Weekend Debate: Your favourite video game art style

So, how is everyone enjoying the first batch of PS Vita Plus titles? Some gems in there, no? I’ve taken the opportunity to revisit Japan Studio’s wonderful Gravity Rush – a game that I never tire of looking at, even if I might have played through all of the content it has to offer. It’s just a joy to behold – perhaps the closest you can get to a Studio Ghibli cartoon in video game form. Well, until Ni No Kuni arrives next year, at least.

So, your debate topic this week:

Which game boasts your favourite art style, and why?

I’m not talking about which game you think has the most detailed environmental textures, or the most realistic facial animations – I’m more interested in titles that you think have taken a particularly distinctive, creative and skilful approach to art direction. So don’t come at me with shout-outs for Call of Duty or FIFA!

Your prize game this week certainly has a unique artistic version all of its own. To mark the launch of its Mr Torgue’s Campaign Of Carnage DLC, the five most thoughtful responses win themselves a copy of bold, bonkers open world shooter Borderlands 2. The lavish Loot Chest edition, no less! Good luck!


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Sir_Gunnalot 23 November, 2012 @ 4:04 pm   1

Sonic The Hedgehog, of course!


Wind Waker. All these years on and it still looks glorious, the only Zelda that hasn’t aged a bit. A shout out to Jet Set Radio, too.


I sincerely think Borderlands earns my response here. Gearbox makes a desolate post-apocaalyptic wasteland look lavish and full of life. But not just that, they manage to slap on a great variety of weapon and character design as well as a cool story to run with it.

chrisboers 23 November, 2012 @ 4:09 pm   4

Paper! I love the home-made paper-folded look-and-feel of Derrick the Deathfin! It’s almost as if you could re-build an entire level at home, and play out your own Derrick adventures there!

While in the end even Derrick is digitized, I regularly stop my gameplay (with fear of starving Derrick to death), just to look around at the different models used for all the attributes, fish and people. I can only imagine how many colored papers have been used to create all the models! (Oh, and the cell shading technique with Borderlands also is very pleasing of course!)

    Fred Dutton 26 November, 2012 @ 1:41 pm    

    Right, time to announce some winners. First one here, for a spot-on Deathfin shout-out. Fun game this.

williamhughes 23 November, 2012 @ 4:10 pm   5

to be honest, i prefer when it look’s really realistic, assassins creed or uncharted for example. I think it really make’s me forget that i’m playing a game and makes me think that i’m just watching a movie!

clearly singstar. It is such an amazing game better then your best friend, pet or partner.

Now matter how bad you feel singstar, how angry you are. It will always be there for you. Just waiting on the XMB the get some attention.

And if you already happy it is eager to make you even more happy. So a solid 10/10.

/end of sarcasm

AntGreenfield 23 November, 2012 @ 4:12 pm   7

Has to be the cell shaded beauty of Okami. From the lush open fields to the atmospheric caves it never failed to impress me. And then there were the wonderfully designed characters, enemies and bosses, I could happily spend hours exploring its rich, detailed world, marvelling at the views on offer. The brush strokes of the celestial brush looked amazing too and the whole experince came together as a truly stunning whole. And now I get to enjoy it all over again but in glorious HD, a treat for the eyes for sure and still as fun and stunning to play as it was back on PS2

tin-cup-70 23 November, 2012 @ 4:12 pm   8

LittleBigPlanet is the first game that comes to mind when i think creative art style. I am talking about LBP1 that in my opinion has a amazing style that inspired me to make many levels myself. I just loved how they gave the whole game that home made look, can’t get any more creative and inspiring then LBP1 🙂


An oldy, but a goody on PS2 was XIII – beautiful cell-shaded graphics and a really pleasing cartoon style. The pop-up captions and Batman-style sound-effect graphics were great!

