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Since the very first screenshots and trailers, Tales of Arise promised to be a treat for the eyes. Mixing anime-inspired characters with watercolor backgrounds turned out to be a good call, making the visuals captivating throughout. All the main characters not only look amazing and diverse, but their animations also give them life, with some characters such as Kisara and Shione enamoring many players for sure. Normal attacks, artes, and boost attacks are convincing and astonishing during combat, and weapons, such as Kisara’s enormous shields, aren’t only for show but even look imposing. The variety of outfits, weapon skins, and ornamental objects, which range from solemn attires to goofy details, allow players to make their heroes look intimidating, beautiful, or laughable.
Every realm has a peculiar set of climatic conditions and landscapes that effectively make players feel that they are traveling through diverse places in the twin worlds. The high-quality designs of monsters, dungeons, and secondary characters also help to create a visually inviting world. The characteristic skits of the series — short conversations highly evocative of manga — take full advantage of the expressiveness of all the characters. The level of detail in the art allows characters to really emote through facial expressions. In addition, the foggy backgrounds work perfectly to give the game a distinctive tone. For all this, Tales of Arise absolutely deserves to be awarded as the best-looking RPG of 2021.
There’s no denying Monster Hunter: World was a visual tour de force, so when Monster Hunter Rise was announced for Nintendo Switch, a visual downgrade was to be naturally expected given the limited power of that system. The development team at Capcom seems to have taken this on as a challenge though, as Monster Hunter Rise absolutely shines with a beautiful art style, amazing animations, and so much character in every element of the game that it looks almost better than World in some respects. As one of the best-looking games on the Switch, Rise is a joy to behold and explore, and rarely sees anything in the realm of a frame rate drop or other graphical issues. Given how well Capcom has previously made the series look on the limited 3DS, it suggests that the development team is more than capable of meeting the challenge of restrictive hardware. With an expansion on the horizon, there are even more visual delights on the way for Monster Hunter Rise.
Scarlet Nexus looks simply splendid. Many games use the colorful anime style, but this game employs vibrant colors in such a way that is maximizes the ‘wow’ factor. Players gain early witness to the great character models and scenery during the beginning portions of the game, but when the Brain Drive system is first introduced, the graphics reach another level of amazing. Much like the earlier mention, the game also has a neat skit-like system that looks like a living comic book that moves from scene to scene, which it uses to stylishly tell much of its story. Bandai Namco created a truly wonderful new IP that is a visual joy to behold, and even more fun to play.
by Luis Mauricio, Mike Apps, and Ryan Radcliff