Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

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Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#1

Post by Apollo the Just » Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:38 am

I found a thread from 2006 asking the same question from before Twilight Princess came out and it made me feel **** old. So here's a new thread so if we all are still on the internet in 13 years we can look back on this and feel even older.

I still really like what Skyward Sword did with its art direction and the fact that it kind of felt like the game was painted in watercolor. I think overall Twilight Princess's aesthetic is more appealing because I AM SO HERE FOR THAT EDGY WOLF HOT TOPIC **** LIKE SIGN ME UP FAM but those two are definitely up there as far as 3D games go. I don't have strong opinions on the older/2D installments as I never really got into them personally.

Breath of the Wild of course is breathtaking, it's utterly gorgeous and can do things visually that no previous installment COULD. It feels like an improvement on Skyward Sword's attempted vision, IMO. plus it adds those almost-futuristic elements to the worldbuilding too? Really cool.

Although, I actually have to say that in the vast majority of respects, I think my favorite Zelda aesthetically is now the MM3D remake. I have posted at length about all of my opinions on that game over the years, but the remake brought all of the vibrant colors and details in that world to LIFE. My sole qualms visually are the eyeball-weakness-ifying of all the bosses (seriously, why) and the fact that the Twinmold arena lost its intentional dust particles and therefore the visual impact of having the arena appear vast was completely ruined (it just looks like Twinmold shrinks, not that you grow). Honestly if they'd left the bosses alone the remake would be pretty much perfect. Majora's Mask's boss chamber is more gorgeous than any final boss chamber has any right being, and the colors in the sky as the end approaches are so deliciously mood-setting.

.....TPHD gives it a run for its money though. The Sacred Grove looks stunning, that whole sequence in TP is among my favorite isolated moments in the series. And again, it bears repeating..... the literal entirety of BOTW is just absolutely incredible visually.

WW's art style has grown on me over the years and I do think a lot of designs in it and its sequels/spinoffs are appealing, but it is definitely not my preferred style of 3D Zeldas. The Link's Awakening remake on the other hand..... that is CUTE AS HECK give it to me I want it.

Zelda is pretty. What are your hot takes on the subject?

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#2

Post by Marilink » Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:48 am

CDi games, definitely.

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#3

Post by Valigarmander » Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:58 am

I like them all.

Image

But seriously, I really like what they did with both Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild. They feel like a good middle ground between the cartoonishness of The Wind Waker and the realism of Twilight Princess.

Image Image

Also, this isn't really reflected in-game, but I like the heavier shading in the official art of Majora's Mask compared to Ocarina of Time.

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#4

Post by Random User » Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:08 am

I think I'm with you on Twilight Princess being my favorite stylistic choice for the Legend of Zelda, AJ. I really liked the darker aesthetic as well, and how odd it was to see how well it mixed with the strange cartoonish proportions of the supporting cast.

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#5

Post by I am nobody » Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:13 am

The early 2D games (LoZ, AoL, aLttP, LA, OoA/S) have some phenomenal concept art, but for the most part I don't think the in-game art direction is all that remarkable. But the concept art is really, really good, so that still averages out to #2. (I fully recognize that grouping all of these together is nonsense, but I already wrote too much, so **** it)

MM and OoT are probably last for me. I've always found the Great Fairy and Zora designs actively repulsive, and while I don't necessarily hate polygonal graphics for that fact alone, I don't think the realistic style those games went for works at that fidelity. OoT's concept art isn't much better for me because they kept so many of those angles - almost every character's face looks like they could stab you with some combination of their chin, nose, ears, or hair parting - and I don't care for most of the clothing designs. MM is much better, and it'd probably be way higher on the list if the game looked as good as the art.

The cartoony games (WW, MC, PH, ST) are definitely top. WW and MC still look great even after almost 20 years, and their bright colors and simple designs combine well with the closest Link has been to being an actual character. He's expressive and the scenes are humorous in a way that the other games rarely even attempt. I also love the way they blended Celtic and Pacific styles in WW and how MC plays with scale. I don't really care for the way the human King or Zelda look in-game, and PH and ST are mostly riding the coattails of the earlier games, but otherwise there's very little for me to complain about here.

