Tag Archives: art

Blue Reflection: Kishida’s Pastel Paradise

Gust’s games are known for having a distinctive aesthetic, but Blue Reflection is one of the company’s most beautifully presented titles.

Offering a combination of high-detail realism in its school scenes coupled with a ton of creativity for the action that unfolds in the manifestation of the collective unconscious known as “The Common”, it really is a lovely game to look at — perhaps not the best-performing game there is, no, but a lovely game to look at nonetheless.

A big part of that is down to the work of Mel Kishida, a frequent Gust collaborator, and an artist with a very distinctive style all of his own.

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Waifu Wednesday: The Hundred Honeys Project

With how much I’ve been enjoying the recent release of Honey Select Unlimited, I thought I’d do something a bit different for today’s Waifu Wednesday.

It’s a bit of a creative project, if you will, but also an opportunity to gradually, over time, test out what Honey Select Unlimited and its companion application Honey Unlimited Studio is actually capable of. I intend to create as many virtual women as I can and squeeze as many as possible into a single scene.

So far I’ve managed eight and my computer hasn’t exploded yet. Want to meet them? Thought so.

Mild lewd warning for after the jump.

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Cyberdimension Neptunia: Art Imitates Life

The Neptunia series has always, at least in part, been about taking a sidelong glance at elements of popular culture, particularly those related to video games, and Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is no exception.

Through its overall aesthetic — particularly its art and music — it both pays homage to and parodies a variety of influences in both the online and offline role-playing game spheres, but in doing so it manages to retain a strong enough sense of its own identity to still be clearly recognisable as a Neptunia game.

In fact, through the combination of Tsunako’s distinctive character designs, their energetic scripts and their light-hearted, inclusive nature that draws the player in to the experience, there’s a strong argument for Neptunia games being some of the most immediately recognisable Japanese games on the market today. And I’m all for that.

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Nights of Azure: Sights and Sounds

As we’ve discussed over the course of the last few articles, Gust’s Nights of Azure has a very strong sense of its own identity, both as an individual work and as part of its developer’s catalogue.

Every aspect of the game as a whole contributes to this coherent identity: its distinctly operatic, tragic Gothic narrative; its blend of action RPG gameplay with monster-raising and character customisation; its small cast of distinctive, memorable characters.

Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic, however, is its overall aesthetic. While, at times, drawing inspiration from other, similar works, there’s no denying that Nights of Azure takes ownership of its own identity to create a highly distinctive work that stands out even amid the rest of Gust’s back catalogue.

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Fairy Fencer F ADF: Sights and Sounds

Fairy Fencer F and its Advent Dark Force counterpart represent an interesting melting pot of influences.

We’ve already talked about how the gameplay includes influences from Compile Heart’s own Neptunia series, and how the narrative includes influences from classic JRPGs of yore, but Fairy Fencer F’s diverse background is perhaps most apparent when it comes to its audio-visual aesthetic.

Featuring concept art by Yoshitaka Amano of Final Fantasy fame, character designs by Tsunako of Neptunia fame and contributions to the soundtrack from longtime Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu and his band Earthbound Papas, Fairy Fencer F certainly has some impressively heavyweight talent behind it.

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Gal*Gun: Sights and Sounds

Gal*Gun Double Peace is memorable for a whole lot of different reasons: its contribution to the revival of rail shooters, its silly but touching plot and its striking audio-visual aesthetic.

Unlike many other anime-inspired games, the art and music of Gal*Gun are not the work of particularly well-known or established names — but there’s some decent pedigree there if you take the time to look into things a bit more deeply.

So let’s do just that, shall we?

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Megadimension Neptunia V-II: Sights and Sounds

One of the most appealing elements of the Neptunia series for fans is its consistent and instantly recognisable aesthetic.

This is largely the work of artist Tsunako. In fact, the Neptunia series at least partly came about as a result of developers Idea Factory and Compile Heart wanting to give her artwork a more prominent role after her previous contributions to games such as Cross Edge and Trinity Universe.

We shouldn’t understate the other aspects of Neptunia’s aesthetic, though; it’s not just about visuals. It’s also about how the games sound, and between the soundtrack, voice acting and even sound effects, it’s clear that the team behind the series has thought about this just as much as the art style.

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