Hand drawn graphics has the benefit of getting hands on results. When you draw and animate a leg you know exactly how it's going to look like in-game. You also get pixel exact control, i.e. it's easy to do smiley faces and small gestures with the eyebrows and what not. Small things can be exaggerated and enlarged to make them symbolic. I am drawn to the overall style that 2D graphics bring. Now the downside; when you get absolute control you also have to do everything yourself. Nothing comes for free. Every animation has to be multiplied in the eight directions (at least in my isometric game). This can be a real pain when you want different monsters and characters. A small walk cycle animation of 4 frames becomes 32 frames. Then if I want the character to be able to crawl, well that's another 32 frames. If you want it to crouch, another 32 animations and so on. This is only an example when I got 4 animation frames, which is quite few. Imagine to have a smooth walk cycle with let's say 16 frames... something maybe the original Prince of Persia had. Then it would become 128 frames just for walking (ugh!). Now I want my character to swing his sword, drink a potion operate machinery etc. the work load will become huge.
Example of the 2D style I like (moonstone):
Then there is pre-rendered 3D. Now I only have to animate the model once with key frames. I can later rotate the animation to get all the different angles I need. The downside is that I lose the control and feel of the hand drawn style that I really like. I also have to learn Blender/Sculptris which I right now am quite a newbie on.
Well, you might have guessed it by now; I feel the workload required for 2D graphics will become too great and I am once again switching to pre-rendered 3D. By doing this I am hoping to get the character graphics done quicker. For background objects I am probably going to use a bit of both. Mix and match as I have done previously. Some things just don't need a fully fledged 3D model, a small rock or a tree for example. I will have to balance this to get it to look right.
Now back to it... :-)