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It s one thing to pull a still from a movie that accurately represents how the final cut will look and feel, but videogames are another matter. Trailers and screenshots are put out well before the game is complete, which means they re inevitably going to need visual band-aids here and there, and communicating everything the game is trying to achieve systems, story, style in a single frame is difficult. Enter the bullshot.To make their games look as good as can be, some publishers pose characters and snap screenshots with a free camera, sometimes even downsampling from high resolutions to reduce aliasing, or using Photoshop to make them pop just a little more. While these marketing screens convey key information and look nice, . We ve gathered a few of the worst offenders in recent years in part because they re funny, but also because it s a practice that should be called out. We d much rather see what a game actually looks like to play, especially when these screenshots appear on a store page. Leave it to us to take the unrealistic screenshots after release, because .
Even our favorite games aren t excused from bullshot shame. The Witcher 3 is a damn good-looking game, but to get shots resembling this quality we which we doubt many players can do at a playable framerate using a mod to enable a free camera and console commands. Also, who the hell is that horse because it sure isn t Roach. Impostor resolution, impostor horse get out of my computer.
This screen wouldn t be a huge offender if not for the clearly posed gang of pirates. Each has their own stance. I like pointing guy on the far left. What s he trying to do? Buddy, you re at the rear of the pirate pack and all your dudes already know where the assassin you somehow just spotted is. But maybe he s just a stickler for photo balance, a guy who can t help but obey the rule of threes. That s some good AI.
Racing games tend to be the biggest bullshot culprits. Take Split Second for instance. It s a great looking game most racing games nowadays are but this shot looks like someone just discovered Instagram filters. I love a good filter, but this one turns up the warm colors and vignettes with reckless abandon. Look both ways before you cross the street because it s blurred to hell.
Gearbox tends to eliminate aliasing by taking the shots at a super high resolution, but to really make their images pop, contrast is turned way up. It makes the comic book stylings much more apparent, especially because detailed textures are used throughout the entire image, no matter how far objects are in the distance. With everything in such clear focus, it makes the image look flat.
I m not sure what kind of holy light exists just offscreen in every other bullshot, but it s not working well to bring out this central locust s best features. It makes even less sense when you notice that the blinding light is coming from the hole in the ground at the bottom right. Besides the awkward blur and focus muddying half the picture, I can t figure out what s going through that locust s head. Is Marcus holding it up with a light grip on the shoulder? Impressive. Is that shock or rage or is that just how their jaws always are? These are the questions Gears of War 4 needs to answer.
This one s a toughie. This shot from No Man s Sky isn t touched up, but it uses assets that aren t representative of what the final game produces. In my experience, the creatures look like remixes of a handful of variables and characteristics after 10 or so hours in, and vegetation can t grow that tall . It s not entirely surprising that in the UK, even if players are still enjoying it for what it is.
The biggest giveaway here (not that you need one) is what I ve dubbed the Holy Mammoth. Before the rise of modern religion, there was the One True Mammoth, from which all bloom lighting emitted. It seems to have blessed the screen with an abundance of golden light, impossibly smooth edges, and perfectly posed figures.
It s rare to find a racing game screenshot that wasn t taken at some forbidden, transcendent resolution, so I have to hand it to The Crew with this one. That said, this shot is posed beyond reprieve. Four cars, perfectly aligned to frame up nicely and balance out the shot with a lovely airplane cherry up top.
I won t be too harsh with Crysis since it s still the go-to for good-looking PC games in some respects, but the soldier getting lasered is impossible to ignore. It looks like he s waving hello to the tentacled aliens above, though I suppose his pose is meant to imply he s flying backwards due to the force of the white hot laser blasting a hole in his chest. Either way, Crysis isn t capable of such a believable ragdoll animation, but I suppose a twitching bundle of human appendages doesn t look so good in still life.
I think future soldiers will be smarter than this. I figured future war would entail guns that can fire from far away and not meeting in the middle of a short corridor for shootouts. Instead, we have two soldiers firing into a stoic mechanical man and another presumably about to kick their head in. My favorite detail? That explosion in the background lost in the shallow focus. While the Black Ops 3 might look this good, it s rarely this nonsensically positioned.
Here we have another checklist shot trying to show off as many systems and features as possible while still looking pretty. We ve got destructible walls, a shielded player, a shotgun firing, a grenade, some barbed wire in the bottom right, and some pretty detailed textures. Problem is, the final game doesn't look nearly as nice, and while the destruction is fairly granular, it s not to the level of detail expressed in this screen. Look at all those tiny individual perforations. If only.
I played this scene just over a week ago , but not like this. The scene glows an icy blue and the blacks are super deep. Someone turned up the contrast. Also, who s kicking up all that damn dust? It doesn t look natural, like it s being used to balance out the color and weight of the shot.