VictorAnalogy 23 November, 2012 @ 4:13 pm   10

Journey’s art style was incredibly beautiful. The whole game was minimalist and yet incredibly deep. The simple design of the characters, the cave-painting cut scenes that were able to tell of the rise and fall of an empire. The use of colour as you travel from desert to cavern, over sand and underwater. Journey is the epitome of efficiency of design. Not a single element was wasted, everything from the scarf to the flocks of cloth remnants had purpose and meaning.

Even the communication in the game followed the same art direction, one note, one symbol and yet you could convey emotion and communicate with another human just through a ping. Incredible.

Natscookie 23 November, 2012 @ 4:13 pm   11

Okami. For me, the graphics in the game didn’t look like merely ‘graphics for a game’, they looked like a true piece of art. Very colorful, and their style remind me of japanese manga. I don’t usually pay mind to graphics, but any game that can get similar to such an art wins me over.

Retro grade just for the range of neon like colours if they choose any other types of colors it wouldn’t work it has to be the only game I have played and thought to myself wow this looks out of this world and was like a firework display of colors and not to much they found a perfect balance and to make it look it better its happening in reverse to add to the experience and I normally play a game thinking well I’ve completed it wow but with this it had me coming back because it is visually stunning

Wiiman1225 23 November, 2012 @ 4:14 pm   13

I think that there’s a lot of games that have a great art style!

Journey was nice to look at while there wasn’t too much going on. It’s peaceful and calming while there’s still some action going on and making it realistic which is a amazing achievement (They need a trophy for that!).

The only retail games that I found with the best art style has to be LittleBigPlanet 2 (plus Karting) and Gravity Rush because there are both trying to be realistic but cartoony which is something you wouldn’t expect from them games and something out of the blue. I give them a heads up for that. 😛

On the other end of the PSN spectrum, The Unfinshed Swan had the best art style I have EVER seen in a game. A blank canvas with nothing on then throwing paint into it with splatters is awesome and curious at the same time. When the game moves on, there’s still near white canvas but with stuff already on show like the buildings and the colossus castle.

In conclusion, There’s a lot of games with art styles which are good but in my opinion, The LBP series, Gravity Rush, Journey and The Unfinshed Swan have the best art styles in not only Sony’s games but in gaming altogether which Playstation is great for. 😀


My pick has to be okami it’s visuals are stunning in its art style and even more so now it’s in HD and lend themselves perfectly to the ancient Japan setting out zeldas zelda 🙂


I would have to say The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

its quet an old game now (about 5 years old) and the graphics look cartoony now but because i used to play it 6 am till 9 pm EVERY DAY FOR OVER 2 YEARS (no joke) the art style has grew on me to become extreemly know. the animation is verry robotic (like Skyrim) but the best thing about it is the draw distance, my god when your up on a mountain looking down on cyradill, its still the best draw distance in any game to date. Pure butifull! its my fav game of all time for many reasons but the art style makes me cry 🙁

you need to play the game!

“close shut the jaws of oblivion”…sorry cant. its to nice to look at 🙂


Journey is a game that is more dependent of it’s art style than it’s gameplay. I usually love 2D characters in 3D environment and the very flat creatures of Journey were pretty close to this.


I would have to say boarderlands changedl the way we look n play games then of course made the outstanding the walking dead comes as games begin to follow that artistic style. Which is nice and refreshing. Thank you for reading

Mattiebo123 23 November, 2012 @ 4:17 pm   18

Indie developers never fail to amaze me with their creativity, and the art direction in their games tend to make a big difference. Obvious examples of great art styles in indie games are Journey and Machinarium, but I especially like Limbo’s monochromatic style.

The style really set the mood for the game and made it feel dark and creepy. The sound effects combined with the dark visuals also helped to make it shocking when something bad happened. If the game was in full colour, I don’t think it could have been nearly as popular as it is.


Whilst i agree with #3 i kinda think Gran Turismo 5 is the best lookin game, althou i still play abes oddysee coz its just legendery!!!!!!!

Ziggy_Marley_93 23 November, 2012 @ 4:19 pm   20

One of my old favourites is probably the cell-shaded style of the Sly games. I remembered being amazed at that comic book style the games had when I was young. It worked so well for the game, partly due to the fact the games aren’t too serious and had animals as opposed to human characters.

