Is it really necessary to have amazing graphics to enjoy a game? I, for one, don't think so. Great games seem to never be defined by the level of detail in their graphics. I would consider many of the games that I really love to have sub-par graphics...even for when they were released.
PC gamers seem to get the shaft when it comes to gaming. I know PC gaming is an expensive habit. My machine is just over 2 years old and now I'm having to look at upgrading to even play Bioshock. Forget the fact that I can play just about any other new or even upcoming game with my rig, but why would Bioshock not support Shader 2.0 video cards? Some guy on the 2K forums got it working somewhat in 20 minutes, so why couldn't 2K?
For the record, I have a P4 3.2 GHz o/c'ed to 3.6, 256mb agp ATI X800GTO, and 2 gigs of RAM. Source games run at over 90 fps most of the time, so I really don't think my rig is outdated enough to warrant a $1700 update when it still screams through most of the stuff I throw at it.
The latest Steam hardware survey shows that barely half of the users have Shader 3.0 cards, and the majority only have 128mb or 256mb cards. So that would make you think that game developers wouldn't want to alienate 50% of the market they're aiming for by not supporting a shader version that TONS of people still use. Yeah, I COULD go on newegg and order a low-end PS 3.0 card for about $150, but in the scheme of upgrading a PC, would that really be a worthwhile investment to play one game and maybe hinder the performance of some of the other games I've played flawlessly with my X800GTO? The answer is simply no... If I have to upgrade, I'm not gonna buy another shitty AGP card that has the same amount of VRAM. I would have to replace everything from and including the motherboard up excluding my drives to make it worthwhile and last another few years. So, that comes down to about $1800 to play Bioshock when I KNOW I will be able to play Orange Box and Enemy Territory. Doesn't make much sense to me.
But don't get me wrong. I'm in no way a Bioshock hater. I loved SS1 and SS2 and I've been anxiously awaiting this game for a long time now. I'm just glad I didn't pre-order it, get it, and find out that my still very respectable rig won't even run it at all because of shaders to make some pretty water effects.
With the amount of developers working on next-gen console games to hit that mass market of people with 360's, it just seems like PC gamers are getting the scraps. Examples are definitely Bioshock and Oldblivion. They are both great games, but they are both obviously just PC ports of games originally designed for console.
Looks like I'll be buying a 360 in the fall when the 65nm chipsets hit the shelves. In the meantime, see ya on CS:S and TF2.
What do you think? Are graphics really that important to a good game? read