Art style

Nintendo relies on the great artistic style to compensate for the weakness of the hardware

The Nintendo Switch OLED unfortunately wasn’t the hardware upgrade that many of us expected. On the heels of a killer E3 Direct, it was hoped that the rumored Switch Pro model would be a much needed boost to gaming graphics such as Metroid: dread. However, the situation is not that bad. games like Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp and the rest of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild always looked refreshing and beautiful thanks to vibrant art styles. Gamers have complained about the Nintendo Switch’s lack of power that kept various games from their actual graphical potential, but in cases like these, a unique art style can make up for that difference. Does it always work like this?

Nintendo hasn’t focused on graphics for generations

Nintendo has not made the graphics of its consoles a priority for a long time, mainly since the Wii but since the Game Boy, and its visuals have therefore lagged behind those of the competition for several generations. Instead, Nintendo is focused on making new innovations with every console, such as motion controls with the Wii or portability with the Switch. Looking at the financial successes of the company, it is difficult to dispute the results of such a strategy.

This approach is probably the reason why Nintendo tried to create games that stood out with more unique artistic styles, to overcome the shortcomings of its hardware. While Nintendo’s brightest developers can still garner praise and attention this way, it gives the company time to go wild with other experiences like Nintendo Labo or Ring shaped adventure. Even when the Nintendo Switch OLED model is released, its hybrid nature will still be a bigger selling point than its crisp screen, and that indicates where Nintendo’s priorities lie for the future. However, how do proprietary games designed with all of this in mind behave, especially compared to third-party exclusives?

The exclusive story

Not surprisingly, Nintendo uses its own hardware a lot and its games have stood the test of time. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Awakeningthe cel-shaded style of has aged much more gracefully than those of other games of this era, including the more realistic one The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Games in the Kirby and Yoshi franchises have been successfully experimenting with different art styles for generations now, and the Paper mario the aesthetics of the series are also timeless. More contemporary games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Where Splatoon 2 went for a clean and colorful Pixar-esque style, and in the same vein as these, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is hands down the most beautiful game on Switch.

EGLX Wind Turbine 2018

However, some of Nintendo’s proprietary games definitely got an HD upgrade. Titles like Super mario galaxy and Chronicles of Xenoblade Looked great when they were released, but the HD remasters of both games show that they were long overdue for an upgrade. Likewise, the watercolor style of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was dropped by standard definition Wii hardware, and its HD reissue goes a long way to rectify that.

Third party exclusives can be a mixed bag. Excellent examples like CrazyWorldviolence in black and white, Astral Chainneon anime vibrations, Mario + Kingdom of Rabbids Battlethe vivid colors of and even the sublime use of the RE engine by Capcom in Monster Hunter Rise showcase the best of what others can do. On the other hand, Hyrule Warriors: Age of CalamityNintendo’s technical performance is far from Nintendo standards, and even recent Pokemon the entrances were scanned for disappointing visuals. Nintendo exclusives often benefit the most from creative art direction and succeed even in spite of it, but what about the multiplatform space?

The third party problem

Nintendo and its third-party partners often make up for disappointing hardware with unique art styles, but cross-platform games are rarely in the same boat. Every new cross-platform release on Switch is scrutinized for its graphics, and it’s not hard to see why. Notable versions such as Apex Legends, Eternal destiny, Where The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt are commendable for working on Switch. But unless Switch is your only console or portability is important, most gamers would recommend playing these games on more powerful hardware that more fully exploits their technical potential.

In the indie space, cross-platform games fare better, likely because they often have less demanding graphics and rely more on unique art styles in the first place. Titles like Cup head Where Ori and the will of the wisps switched to Switch without missing a beat. If Nintendo’s exclusives and indie hits can make the most of the available hardware, then who would benefit from a hypothetical Switch Pro? The answer is the AAA multiplatform space. Titles like the ones mentioned above Apex Legends need better hardware, and it would be in Nintendo’s best interest to appease cross-platform developers in order to maintain the fantastic third-party support it receives in the Switch generation (although games should of course still be able to run on the Switch generation). ‘original material too). Better internals could of course also fix issues with first or second game games, such as frame rate issues in the game. Age of Calamity, but the games are selling well enough that it is not a priority for Nintendo.

Unique art styles can make up for shortcomings in Nintendo hardware, but limitations inevitably arise from time to time. Ultimately, it’s the cross-platform games that suffer the most, as these developers don’t have the luxury of creating a single Switch version of their games.

Do you think a good art style is enough to make up for Nintendo’s hardware?