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  1. #1
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    games with great art direction

    So what games do you feel provided a great sense of art direction or art style? By this I mean the way objects and characters in levels are set out and designed in order to create a certain atmosphere and thereby inducing an emotion in the player. This also applies to the textures added to the characters, enviorments and objects as to give the game a distinctive feel. Although this stuff does seem to converge with game design.

    But 2 games worth mentioning are Resident Evil 4 and God of War. Despite the fact that these games had great graphics, they had great art style as well.

    So like in Resident Evil 4, when you are in the castle in the hall with the long decorated dining tables, portraits on the walls and lush carpets it makes the game give off a feeling of elegance. Along with the subtle cracking textures on the frames of the paintings.

    So what about you guys? What games come to mind? Also, give examples of the artistic portion in the game that left an impact on you.

    Although this is not the hall with the dining tables in it, this screenshot shows how elegant the interiors of the castle look for those who haven't played the game.

    games with great art direction
    Last edited by Rene6983; August 27th, 2007 at 06:05 AM.


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  3. #2
    Ellingsworth Guest
    Nice idea for a thread, dude. I would have to say the Halo trilogy has a very strong visuals team, awesome textures, concepts and levels. Also, recently released Bioshock has such an amazing atmosphere along with an incredible opening sequence. That left a sort of dumb-founded look on my face. Gears of War, Zelda, and last but not least Oblivion.

    Pretty much all my favorite games have (In my opinion) very strong visuals and concepts for levels characters and design overall. The Chronicles of Riddick was also a very good game, graphically and story/game play.

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    Ellingsworth - I'd have to disagree on Oblivion. Whilst it's all good, I don't remember great, don't remember something special. Found the art to be very straight forward, not daring to go too bold.

    The last two Prince of Persia games had some stunning direction. The Max Payne games also had some pretty stunning visual aspects that contributed to something bigger.

    Another oldie that I recently revisited is Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Absolutely beautiful what they have done with the engine and how complete the world is. Strong strong stuff.

    I'm looking to get my hands on Bioshock and Gears of War for the PC, but so far these two look damn solid as well.
    Brendan Noeth


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    system Shock 2 and bioshock.
    [url=http://galleryonefone.blogspot.com[/url] This would be my gallery in Sweden

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  6. #5
    Ellingsworth Guest
    Ellingsworth - I'd have to disagree on Oblivion. Whilst it's all good, I don't remember great, don't remember something special. Found the art to be very straight forward, not daring to go too bold.
    Gotcha, man. I'll tell you in a second why I added that to the list.

    *nerd alert*

    When I first started playing it and I took a gaze into the high up mountains with the snow caps and trees with thick forest coverage, I was so excited, FINALLY, it seemed like an adventure game were you could explore in vast detailed places that are exciting to look at.

    I had so much fun riding up into the mountains, snow falling from the sky, bridges and forests to explore, it was amazing for me. Especially since I'm a newbie to the RPG genre. I spent so much time gazing off the highest peeks in that game.

    I remember seeing great graphics, buildings and detailed forests below, that's why I added it. Overall, I would have to agree that the graphics were bland in some parts and the art style seemed the same pretty much in every part of the game. Damn that was a fun game, though.

    I guess I would also say the splinter cell games all had some pretty awesome atmospheres to them, very cool levels some boring some cool but that is a fun game series. I think I have seen the concept art for some of those games. I might have a while ago, I think there was actually a small thread from one guy here that had worked on the game, not sure.

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    Morrowind. God I love that game, so unique and gorgeous... *goes off to cosplay with Indoril armor.

    I agree that oblivion is very generic in comparasin. It's more fun as a GAME for me (at least in the short run), combat in morrowind was a damn chore, but everything else I find has been held back. There's no real mystery to the land, the main story was straightforward where as the one in morrowind was so damn captivating I keep. drawing. nerevar. stuff. and everything seems more simple, less customizable etc...

    EDIT: morrowind concept art: http://www.elderscrolls.com/art/mw_conceptart.htm

    games with great art direction
    Last edited by Jason Rainville; August 27th, 2007 at 11:29 AM.

  8. #7
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    Morrowind=better than oblivion hands down.

    Morrowind had more personality, in my oppinion.
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    yeah its funny you mention that. People praised oblivion like it was the next best thing. It lost something in the process

    Morrowind had a captivating story and an amazing atmosphere that oblivion fails to have.

