Game design is one of these things that needs equal parts cash and ingenuity. There are many developers these days who have more of the former than the latter, thus a plethora of new titles all gunning for more and more photo-realistic visuals. Whilst this is a reasonable enough goal, I like to think the average person gets enough realism from life. What’s more interesting is the attempts to create new and exciting worlds in games, and the illusion of a new universe is created with the use of a non-realistic and vivid art style. In honour of the games that actually show us something new, here are ten games with artistically creative visual styles.
10. Street Fighter 4
It may not have been the most crazy of art styles, but the sudden aesthetic change made for the fourth instalment of the Street Fighter franchise certainly came as a surprise. We’d been treated to more cartoon visuals in Street Fighter 3, but number 4 was the first time we saw the series in its current incarnation. With a unique cel-shading style and some awesome graphical effects, Street Fighter 4 looks like the cats proverbial pyjamas in every way.
9. De Blob
A game on Wii making a top ten about graphics may seem like an odd one, but De Blob proved that might isn’t always right when it comes to awesome visuals. Though the plastic sheen of De Blob is present in many modern games, it was the vibrant paint based effects that brought the game to life. The stark shifts in palette as the player interacted with the once colourless environments was the big mechanic that made De Blob a striking title, both in terms of graphics and gameplay.
8. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
And a Gamecube game in the same graphics top ten? What next? Granted, the Gamecube won’t exactly be remembered as a graphical powerhouse, but some games made clever design decisions in the aesthetics department to help them overcome this shortcoming. The Wind Waker was one such title, and the sudden change it made to the Zelda series’ graphic style divides gamers to this day. Though there are many who hold valid criticism with the game’s eclectic pacing, there is no doubt that it has an original look and feel.