in a craze for constant maximization in every respect and forgets that there are more important things than horse testicles.

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