- Nov 1, 2017
Corona and Monstropolis have varied palates and distinctive aesthetics (not to mention a variety of styles within the worlds, whereas Arendelle is just "I dunno, blue/white ice EVERYWHERE"). I would not even come close to calling those other levels "visually bland." Lifeless, sure, but that's almost every world.
In terms of design, Arendelle ain't got it. It's an issue that is tied in with its limited palate. Everything blends together and it's easy to get lost, thinking you're going somewhere new when really you're going back the way you came because it looks no different. Corona at least had actual signage to make sure the player wouldn't make those mistakes, and in fact Corona has an example of effective and intentionally difficult to parse environments in its swamp. In that case, the obtuse design communicates a theme. In Arendelle, it's just bad. The dungeon was also nothing special. It was diverging paths for the sake of "openness." The actual result was me wasting my time back-tracking through alternate corridors that had nothing interesting held within. The progression of the level (up, down, up, down) is something I actually enjoy, but my appreciation of that aspect of the level design is rooted more in the narrative implications than the actual design work done there, because those segments still suffer from the same shortcomings as the rest of the level.
Variety of palettes my ass. Corona is a big fucking forest for 90% of itself. And the same is true of Monstropolis for most of its world with the corridors. The only visually distinct sections are the very beginning and the very end which are demonstrably smaller than the corridors. '
A person could get lost in Corona, not cause it's particularly layered. But because its so samey that if you don't play close attention you can get utterly turned around, the swamp isn't good design, cause you can easily get through that zone if you didn't have enemies twisting your sense of direction in it. It's a literal straight shot, like everything else in that world. And that's the clear difference between it and Frozen. Frozen looks the same through out, but you can always tell which direction you're going cause it has verticality to help denote direction. I can always tells where i'm supposed to go in Arendelle