FS and FSA are just aLttP again with a bit of the WW and MC mixed in. There's nothing I dislike about their art, but they're also the only games from the entire series that I can't recall any concept art from, which says a lot.

TP looks great in-game, which is pretty remarkable for a Wii game that tried to be realistic. It's got some great twists on classic enemies and the boss designs are probably the strongest in the entire series. That said, it's all a bit self-serious. I don't think any of the character designs or portrayals convey much personality, and you'd probably never guess this is a game that includes yeti snowboarding and clown cannons from any of the art.

I really like that one image from SS of Link riding on a bird and Zelda's design. I can't stand Ghirahim or The Imprisoned. I also played SS for like an hour, so I never think about it.

LBW and BotW didn't really do anything for me either way.

tl;dr: cartoony > old > TP > MM > OoT. No strong feelings on the others.

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#6

Post by Deepfake » Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:26 am

When do we get a game that looks like Terada art? Because that, hands down.

Breathe of the Wild is probably the best all-rounder, although I want to mention that if it weren't for bobblehead Link with lemon hair in Wind Waker, I would overall probably like that game's cohesive look the most or equally.

It didn't really do the style well, but the top-down realism of Zelda's Adventure on CDi is something I'd like to see done properly.

Also, can we appreciate the Wii U E3 demo? Shame they didn't do a game with this:

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#7

Post by Marilink » Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:31 am

For real though, I think BotW is the best Zelda has ever looked, which isn’t too surprising since it is the most recent and on the most powerful console of any Zelda; but it’s much more than just graphical fidelity that makes that game look great. The art direction in general is just lovely. And the vistas you get in that game show how meticulously designed the world is—each sight line from each vantage point was obviously carefully considered. And little decisions made a huge difference, namely the fact that blue and orange lights from shrines and towers both transcend draw distance, giving you things to look forward to in areas you can’t even fully see yet. Open world exploration in BotW was so next-level.

2D-wise, I love Link’s Awakening for a lot of reasons, but one thing that has always amazed me is how great the sprite work is on the Gameboy. While I can’t wait to see how they re-do the world in the remake, but it’ll never quite replace the world they crafted on that dot matrix screen.

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#8

Post by smol Kat » Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:46 am

BotW was absolutely beautiful to watch, but I also really liked the art for MC; it was adorable. New LA looks like it will probably be my favorite but I want to play it before confirming that :D
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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#9

Post by X-3 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:08 pm

I'm probably mixing a heaping of nostalgia/graphical limitations here but for me it's OoT/MM. There's just sort of an emptiness or eeriness to the locations that I like that obviously isn't in the other games due to the graphics improving.

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#10

Post by Apollo the Just » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:51 pm

Valigarmander wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:58 am
I like them all.

Image

But seriously, I really like what they did with both Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild. They feel like a good middle ground between the cartoonishness of The Wind Waker and the realism of Twilight Princess.

Image Image

Also, this isn't really reflected in-game, but I like the heavier shading in the official art of Majora's Mask compared to Ocarina of Time.
I completely forgot how much I love MM’s official art until now. I think I did a bad re-draw of Zora Link’s in like middle school and had it as my binder sleeve insert for quite a while.

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#11

Post by DarkZero » Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:33 pm

i really love the official art for oot and mm and if the games actually looked like that they would easily win

breath of the wild looks great overall but sometimes the cel shading made things look a little funky. i would still say it looks really good but its hard to compare since most of the game was like, very naturalistic environments and all the dungeons (i.e. shrines and divine beasts) look the same as each other

links awakening remake looks REALLY good so far but its not out yet so i cant rate it

twilight princess is the game i remember as having a lot of really pretty environments. like the water place looks amazing, the snow mansion was really neat. uhhhh its been a while since i played this game but yeah im a sucker for environment design in video games
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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#12

Post by Apollo the Just » Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:37 pm

Someone remind me in 2 months when I have time again to go through and take screencaps of all the MM3D environments now that I have a 3DS capture card. I could make a thread all about the artistic decisions made in that game's remake. Gameplay entirely aside, the remake is VIBRANT, y'all. I also love environment design in games and MM3D just seemed in a lot of ways like the game could finally look the way it had always wanted to.

