Why are we not impressed by modern graphics?

Armenius

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A lot of the realism also tends to be compromised by other things like janky animation, physics effects which may look cool and make the game world more interactive but aren't necessarily realistic, efficient but clunky cheats to animate tree wind effects, all that sort of thing. That's why you sometimes see some jaw-dropping imagery from companies like Naughty Dog when they give presentations of their character rendering or whatever, but see it in the context of the actual game and, while pretty, it still ends up looking like "just" another game.
I tend to agree with this point. I think the main reason I was and still am blown away by Crysis 3 is the way everything in the world is being affected by physics. Look at the second level, covered in tall grass and surrounded by trees. The wind appears to be moving everything it touches and the sound is there to back it up. While I kind of agree about ray tracing being a big step forward, I think we will always be stuck behind the peak so long as physics and graphics engines remain separate entities.

The way I kind of conceptualize this in my head is thinking of a driving sim. Every piece that makes up the car needs to be defined as an autonomous object, with its own physics and composition, rather than the car as a whole being defined as a module that is enacted on by a disconnected universal mathematical formula. Designing such a system and implementing it would be exceedingly complex, I imagine, and certainly not within commercial budgets. I was actually toying around with such an idea when trying to solve the problem of bullet physics for a simple arcade shooter. I got it working after about 4 months... Now imagine doing that kind of work on thousands of objects in a larger simulated world.

My overall point, though, is that in order for animations and physics to not look janky they need to be integrated into the world and not separated from it. I may be out of line here, but I think a big step toward this would be to stop utilizing licensed middleware like Havok and PhysX.
 

incredadamible

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They can't even fool 100% of the people using pre-rendered techniques

This probably more depends on the scene/scenario. The more complicated, or the more familiar the audience is with the activity, the harder it is. Getting 100% photo realism on a pre-rendered scene of a persons movement is extremely difficult. However getting it on trees swaying in the wind or fish swimming in the ocean would be a lot easier. Actually, according to the article linked below, Pixar scaled back their visuals on the ocean in Finding Nemo to keep it more cartoonish vs going full out on photo realism. To quote the article "We knew we could make a Jacques Cousteau-type of documentary, but that's not what we were trying to do".

Finding the Right CG Water and Fish in 'Nemo'

That said, even if they went 100% photo realism in the ocean and fish I would still find it off because I'm pretty sure clown fish can't talk.;)
 

Ur_Mom

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This probably more depends on the scene/scenario. The more complicated, or the more familiar the audience is with the activity, the harder it is. Getting 100% photo realism on a pre-rendered scene of a persons movement is extremely difficult. However getting it on trees swaying in the wind or fish swimming in the ocean would be a lot easier. Actually, according to the article linked below, Pixar scaled back their visuals on the ocean in Finding Nemo to keep it more cartoonish vs going full out on photo realism. To quote the article "We knew we could make a Jacques Cousteau-type of documentary, but that's not what we were trying to do".

Finding the Right CG Water and Fish in 'Nemo'

That said, even if they went 100% photo realism in the ocean and fish I would still find it off because I'm pretty sure clown fish can't talk.;)

Some of the outdoor stuff on Good Dinosaur was amazing. Unless you stopped it and looked closely, you could be fooled. When you stop to dissect the scene, you can find visual cues that you can tell are CGI. But, there are also some actual photos that look CGI and are real.

People - We're good. But, we're far from perfect. I've seen some damn good face renders. Start animating them, and you can see the faults. It's the movements that really kill it.

For me, in games and things, it's the trees. Completely flat leaves or whatever. Of course, it'd be hard as fuck for high poly count on leaves with high texture models. Just too much work involved for the CPU/GPU. It's just the one thing I really notice.
 
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Youn

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approximated rendering techniques will ALWAYS, ALWAYS be ahead in terms of visual fidelity and ability to suspend disbelief in real-time.
Perhaps I've talked to you about this before, but it's been a while and I forget what all you said... but if this were the case why have artists transitioned to using unbaised rendering engines, knowing it takes longer to render but less time to set up? Doesn't that suggest that at some point in the future we may use something like ray-tracing, because it simplifies and shortens developers time, and the extra processing time more-than makes up the difference? I'm talking about a time when we can render way beyond what our humans eyes are capable of needing...
 

