30 Days of Video Games: Day 23, Best Graphic/Art Style

I honestly feel like I’m a bit out of my element here with this one.  I can appreciate graphics as an art form, and can appreciate the importance of graphics to gaming.  But I’ve never gotten my knickers twisted about good versus bad graphics, and I think it’s because my priorities lie more with story.  If a game has gorgeous graphics but a lousy story, I’m not apt to like it as much as a game with mediocre graphics and good story.  But that’s just me, after all.  I’m sure I could get an onslaught of responses telling me how vital graphics and art style are, and I’m not denying it in the least.  Just saying that for me, personally, I’m not that anal-retentive about graphics and art style in games.

Not to say I don’t appreciate it.  I’ve been thinking of the games I’ve played recently and trying to think about games that have nice graphics and style of art.  I thought about being a wiseass and saying Tetris, because seriously, how can you screw up four blocks (graphically/artistically speaking)?  You really can’t.  So then I considered it more.  A lot of games’ graphics suit the style and purpose of the game: Left 4 Dead has a gritty, realistic, ruined look to it.  BioShock’s underwater sanctuary of Rapture is heavily influenced by the art deco style, evoking a retro feel.  Sera of Gears of War has a lot of realism, but just enough of the obscure and futuristic to make it seem unearthly.  Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has a cartoonish, cel-shaded style that matches ic)with the whimsy of the game.  And I could go on.

I won’t be a wise ass, but I do feel like I’m copping out with my final choice.  I’m going to go with Skyrim. I’ve spent countless amounts of time wandering the rugged, untouched landscape marveling at the beauty surrounding me (matched nicely by the music).  It has a strong sense of realism while still remaining otherworldly.  The use of color is fantastic; the textures are beautiful and really make me feel like I am immersed in the world: like I could reach out and touch it, and feel it and absorb it. I play on a console, and feel the impact of this detail; MLHawke’s husband Paladin showed me how, on the PC, one can change the resolutions of the texture layers to make the world even more graphically intense and I nearly had to wipe drool off their office floor.

The various night skies, the sunsets over the mountains, the northern lights, the way every place you venture is a different visual experience?  It’s just amazing.  Aside from being a huge game to play through and absorb playing-wise, Skyrim is an auditory and visual treat.

Tomorrow: Day 24, Favorite Classic Game.  Or, JayRain waxes even more nostalgic than she is wont to do already!

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2 comments on “30 Days of Video Games: Day 23, Best Graphic/Art Style

  1. “on the PC, one can change the resolutions of the texture layers to make the world even more graphically intense and I nearly had to wipe drool off their office floor.”

    Yeah. Oblivion on my roommate’s PC in college was the first ever game that had me feel like I could touch water through the screen and my hand would get wet. I can only imagine Skyrim must be even better, 5 years later. Shit, I’d never get anything DONE, I’d be so busy just staring at it all!

  2. Agreed 100%. The best looking Elder Scrolls game to date. Better story as well. I never cared much for the graphics of the previous ES games. Your toon walked around like he had a rod stuck up his arse. The orange sickly glow of the Oblivion gates actually made me nauseous after a while and I rushed through the main quest to close them without grabbing the hordes of treasure in the gaudy alternate dimensions. After Morrowind and Oblivion, Skyrim was a godsend. It restored my faith in the series. I spent more time wandering around and smelling the roses than I did fighting things. I don’t believe I fast traveled once for the first 5 days I played it.

    I’d have to go with Fallout 3 as a really close second.

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