Ever play Guacamelee? If you haven’t, it’s kind of a non-linear beat ’em up amongst other things. It’s a cool game where you play a luchador who hits people a lot. The control feels good, the dialogue is fun, and there’s plenty to do. I just can’t get past one thing though:
I just don’t dig the art style, and it’s not a BAD art style. As you can see it’s colorful, light-hearted, and even somewhat unique. It’s just really not for me though. I don’t like the sharp edges and sometimes minimalist approach. I understand that’s what makes it stand out to some extent, but when it comes to video games, anime, comic books, and artwork in general, it doesn’t matter how eye-catching it is, it’s either my taste or it’s not. Depending on the severity of where it lands on my own personal taste scale, this can often be a deciding factor in whether or not I enjoy a game. I’m not sure why. I suppose when you picture certain characters or archetypes within a certain context or setting you get an idea of what they might look like in your head, and if that doesn’t match the finished product there might be a bit of a disconnect.
I have no doubt many are unfazed whether a game adheres to one certain art style or another. That’s probably a good thing. As the old saying goes, gameplay is everything, and it pretty much is. I still enjoyed Guacamelee but I could’ve enjoyed it more if not for this pesky habit of the art having a nagging influence on my perception of a game. It’s very much a first impression type of thing too. A game or movie or whatever may have to do a little more (undeserved) work to impress me if I’m turned off by the art at first glance. I doubt I will ever play Battleborn after getting a real look at it today. The aesthetics just turn me off right away.
Don’t even get me started on the Clone Wars animated series, or how much I prefer old style cel animation to the CGI standard in movies today. I still like some of that stuff despite how it’s presented stylistically, and I try to keep that in mind should I feel the urge to dismiss something out of hand for that same reason. Kill la Kill was a wacky, goofy, and self-aware anime that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I wasn’t crazy about how it looked, even if it did fit the show. I would’ve never given Fire Emblem a try on the 3DS if I never got over the stubby in-game character models. “Don’t knock it ’til you try it” is what I keep telling myself, but a good game at least stands a small chance of being downgraded from “cool!” to “meh” if I don’t like how it looks.
Is it a deal breaker for you? What about something else that has nothing to do with the gameplay? Is it art style for me and something else for you?