Youn

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Let's not forget voxels...


it'd be interesting to see if something like this replaces current 3d wire-frame techniques... seems it would be better suited for physics simulation and even lighting... but of course a whole new frontier no where near ready for prime-time... the number of calculations needed for inter-cellular interaction mimicing muscle/skin movement would be awesome to see, not to mention being able to poke/cut said skin with any other object and see a realistic result...

yes, approximation can lead to great effects, but how much artistic resources would be needed to make it all look like anything but a series of canned events, ala Doom 4 chainsaw sequences?
 

c@Nc3r

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You can't push graphics though in today's age. People will complain about how the game is unoptimized, because their 7 year old technology in their computer (BUT I BOUGHT MY GEFORCE 280 LAST YEAR, SO IT MUST BE TOP OF THE LINE!) can't run a game on Ultra. And it doesn't matter if they could run the game on low. Low is for peasants, and not my computer! I should be able to play the game on Ultra settings @ 8k resolution and 240 fps. There have been games which have looked awesome that have come out, and people just complain.

Assassin's Creed Unity is still one of the best looking games on the market, but was blasted from a bunch of back seat graphics developers. Was it buggy? Sure. But it still was a great looking game. Unfortunately, the graphics also came at the cost of needing a high end machine. CS:GO runs on Ultra, so why can't AC:Unity? Unfortunately, Ultra doesn't mean anything as graphics are not created equal. It's just a word, and high end graphics on something like CS:GO might be low end on The Witcher 3. Even Crysis, when it came out, had tons of people complaining about how the programmers were second rate and created an unoptimized game because their computers couldn't run it maxed. So Crytek decided to relabel the labels of low, medium, high, ultra (or whatever they were called) to labels which sounded great, such as Gamer, Enthusiast, etc.

And because low end games sell, companies make games for low end computers. Sure, you could make graphics which required Geforce 980 TI SLI minimum, but you'd get nothing but complaints, even if the game could run on older hardware. So high end needs to target old hardware like a Geforce 780 for Ultra graphics. People just aren't upgrading their computers anymore. You brought up Half Life 2, but that came out during the end of the age when computers were skyrocketing in speed every year. The same thing with older games. But a key difference is that non games, like business software, also benefitted from upgrading your computer. Most computers are business computers. And if mom and dad become more productive because Office runs 50% faster, it's time to upgrade. But today, who really complains about the speed of their productivity software? For example, Word 6 takes roughly 90 seconds to load on my 486. Word 2016 opens up pretty much instantaneously. When I went into college, 450 MHz was the fastest computer you could get. When I graduated 4 years later, we were at nearly 2 GHz. And Half Life 2 came out only a couple years or so after that. Today, people are still using their i7 2600k because they see no reason to upgrade, and games aren't going to push any further because people aren't upgrading.

I don't accept that. It sounds like a big excuse to cover up laziness. The average gamer I meet plays League of Legends on reduced settings because that's all that their on board graphics can handle. As long as the developer puts in an auto button, which every game these days tends to have on PC, then there will be no issue. What is the difference if a guy plays the current games on reduced settings or if they play a game with the possibility of better graphics at reduced settings. That's why I think it is a horseshit excuse. The real reason it doesn't happen is because its easier and cheaper to just do good enough rather than push limits.
 

cthulhuiscool

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Aysmtotes yo. Theres definitely a diminishing returns of scale to hardware use vs graphical fidelity increase.
 

Youn

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It sounds like a big excuse to cover up laziness.
I'd say it's more about being forced to make compromises to meet a deadline. Look at E.T. for example... developed by a very well respected designer/programmer but in a much MUCH shorter time than their previous games. Executive/business types who are no where connected to the spirit of video games are the bigger problem. They want a return on investment and don't care if the results for "gamers" is piss-poor. As long as they can hook enough people into buying it, just push that marketing team and/or transaction mechanisms harder...

I do agree that gameplay suffers the most... luckily there are enough indie developers who can take more risks, but yea true AAA titles are a huge rarity these days...
 

Pivo504

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Jerk I've been eyeing it for sometime. It seems to have gotten allot of positive reviews. What's everyone think that has played it?
 
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Jerk I've been eyeing it for sometime. It seems to have gotten allot of positive reviews. What's everyone think that has played it?

