Art Perspective: SKYWARD SWORD

The latest addition to our Art Perspective column looks at Nintendo's sprawling Zelda epic.

Nintendo, namely: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The games intriguing art style and mass appeal certainly makes this one a great subject for the art minded gamer. The Zelda series has never been shy to experiment with different art styles. Wind Waker and its DS friends remains a favorite among fans, partially due to the beautiful cell-shaped art design. Unfortunately this style also meant that the game failed to see with the mass market, with many gamers assuming the game was aimed at the child gamer market. The Zelda games are in no way claiming to be arty, but they definitely have a strong artistic identity and this is a serious consideration for the games developers. This factor should be applauded, as consideration for art styles seams to go hand-in-hand with a higher quality of game; see the likes of BioShock, Katamari and XIII.

Skyward Sword takes a painterly approach to its environments, specifically taking a heavy inspiration from the Impressionist movement. The style sits somewhere in-between the cartoon-like Wind Waker and the more realistic Twilight Princess. The results look great and make the most out of the limited power of the Wii.
The long draw distances in Skyward Sword are dealt with well; the art style hides the lack of power, distant objects appear in rounded blur much like the large brush strokes of an Armand Guillaumin or Camille Pissarro painting. This really has a positive affect on the game as there are a lot of large environments, as Link swoops through the sky on his giant pelican thingy. Rather than the pop-in or grey draw distances on other open games, this style allows distant lands to shimmer, inviting the player towards them. The game has a high level of polish most prominently seen in its visual style, but also in the musical aspects and undoubtedly, the gameplay. While you lead our hero Link through his latest adventure you will be treated to some clever puzzles, intriguing storyline, and some loveable Japanese style characters. It is clear while playing the game that a lot a time and effort went into getting this Wii outing just right. I recommend investing two pounds on a component cable to give your eyes the best way of enjoying with title, as it helps quite a bit, boosting the Wii ancient graphical capabilities to the dizzy heights of 480p or 480i (one of them is apparently better, but I think its up for debate). You can pick up the cable for very cheap on Amazon, and its worth it even though this may well be the Wii€™s last hurrah.

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