I'm going to assume the former, we all have less fortunate days.
More the former, but moving on:
The slideshow comment is not a dig at D3's class&gender specific cutscenes, it comes from a worry about Starcraft Remastered's updating of its cinematics, briefings and animated portraits. They have said that the briefings will have "comic book style" animations, and the portraits are also animated(?) 2D art instead of 3D. And the new art and stills so far all have a different art style to the original SC. They look very, "clean" and "pretty", due to the style of drawings, coloring and shading, despite imitating the dirty aestethic of the original. Looks closer to SC2's cutscene style than SC1 as a result. And we still don't have examples for the new cutscenes, that are assuredly also remade. I worry that instead of redoing the CG, they replaced it with animated art, leading to me saying it gets replaced with a 'slideshow'.
Thing about Remastered is that I'm pretty sure it's been stated that the CG cutscenes will be maintained as they are, just 'sharpened' or something. As for the comic stills, apparently they were going to replace the briefing room segments, so they still exist apparently (we've seen a preview of the protoss briefing room), so either they've been cut, or they're going to serve as interludes.
I completely disagree with the art style - it looks far more like SC1 and SC2, and I love it. I mean, I like both, and from a thematic standpoint the shift works (at least for the terrans), but the SCR style still retains that 'gritty' sense of things.
Which leads me to worry for D2, since it's cutscenes also need refreshing, but it would be terrible if they got replaced with moving picture or updated to resemble D3's art. D2's cutscenes to this day capture perfectly what the visual style, proportions and tone of Diablo is, and how D3 did its best to change it completely, in no small part due to arrogance from the influx of WoW devs into the project, who viewed their sensibilities as superior because of the huge success of WoW. (See, "Fuck that guy", the embarrassment that is the pony level which was a petty response to valid criticism of the art style of D3, the manner in which they killed off a beloved D1&2 character and so forth.) So yeah, wouldn't want any of that. Keep everything the same, just update the models, animation, texture work and other obvious deficiencies that come with old CG.
I pretty much disagree with everything there.
D2's cutscenes capture what you say they did, fair enough, but you badly need to cite your WoW claim, because I don't see any evidence of that. I mean, sure, D3 does differ in tone to an extent from D2, but it's no WoW - not in aesthetic, and not in tone either. I mean, actually look at the artwork for D3, and compare it to WoW. I mean, I have, I've got various Warcraft and Diablo art books on my shelf, and no-one could ever mistake one image from one book for the other if you put them in a single volume.
As for Jay Wilson, the fact that he never worked on WoW aside prior to D3 (he did work on Legion), how is Whimsyshire an embarassment? I mean, it's established fact that it's a response to the criticism of its art style, but so what? I'm a Sonic fan, watch Sonic Boom, and that show mocks the fanbase every other episode. Whimyshire is meant as a joke, that's it.
As for Cain, well, I've never been invested in his character anyway. I'm not dismissing people that are/were, but I never saw anything wrong with it. Magda kills him, which makes killing her all the more satisfying, and highlights Magda's own character. After his death, every NPC you talk to in Tristram comments on Cain's death and the tragedy of it. Then, to top it off, we get a CGI cutscene dedicated to his funeral. I mean, the one thing I would do personally is have him die closer to the end of the act, but that's about it.
Also, on the art side. While Torchlight is outlandishly cartoony compared to D2, that doesn't meant that D3 isn't cartoony to a great degree, kind of a dishonest comparison actually. It's every "x's not as bad as y" argument in a nutshell, the tacit admission that it is indeed accurate to state that, but the person responding it only views it valid if it is closer to the extreme.
Completely disagree. If someone says a is x, and I say no, b is x, then that's a valid comparison. I'd find that comparison valid in any point of reference. Also a wee bit hypocritical since you use Dark Souls as a point of reference later on.
So, fine, even if we have to ignore Torchlight, I can only say I disagree, I don't find D3 cartoony. I mean, styalized sure, since it's got the painterly art style, and more styalized than D2, but that's about it. There was a thread awhile back that did some comparisons, how in sets of three, there was a D2 image, a WoW image, then a D3 image. There was sharp contrast between the D3 style and WoW style every time, and looking at the sets of three, D3 looks far closer to D2 than WoW.
Going way back, D3's art was always criticised as being WoW'd up, which most defenders carelessly disregarded, but it is not inaccurate to state that the way D3's art, enemy design, color palette, and level design combined with it's perspective created a far more exaggarated and enlarged artstyle that proportionally resemled the overly large and wide WoW style, rather than the relatively realistically proportioned D2. The perfect examples would be the incredibly bloated and enlarged enemies of D3, such as the Butcher, which looks completely like a WoW enemy, and looks laughable next to its D2 equivalent act bosses, or even worse when compared to its D1 counterpart Butcher.
Okay, you want to look at the Butcher? Fine.
Here's the Butcher sprite from D1 (https://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/diablo/images/c/c2/The_Butcher.gif/revision/latest?cb=20080730194716)
Here's the Butcher model from Warcraft III (https://hydra-media.cursecdn.com/wow.gamepedia.com/e/ed/Butcher.jpg?version=31e07b912118f3c44517c32cd43a8333)
Here's a different Butcher that appears in WoW (https://hydra-media.cursecdn.com/wow.gamepedia.com/1/1d/The_Butcher.jpg?version=6058c9e3ffa020ad92f74eb85c375df1)
Here's an image that shows the Butcher as it appears in D3, as well as the Butcher as it appears in the D1 anniversary dungeon (https://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/diablo/images/f/ff/2016-nov-6-153.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20161107165830)
I can't embed images, but the links hopefully speak for themselves. The D3 style is still distinct from WoW. It has some styalization, but it's not in the WoW style.
