Leading up to this update, I knew Argos would be a big focus for the chapter. As someone who is currently in the throes of his Argos era, I was counting the days until release, almost hysterical when the date had been revealed along with that perfect pinup of him and Khenbish. Naturally, when I saw that there was also a new coat of polish for our noodle boy, I was positively elated. Nanoff, as we all know, has been greatly improving his art over the past couple years, and I knew he would breathe new life into the character.
That, he did. The new sprites leave a bold impression, with more dynamic lines, clean shading, and striking eyes for the boy. He still very much retains the essence of Argos, and does not deviate far from his iconic, playful countenance. I see some stylistic cues from other cartoon snake villains in popular media: the new sprites have a more pronounced snoot, and when he's smug or gives his coy side-glance, his expression is more menacing and even a bit campy (very fitting for Argos).
However, I admit that my initial reaction was mixed. It is true that audiences can feel dismayed when iconic assets get tweaked in games and media, and I was no exception. I want to acknowledge my bias for my preconceived notions of Argos while also offering honest feedback on the changes. I do feel that the new sprites lack that sense of innocence or youth that was present in the previous set. He looks a bit older with the detail around his eyes and more pronounced snootle. According to the update post, Nanoff aimed to tone down his muscles, but I see the opposite. His frame is a bit wider and his biceps appear even bigger. Additionally, the area below his torso has more structure to it, which I surmise is either to better indicate his posture or to more strongly differentiate his torso from his tail, but it also has the affect of making him appear bulkier and more mature.
A minor point I want to make is that his right eye for his classic "smug" grin doesn't have the same squint of the old sprite, rather it is wide open. When you grin wide, your cheeks push your lower eyelids up a little. I think this was intentional, as the resulting contrast between lidded and open eyes makes him more imposing as a villain, but it has the side-effect of diminishing the impression of youthfulness. In short, he's just a bit...less cute. It is a kind of reverse-yassification that is not entirely unwelcome. His new "ugliness" is even exciting because it enhances his theatrical flair. From this angle, the changes are successful and add value.
In articulating my feelings here, I better understand the purpose behind the adjustments made to his look. Before I started writing this post, I thought I would offer a stronger suggestion to reverse some of the changes, perhaps preferring a middle ground between old and new. But overall, I do think the update is an improvement, and I very much appreciate the time and consideration Nanoff gave to giving our noodle some deserved love for an Argos-centric chapter. If later he were to go back and make revisions, I would be glad if he found this feedback helpful. My critique centers on subjective feelings about his appearance rather than issues of quality, and in this regard opinions will differ. As it is, I am simply happy that we have more Argos content from creators who want to deliver the best product.