The 5 Best Uses of Cel-Shading in Video Games

In this writer's mind, there is nothing more beautiful in this world than a cel-shaded video game (I am guilty of purchasing games based entirely off of the inclusion of cel-shaded visuals). The vibrant colors and charming aesthetics bring a certain warmth to any video game world that is sadly not seen enough in a generation concerned first and foremost with gritty realism. It's sounds cliche and cranky, I know. But stereotypes don't appear out of thin air y'know. Here is a list of games that not only buck this trend, but do so using cel-shading in such a way as the visuals transform from just visuals into characters themselves.

Read Full Story >>
The story is too old to be commented.
MultiConsoleGamer3089d ago

This author sums up my feelings perfectly.

My friends and I just had this headed discussion over the proper use of cell shading. One of my gamer pals HATES the cell shading in Borderlands 2, but he loves games like Jet Grind Radio and Zelda Wind Waker.

I personally prefer cell shading that looks cartoonish or like "living art," such as games like Okami.

ASTAROTH3089d ago

Have any of you played The Darkness 2?? It looks like a fukn comic... Also Gravity Rush, SSF4, MvsC 3 and some others looks very good. But I think the selection is spot on...


The much I hate cell shading in some games, I love it in others... And it has nothing to do with art-ish vs cartoon-ish settings for me.

What makes me mad is that some games seens like they can't get the same feeling to everything. For example, Prince of Persia had some great cell shading in characters but they simply didn't set well with the environment, I don't know what it is technically but I got the same feeling from SF4/MvC3 engine and Borderlands.

I think Okami is a great example not just because it set a great art style with cell shading, but because it's able to give the same feeling to every corner of its beautyful world. This makes the whole setting more believable.

One game I would love to see with cell chading (if done right) is Infamous. The comic book "cutscenes" are great, would love to see the whole game looking like that... But as they say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", it already looks good and changing the franchise look in the third game would probably be awkward, but would love to see some superhero game with a real comic book art style.

InTheZoneAC3089d ago

Hate the cel shading for Zelda.

Love it for Borderlands, Street Fighter, Marvel vs Capcom, Okami, Prince of Persia, Sly Cooper Trilogy, snd Rayman Origin's.

Lucretia3088d ago

same, absolutely ruined link when windwaker came out. made him look like an egyption drawing but uglier.

the cell shading was great, but the art style was hideous and still is.

i also hated borderlands cell shading. and im not sure if rayman is cell shading lol, i think they are just 2d sprites, i could be wrong though :P

and okami is gorgeous

ThanatosDMC3088d ago

Wind Waker had the best cell-shading back in the day.

Also, Budokai 3 isnt on here. Weird

InTheZoneAC3088d ago

24 disagrees?

what If I said I liked every zelda games except Link's Adventure and dislike every zelda for n64, gamecube, and wii?

I'll replay all the one's from nes, snes, gbc, gba, but don't give a damn about all the new one's.

I'm expecting 30 disagrees and 5 agrees, get to it.

schlanz3087d ago

Wind Waker is one of the best Zelda games and the art direction is timeless.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 3087d ago
joab7773089d ago (Edited 3089d ago )

Borderlands look is great but I am sure that if it looked realistic it would be fine. Its the loot, classes and co op. That being said, the charm is there. Would the new ni no kuni be cell shaded or just cartoonish. It is gonna be gorgeous and great.

HammadTheBeast3089d ago

No Gravity Rush/Daze? Really surprising. It's art style is amazing...

ASTAROTH3089d ago

Im very anxious to see and play Ninokuni... that game could end up being something...

NukaCola3089d ago


I love toon-shading and Wind Waker mastered it like no other.

Skizelli3088d ago

Am I the only one who liked XIII?

hoolesy3088d ago

No you're not, you beat me to it! XIII (or "thirteen" if roman numerals don't tickle your fancy), was quite groundbreaking looks-wise if I remember rightly. It was of course back in the day - 2003. I blatted in on the Xbox. Let down a bit with gameplay but like Jet Set it was very unique. Ze French people at Ubisoft Paree did a good effort.

mcstorm3088d ago

Well said was just about to put this to. Amazing looking game for its time but imo JSRF and JSR are two of the best ever created for looks and game play.

AbyssGravelord3088d ago

God I loved XIII still have it for PS2. I used to rock the online on Xbox Live back in it's early days. So much fun.

Skizelli3088d ago

I wish they'd make a sequel. It had a really good cliffhanger.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 3088d ago
+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 3088d ago
Information Minister3089d ago

You deserve another bubble just for mentioning that game. Fear Effect did cell shading before it was even called cell shading... and on the PS1!

Menashe3089d ago

That's the game with "the elevator scene", no?

christian hour3089d ago (Edited 3089d ago )

@Mensahe Just to clarify, That was Fear Effect 2 ;)

I must have been around 11 or 12 when my brother bought the first fear effect game, I remember everytime I was playing it, i was half terrified by the games atmosphere, and the other half from fear my parents would walk in and catch me playing what was essentially gore porn :P

godzilla723089d ago

Fear Effect 3 was supposed to come out for the PS2, but was cancelled. Then they were heavily considering releasing it for the PS3, still no word. Love the first 2 games, still have Retro Helix!

Dark_Overlord3088d ago

lol Fear Effect, still have it somewhere, used to be able to speedrun it in less than 20mins :)

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 3088d ago
Serjikal_Strike3089d ago

Im hoping for a new Fear Effect...

godzilla723089d ago

Fear Effect 3 was supposed to come out for the PS2, but was cancelled. Then they were heavily considering releasing it for the PS3, still no word. Love the first 2 games, still have Retro Helix!

SimpleSlave3089d ago

Sadly Fear Effect was not rendered using Cel-Shading, like Jet Grind Radio was. Hence why it probably wouldn't fit on this list.

It does, however, emulate the style through texture maps though. And it does a good job at it. But it's not the same as the games mention in the list.

And if we want to get technical then I'll bring Aladdin, Out of This World, and Flashback from the sega genesis days as among the first games to truly emulate cel-shading style.


guitarded773089d ago (Edited 3089d ago )

Don't know if those are indeed the 5 best cel-shaded games ever, but they are 5 kick ass games indeed. Should go ahead and make it a 6 list with Boarderlands.

@Skateboard (below)
Gravity Rush for sure.

AznGaara3089d ago

Agreed. The way objects fade into the background in that game is beautiful.

LiViNgLeGaCY3089d ago

Yep, I also agree. The way it's used in that game is absolutely amazing.