The series was also incredible detailed, the “bang” “pow” onomatopoeia when you knocked out enemies was clearly taken from comic books and made them feel even more like a comic book.

This style of art appeals to me more than ultra-realistic games. I figure its easier to imitate everyday life, than it is to fully realise a stylised work of art like the Sly games, that is completely from your imagination.

Opt1mus76 23 November, 2012 @ 4:20 pm   21

Has to be Okami. Even back on the humble PS2 the game looked glorious throughout. Beautiful graphics and totally unique in its style. And now its available in HD it looks even better.
I bought it on PS2 based on the high review scores but it was only when actually playing it that you realise how stunning it is. I completed it on PS2 and now have the HD version waiting for when I have some time off (no such thing when you have kids is there?) over Christmas.


If we’re talking any game from any console, then I would probably have to say The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for its gorgeous cel-shaded look. Thanks to its style, it never seems to age.

On non-Nintendo consoles, though, I have a huge fondness for the gothic/steampunk style of Alice: Madness Returns, which captures the twisted and dark world of Wonderland magnificently.


This is not exactly the type of answer that’s going to win a great prize like the one this week but it’s an honest answer.


I love how braid looks to me it looks hand drawn and almost animated, the backgrounds are amazingly detailed. I love the look at the start and how you run into view from the dim lighting provided by the street lamps.
I love the dream like worlds and how they are portrayed to the user.
The colour pallet used in that game just makes the picture pop on my led tv which loves colour it’s a beautiful game.

Who needs a team of hundreds to make a fantastic looking game when a small independent can push out eye candy like this.

Nuff said.

Avengerrr 23 November, 2012 @ 4:23 pm   24

My favourite art style has to be Valkyria Chronicles on the PS3.

It boasted gorgeous anime inspired, watercolour style artwork to everything in the game. The levels were beautifully structured in a storybook chapter by chapter. The actual characters and environments were hand drawn and they felt like it because they were expressive. If you have played the game you know this is demonstrated in the opening title sequence.

Yet compare the art style to say BlazBlue and VC ps3 is less brash in colours and for that it felt matured and also very reflective of what was a microcosm of WWII conflict. For that, the art work had a lot of emotion and its individual art approach broke it away from a lot of the fantasy that anime style artwork carries across its genre.

Truly Brilliant Talent.


Dishonored for me 😀

I like Dishonored’s art style because it looks like a beautifully crafted painting in which the artist has filled with bright vibrent colours amidst a sea of darkness, which fits the mood of the game perfectly.

And besides; how many artists let others decide if the key figure should be painted alive or dead 😛

(Honourary shout outs – ‘Unfinished Swans’ story book art style, ‘Journeys’ beautiful lighting effects)


Odin sphere is by far the game which has my favorite art style.

All of Vanillaware’s games from princess crown on the saturn/psp to GrimGrimoire, Muramasa, grand knight historia and there upcoming Dragon Crown look like water colour paintings brought to life.

But even now for me Odin sphere is still the best looking.

Also an honorable mention to Valkyria chronicles that game is soo pretty too.

Chrono Trigger.
Be it about characters as Lucca (has there ever again been such an charming nerd?), a fiercy woman as Ayla or a roboter with a human touch. They really nailed their character in looks and animation.

Scenery was nothing but amazing through almost all eras, with some average ones in between. But I think the end time scenario in the far future has never again been done better, aka depressing (yes, I include games as Fallout 3 there).

And the music … ah, words can’t do the music justice.

Chrono Trigger is simply the result of the greatest artists uniting to create the best game ever. I wouldn’t want to pick among Toriyama, Masato Kato, Mitsuda or Hiroyuki Ito. They all excelled.


Turrican is the best game graphics… of it’s time & for a good while after.

