Recently, SEGA re-released Sonic Adventure for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Press sites are, or have already, reviewed the title. The quality of Sonic Adventure is debatable. And as the reviews continue to pour out, the scores for the title are bound to be all over. While IGN’s review has a lot of truth in it, and in my opinion some exaggerated complaints, one point of their review particularly bugged me – the graphics.
For some one like me, who reviews a lot of older titles, I know how difficult it can be to rate graphics five to ten years after a title has been released. Generally, my rule of thumb is how it compare visually to other titles on the platform and the time period it was released. While IGN doesn’t exactly make a big deal out of the visuals, they do penalize Sonic Adventure for poor graphics.
The question is, what would poor visuals be? I mean, Sonic Adventure is a launch Dreamcast game. What can you expect? Of course, there are exceptions to this. If a game looks like a vomit inducing nightmare, even if it is an old game, it should be penalized. But is it really fair to criticize a game simply due to technical limitations? If it hurts the gameplay or the ability to actually play the game, i’d say yes. But if a character model is blocky or a texture is slightly blurry, I don’t see it really being an issue, especially in a game that is over ten years old.
When it comes down to it, all critics review in different ways. And even for me, it is a case by case scenario on how I rate a title’s visuals. While I don’t think Sonic Adventure deserves a 10/10 in terms of visuals, I think it should be considered the same way we look at portable console visuals – which is basically, what can the developers do with the limited technology they are given.