And the other prominent example would be the D3 act 1 Halls of Agony, compared to D2's equivalent Monestary Catacombs/Durance of Hate. It becomes incredibly apparent at how needlessly/unrealistcally tall and wide every single hallway and room is compared to the size of human beings that are supposed to inhabit what is essentially supposed to be a torture dungeon, with comically large spiky metal traps and flesh pits.
It's been ages since I've played through those respective sections (since I played through D1-D2-D3 back to back in 2012, and D3 is the only one I've ever returned to), but a quick look on YouTube...I'm sorry, I'm reminded of why the Halls of Agony intimidated me, the catacombs didn't, and why the Durance of Hate only intimidated me with the bodies in the pools. The Halls of Agony have a sense of scale to them, a sense that 'this is bigger than you, Leoric, even as a mortal, was able to build this just for torture,' not to mention the constant sense of descent and red light. The catacombs and durance are just parts of different structures with drab grays/browns that have only been temporarily occupied by foes.
Doors several times the size of normal human beings, who look like stickfigure people in the D3 artstyle. Compared to the aformentioned D2 levels, they're sized to match the proportions of the human beings of D2, all of their larger chambers and areas match these consistently, thus the level doesn't dwarf the size of the beings inhabiting it by being exaggarated in unnecessary areas. Which is also why larger structures that do dwarf human character don't look out of place, since the proportions are consistent. These are just obvious examples, but you can make these comparisons between D2&D3 across the entire lenght of both games, as D3 is imitating D2 in its structure completely. Conversely you can find a plethora of similarities between WoW zones/areas and enemy designs that match the proportions and styles of D3 fairly closely. The only big difference between the two is the size of humans and human sized beings, and D3 uses vibrant colors more spaciously, but that combined with the design elements that do resemble WoW, make D3 look like and edgy WoW, which is something a lot of people who couldn't really pinpoint their criticisms of the artstyle did say.
Can't really agree with any of that. The humans in D3 look more like actual humans, who live actual lives, made possible by the use of 3D models rather than sprites and character portraits. In D2, there's a heavy sense of artificiality to the characters, the sense that they're only there for the player, because only vendors/quest-givers talk, and only do so in tedious monologues. In D3, characters are always vocalizing in the background, where entire sub-plots play out regardless of your interaction. Course that's sound design rather than visual design, but the visual design of D3 makes the world feel more real. D2 feels more 'gamey.'
This is true to a lesser degree in Starcraft 2. There's quite a bit of clashing between the ingame RTS art and the cutscene/talking with characters art. The ingame art is far more exaggarated and 'cartoony' in proportions, colors and designs compared to even the CG cutscenes, much less SC1. The designs of the Zerg especially look more like overly elaborated and bloated, instead of creepy or menacing. And the CG itself is very clean and pretty compared to the first game aswell. Obviously, there was a disparity between the first games spritework and the CG, but it still felt more consistent overall. This is why I said that they only have a grasp on Warcraft's art out of the 3 franchises, as both Diablo and Starcraft had changes to their art that resulted in the loss of their distinct identities while taking on cues from their WoW design sensibilites. Warcraft has remained Warcraft, despite evolving.
Because, y'know, models are of course going to have the same level of fidelity as cutscenes. That's a complaint that can be levelled at numerous RTS games - Command & Conquer as of Generals comes to mind, whereas only Red Alert 3 had an actual cartoony style.
Now, there are some cartoony elements in the design, and certainly in concept art, but I can't label SC2 as being cartoony. Likewise, the zerg look far more intimidating, such they have the benefit of models rather than sprites. If anything, SC2 gave the StarCraft universe more of a sense of identity, more of a sense you were in a world. SC1 did that to an extent, but key word 'extent.'
The manual might say that, but it's still jarring in game. You play tutorial lvl 2, get on a boat with Hellscream and your orc bros, no trolls in sight, the only time you meet trolls it's mobs and Thrall says they kicked them out and they shouldn't have been a part of the horde to begin with. Fast forward to orc campaign proper, and suddenly blue trolls are hanging out with the ship crew. And the events of the demo are canon, WoW has stuff that follows up on it.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence. Also, Thrall's comment about the trolls is directed to a forest troll, not the Darkspear trolls.
Of course the islands are canon, I'm just saying that both stories can operate, and I never got a sense of disconnect when playing WC3 for the first time (since I played it before I got my hands on the extra missions.
Boy that sure was a bile of words. Oh, here's some more, I just thought of something! When they do D2R, they'll probably change the item art to look like those shitty cartoon drawing from D3. Fuck. I refrained from saying that, on a superficial level, Dark Souls has more in common with D2 than D3, since it's not a particularly fair comparison, but in this instance it's going to be completely true. DS uses images based on the renders of the armors and weapons in its inventory, not crappy drawings like D3. Shite. They're going to replace the cg render images of armor with some crappy D3 style art, that's almost certain now, going by SCR and the changes to its art where it was updated. I'm depressed now. I used to love looking at the different pieces of armor and weapons in D2, next to the cutscenes, those were the best looking parts of the game. God Dammit.
And here's where the Dark Souls comparison comes in. "Consistency!"
Look, this section is entirely down to taste, but I found nothing appealing in the D2 armour sets. The sprites are too small to really appreciate any of the aesthetics, and in the menu screen...well, the menu screen is a chore anyway, so I was never in the mindset to appreciate 'piece of armour that looks like every other piece of armour.' D3 has the advantage of transmogs so I can make my toon look how I want them to regardless of the armour they're using. Also, D3 only really gets exotic with its armour when the rarity increases, otherwise it's more down to earth.