Tenchu Stealth Assasains, so pretty

JamieSTARx 23 November, 2012 @ 4:30 pm   29

I’d have to say Fallout: New Vegas, as the art work within the game makes everything very engaging and interesting. While keeping a sense of realism to it however small. Also can’t beat a bit of wear and tear on everything.


I really like the paper mario series graphic styles. Its so simple but yet fantastic to watch.

Alex-1124 23 November, 2012 @ 4:32 pm   31

My favourite art style by far is the clean look, that beautiful a look of polish. Games such as Portal 2, Journey and Flower, they just look so nice, no bombs, no footballs, just an amazing look and a slight variant of OCD :P. It’s an odd one, some may not class it as a ‘art style’ but oh well, it’s what I love about games.

Chocobo115 23 November, 2012 @ 4:32 pm   32

I can appreciate all kinds of artstyles from low-pixel 2D to highly realistic 3D.
Each style has it’s own charm that will appeal to me as soon as I figure out the “key” of the art style.


Oh and Mirrors Edge too, how could I forget about that especially its DLC missions.

toxic-inferno 23 November, 2012 @ 4:37 pm   34

Honestly has to be Bioshock I think. The bright, lurid neon colours mixed with the grim, grotty underwater city is an absolutely fantastic representation of the themes and narrative of the game. The very idea that such impressive light and colour can exist alongside rusting metal, filthy glass and oily machinery sums up the controversial, daring world of Rapture perfectly.

The art style of Borderlands has to be in the top few art styles too. The cartoon, cel-shaded style contrasts well with the brutal concepts of the gameplay, which is one of the driving forces behind the games being so amusing.

Can’t forget the Unfinished Swan, though. I mean, the art style is so plain and simple, beyond anything that I’ve seen in a video game before, and yet there are so many moments where you are simply blown away by the very beauty of the world and the journey so far.

My pick for favourite art style is Limbo!

The fact that its black and white only visuals are as minimalistic as they can get, but still able to provide so much atmosphere is why it’s my favourite.

It’s a must play PSN title in my book 🙂

Project2insanity 23 November, 2012 @ 4:38 pm   36

Vib Ribbon. PSone was in a time of pushing graphics further than ever thought possible (we kinda take it a little bit for granted nowadays). FMV’s were the stuff dreams were made of. Then came Vib Ribbon. A stick figure of a rabbit walking/jogging along a straight line. 4 obstacles with combinations of them all from that line. Literally nothing more- well… except for the rabbit shapeshifting depending on how well you play.

It was a daring approach but a style that captured exactly what the game was about- the music.


I’m not sure I could only pick one as there are so many different great art styles in video games but these are some of my favourites:

Valkyria Chronicles: Had such a great water colour style with each chapter from a book one of the best RPGs for the PS3.

Okami: It had such a unique style of gameplay with the way you would paint with a brush to help solve puzzles and used in combat.

Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker: This Zelda game had changed the art style for the series which was such a great change it’s visuals were simple but yet so nice and unique.

Machinarium: I actually would of never played this great little robot gem of a game if it wasn’t for PS+ the backgrounds in this were lovely.

Prince of Persia: The game wasn’t the best but you can’t deny that that art style in this game was simply beautiful.

Journey: One of the most unique games ever the art style in this game was so wonderful you could argue that this wasn’t a game but a piece of art.

element666 23 November, 2012 @ 4:41 pm   38

To me it’s got to be the sly trilogy, the style is beautiful and ageless,even now the PS2 versions still hold their own to this day,and how many games can say that? It’s not only the visuals but the comic book esque cut scenes. Phenomenal!

RossyWilson 23 November, 2012 @ 4:46 pm   39

My favourite art style in a game would have to be the Uncharted series (Uncharted 3 If I had to pick just one), Even though It does have some very realistic elements to it. It features some of the most stunning,breath taking landscapes ive seen in any game.
There have been times in that game where ive just stopped playing just to look at the immense detail in the environments such as the chateau burning down around you or the abandoned ruins in the middle of the sprawling sand dunes of the rub al kahli.
I have really been loving a lot of games recently with a quirky cel-shaded art style at the moment such as the walking dead but in my opinion you cant beat the sheer scope and attention to detail that naughty dog puts into uncharted to make the environments so realistic and, more importantly, beautiful at the same time

RossyWilson 23 November, 2012 @ 4:48 pm   40

I think Gravity Rush looks awesome as well. I cant wait to play it on my vita when i get it.