I'm absolutely hooked on it right now. It's pretty close to the perfect combination of what I like about games from my very beginning to now. It's challenging, but not impossible. It (pick your favorite verb - oozes, drips, hemorrages, etc. :D ) atmosphere. The music is absolutely perfect (Disasterpeace if you're familiar) the graphics are gorgeous, and the combat is spot on. It's 30FPS which seems to be the only thing people are complaining about. I much prefer 60 myself, but 30 isn't too bad. Also, and this is the funny part. I've been playing it on my living-room PC since I got it. I didn't realize my framerate smoothing was turned on on my TV because it's a decent implementation. (not too laggy) I didn't even know this game WAS 30FPS until I saw people whining about it. (so there's a tip for playing it smoothly :D ) There's a comparison video on youtube with and without TV interpolation. I find that it syncs up just fine with it on, and is just as snappy as without. I'm about half way through now I would estimate. Anyway, I haven't played anything else since I got it.
 

chaos4u

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I think we are on the cusp of achieving photorealism in games today. a fully tricked gtav installl can be quite convincing at times one time i was goofing about sniping cops from a construction crane. when peering at the approaching cops and cruisers through the scope it became i lil unnerving at how real it looked.
unfortunately i didnt cap that moment, but other scenes such as when it rained and using pinnacle of V with some custom reshades and tweaked enbs also came rather close to being photorealistic.

but there is still one thing that may prevent photorealism from happening .... and that is the cost and the time required to make models, textures, and those damn environment maps that stand up to high res scrutiny to create a photo real gaming environment.

thus why we are seeing quite a few games becoming more stylized and less ambitious in the realistic dept.

there is still hope though, and im sure we will see a game that will soon claim the photorealistic crown. starwars battlefront with that unfinished mod comes close . so hopefully soon .



GTAV0.JPG
 
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KazeoHin

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We will never reach photorealism. Even offline rendering cant quite reach full-scene photorealism. If you substitute "photorealism" with "close enough to trick you" then we accomplished that the first time someone was absorbed in a game's world with no mental barriers keeping them from believing everything their eyes were showing them as real, physical things. That, for me, happened in 2003 playing Deus Ex on my Geforce 2.

"Photorealism" will never happen, simply because our minds will adapt to the new fidelity and we will soon be able to point out the flaws and shortcuts. That's one of the things that makes being a 3D artist fun, is that I can point out flaws, inaccuracies, and falsehoods in an artificially rendered image quite well. As fidelity steadily increases, untrained eyes also become more adept at noticing what's missing. This will NEVER stop.
 

Comixbooks

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The problem with Photo realism that same goes for Comic books it doesn't have any appeal. It becomes Flat because it's so realistic and boring.
Kinda like comparing Alex Ross realistic artwork with Jim Lee's stylish
 

HeavensCloud

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The hands down, best looking game I have played is modded Skyrim. Some of the mods people have released in the last couple years have this game looking absolutely stunning. Makes me disappointed in FO4's graphics, coming from the same company and all.
 

SvenBent

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From someone who recent played through half-life episode 1 and 2. i don't know why you are not impressed
Half-life does not look bad at all despite it ages and yes graphics improvement seems to slow down but that's mostly due to laws of diminishing return

half-life 2 great graphics is mainly in texture quality. it looks nice and detailed by when you move around the world it seems very square'ish its even evident in the clip you proviede. so ti clearly lacaks more pologyn to give the scenarios a more natural feel to it.
a lot of newer games looks a lot better than halflife 2. Skyrim has a way more details (especially in the polygon department) than halflife 2.

if half life 2 came out today you would defiantly not consider it high graphics quality. but form its age it holds up pretty well.
 
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Odellus

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I think it's because the improvements have been very gradual lately. After the huge jump from the original Quake engine games to ones like Source, subsequent improvements have been a lot smaller.
We *are* getting closer to photo realism, too. Just looking at that Metal Gear shot above, that's not that far from real life.
I think we misremember how good older games looked, too. Some (like HL2) really did look pretty amazing, but some likely don't look as good as you remember. While Crysis had a huge list of graphical checkboxes that it filled, the game never really looked THAT great for how much horsepower it took.
you are on some dank ass kush, friend. crysis and warhead have vegetation that has not been surpassed by anything outside of later crysis series entries.

S3afSp.png
 

HardLiner

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Does Crytek still make games? last I heard they were having trouble paying their employees.
 

HeavensCloud

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Does Crytek still make games? last I heard they were having trouble paying their employees.

From Wikipedia:

"Crytek is currently working on three free-to-play projects: Arena of Fate, Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age (which will utilize the fourth generation of the CryEngine currently in development), and updates for the previously released game Warface. The company is also working on two virtual reality projects, namely The Climb for the Oculus Rift and Robinson: The Journey for PlayStation VR."
 

