Scene on a spaceship in Live A Live

The new Live A Live version is the perfect showcase for Square Enix’s HD-2D style – Polygon

1994 Nintendo and Square Enix remake of the role-playing game live alive It is one of the most interesting releases of the past few years. Mostly, it is due to the source material itself. live alivewhich has not previously been released outside of Japan, is a type of portmanteau, a playable game atlantic clouds Covering a number of small-scale scenarios from prehistoric times to the distant future, taking into account the Chinese Empire, the American Wild West, and Japan in the Edo period along the way.

It’s a wonderful masterpiece that takes the form of ’90s Japanese RPGs to places that games don’t usually go – not just in terms of varied and tacky colorful settings, but in terms of the loose, parallel, and non-linear structure. it’s a Not always successfulbut it can clearly be read as a kind of eccentric experimental rehearsal for director Takashi Tokita’s masterpiece that followed, Chrono player. This, in addition to being previously inaccessible to most western players, makes it a very useful release.

live alive Also interesting because of the car that Square Enix chose to remake. The game has been redesigned in “HD-2D”, sort of Style template within Unreal Engine Created by Square Enix, along with developer Acquire, for the great retro RPG of 2018 Octopate Traveler. Square soon saw the potential in HD-2D for new releases and reworks; It has since been used for new tactics RPG triangle strategyWhile it is a remake of the venerable classic 1988 movie Dragon Quest 3 Underway.

Photo: Square Enix/Nintendo

A town scene in Octopath Traveler

Photo: Acquisition / Square Enix

Castle scene in HD-2D remake of Dragon Quest 3

Photo: Square Enix

Characters meet by candlelight in a triangle strategy

Photo: Nintendo

Clockwise from top left: live aliveAnd the Octopate TravelerAnd the triangle strategyAnd the Dragon Quest 3

Simply put, HD-2D puts 2D patterns and pixel art into 3D environments that mimic the look and feel of classic hand-drawn backgrounds while allowing for smooth camera movements, advanced lighting, and atmospheric effects. Putting 2D characters into 3D worlds is nothing new – Paper Mario The series is a good example of how a successful aesthetic can be pulled out of these conflicting elements. The strength of the HD-2D lies in how skillfully it blends its components together. The 3D worlds are wrapped in pixelated texture to match the character’s sprites, while the lighting believably accommodates the 2D characters in the scene without emphasizing their flatness. The color palette is drawn from the rich, jewel-like tones of the 16-bit era, and the exaggerated depth of field gives the scene a dreamy, diorama-like look. It’s miniature and epic at once – nostalgic and modern.

It’s a cool style that transcends pure retro looks to create something timeless — an extension of classic video game aesthetics from the ’90s to the present, which deepens and enriches it while staying true to its original character. live alive It’s our first look at how HD-2D works when applied to an actual classic RPG, rather than an entirely new version, and it shows how effective the approach can be at letting an old game maintain its temporal specifics, even as it polishes it’s up to a newer generation of hardware (and players) ).

Basically, this is due to the treatment of the characters. live aliveThe sprites have been redrawn in more detail for this new version, but they still move and behave the same way. The exaggerated shape, the huge, emotional eyes, the truncated and decisive frames of the animation – they communicate just as much, but also leave a lot to the imagination, as did the original sprites. We treat them the same way.

A fiery fight scene in Live A Live

Photo: Square Enix/Nintendo

Characters are sucked from the spaceship's airlock in Live A Live

Photo: Square Enix/Nintendo

Kung Fu training session on top of the mountain at Live A Live

Photo: Square Enix/Nintendo

Wild West weapon battle in Live A Live

Photo: Square Enix/Nintendo

This has always been an issue with modern game updates. How can you make them visually richer without filling in details that might conflict with details in players’ memories and imaginations? On a more fundamental level, how can you avoid changing the tone and shape of the original? HD-2D solves this elegantly. live alive It looks beautiful on the modern screen, but still moves, plays and feels like a game from 1994, with distinct rhythms and segments from the era, in both gameplay and storytelling. As you should do.

live alive It is also an ideal choice for HD-2D range show. As the game navigates through different settings, characters, and game modes, and skips from ninja infiltration to deep space intrigue, it’s like navigating a catalog of lost cult classics, each steeped in their own kind (and distinct mid-’90s) influences. HD-2D art brings them all to life without compromising their simplicity or innocence. It’s hard not to play this tasting menu of the game without wanting to watch other era classics handled with such imaginative care, reimagining and saving them at the same time. or not Dragon Quest 3 It won’t be the last HD-2D remake that we see.

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