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#13

Post by Deepfake » Sun Jun 23, 2019 12:56 am

Apollo the Just wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:37 pm
Someone remind me in 2 months when I have time again to go through and take screencaps of all the MM3D environments now that I have a 3DS capture card. I could make a thread all about the artistic decisions made in that game's remake. Gameplay entirely aside, the remake is VIBRANT, y'all. I also love environment design in games and MM3D just seemed in a lot of ways like the game could finally look the way it had always wanted to.
I could just play it on Citra and stream if you like, then you can capture all the stills you want 8)
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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#14

Post by Apollo the Just » Sun Jun 23, 2019 1:32 am

Deepfake wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 12:56 am
Apollo the Just wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:37 pm
Someone remind me in 2 months when I have time again to go through and take screencaps of all the MM3D environments now that I have a 3DS capture card. I could make a thread all about the artistic decisions made in that game's remake. Gameplay entirely aside, the remake is VIBRANT, y'all. I also love environment design in games and MM3D just seemed in a lot of ways like the game could finally look the way it had always wanted to.
I could just play it on Citra and stream if you like, then you can capture all the stills you want 8)
NO!!!!! >:( i need to do it myself so i can spend 20 minutes getting the angle JUST RIGHT. it's like photography, but stupid and pointless because literally no one cares as much as i do when it comes to majora's mask 3ds aesthetics

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#15

Post by smol Kat » Sun Jun 23, 2019 1:37 am

why not both? :3c
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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#16

Post by Booyakasha » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:06 am

Games? 'Wind Waker'. No question. I like the slightly off-kilter exaggerated character design. Reminds me of 'Professor Layton', or 'Steven Universe'. I like WW's smoke and explosions, its moody environments and artchitecture, its water, its variants of enemies (I didn't find Redeads scary in OoT, but they ramped 'em up to eleven for WW, boyo).
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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#17

Post by steeze » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:05 pm

WW and BOTW were my tops. Two different roads leading to the same destination: Happiness.

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#18

Post by CaptHayfever » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:31 pm

I guess I would have to say Wind Waker, because I could control which direction the art went with the baton.

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#19

Post by ScottyMcGee » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:21 pm

Skyward Sword.

But it sucks that I hate the game.

But I love the art.

I kind of wish they did Twilight Princess's style again. That was the most realistic and I often got a "Conan the Barbarian" sword-and-sorcery-esque vibe.

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Re: Which Zelda game's art direction do you most prefer?

#20

Post by Bomby » Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:24 am

I think I might have to go with BotW. I love the character designs, and the cell-shaded world almost reminds me of a watercolor painting at times. Obviously the game has the advantage of being on new hardware, They took the best aspects of the previous 3D Zeldas and mixed them expertly.

For 2D/pixel Zelda games, I'm gonna go with Minish Cap. I liked a lot of the character designs in the Oracles games, especially Din and Maple, even if the overall in-game graphical style was essentially a copy/paste of Link's Awakening DX.

Seriously, the new Link's Awakening remake style is dope. My initial reaction to the "plastic toy" aesthetic was rather ambivalent, but after seeing more of it at E3, I'm 100% sold.

MM64 is up there as well. Though the improved 3D models in the 3DS remake were a plus, I like the more dire colorization of 64 more. I also liked the moon in 64 more than in 3D. The former looked like it was going through an existential crisis, whereas the latter just looked cartoonishly angry.

OoT3D mostly improved upon OoT64, but they may have brightened the world a tad bit too much. This is especially notable in the final fight against Ganon. His dark, almost silhouetted appearance when you first see him was fearsome in 64, and the brightening in 3D kind of ruined that.

TP's style turned me off at first because it came off as a 3edgy5u backhanded apology to people who were turned off by WW. The cleanup in TPHD was a major improvement. Conversely, I actually like WW's Gamecube aesthetic to the HD remake.

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