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Graphical Settings Are The Bane Of My Existence Thanks To OCD

As technology advances and game consoles become more powerful, developers are able to offer more diverse experiences, with additional tools to customise visuals, audio, and so much else to your liking. The arrival of PS5 and Xbox Series X have seen the trend of finding your perfect settings balloon into the mainstream. Favouring performance or graphics are no longer fanciful terms reserved for PC gamers, but the norm for triple-A games nowadays.

There is more than enough headroom to push for a full 4K image at 30 frames per second, or increase that latter limit in exchange for a less detailed picture. God of War Ragnarok has a high performance mode that somehow increases the framerate and maintains resolution, thanks to technical wizardry I am not nearly smart enough to comprehend. But the option is there, and being able to make use of it remains an incredible benefit for all players.

However, for people like me with ADHD and OCD, having too many options to choose from can soon become a problem. It’s why I seldom touch PC gaming outside small indies and visual novels, or titles that don’t require a heavy investment into drivers or graphical settings. The idea of having to toy with them, or knowing there is somehow a perfect way for a thing to run on my system if I tinker with it enough, means my attention is constantly pulled away, convinced that something is wrong, or I can mess with it all again and again. It sucks, but I can’t stop my brain from hyperfocusing on whether things are running correctly or colours aren’t throwing me off. From an outsider’s perspective, I probably sound like an idiot.

This is why I’m primarily a console gamer, because I can download a game, launch it, play it, and have a good time. There is little bullshit standing on my way, but that status quo shifting is proving to be more stressful than I expected. God of War Ragnarok has three modes in the form of Performance, Quality, and a mix of the two that mines extra frames out of the experience without hindering resolution. I often go for Quality in more cinematic games like this, much preferring more detailed characters and environments instead of response time, and that’s been the same for Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us Part 1, and loads of others.

Even these options can be paralysing at times, and I’ll need to flip between several times before settling on which one feels best and if I want to play the whole game that way. If I’m away for an extended period of time, it’s necessary to go through them all again to ensure a patch hasn’t changed it all too much. It’s like at this job, I’ll often read through things multiple times or space paragraphs in a certain way so it doesn’t trigger all the ants in my brain. I know it’s weird and irrational, but I’m wired that way and need to keep dealing with it.

HDR is the biggest culprit, and I fucking hate it. Before the PS5 came out I bought one of the fancy televisions being sold by Sony that were ready for the next generation. Such language would make you assume it could pull off HDR10 with no trouble at all, and I’d be staring at luscious colours and greater vibrancy in a matter of seconds. Dear reader – it was all a lie. I have spent tireless evenings trying to get this bastard feature to work, and for all accounts it is, but the mileage is so difficult to pin down and things change so much with every game and console that finding conditions that universally fit every use case scenario is impossible.

I have spent more time adjusting the brightness and colour settings for Ragnarok than I have playing it, and everything about it is driving me up the wall. I have tried playing with HDR off, but then I am dealing with the devil on my shoulder saying I’m missing out since it does look better, but not how I think it should, and thus my brain does backflips trying to find solutions instead of actually playing the game I spent money on. Game of the Year season is fast approaching and your girl does not have time for this.

I’ve been playing games my whole life and this aspect of my neurodivergent identity has often interfered, but as I get older and the hobby becomes more complicated it’s starting to become more of an obstacle and I need to vent about it. Hopefully my new meds will sort this out and I’ll be gaming with the best of them before 2022 comes to a close.

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