Youn

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If you substitute "photorealism" with "close enough to trick you" then
I think that definition is the general consensus, to replicate a real photo's quality to the point where you can't distinguish between the two. Just google "photorealism paintings" for examples, the morgan freeman is a recently popular one:

kyle-lambert-morgan-freeman-photorealistic-ipad-painting.jpg


You are talking about something beyond photorealism I guess, to which I agree we may never get there... I just wouldn't say "NEVER" as that seems a bit close-minded...
 

pothb

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I am impressed wth the graphics and I think a lot of people are, but at the same time, we've seen it's like see a picaso painting. First it's ooooh, unique... then it's cool... then it's okay, next! It still looks good an impressive but after going through impressive after impressive after impressive, it doesn't have as much impact as the initial bang.

I personally love the realistic looks of games that the AAA aim for, because they tend to have a bit of stylizing in it. Too bad, often times, they tend to ignore the gameplay and it becomes another cool looking paperweight of a game.
 

50Cal

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Consoles are the reason.

Consoles are gimped pieces of shit when it comes to hardware capability. Add in the fact that most games are catered to the largest markets (consoles) very few pc-only developers are around any more.

Every game has to have the "Subpar Console Capability" seal of approval before a publisher will even give a dev money for it.Games need to be able to sell to the largest demographic in gaming today - Bored Suburban tweenager. Until pc gaming becomes cheaper and easier (for the mentally inept) it will stay this way.

No point in creating a game that blew us away like crysis did when the largest part of the market is blown away by mid-setting graphics, 30 fps at 720p.

the last game that has "kinda" blown me away graphics-wise has probably been star citizen, but it runs like ass.
 

Flogger23m

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I think it is getting harder to make games look better. A lot more effort has to be put in to make things look average these days. Everything from replicating a 3D models full detail to character animations. In the early 2000s characters still looked very blocky. I think graphics are improving at a decent pace as it is now and they currently look rather good when it comes to the better looking games. I'd rather have gameplay and whatnot pushed over hiring lots of artists.

the last game that has "kinda" blown me away graphics-wise has probably been star citizen, but it runs like ass.

Its far from finished but I have not been impressed one bit with it graphically so far. Blurry, terrible AA, and things standout like a sore thumb. It looks rather bad, but it is essentially an alpha.
 

KazeoHin

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I think that definition is the general consensus, to replicate a real photo's quality to the point where you can't distinguish between the two. Just google "photorealism paintings" for examples, the morgan freeman is a recently popular one:

kyle-lambert-morgan-freeman-photorealistic-ipad-painting.jpg


You are talking about something beyond photorealism I guess, to which I agree we may never get there... I just wouldn't say "NEVER" as that seems a bit close-minded...

I look at photorealism as the same principle as little 'c', the speed of light. No matter how much time and effort you put into it, you will never, EVER reach it. Even if you achieve 99.99% (relative to today's graphics) photo realism, "true" photorealism will still escape you as fast as it did when you were playing on the N64.

Much like the speed of light: If you managed to accelerate to 99.99% the speed of light relative to earth, and turned on your headlights, the light would still escape your headlights nearly-instantaneously and speed ahead of you just as fast as it did relative to earth.

As I said before "close enough" has already happened. for some of us, it was the Atari 2600, for others it was the Playstation 2. Anything that can make you forget that the scene or characters are digital assets performing code: that is the suspension of disbelief.
 

Ur_Mom

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I look at photorealism as the same principle as little 'c', the speed of light. No matter how much time and effort you put into it, you will never, EVER reach it. Even if you achieve 99.99% (relative to today's graphics) photo realism, "true" photorealism will still escape you as fast as it did when you were playing on the N64.

Much like the speed of light: If you managed to accelerate to 99.99% the speed of light relative to earth, and turned on your headlights, the light would still escape your headlights nearly-instantaneously and speed ahead of you just as fast as it did relative to earth.

As I said before "close enough" has already happened. for some of us, it was the Atari 2600, for others it was the Playstation 2. Anything that can make you forget that the scene or characters are digital assets performing code: that is the suspension of disbelief.

In just another 5 years, we'll have photorealistic graphics. (said that 5 years ago... 5 years before that... 5 years before that....). You're right - it's a moving target. We won't get 100% accurate. We'll get close enough. And that's subjective.

My biggest thing - that Crysis shot above is excellent. It's the lighting that kills it for me. Bright sky, but the foliage is all the same, with a few small spots where sun comes in. In reality, there would be some much darker areas in the shade, etc..

But, it's good enough to make me say "Wow. That looks good".

Morgan Freeman - that's good enough. Animate it and the illusion will disappear.
 

KingRaptor

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I think post the 2007 era, there's a lot more focus placed on physics, tessellation, GPU compute. The recent hype has been all about super high resolutions and VR.
 

