Is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker the best looking game of all time?

How could a game released nearly 8 years ago on inferior hardware in the fastest developing entertainment industry on earth possibly be the best looking game of all time? It’s not in HD, it doesn’t have an astronomical polygon count and to be honest, it’s not even all that detailed.

While the above question is certainly valid, I would argue that the more important question in this case is; how could Wind Waker be improved from a visual standpoint? Many games released today, while cutting edge now, will inevitably look dated in a few years time. As fantastic as those latest Gears of War 3 or Killzone 3 screenshots look at the moment, they’ll both almost certainly be topped by their all but inevitable sequels. Well, it has been over 7 years since Wind Waker was released and other than the argument for a HD upgrade, I still can’t imagine how the visuals in Wind Waker could possibly be improved.

Although subsequent Zelda games, Twighlight Princess and the forthcoming Skyward Sword both look fantastic, their art styles are simply too far removed to be realistically comparable to the Wind Waker’s majestic cel-shaded visual style. Don’t get me wrong, Skyward Sword’s own unique visuals already look fantastic but I will be amazed if, as a whole, they manage to outdo the brilliant simplicity of Wind Waker’s art design.

Well, I say simple, that’s probably being a little unfair. Although the bold colour scheme can make it look visually simplistic, even borderline childish in comparison to many of today’s detail rich environments, it’s when every aspect of the world created is taken as a whole, every minor choice made in its art design seen as part of the larger picture and how these decisions have perfectly come together to make Wind Waker’s world such a cohesive, rich and consistently believable place that you can truly appreciate just how beautiful a game Wind Waker really is.

From the way that the simple, elegant and hugely expressive gusts of wind blow across the seabed to the vast range of beautifully created environments and the perfectly formed expressions caught on young Link’s face, Wind Waker is a game that, while beautiful if captured as a simple screenshot, manages to increase in beauty the more time you spend with it.

While I will always believe that stylistically approached visuals will inevitably hold up longer than those concerned with cutting edge attempts at photo realism, my belief that Wind Waker is the best looking game of all time is obviously up for debate, so, you know………debate and all that jazz. What do you think is the best looking game of all time? Is Wind Waker near the top of your list or is its simplistic style a little to childish for your tastes?

Answers on a postcard.

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Comments (4)

  1. paul schröder January 30, 2011
  2. Liam January 31, 2011
  3. Ricky Lee Staines February 3, 2011
  4. Liam February 3, 2011