    Good art direction, a man can only go so far. I'll get back to you on that one.
    In any case, take a look at the total war series by creative assembly. Medieval II definitely shook my head inside and out, everything was just brand spanking amazing. Minor details down to the fighting styles and armor development.

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    Outcast
    Rune
    Drakan
    Max Payne 2

    Going into detail on Max Payne 2, I think this is the way a shooter should be done. It's one of the most intense stories you can play through, and the cut scenes with their dirty and dull graphic novel style are accompanying it absolutely fabulous. The atmosphere is so tight that you can't escape it. The architecture is used to convey either agoraphobic or claustrophobic space and the texture work creates a used and gritty look that has yet to be beat.

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    Ah man Outcast is one game I have always wanted to get. I remember playing the demo and loving it, yet I never bought it

    Morrowind was a fun game to explore but those cliff racers pissed me right off.

    Grim fandango is one that sticks to mind. A lot of these classic games are brilliant.
    Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form.

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    Gears of War gets a lot of hype... but the game really, really is simply goregous to behold. It takes a tremendous amount of talent and direction to make a game this visually stunning.

    games with great art direction

    *this is in-game. not a cutscene.

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    O-F*CKIN-KAMI!!!

    The character and enemy design in this game is so ridiculously well-researched, rooted in mythology, mask motifs, and of course the execution of the sumi cel-shading is just wonderful.


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    Tomb raider the original blew my socks off when I got it back in 96, the enemies such as the mummies and the final boss, level designs atmosphere just classic. Oh and Shadow of the Collusus.

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    metriod prime, i cant wait to pick the next one up, i hear the environments are mindblowing

    okami, (see steph's reasons)

    monkey island 3, the whole game is just one gosh darned beautiful painting

    riven, my only reason for beating this game was to see all the pretty scenery

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    in terms of art direction----

    psychonauts,
    ico,
    shadow of the colossus,
    yoshi's island,
    metroid prime,
    halo,
    SSX Tricky,
    Okami,
    Bioshock,
    Silent Hill 2,
    Resident Evil 4,
    The entire Warcraft series (specifically WoW),
    Rez,
    Einhander,
    Parappa the Rapper,
    Katamari Damacy,
    Final Fantasy 3 (VI japan), VII-X, XII
    Kingdom Hearts 1&2
    Oh and I totally agree with the Monkey Island statement, but extend that out to ALL the Monkey Islands (minus the 3-D ones), and then add on some Grim Fandango

    and..i'm sure there's more, but those are the few that popped into my head initially
    Last edited by rustikof; August 28th, 2007 at 02:07 PM.

  17. #16
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    I like to add Homeworld I & II to the design hall of fame. (minus Cataclysm. Their ship designs are generic) One of the best sci-fi designs in a game I have ever seen. Even Freespace 2 is behind it IMO.

  18. #17
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    Guild Wars

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    Grim Fandango! You can't get better than an Art Deco land of the dead!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steph Laberis View Post
    O-F*CKIN-KAMI!!!

    The character and enemy design in this game is so ridiculously well-researched, rooted in mythology, mask motifs, and of course the execution of the sumi cel-shading is just wonderful.

    Wow, shit yeah, that looks hawt.
    It would be great if they made a PC version so we could use our tablets!

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    FINAL FANTASY XII

    so much detail in everything, even every corner that you will never need to go to. You can stop and swing your camera under a bridge to an angle you would never normally see and there will still be detail. you can look at the sun and it creates a backlit effect. light rays shine through canopies in the street market. In some stores there are "handwritten" checklists on the walls, there can be 5 and none of them repeat--that's how minute the detail can get. The point is you can stop at any point in the game and there will be huge amounts of detail.


    GW has such good art, but I feel the pace of the game/combat system isn't designed to let you fully appreciate all the detail. plus the textures are real pixelly up close. (but i've only played nightfall which I heard is the worst of the 3)


    ohyeah anyone check out Sword of the New World? Another korean mmorpg but FANTASTIC environments and character clothing.

    edit: was it that large? It didn't look that big on my computer's settings
    Last edited by chobomaster; September 3rd, 2007 at 10:23 PM.

  22. #21
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    What's with you guys and obnoxiously large text?

