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The video game franchises that went from the best of 2D to 3D

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As gaming has evolved, many genres that started in 2D pixelated style which many gamers remember was replaced by 3D graphics. These changes may steer the franchise away from its retro feel, though some gamers will argue that bringing many of these titles to 3D has been for the best.

Related: Games That Would Look Amazing In HD-2D Style

With so many well-known titles making this leap across generations, it’s impossible to mention them all. Although these franchises are by far the ones that took the best of its flat 2D world to the 3D heavens where it maintained its fan base.


ten Gaiden ninja

the original Gaiden ninja first released as a hack-and-slash platforming title on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988, where it was well received by those in Japan and the rest of the world. Although many players complained about its difficulty overall, the game was a great success.

It continued to be a 2D title until 2004 when it was released under the same name of Gaiden ninja on the Xbox with 3D graphics. Although it wasn’t as good of a hit in Japan, this 3D title based on the originals did a great job in the US, where it has continued its success ever since.

9 fire emblem

This fantasy tactical RPG has managed to not only evolve from its 2D pixel graphics, but also implement it in its recent games. Fans of the series would know that the original games could only be played top-down in a pixelated world.

The title kept some of its pixel sprites while implementing 3D graphics alongside it, as in Fire Emblem Three Houses where the player could freely roam the academy in which his students were learning. While also allowing to attend battles between units.

8 Grand Theft Auto

Many players from Auto grand flight 5 would be shocked to learn that this action-packed franchise first started with 2D graphics while being played in a completely different way. In the original version GTA players controlled their player from a top-down perspective which, although sold well, was criticized for its difficult controls.

Related: Great 2D Platformers On Steam That Deserve More Attention

The title then shifted the camera back to an over-the-shoulder third-person view and fleshed out the towns players could explore. Switch to 3D during Auto grand theft 3 made the title even more popular with no sign of returning to its 2D routes anytime soon.

Even titles that are as successful as metal gear began its success with 2D graphics. This aerial military title was known for the way it popularized the stealth genre in 1987, where players controlled Solid Snake as he attempted to infiltrate a base to destroy the war machine named Metal Gear.

Since then, series creator Hideo Kojima has continued to lead its evolution from a simple retro title to an award-winning franchise that not only went 3D but spanned across genres.

6 Loss

the original Loss title bridges a gap between 2D and 3D as the first person shooter itself is a 2D game generated to look like 3D. Many enemies are two-dimensional shapes that can only be seen from the front. That in itself was incredibly advanced for its time, working on the praises of the recent Wolfenstein 3D at the time.

Eventually the title got an official 3D version which was loved by gamers which eventually led to the creation of Eternal destiny with its incredibly intense and bloody gameplay with many hoping for another.

5 The Legend of Zelda

A classic like The Legend of Zelda has managed to stay afloat on countless Nintendo platforms for many generations. This was only possible by continuing the story, but adapting, not only artistically, but also by moving to a 3D generated world.

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In recent years, this popularity has increased with the creation of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild where players were given the freedom to explore a vast, fully 3D open world as their favorite blonde-haired protagonist, in hopes of saving the world.

4 Final Fantasy

Likewise, to the success of titles like The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy has countless games available for players to try, with over fourteen different games available. Although it has changed platforms as well as graphics, the way it plays for the majority of the franchise has remained the same, much to the delight of many gamers.

Since the original, and the creation of the 3D versions of the franchise, Final Fantasy also continued to make enhanced remakes of some of its classics, improving their already 3D graphics or spotlighting their older 2D titles.

3 Pokemon

Up to 3DS, the original Pokemon The series stuck to its stance of 2D graphics, allowing players to explore a world of tiny creatures to capture and battle in an adorable art style. Nintendo finally decided to experiment with the release of this console allowing the player to see the world from a different perspective when creating Pokemon X and Y.

Related: Every Sonic 3D Game, Ranked (According To Metacritic)

Since then, games have continued to maintain that 3D style and have even attempted to remake older copies of the title such as Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire in this new improved graphic style.

2 mortal combat

Even the fighting genre has seen the weather changes with the popular title mortal combat receive a design overhaul through the use of 3D graphics. The once-popular arcade game gradually evolved to be easily played on home consoles until it finally received its own 3D graphics that put those consoles to the test.

However, Mortal Kombat 4 was perhaps the last title to have an arcade version, but the first of its kind to have 3D graphics. Since then, the detail of not only the characters but also the much-loved Brutalities has improved with this change.

1 Mario Brothers.

No gamer would be surprised that one of video game’s most successful series was fortunately assisted in its transition from 2D to 3D. the original Mario Brothers. is almost unrecognizable compared to what the franchise looks like now.

With the original platformer turned into 3D as well as its other games such as Mario Kart join the ranks. Many gamers would agree that Mario and his friends have the power of 3D graphics to thank for their long reign, as they now turn to other technological means to rule.

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