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.

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MultiConsoleGamer4362d 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.

ASTAROTH4362d 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.

InTheZoneAC4362d 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.

Lucretia4361d 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

ThanatosDMC4361d ago

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

Also, Budokai 3 isnt on here. Weird

InTheZoneAC4361d 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.

schlanz4360d ago

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

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joab7774361d ago (Edited 4361d 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.

HammadTheBeast4362d ago

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

ASTAROTH4362d ago

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

NukaCola4361d ago


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

Skizelli4361d ago

Am I the only one who liked XIII?

hoolesy4361d 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.

mcstorm4361d 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.

AbyssGravelord4361d 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.

Skizelli4360d ago

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

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Information Minister4362d 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!

Menashe4362d ago

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

christian hour4362d ago (Edited 4362d 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

godzilla724361d 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_Overlord4361d ago

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

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Serjikal_Strike4362d ago

Im hoping for a new Fear Effect...

godzilla724361d 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!