    I found the village in RE4 the most fun. It had a great feel, in my opinion. I thought it was very well done, and had the best looking environments. I hate the castle and island; it showed how much I hate castles, and the island was well done but the textures were bland in comparison to the village. Photographs were used for wall textures in the island, but they were of such a low quality that I just hated it. Take for example the wall textures in the dark world version of the mall in Silent Hill 3, Ja. For me RE4's castle was just too long, I needed more of the village. Now that I'm up to the island, I just want to hurry up and clock the game, which is not how a game should feel. But the castle was indeed well done. All the environments look good really, I just prefer the village.

    My recommendations:

    Ico (PAL cover, FTW!)
    Shadow of the Colossus (AMAZING environments, look at Sammy's work. PAL cover = pwnage)
    Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory (I love Jun Suemi's Art Style)
    Rengoku 2: The Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N.
    Okami
    Silent Hill games
    Psychonauts

    I can't think of anything else, but I'm sure there's more in my mind somewhere.

  23. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis_Morgan View Post
    Grim Fandango! You can't get better than an Art Deco land of the dead!
    damn you got here first....

    Final Fantasy VII
    Ico
    Shadow of the Colossus
    Zelda Wind Waker
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  24. #23
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    Arcanum
    Made by Troika, Steampunk fantasy rpg.

    Fallout 1/2
    Best style evar imo, post apocalyptic and all that.

    Tribes (The first one)
    For such an old game I loved the style of it and all the characters.

    S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
    Chernobyl based FPS, look it up.

    Ninja Gaiden
    Team Ninja didnt fail meh!

  25. #24
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    Baldur's gate 2 is in my opinion the best Fantasy RPG for PC. Both game and art wise.

  26. #25
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    hmmmmmm

    "CONDEMNED : CRIMINAL ORIGINS" comes to mind...the fights tend to get kinda repetive but the enviroments and storytelling is very nice. Sadly the ending of the game was kinda....awkward...(but official sources tell that they had to rush at the endig because it as a launch-title and they are up to make a sequel right now =) )

    also i really love "THIEF 3 : DEADLY SHADOWS". especially missions like the Museum heist or the Shalebridge Cradle really did it for me. Also the mono and dialogues are very well written =) (Like the Hammerites with their Shakespearish speaking...thus thy shalt not went unmentioned ! *g*)

    i second Morrowind and RE4. Both are great games =)

    I want to play Bioshock so badly but my PC whimps at the sole imagination of processing such grafics ^^
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  27. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustikof View Post
    iALL the Monkey Islands (minus the 3-D ones)
    Aww man, I worked on the 3D one.

    Ah well - at least two of the four games I've worked on aren't so bad.
    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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  28. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by corky13 View Post
    h
    also i really love "THIEF 3 : DEADLY SHADOWS". especially missions like the Museum heist or the Shalebridge Cradle really did it for me.

    Oi, taffer! The Cradle scared the living piss out of me! Bioshock doesn't hold a candle to that level of Thief 3 in terms of sheer scary!

    You guys have covered most of my favorites. I'll toss in a few others:

    The Neverhood (claymation!)
    Riven (Because the game is essentially just still images, it's still one of the most beautiful games out there.)
    Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath
    Lord of the Rings Online (Okay, I worked on this one, but it saw a few years of redevelopment after I left the team, and I'm awfully proud of what they did with it!)
    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.

  29. #28
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    fuccccccccccckkkkk i TOTALLY forgot about the neverhood...UGH! yeah that game was astounding (and really creepy o_O)...wow. i loved that game.

    seedling----hahaha hey sorry no hard feelings...I'm sure all the work you did was stand-up grade-a material, but...they just didnt have the same heart the other games did.

    Did anyone ever play either of the games The 11th Hour or the 7th Guest? Both of those were pretty cool too.

    i'm also gunna throw in metal gear solid (first one), and mgs:snake eater.

    both those games were retardedly beautiful.

    that is all

  30. #29
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    Anachronox

    Anarchy Online

    I second the Lucas arts adventure games Full throttle and Monkey Island

    To be continued*
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  31. #30
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    wow I cant belive none of you mentioned ODDWORLD ABE'S ODYSSEY that is multi award winning game for both its art direction, story , sound tract and much more. Alot of you are naming stuff thats no less then 3 to 4 years old?
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