Youn

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so, when folks come back from a movie and they're surprised when they learn a particular scene was completely CG, that's not photorealism to you guys? I guess I still don't understand the "never 100%" comment... you're saying our senses will continually evolve and we'll at some point be able to distinguish between molecules that are slightly off?

I totally agree about animation being a huge problem. IMO we're no where near the uncanney alley when it comes to video games
 
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KazeoHin

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so, when folks come back from a movie and they're surprised when they learn a particular scene was completely CG, that's not photorealism to you guys? I guess I still don't understand the "never 100%" comment... you're saying our senses will continually evolve and we'll at some point be able to distinguish between molecules that are slightly off?

I totally agree about animation being a huge problem. IMO we're no where near the uncanney alley when it comes to video games

film CGI is a bit different, and this gets onto another topic, but I'll sum it up.

Films are still in an era where they are over-using CGI and using CGI to create shots that simply would not have been made IF all the CGI elements were real. Many times entire characters are done using CGI and its obvious because those same characters (if actually existing as the CGI represented them) would look and interact completely differently, even if the animation and rendering are on-point: This is not a fault of the CGI, its a fault of the director's ability (or lack thereof) to essentially direct a scene with characters and places that don't exist (yet). The tiger in Life of Pi is a great example. All the technology was on the side of realism, the fur, the way the muscles flexed and the eyes focussed, but it was still obviously CGI because of how the shots were framed, and how seemingly 'perfect' the directorial motion of the tiger panned out. Take a REAL trained (for this example, a perfectly well-behaved) tiger and direct those scenes and you would have had an entirely different set of slides. This is getting toward the same general issue that the interactive arts (video games) are running into: We are REALLY good at scrutinising stuff we are focussing on, but not so much stuff that we don't notice. That's why movies where all the CGI is flawless are also the movies where all the CGI is mundane and completely unnoticed: the CGI is usually not the focal point. All the times in Deadpool where the character's are replaced by CGI (excepting Colossus), they are in the not the point of focus: in the background or moving so quickly that a 24FPS film can't capture them properly. This is a luxury videogames don't have: EVERYTHING is CGI in a fully interactive environment. EVERYTHING can potentially be the point of focus: the player is in ultimate control of what they scrutinise.
 

Youn

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right, and with VR it's all even more of a challenge, but as you said we're only "REALLY good" at it, not "PERFECT"... maybe what you're saying is that because it's a video game we know going in that it's all CGI so we'll never truly be faked into believing it's real... I can get behind that argument, although with VR that idea seems to be easily flipped, so I think in some ironic way it might even help trick the mind...

At the end of the day, for truly "impressive" visuals, it's really about the art, not this technical stuff...
 

KazeoHin

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right, and with VR it's all even more of a challenge, but as you said we're only "REALLY good" at it, not "PERFECT"... maybe what you're saying is that because it's a video game we know going in that it's all CGI so we'll never truly be faked into believing it's real... I can get behind that argument, although with VR that idea seems to be easily flipped, so I think in some ironic way it might even help trick the mind...

Kiiiinda: If there was a truly photorealstic interactive environment, we would fall into it and we wouldn't (for the most part) scrutinise flaws that don't exist, and we could be 100% tricked. Its just that the '100% photorealism' will never truly exist.

Spider webs are a great example. I used this example in another thread, but just have a walk around and look at how many damn spider webs are EVERYWHERE. Also look at the tiny insects crawling on the ground, have a look at just how detailed and pitted and carved up a single brick is. We will NEVER reach true photorealism, we will reach pretty close, but 'pretty close' is also a moving target.

At the end of the day, for truly "impressive" visuals, it's really about the art, not this technical stuff...

This. This a thousand times.
 

LawGiver

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image.png


I was personally BLOWN AWAY by Ryse: Son of Rome. Too bad the game didn't have a ton of depth: it was actually quite fun while it lasted.

image.png


MGSV is another one that had beautiful visuals.


Ryse looks a lot like Crysis games :)
 

Pivo504

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J3RK, I'm just confused by what kind of game hyper light is...is it like Zelda an action rpg? It seems to not have any story or dialogue either..Just curious if it's just a life less hack and slash or if there's a soul to it like Zelda
 

50Cal

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J3RK, I'm just confused by what kind of game hyper light is...is it like Zelda an action rpg? It seems to not have any story or dialogue either..Just curious if it's just a life less hack and slash or if there's a soul to it like Zelda
I'd like to think of it as a top down dark souls/metroidvania type game.

It's pretty challenging though.
 
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