This analysis is spoiler free
I’m a huge fan of stylized art. Realistic graphics can be visually stunning but I always enjoy when a game would rather express itself through its art and graphics. Persona 5 is a great recent example to talk about this topic (alsothegamewasreallygood)
Persona 5 is a game all about rebellion and finding your place in the world. Since Persona 3, each Persona game has used a color to highlight itself and show off its style. Persona 5 uses the color red, which shows off the aggression and passion in the characters. The red is frequently complimented by broad, black strokes which makes the red pop and gives clear definitions and borders. This all culminates together to make the art edgy and unique which reflects the game itself.
Now I’m not much of an artist so I apologize if everything I’m saying is a tad… uneducated. But the game itself touches on dark and sensitive subjects that many other games and media shy away from. Just like the story, the art uses dark and passionate colors to get its themes across. The characters are angry at the world and the “shitty” adults that run it, they’re passionate about their cause of inter-dimensional thievery to get people to confess to their crimes against others. Red is the perfect color to highlight these feelings as red is the color of fire, rage, strength, and love. It’s also important to note that despite the wide use of the color, it is not over used. The uniforms and costumes are not all red (beyond Ann’s costume of course) they’re black with other colors highlighted with them (such as Ryuji’s yellow shirt beneath his blazer).
The anime style of the graphic also works really well here. Not only does it give the red and black colors a great plane to exist in, it lets each character in the story have their own style. The average student doesn’t stand out too much; standard school uniforms with brown or black hair. But the main cast and crew all have little compliments to their uniforms. This would look odd in a realistic style as everyone except the main cast would look exactly the same which isn’t at all realistic.
Of course there are drawbacks to stylized art. If you don’t like the anime style or have a weird hatred of the color red (even red is obviously the best color out there) or if you can’t even see the color red (shout out to all my colorblind brothers and sisters out there) then this game’s art is lost on you. It can also be a huge turn off and make people not even want to play your game. But when stylized art works with people, it works really well. It gives your game a memorable art style that sticks with people. So although stylized art can be a risk, it pays off.