VitaFan123 23 November, 2012 @ 4:50 pm   41

Who won last week’s Weekend Debate?

    Fred Dutton 23 November, 2012 @ 4:52 pm    

    If you check through the comments on the Monday evening after the debate is posted you’ll see who won.


Another World, loved the art style of this Amiga 500 game!
It looked out of this world and nothing looked like it.
Later on I was blown away by adventure game Syberia with artwork of comic maker Benoît Sokal. The art nouveau vibe was awesome and I loved it.
Current gen I was blown away by Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction. A game that looked like it could come from Pixar but had it’s own tone, amazing!

BoscaBat- 23 November, 2012 @ 4:52 pm   43

I love the Katamari artstyle, it’s so simple, cute and blocky almost lego like. It really perks me up just looking at such a happy carefree world, well that’s until the King puts you down lol.

Pug-zilla 23 November, 2012 @ 4:54 pm   44

Some might say it looked a little dodgy but I really liked Gregory Horror Show how the characters looked a little like paper craft but not only that it fitted with the weird gameplay and surreal setting. I still like to put it on and just enjoy the bizzareness of it all, it just fit so well.

dogwalker4000 23 November, 2012 @ 4:58 pm   45

Castle Crashers for me. Super bright and colourful with tons of varying environments (the place with the giant flowers is probably my favourite) and doesn’t skimp on the gameplay either. Great little co-op game with a stand out style and lots of bright red cartoon blood flying about, what more could you want? 😀


Alice: Madness returns, I think the style of that game gave it a dark look which suited the game really well, and also certain games cell shaded work like Dragon ball Z, Jet Set etc. Then again I have been playings NIGHTS recently and the christmas stage on that is just beauitful 🙂


i really like cartoony looking graphics like awesomenauts and castle crashers. its colorful and never gets old to look at. theres just something about it that i like. the same with borderlands those graphics are amazing. so full of life and interesting to look at. never gets old.


OMG I nearly forgot one of the best!

The original Rayman on the PS1: One of the first video games I ever played, the art style in this game made it stand out from every other game out at the time, the different zones going from the jungle > music > rock > art and the delicious cake zone in the final level the backgrounds were amazing and is still one of the nicest looking game even today 🙂


This was a really tough decision for me… I almost decided on Journey, for it’s golden drenched sands, and it’s lonesome, frozen mountains… But then I remember a game that was released before that made me realise Games and Art had a tiny, smeared line dividing the two.

That game was Ico.

It’s not just the look of the game that makes me believe this game is the first game so close to be defined as ‘art’, It was an incredible amalgamation of visuals, gameplay and a story told with minimal communication between the two protagonists. From the detailed castle grounds with brightly coloured background vistas, to the dark, damp caged abyss below the castle grounds, all running smoothly on the PS2. The way the two characters, although unable to speak to one another, are able to work together and protect one another, with their tale of the constant struggle of escaping matching the environment; the battle of light and dark, “good” and “evil.” When the journey ends on that bright sandy shore, I had to play through again straight away… and of course those who had will know there is more than one reason to do so 🙂

Journey is an incredible game, but to me it might just exist because of Ico.

declan__watson 23 November, 2012 @ 5:09 pm   50

Hello everyone
For me it would be the original harry potter on ps1 I loved strolling around the Hogwarts grounds, adventuring the castles through the dungeons and the upper castle and the end defeating he who must not be named. The reason is simple it was very realistic in art. The fire looked real and the gooey liquid in the dungeons looked real too I still remember playing the game it was a fun and adventurous game to play. Hope you have a great weekend Fred. I will see you in the Blog recap.
Thank you. LongLivePlay Sony Make.Believe

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