Top 13: Games We’ve Cel-Shaded

borderlands box art

We couldn’t be more excited for Borderlands. Every new screenshot, video, or behind-the-scenes only makes us wonder if our attempt to break into Gearbox and steal a copy could be successful. Of course, we wouldn’t be anywhere near as impatient if the game has stuck with its original look. We discussed the turn-around here, but that got us thinking; what games would fit the Cel-Shading style? Armed with a ton of screenshots and a half eaten manual of Photoshop, we set out to see which of these 13 games look best when we mess with them. Just click the links to see them fullscreen.

(Note: Obviously, these are just filters. If we could create wonderful cel-shaded games we’d be millionaires. These pictures are just a little bit of fun)

Uncharted 2

Uncharted 2

Uncharted 2 looks good. I mean, really, really good. Lush jungle, bright, urban streets, mountain-top villages; it has it all. But wouldn’t it have more if we put some Cel-Shading on top? Here, we took the standard jungle scene and gave it some pretty bold lines. The verdict? Well, it looks…different, but we wouldn’t say better. Or, indeed, good. In fact, it hurts my eyes. Take it away…

Uncharted 2 Cel-Shaded

Assassin’s Creed II

Assassins Creed 2

SCORE! After a lot of messing about, we finally put the last smothering of Cel-Shading of the toast that is Assassin’s Creed II, and the result? They may not have known about the style back in the 15th Century, but it fits, very well. It obviously harks back to Ubisoft’s Prince Of Persia, but that’s no bad thing. Apart from the slightly blurry water, a definite win.

Assassin’s Creed II Cel-Shaded

Halo 3: ODST

Halo 3 ODST

Well, we needed an FPS, so what better place to go than Halo 3: ODST. We searched for a bright, uncomplicated screenshot, and after a couple of misfires, we finally got it right. In fact, it looks a lot like Borderlands itself. It’s clean, simple, and the muzzle flash is nicely brought forward by the added contrast. We’ll take it.

Halo 3: ODST Cel-Shaded

Killzone 2


Following the success of ODST, we looked for another beautiful FPS; And you can’t get much better looking than Killzone 2. unfortunately, you also can’t get much darker. While it looks passable, the gritty and war-torn Helgan doesn’t quite work with a slightly comic look. Different, but we’ll stick with the original.

Killzone 2 Cel-Shaded

DiRT 2

dirt 2 asset

While Borderlands may have driving, it’s not a driving game; in fact, to our knowledge, there hasn’t been a cel-shaded racer yet, or at least not one that’s any good. Step up DiRT 2, with your beautiful visuals and tight gameplay. But oh no, it seems the teenage version has arrived, full of acne and greasy hair. It looks more like a Banksy sculpture than anything, and now we’re one step closer to discovering why no racing games are Cel-Shaded…

DiRT 2 Cel-Shaded

Little Big Planet


It’s a kids game, they tell us. While it doesn’t stop us being entranced by the bright lights and fuzzy graphics (Ohh, shiny), we do wonder what it would look like with an extra layer of kiddy. It actually doesn’t look that bad, and the cardboard castle suits it, but we fear for the child’s eyes; those are mighty thick black lines.

LBP Cel-Shaded

Splinter Cell: Conviction

Splinter Cell Conviction 2

Sam Fisher doesn’t do fun. He does death, stealth, night vision and a rather chic satchel. But why can’t we smother him in love and kindness? It’s not like he’s hanging from a pipe above us, right? However, the game is slightly too dark for it to work, and it looks more like a water-colour than epic Bourne-fest. Oh, just wait a sec, I heard a noise over there; I’ll go check it out…

Splinter Cell: Conviction Cel-Shaded

Gran Turismo 5


Ahh, who cares about DiRT 2. It didn’t work because it was too dusty, we told ourselves. So we gave it a go with a good old tarmac based simulator. And hey, guess what? It doesn’t look awful. Certainly not the eye-candy of the normal sleek edges, but not a car-crash either. Maybe Gran Turismo just can’t ever look ugly.

Gran Turismo 5 Cel-Shaded

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

We put two and two together here. Batman is a comic book character, and cel-shading makes stuff look like a comic book, so how can it not work? Very easily, it turns out. The game is too dark. Not in terms of characters and atmosphere, either; it’s literally too dark for the effect to really show. We’ll stick to the original comics for this fantasy, then.

Batman: Arkham Asylum Cel-Shaded

Fifa 10


Remember that football game that was cel-shaded? No. ‘Coz there wasn’t one, fool. So why not try it out with Fifa? We did, and the results were rather underwhelming. Like David Nugent, it kinda does it’s job, and at least it makes the cut-out crowds look better, but we can’t imagine it catching on.

Fifa 10 Cel-Shaded

Half Life 2

Half Life 2 Ep 2

We know, we know. Defacing a picture of Half Life is like spitting on a stained-glass portrait of Jesus. ‘Course, that doesn’t stop us. We took a lovely image from Gordan Freeman’s world and gave it a bit of cartoon. Strangely, it doesn’t really show much. The background and gravity gun looks nice, but we think Valve won’t drop everything to persue a cel-shaded G-man.

Half Life 2 Cel-Shaded

Fallout 3


Fallout 3 is called many things. Beautiful is not one of them. Sure, it’s nailed the atmosphere and wasteland-look, but the engine is really starting to show its age. Thankfully, we’ve stepped in a given it an anti-aging cream. It’s not perfect, but it sure helps cover up those wrinkles.

Fallout 3 Cel-Shaded

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare


Gritty, harsh and deadly. What could possibly go wrong when we cel-shade one of the best games ever? Well, it’s certainly not the Modern Warfare you’re used to looking at, but it does give it a little edge – much more than the Wii version screenshots.

Modern Warfare Cel-Shaded

While we tried with many other games, we feared that putting them up here might be a serious health risk. But was there one we didn’t think of? Tell us in the comments section, and we might even put it up here.

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8 Responses to “Top 13: Games We’ve Cel-Shaded”

  1. Luke Evans Says:

    Good tryies guys, i too am a photoshopper in training as you can tell by the badge i sent you

  2. I like kittens!

  3. Wow! I loved the CoD4 one. It looks like a drawing! I want to play Batman and Killzone 2 with these effects. They look awesome. Have you tried MGS4?

  4. You havnt cell shaded them, its just a filter in photoshop lol

  5. You’ve just used the poster edges filter in Photoshop… bah!

  6. Your article is very useful. Can you please post some new-found information about this? best regards

  7. I am currently reading it on my Blackberry and will scan it once I get home. I love your site and marketing strategy.

  8. I have visited your site before. It’s Great! By the way you have a visually appealing site


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