December 3, 2019 at 10:46 pm #36723EXE Robo Grand TankerParticipant
This is something I don’t see brought up much in these parts, and I was a bit curious about your opinions on it.
What do you think of the art designs that Kemco games in particular employ? Do you think its eye catching, or are they too cliche to really stand out from game to game? What about the designs each dev house (EXE and Hit Point) put out? Where do you think their strengths and weaknesses lay?
For me personally: I think EXE-Create puts a lot of work and care in to single character portraits. The designs are all highly detailed, with a lot of thing going on in even simple designs, and their casts are generally very “pretty”, for lack of a better term. Given that these sprites are used Visual Novel style throughout the entire game with no extra artwork aside from the key art, I guess I can understand why so much work an care is put in to them. The almost seem like a secondary form of advertisement for the game.
Naturally, this level of meticulous care is somehow translated to the character sprites, which are rendered like the character art is (assuming it’s not reused stuff). Though I guess that’s easy when your sprites have like five frames of animation to them…which leads nicely to Hit Point. Hit Point has rather detailed designs for their characters too, though they’re more “Shounen-esque” than EXE’s designs. But that’s not where they stand out: Hit Point animates their stuff solidly. I know I’ve played a few Hit Point games, and ended up just sitting around and enjoying the animation in their artwork, it’s actually pretty fun to watch on its own. Even Soul of Deva, which I bounced off of due to its absurdly long opening segment, has such impressive artwork and animation that I could not help but be wowed by it.
I sometimes wonder what would happen if Hit Point and Exe-Create combined their powers…
I’ll be back later with more rambling on artwork.December 4, 2019 at 2:37 pm #36730JesusalvaParticipant
Well, you’re absolutely correct that the character portraits are visual-novel-like and I admit to have downloaded a couple games because it (don’t remember which ones though).
However, imo, it is only that. The tilesets are not remarking – specially because they are over-reused with only minor changes, you can say what the developer of a Kemco game is by looking at the tilesets.
Interface art is okay-ish; It’s not like anyone would stop to look at it unless it is ugly or not functional enough.
Monsters and other battle sprites are usually pixel-art, and… I’m not a huge fan of pixel-art, so I straight ignore these. It’s interesting when some equipment changes the char pixel-art though, a shame that quite frequently it is restricted to premium currencies. (But makes sense given these give a lot of work. Yes, I worked with pixel artists before).
Also regarding pixel-art, some games have too “rough” pixel art imo. As in, they look a bit squared and sometimes even like they are low-poly 3D models with decent but insufficient render techiniques.
So… Yes. The only noteworthy visuals imo are the characters, and usually the trailer videos also have quite good visuals. Oh, we must here leave a tribute to those games which dared to have videos on them, like Symphony games. Certainly nothing exceptional, but the bravure is appreciated.
That, and tilesets. I usually can say the game name and producer (from Kemco) based on a screenshot of a dialog scene alone; The tileset give away the producer and character portrait is well detailed enough that, with a good character building, can be imprinted on my memory. For example, Izayoi (Asdivine Dios/Menance) could be a rather… wuss-y(?) character, but it was solid and consistent. You can look at his portrait and remember how his char was like. A pity this cannot be said from some chars of some games, though.
But please do not take my opinion too seriously, I’m no art expert. I just think in Kemco games they make artworks even less important, trying to emphasis gameplay and story-writing, and I think it is fair enough as RPGs are mostly about these two things (technically they’re more about story than gameplay but oh well). If they started painting backgrounds for dialogs the game would start looking like some weird mix of VN and RPG; so this high-detailed-char-portrait-with-five-expressions + pixel-art-sprites-and-tilesets (with the occasional 3D or 3D-ish (isometric 2D) game) is like an identity. Diverging too much would be weird.December 9, 2019 at 11:41 am #36766DekarParticipant
Hitpoint are the best in art designs.
Legend of the Tetrarchs, Monochrome Order and Monster Viator are superB examples of awesome pixel art.
EXE-Create best designs: Alphadia and Revenant Saga.
Best of Kemco: Legend of the Tetrarchs and Monochrome Order.December 10, 2019 at 2:12 am #36767VictarParticipant
I’ve put time into only three Exe-Create games so far: Unlucky Mage, Revenant Saga, and currently playing Journey to Kresia. But I just love the character portraits in all three, especially the emotional expressions of the Revenant Saga portraits. It extends beyond the visual novel sections; even the battle UI portraits work so well, when characters are either attacking or severely injured/afflicted with bad status.
I also adore the 3D battle graphics of Revenant Saga. I consider the sprite-based graphics in Revenant Saga (when not in combat), Unlucky Mage and Journey to Kresia to be mediocre; they’re not bad, but there’s only so much that can be done with SNES-style sprites.
The Hit-Point games I played don’t show the party’s sprites in battle. But I far prefer that to an animated battle art style present in certain Kemco RPGs on the PS4. It’s in Wizards of Brandel, Antiquia Lost, Asdivine Kamura… there’s something about the party member battle sprites’ proportions and movements that feels “off”. It’s almost an uncanny valley effect. I don’t like it at all.
I won’t rule out trying a game with that sprite style – it’s possible I could get used to it. But it’s hard to justify buying a game with that sprite style in the first place, when I’ve already got quite the RPG backlog to play.
Favorite Exe-Create Games: Journey to Kreisia; Revenant Saga
Favorite Hit-Point Game: Justice Chronicles
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