5+: Best Box Art

After a short hiatus, 5+ is back to stay.  To celebrate, I bring you another topic promised back in “Topics 5+ Should Cover Part 2“.  Box art is something that can easily be overlooked, but it plays an important part in making a first impression on players and showing them what a game has to offer.  The illustrations presented here not only do great work in conveying what their games have to offer, but are also simply beautiful images on their own.

God of War

Kratos’ tale in the God of War franchise is not a happy one.  His guilt sends him into a spiral of violence and self-destruction, slowly turning him into more of a beast than a man.  His animalistic nature is captured with this one pose.  His body and blades are soaked with blood while he hutches over in preparation for a feral pounce.  The gleaming palace in the background provides a striking contrast against his bestial fury while also establishing the game’s ancient Grecian setting.  The image truly braces players for all of the brutal combat and stunning environments that are in store.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

The box art for the first game in the Ace Attorney series goes to great lengths to capture the themes of the games and the personalities of the main characters.  The composition of the image is also fantastic with Phoenix’s arm drawing the eye across the image at an upward arch.  Unfortunately, the final version masked some of the details with ill-placed logos and took away from its mystique.  Still, the raw image remains excellent.  It’s a shame that Capcom seems content with just using cheap profile images for the rest of the series.

Silent Hill 2

Everything about this art makes it clear that Silent Hill 2 is a terrifying experience.  The entangled font and blurry visuals create an unsettling tone that warn of the nightmares waiting within.  However, the expression of the face featured is one of depression and inner turmoil rather than abject terror.  It greatly reflects the more psychological horror that the sequel focuses on that would go on to define the Silent Hill franchise.


Ico is a very atmospheric game built around a somber narrative punctuated by beautiful architecture.  The box art captures the sense of the two main characters journeying together through a vast and barren world.  A brief taste of the environments available to explore is offered with the surrounding structures.  Truly gorgeous art to accompany a gorgeous game.  It’s just a shame that the North American version of the box art replaced the original with something that horrendously missed the point.

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV

This is what inspired this topic and this 5+ was essentially an excuse to praise this masterpiece.  The box art for Sid Meier’s Civilization IV captures not only the sense of progress and innovation experienced in the game, but also the progress of human history.  The early stages of human civilization placed in the foreground with progressively more advanced achievements further into the background.  The road in the center draws the eye upward across the course of development.  It is the best video game box art I have ever seen without a doubt and I could easily see the raw image being hosted in a museum.

What are some of your favorite box art for video games?  What illustrations perfectly capture the heart and soul of the experiences waiting within?  Leave a comment below and it be featured on a follow-up article in the future.

Nick Connor

I'm an English major and History minor at UW-Parkside. I'm a big fan of Mega Man, Deus Ex, Okami, Civilization, Kingdom Hearts, and Team Fortress 2.

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