What's this? My last two blogs had nothing to do with Nintendo? In the words of Sam the Eagle in Muppet Treasure Island: This looksUNSAFE!
But fear not troubled reader, I come bearing good news! Today I'm going to talk about that most contentious of Nintendo topics. Zelda! More specifically: 3D Zelda Art styles!
There are a few reasons for this. Firstly: My most popular blog was about Art Styles, so I figured I'd shamelessly write about them again in the vain hope of some undeserved attention (Hey. I'm not above fishing for compliments! Or Hylian Pike, for that matter) Secondly: I've been playing a whole bunch of Wind Waker HD recently and it got me to thinking.
One of the things I love about the Zelda series is it's ever changing art style. Just as Link bravely marches into Gannon's treacherous territory, Eiji Aonuma bravely marches the Zelda franchise into new and interesting artistic territory. Sometimes with a less than charitable response from fans.
But this is video games! So I can't just talk about the art styles; I have to rank them on an arbitrary and totally subjective list!
So, I present to you:
My Top Ten Favourite Zelda Art Styles!
Well. Actually. If I'm honest, I haven't technically played all the Zelda games. So I think I'll limit it to just the five 3D console Zelda games.
So, I present to you:
My Top Five Favourite 3D Console Zelda Art Styles!
Well. Uhm. Majora's Mask and Ocarina of Time basically have the same art style. So I'll just count them as one game in this list.
So, I present to you:
My Top Four Favourite 3D Console Zelda Art Styles(with OOT and MM counting as one entry)!
Now, let's all just cool our jets for a second. I don't want to walk into this list half-cocked! Or I might literally end up with half a cock. I'm not kidding. The Zelda fans will cut off half my cock if I do a bad list. We take this stuff very seriously!
Before we proceed, we'll get a few things straight. I'll be ranking the games on two major criteria:
1. General Beauty: This one is pretty obvious. How erect does my penis become when I look at the graphics? I'll be rating them on a scale from 1 to Ryan Gosling.
2. Utilisation: This one might take a little explaining. An awesome art style is great news, but if the game doesn't take full advantage of it's stylin' features then we have a problem. I'll explain this a little better when we talk about Wind Waker.
I'll also rate them on the following minor criteria:
2. Chronological position within David Lynch's Filmography
Alright. I think we're ready. Let's do this!
4. Ocarina of Time/Majora's Mask
Oh man. My fellow Zelda fans are already fuming. I can hear them. I guess I'd better say goodbye to one half of my cock. But which half should I send to the chopping block? The sturdy and dependable shaft or the approachable and magnanimous tip. A question for the ages.
Anyway. The art style in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask is basically the most "Realistic" of all of the Zelda games. Which is probably why it's my least favourite.
There are some truly magical areas to be seen in the two N64 entries though. The eerie and bizarre Astral Observatory, the windswept Gerudo Valley and the eerie Ikana Canyon to name a few.
Also, please bear in mind that Majora's Mask is my favourite game of all time. So putting these two at the bottom of the list pains me as much as you.
Chronological position within David Lynch's Filmography: Student Film
3. Wind Waker
Having successfully pissed off every Zelda fan ever, CousinDupree continued to antagonise those that were kind enough to keep reading. He was, in effect, digging his own grave. Apparently Dampé was busy that day.
I love Wind Waker's art style. Honest I do. The only reason it isn't higher on the list is that utilisation thing we talked about earlier. When I was recently replaying Wind Waker HD, I was struck by how many of the environments looked incredibly similar. Some of them are flat out reused several times during the game. A good example is the interior of the ghost ship. It's just a slight variation on the interior of the submarines.
Also, some of the dungeons are a bit bland (I'm looking at you Earth Temple!)
All of that said, it's very difficult for me to avoid going weak at the knees whenever I behold the glory and majesty that is The Great Sea. Dat music.
Chronological position within David Lynch's Filmography: About an hour before TheElephant Man
2. Twilight Princess
Choosing between this and Skyward Sword was like trying to choose between my children. Actually, that's a terrible analogy. I don't have any children. Also I hate all children. They're the fucking worst.
Let's try again.
Choosing between this and Skyward Sword was like trying to choose between the art style's of Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. Yeah, I think that'll fly.
Twilight Princess is very much a grower, not a shower. The first couple of areas/dungeons are pretty standard. Then you get to the Arbiter's Grounds. And things get really weird. Then you get to the Snowpeak Ruins. And things get even weirder. I love it.
If Nintendo ever decides to go back to a more realistic style, they should definitely look at Twilight Princess as the model example. It takes a realistic approach without jeopardising the weird and wonderful character of the more cartoony styles.
Hilarity: This game is a Spaghetti Western. For reals.
Chronological position within David Lynch's Filmography: Half way through Blue Velvet
1. Skyward Sword
There's a lot to hate about Skyward Sword. The excessive hand holding. The slightly disappointing overworld. The fact that every time you reload the game it explains all the treasure to you again. I know what a fucking Amber Relic is. I don't need to be told again. Jesus.
Anyway. The one thing that consistently dazzled me throughout the entire game was the art style. It combines the whimsy of Wind Waker with the absurdity of Twilight Princess to create something truly breathtaking.
But I think the thing that impressed me the most was the variety. There is an astounding level of diversity in the locations and dungeons in the game. From the religious symbolism in The Ancient Cistern to the time-bending Lanayru Desert, every new area in the game feels fresh and unique. And for a main quest that borders on 40 hours, that's pretty impressive.
But seriously. If you tell me what a Amber Relic is one more god damn time...