Monday, October 25, 2010

From one beauty to the next



I'm taking a break from Final Fantasy XIII and am instead spending spending my evenings with a Wii game. One might think that this move from what is arguably the best looking PS3/360 game to a consoles which hardware is the very opposite of cutting edge, would result in a drastic step down in terms of graphics. But not so, since the game disc that is spinning in my Wii is no other then the stunning 2D beauty Muramasa: The Demon Blade.

The art in Muramasa and the fantastic backgrounds in particular are so mindblowingly beautiful I am even tempted to say it's graphics are better (in terms of looks, not polygons of course) then those of FFXIII.

I have said this before but Muramasa makes this point crystal clear, just because a game is for the Wii doesn't mean it can't look fantastic. It is just a question of picking the right art style, playing to the systems strengths. A game like Muramasa is probably only possible on the Wii. My understanding of the costs associated with producing two dimensional art of the type Vanillaware is famous for makes it near impossible to develop for a high definition system. So it's the perfect example of picking the art style that fits the system.

I remember a few years ago there was a lot of talk about porting the Unreal Engine to Wii. This really was the dumbest idea ever. This was around the time Gears of War was coming out and everyone was excited about how good it looked. At the same time Nintendo were showing off Super Mario Galaxy. I would argue that Mario Galaxy looks just as good as Gears of War, they only have very different graphical styles. Galaxy was as optimized for the Wii as any game could be and it therefore looked fantastic. A Gears port if even possible would have looked like absolute shit on the Wii. Since then a few developers seems to have gotten this and Nintendo is not the only company delivering Wii games with mouth watering graphics. Looking at Muramasa Vanillaware might even have surpassed them in that arena.

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