The Many Faces of Link

wolfmanmariofanMarch 27th, 2013 by wolfmanmariofan Legend of Zelda series has a penchant for innovation and trying new things, as this is the very core of Nintendo’s being. This is apparent from first glance at many of the franchise’s titles; even from looking at box art or game manuals for these games, one finds a plethora of artistic techniques and styles, from the extreme dark shadows of Majora’s Mask, to the Hollywood gritty brown of Twilight Princess. Nintendo doesn’t utilize many styles just for diversity’s sake, each style and look of the games are meant to reflect the mood and atmosphere of each game. For example, the cartoon-like cel-shading of Wind Waker evokes the feeling of a playful, light-hearted story, then pirates show up, your sister gets kidnapped and suddenly you find yourself on a grand adventure. Plus the style of the characters match the style of the characters in the scroll of the game’s prologue, giving the player a feeling that they are filling in the unfinished portion of the story. such a simplistic style, it was easy to make a vast ocean without having to use special water effects that would just take up more space on the disc.

Wind Waker Great SeaMy personal favorite is the official artwork from Majora’s Mask; the extreme dark shadows really give the sense of something sinister, and that’s how one feels while playing that game.

What are some of your favorite art styles in the Legend of Zelda franchise? Why are they your favorite? Do they help the game set atmosphere? How do they help the design of games?

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  • alsonic

    I think Skyward Sword hit it right on for Zelda. It’s a mix between Wind Waker and Twilight Princess (which are my favorites Zelda games) I dig that style :P

    • Thing

      SS was my first zelda game (P.S. I’m only 9!)

      • Hyrule’s Hero

        SS is supposed to be directed to kids your age. You should play Twilight Princess. It has much better graphics and a more epic story to it. Plus, the gameplay is similar to Skyward Sword and is much better.

        • DryToad

          SS hater ^
          SS is for everyone. TP too.

        • Mr.Pickle

          I liked skyward sword as a whole better because it feels as if it didn’t copy ocarina of time as much as twilight princess did

    • Hyrule’s Hero

      Are you high?! Skyward Sh*t was the worst Zelda game and had horrific graphics. The Wind Waker looked better than SS. Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time 3d had the best graphics in the series. Skyward Sword can give a kid a seizure because of the bright colors it has. It made me feel sick because of it. The art style was the worst and I hope Nintendo doesn’t use this art style ever again in the Zelda series. I hope they don’t re-release the game in HD

      • assasin1010123

        “cough cough” I think we have Hyrule’s Jester here.

      • wolfmanmariofan

        Everyone is entitled to their opinion though. I didn’t really like the style of SS very much either, but I can get behind what Nintendo was trying to do and commend them for attempting it. I for one hope they reuse it after they have improved on it.

      • Mr. Yoshi

        Yes the dark no colored world of twilight princess is the best. Don’t forget how “inventive” that game was to the series. It only copied everything from past game and somehow made it bland. SKyward sword only brought better wii controls, a better story, and better characters with better graphics.

  • Daniel Knapp II

    I loved the realism of Twilight Princess and was hoping for the art style of the Wii U demo, but that doesn’t look like where they want to go.

  • Dakota Zouzias

    Yes, yes, one thousand times yes. Too many times have I seen people complain about the art styles without acknowledging their purpose within the story. The art styles reflect the hero’s journey, which is one of the many things I love about this series. I love all the art styles, but if I had to pick my two favorites they would have to be OoT/MM and Skyward Sword. OoT and MM’s art styles just scream “I CAME OUT IN THE 90’S” to me and it is positively fantastic. It’s that weird anime-esque style where everything was more pointed and sharp, as well as really blocky (think original Pokemon Anime Series) and the bright, straight out of the tube color scheme. I absolutely love that style and it works so well with those two stories.

    Skyward Sword reflects how the popular style of artwork has changed in the last few years. We still have the realistic proportions, but everything is more rounded and the colors are not as vibrant.

    I wish class wasn’t about to start so I could keep typing but yeah. Basically, Zelda’s multiple art styles are awesome as they allow each game to become their own story rather than a retelling.

    • wolfmanmariofan

      I couldn’t agree with you more!

  • Westar

    I love the Toon Link art style the most. It isn’t because of any gameplay, but of the estetic asphects. You can pause the Wind Waker at any moment, print the frame and hang it on the wall and no one could say it’s ugly in any way!

    If you see it in game-play aspects, I think Twillight Princess is my favorite art style. It look so realistic (for being a Zelda game) and reflects the story excellent, the small dark game with the addition of the fitting “voice acting” of the characters!