There s so much going on in this shot it feels like one of those hidden object pages from Highlights magazine. Let s see, we ve got a three-wheeled buggy thing, a dude with an easily readable expression shooting out the vehicle s side, we can see two bullets in the act of ricocheting off the soldier, a truck in the far right, a building on fire above, some gorgeous snowy mountains in the background, a remote detonator in the player character s hand and it s all in perfect focus. No jagged edges, some nice airbrush effects on the wheels to imply motion. This is an ascendant bullshot. This is art.
A month ahead of its release, I ve spent a week with Civilization VI [official site]. The build of the game is near-complete, though only ten of the twenty civs are playable and there are some limits on startup settings. When I heard that I d be able to play so much of the game so long before release, I hoped that was evidence of 2K s confidence in what they had to show.
Whether that s true or not, they should be brimming with confidence. Civ VI is excellent.>
There’s always a lighthouse, there’s always a man, there’s always a GOOOOAAAALLLL!
Perhaps misunderstanding the phrase “back of the net”, Rocket League [official site] developers Psyonix have announced an oceanic haul for their bumper-to-ball sports ’em up. Next month will bring a free carfootie pitch set in a BioShock-ish undersea sportworld, named AquaDome. I always thought Andrew Ryan was more into golf (or golf was in him) but here we go. Two submersible-ish cars are coming as paid DLC too.
As you might ve spied last month, the 34th edition of the Golden Joystick Awards is open to the public for the first time in the ceremony s 33 year history. As always, winners are voted for by the public, and doing so this year will net you a Golden Bundle from Green Man Gaming for just 1/$1/1 .
That ll get you three games including Spec Ops: The Line, the remake of Sid Meier s Pirates! and a Mystery Game . Exciting. Furthermore, you ll even be able to claim your quid back in Green Man Gaming credit by playing Spec Ops: The Line.
So how do you get all that? Simple: vote on your favourite games of 2015/2016 across the 21 public voted categories be heading this-a-way. Step by step instructions on how to claim your games will be communicated to voters by Green Man Gaming in October.
The 34th Golden Joystick Awards take place November 18 at the Indig02 at London s O2 Arena. Tickets cost 10 each on sale here and are sold on a first come first serve basis.
BioShock: The Collection [official site] on PC is good-lookin’ but, it’s fair to say, A Bit Dicky, pulling off the impressively bungled trick of both recreating some of BioShock’s original issues and throwing a clutch of new ones into the mix too. Take yer pick from enforced mouse-smoothing, no 5.1 sound, messed-up 21:9 support, limited FOV, no graphics settings outside of antialiasing, anistropic filtering, resolution, vysnc and a clutch of crashes. Many of these, though not the crashes, can be resolved via ini file editing (a guide to that is here), but in this, the third consecutive Year Of Luigi, we should not be expected to dirty our hands so.
The good news is that 2K are planning to grab a five-iron and bludgeon most of the major problems into submission. The bad news is that it doesn’t look like we can expect a full settings menu any time soon.
Today, we’re looking back though – a lot has happened since the first game s arrival, including the departure of director Ken Levine from the studio that made two of the three games, and a resurgence of the first-person immersive sim as a genre. Here, we consider all things Bioshock and decide, among other things, which of the games is >actually> the best.
Almost ten years after we first daddied and kindlied and golfed, BioShock has today returned in an apparently fancy-panted remastered version, aka Bioshock: The Collection [official site]. Sadly it s not in the best of shape, in terms of what we PC folk tend to demand from our settings menus and whatnot, but perhaps a more overriding question is but how does it look?>
I shall show you, in thirty different ways. A few thoughts of my own just beneath the cut too.
Bioshock: The Collection [official site] is out today (and free to owners of the originals), which from a PC point of view is most exciting because it gives a big old spit’n’polish to the first two games in the series (Infinite is unaffected on PC, being relatively contemporaneous as it is). Unfortunately it seems that BioShock 1 Remastered particularly has not been as well-loved on PC as it perhaps should have been. It has only the barest-boned of graphical settings, it’s saddled with particularly nasty mouse-smoothing that can only be turned off via ini file hacking, and there are various minor screwy graphical boo-boos too. History is repeating itself: remember the FOV and DRM drama of 2007?
Details – and some fixes – below.
Bioshock: The Collection [official site] is out next week, and as such you’ll be able to play the first two Bioshock games and all of the single-player DLC in renewed detail. Bioshock Infinite is thrown in there for good measure, but it already looks so pretty on PC they’re leaving it as is. 2K Games also plan to give the updated versions free to people who own the originals. How? What’s the catch? I checked, and it turns out it is surprisingly painless. Read on!