Every now and then a development team will come along and make a game that breaks away from the shiny Unreal Engine graphics and makes something that looks unique. Sometimes a new artistic direction can go horribly wrong for a game but when it goes right it’s a real treat to look at. Here is a list of games from last generation that managed to break away from the norm and gave us some enjoyable artistic game visuals.
Braid looks more like a painting than it does a video game. It’s almost a surprise the first time you play to discover that it is actually the game and not a fancy cinematic that rolls before the game begins. While playing this game we really have some beautiful background scenery to enjoy. To top it off the enemies and main character look very pretty which wraps up braid in an impressive visual package that everyone is sure to enjoy regardless of whether you enjoyed the gameplay.
Flower is miles away from most games that gamers play. Gone are the days of head shots and decapitations and instead you become a flower petal blowing in the wind. As girly as it may seem it is a very relaxing game and is very enjoyable to fly through the levels. Often the levels are missing any color or flowers and your job as the flower petal is to go around triggering events that will restore color to the world. By the time you get to the end of a level you have created a huge world of bright colors to enjoy.
Prince of Persia
When this game was first shown off it looked like a painting had come to life. Cell shaded games were nothing new but Prince of Persia really raised the bar for cell shaded visuals. The scenery for the game was beautifully designed with large worlds full of things to look at. It was often hard to believe that you were looking at a real time game when playing this game as it was such a pretty game. If the consoles just had a little more horse power to get rid of jagged edges it would make every frame displayed an amazing work of art.
While they didn’t go for a cartoon cell shaded design with this game they still created a world that was a more realistic looking fantasy future inspired. The game makes use of solid basic colors that really stand out amongst the white and gray scenery. The use of color is quite rare which is what makes the scenes pop when there is a little bit of color shown. Mirrors edge has many scenes void of color which can be truly beautiful to look at but its when a slight hint of a color is thrown in that it gets a lot nicer to look at. Regardless of how the gameplay was perceived the game is undoubtedly a beautiful creation.
This game has a very unique robo-steampunk style world. The game has static backgrounds and a fixed camera similar to what was done with the Syberia games. This means the game has crisp sharp backgrounds that look as if they were hand drawn. While the style of drawing is nice its more about the world that has been drawn. The world was very cool, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense architecturally but its a video game, and it looks nice so who cares!
This game was created by the same development team that created Flower. They clearly have a very talented team of designers as this game is truly an amazing piece of work. A quick glance at the screenshots from this game are more than enough to know that is a game that you want to stare at all day. From the way the game is played to the design of the levels show that this game was made to look pretty and they definitely succeeded in that. 3 years in development well spent!
Shadow of the Colossus HD
While this is officially a ps2 game it did get a HD remake and we sure are glad of this! This game doesn’t have fancy effects to add to the rendered image but when it comes to what is being rendered in the image is where things get amazing. The world in this game is empty and incredibly atmospheric. The colossi are all different from 1 another and are all amazing in their own way. The colossi alone are enough to make this game great to look at as each 1 alone is an amazing piece of work, everything else is just gravy.
Another ps2 game that was given the HD remake. The list wouldn’t be right without having this game on the list, since it is pretty much a game where you have to draw parts of the game yourself. The game looks a bit like wind waker but with a heavy Asian influence. The Asian influence to the game is what makes it stand out a little more from the rest. While the visuals are very impressive and alone make this game worthy of the list, the Asian vibe pushes it up that little bit more to give this game a really unique look and feel.
3D Dot Game Heroes
This game is like Minecraft meets Zelda. Everything in this game is made from small little blocks, including you which you get to design in a character creator at the start of the game. Enemies are also the same and when killed will explode into loads of pieces which will bounce around the map. Water does not conform to the blocky visual look and feel of this game and it is what contributes to this game looking so unique as there is a really nice lighting effect used to give the water a nice looking shine from the sun.