  • Midna’s Sister

    Twilight Princess, with it’s dramatic shadowing and muted colors, really does reflect Twilight Princess in and of itself; The muting shows the sadness. The. Shadows showthe darkness.

    • PRDX4

      EXACTLY! Why do a lot of people hate TP?

      • Thing

        I know right!

        • Midna’s Sister

          We are the only true TP lovers on this article, it seems…

          • Madison R.

            No you’re not ’cause ^-^ I love that game two. It’s my second favorite. (My first being Majora’s Mask.)

          • Midna’s Sister

            I said “it seems” -_-

          • hoff123

            I THINK THE SAME!!!

          • PRDX4

            Me too…

          • Hoff123

            Hey! Me too!!! :)

        • PRDX4

          It was my first Zelda, so I might be biased, but for me having no expectations at all, it blew my socks off! Literally!

          • Midna’s Sister

            It was my first Zelda, too!

          • Hoff123

            Mine too. I came in knowing nothing about Zelda, and now I’ve played most Zelda games :).

      • Link_The_Ultimate_Chronomancer

        The same reason they hate WW or MM… Haters gotta hate.

        • PRDX4


          • Midna’s Sister

            I just gut a 3DS, and am now ping to play PhantommHourglass and ST and OOT3D and all the woderfuls.

          • DryToad

            Anyway, why does no one talks anything about PH… : (
            They even talk about ST, but nothing about PH (PH>>>>>>>>>>>>ST)

          • PRDX4

            I agree. ST is just PH with less story development and a train.

          • PRDX4

            Cool! I have the special edition Zelda 3DS and I feel so lucky… :D

      • DryToad

        Because a lot of WW and SS haters keep talking rubbish abouts TP, that it is the best zelda because of its graphics (that IS rubbish, TPs graphics are good, but that doesn’t make it better than other zelda games). I like TP AND SS.

        • PRDX4

          I like them all, but TP was my first Zelda, and now that I’ve played the rest, I honestly felt TP made me feel the most epic. I think it’s because I could relate to the world more than cell-shading or “watercolors”.

          • Midna’s Sister

            Yes, I agree. Even though Toon Link is adorable.

  • ShadowBeast

    Skyward Sword I think, really captures what Zelda is about. Bright and colourful, slightly surreal, but realistic enough that it seems recent. Spot on.

    Then again, I love Majora’s Mask’s official art, which is one of the many reasons I would love a remake! :D

    • Midna’s Sister

      …… I personally think Skyward Sword doesn’t deserve the high-quality seal of Myamoto. It just doesn’t seem like Zelda, to me.

      Just a personal opinion.

      • ShadowBeast

        Really? Why is that? :)

        • Midna’s Sister

          It just…. Doesn’t capture what I feel is “Zelda”. Zelda isn’t just any video game… It moves, it breathes, it lives and it evolves. But Skyward Sword doesn’t really feel like Zelda to me.

  • oozy the wolf

    i like OOT best. it’s right in between WW and TP

  • Ghoti

    I honestly think Wind Waker is one of the darker games in the series, and the graphics of the game actually took MORE work to make than Twilight Princess.

  • Guest

    OoT (specifically the 3DS version). It was mature enough to be taken seriously yet fantastical enough to maintain a sense of wonder and charm. There were times when I was playing OoT 3D that I just had to stop and marvel at how pretty the game looked. It strikes a great happy medium for the series.

    Of course, I do love WW’s style, and I appreciate the varying artstyles throughout the series. But if there was to be one aesthetic to be used most frequently, I’d go with OoT 3D.

  • Hoff123

    1. Majora’s Mask
    2. Ocarina of Time
    3. Twilight Princess(even if it could use a little bit more color :))

    4. Original Wind Waker

    5. Minish Cap
    6. A Link to The Past
    7. Skyward Sword(I just don’t like how blurry everything looks…I don’t like it OK?!)
    7. LA DX/ The Oracles
    8. The DS games

    I’m not gonna try and explain SS. I just don’t like that particular style. They say it’s supposed to look like a painting, but I just don’t like it…

    • Midna’s Sister

      …. I agree~ Skyward Sword looks like a sick cross between surrealism and Impressionism. Not a good combo nation, if you ask me….

    • DryToad

      8. The DS games
      Okay, i think that ST was bad, it deserves 8, but PH IS AWESOME! put it at least on 6th…

  • redlink98

    Probably the twilight princess art style because it gives off a more darker serious tone or is it mood?