I like to think I’m not a superficial person. (So do we all.) I’m not technically-minded, so conversations about frame-rates and resolution et cetera sort of float by me.
But I am definitely guilty of occasionally buying a video game purely and simply because of its looks, especially in that “magical” window around a console launch when you’re desperate for something to show off your new toy. Even if the game is deeply, deeply average in all other respects.
Here are six superficial purchases I’ve made over the years. How about you?
Beyond: Two Souls
I had a bad feeling about Beyond - I saw it a few times before release and it seemed like Quantic Dream was going a bit off the rails with it. But it’s so good-looking that I bought it anyway (and also, Ellen Page). It is the most preposterous and self-indulgent game I have ever played, but it does look pretty.
Perfect Dark Zero
An Xbox 360 launch game. Man, launch games are always dangerous. People almost expect them to be empty graphical showcases. Perfect Dark Zero didn’t even look THAT good in the flesh, and it was also far a worse game than I’d been led to believe. One of the few games I’ve traded in just a few days after I bought it.
This is going to be difficult to believe if you weren’t there at the time but, seriously, Otogi was stunning to look at for its time, especially in motion. Sadly, it wasn’t especially fun to play.
Shenmue 2 on Xbox
There was no good reason for me to buy this. I’d already played Shenmue 2 on the Dreamcast, but I had it in my head that it would look so much better on the Xbox. As it turned out that wasn’t even true; Dreamcast games actually looked better than most later Xbox, Gamecube and PS2 games, if you ask me. On the plus side, playing it a second time opened my eyes to the homoerotic nature of the Ryu-Ren subplot, and the Xbox version’s photo scrapbook let me lovingly document it.
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
This one was next-level: I bought it just because of the box art, after seeing it in the new releases section at a local game shop when I was living in Japan. Happily, it turned out to be an amazing game, and still one of the most beautiful I’ve ever played. Plus, it’s still the most mouth-watering food porn ever committed to... disc.
Final Fantasy XIII
I had never played a Final Fantasy game when XIII came out (I know, I know), but after seeing endless trailers showing off how amazing it looked I thought, brilliant, this is the perfect time to jump in.
After five hours in a corridor, it turned out that I was very, very wrong about that.
How about you? What games did you buy on looks alone, and how deeply did they disappoint you?