Even Photorealistic Visuals And A Profound Story Cannot Top Creative Gameplay

Mediocre visuals and cryptic story-telling can be ignored if the game is fun to play.

                                                                              Story Highlights

  • Gameplay has always played the most important role in the longevity and success of video games.
  • Rise of the Ronin’s outdated visuals are not even a problem because the combat system is addictive.
  • FromSoftware and Nintendo are two of the most successful companies in the gaming industry that have always prioritized gameplay.

Gameplay, narrative, and visuals are the three main pillars of video games but the gameplay will always remain superior to the other two. A fun combat system or gameplay design is enough to keep gamers hooked even if the story is cryptic or plain bad and the visuals do not offer next-gen fidelity. With the recent release of Rise of the Ronin, it seems like the community has forgotten what really makes a game fun.

Rise Of The Ronin’s Controversial Release

The Satisfying Sword Duels In Rise of the Ronin
The Satisfying Sword Duels In Rise of the Ronin

Team Ninja’s latest release has been bashed for having mediocre/outdated visuals, thereby ending up delivering a highly lackluster experience. Most of this hate is actually a side-effect of the PlayStation exclusivity tag because most gamers on this platform expect their games to have high visual fidelity. People need to pay attention to the actual expertise of Team Ninja by analyzing their previous releases.

byu/PyrpleForever from discussion


It has never been about the visuals or the narrative for that matter. Team Ninja has always excelled at creating some of the best gameplay systems and that was enough to sell more than 7 million units for their Nioh franchise. Rise of the Ronin is a direct evolution of Nioh 2 in terms of combat and implements mechanics from certain other successful titles like Sekiro whilst simplifying the gameplay to make it more accessible.

Gamers who have actually played Rise of the Ronin are in love with its gameplay, including myself. This is as close as we’ll get to Sekiro in terms of satisfying combat. Most will not even pay attention to the visuals when the game captures them with its gameplay. Players will end up sinking in hundreds of hours if the game mechanics are just that addicting.

The Secret Of FromSoftware’s Success

Fighting A Mighty Dragon On Horseback In Elden Ring
Fighting A Mighty Dragon On Horseback In Elden Ring

Undoubtedly, FromSoftware is one of the most successful studios in recent times mostly due to the release of Elden Ring. However, most would know that the studio has been releasing bangers since the original Demons Souls. Their games have always featured a cryptic story that is not even understandable without watching hours of lore videos on YouTube and the visuals aren’t extraordinary either.

Yet the formula of providing the best gameplay paired with amazing art direction instead of cutting-edge visuals has resulted in nothing but success and popularity for the studio. Horizon Forbidden West has some of the best-rasterized visuals that actually look like next-gen and yet this game’s launch was completely overshadowed by Elden Ring which further cements the fact that the majority will always judge gameplay first.

Even during The Game Awards 2022, Elden Ring dominated two of PlayStation’s best-selling franchises famous for their narrative and visuals. It was a complete domination for FromSoftware that year and an example was set for the rest of the industry where studios would not even pay attention to the gameplay in their games while trying their hardest to make their games look as realistic as possible.

Nintendo’s Philosophy

Players Create Functioning Mechs Using The Gameplay System In TOTK
Players Create Functioning Mechs Using The Gameplay System In TOTK

Nintendo is a company that has focused on gameplay for the longest time, unlike PlayStation, Microsoft, or Valve. The Switch’s hardware limitation cannot even process a high-fidelity image and yet the console has managed to outsell even the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S when it wasn’t even a direct competitor for those. It is also one of the fastest-selling consoles ever and the only reason behind that is Nintedo’s games are mostly designed with the gameplay as the chief priority rather than visuals or narrative.

Nintendo Switch has now sold 139.36 Million Units Worldwide!
byu/Amiibofan101 innintendo

Using their recent release as an example, we can realize how an intelligent gameplay system with below-average graphics can trivialize the cutting-edge visuals of the rest of the industry. Yes, I’m talking about The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, a game so successful that it sold 20 million units within a year of its release. It runs at a resolution of around 720p in handheld mode and that too at 30FPS so why is the game so successful?

The answer to that question is simple really, gameplay will always remain a cut above narrative and visuals. TOTK’s Ultrahand ability is so intelligent that if you think about something, you can create it within the world of this game. Nobody is going to stay for the visuals, but if a game is fun to play, then most gamers would not just sink in hundreds of hours but will continue to replay such a game for years to come.

The Game Awards 2018

Sony Santa Monica Wins GOTY 2018 FOR God of War
Sony Santa Monica Wins GOTY 2018 FOR God of War

Another great example of gameplay reigning supreme over visuals and narrative is the loss of Red Dead Redemption 2 at The Game Awards 2018. It failed to secure Game of the Year, even though Rockstar had created one of the best narratives ever and achieved next-gen visual fidelity on last-gen consoles. The only reason that it lost to God of War 2018 was that Sony Santa Monica’s game was just more fun to play.

byu/Busy-Cardiologist121 from discussion

It doesn’t discount the fact that God of War 2018 didn’t feature an amazing narrative and a beautiful visual design, but the winner was determined solely based on gameplay at the end of it all. Rockstar’s linear mission design with janky gunplay has been a thing for over a decade and RDR2 didn’t even feel like much of a jump in terms of gameplay when compared to the original.

God of War 2018’s hack-and-slash combat is one of the most responsive gameplay systems that I’ve come across in video games and it was definitely the main cause that resulted in Sony Santa Monica winning Game of the Year. Video games have always been about how they play rather than cinematic story-telling or realistic visuals. When everything is said and done, it will always be the gameplay that keeps a game alive and results in its success rather than the narrative and the visuals.

Did you find this helpful? Leave feedback below.

Thanks! Do share your feedback with us. ⚡

How can we make this post better? Your help would be appreciated. ✍

Subscribe to our newsletter and get up-to-speed gaming updates delivered to your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy.

Haris Umer is a Guides Writer on eXputer who can be seen torturing himself by playing FromSoftware’s offering of Souls games. He speaks about games with overwhelming passion, which readers can spot in his guides. Haris has been avidly playing video games for 15+ years now. You can learn more about his gaming experience through his PSN and Steam profiles.

Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelors In Medicine And Surgery.

Related Articles

Join Our Community

Enjoyed this article? Discuss the latest gaming news, get expert help with guides and errors, and chat about all things gaming on eXputer Forums and Discord Server. Connect with fellow gamers who share your passion by becoming a part of eXputer's community.