by Goran Damnjanovic, Gaming Columnist
Published in Gaming on 8th March, 2019
The video game market is filled with remakes and remasters of old games we all love. Check out the best of the best right here.
Gaming finally breached mainstream walls during the last generation of consoles and since then many publishers realized they have excellent titles in their libraries that could be used again to bring some more cash from gamers.
The arrival of current gen consoles back in 2013 was a perfect reason for many publishers to start pulling classic games from freezers, giving them a fresh coat of paint and (in some cases) making them better than they were in their original versions. In fact, many claim that this console generation is, in fact, the generation of remasters and I agree.
We saw more remastered games in the last half a decade than we saw in decades before it. It's like developers and publishers alike lost their courage to risk with new, original games and instead, they tried to earn some cash by bringing classic titles back, but this time making them shinier than ever before, and in many cases, this formula worked pretty good.
On the flipside, there are plenty of examples when remastered versions simply didn't work or didn't bring anything new to the table - sometimes even making things worse than in the original title like with Bioshock or that awful Mario 64 remaster for the Nintendo DS - but generally speaking, the majority of titles benefited from receiving a remastered version or simply being remade in modern engines.
And despite the fact that we indeed received a truckload of remasters in the last half a decade, many of them ended up being pretty good games, allowing old fans to again enjoy games from their childhood while at the same time giving the chance for young games to play classics they didn't have the opportunity to play back when those games originally came out. If you want to check out some great remasters and remakes read on and you will find ten amazing games that have gotten back in the spotlight by being re-released on modern systems.
The most recent title to be offered as a remake is our first recommendation. Resident Evil 2 was a massive game back when it came out in 1998. It provided a foundation for all future survival horror games with its gruesome monsters, interesting story, level design, and inventory mechanics.
It didn't age so well because of its horrid tank controls; those are definitely a thing of the past that shouldn't make their way to any modern title. And Capcom did just that with the remaster of the first Resident Evil game. It offered a modern control scheme along with making visuals ready for HD resolutions. But with Resident Evil 2, the company made something much better.
Instead of taking the easy road and simply updating textures, making pretty lighting effects, and adding support for high definitions along with offering a normal movement system, Capcom decided to recreate Resident Evil 2 from the ground up.
They recreated the old classic inside the new RE engine (first used in Resident Evil VII), creating a beautiful game that's much more than the original.
The story remained the same while levels received some welcome changes, making them easy to recognize by old fans but at the same time altering them just enough for gamers to not feel like they are playing the same game from 20 years ago just with much better graphics. Other improvements include the addition of the modern behind the shoulder camera, which fits the game perfectly.
The end result isn't just one of the best remasters/remakes of all times but also an excellent game on itself. Resident Evil 2 Remake can be also perceived as a standalone title by young gamers. They will be able to experience the game in all its modern glory, loving it the same way as us who played the original. Resident Evil 2 Remake is probably the best RE game of all times and it is definitely worthy of your time.
While Resident Evil 2 received a complete remake, Activision decided to re-release the first three Crash Bandicoot games without touching the original level design. Everything else received a noticeable facelift that made the three games ready for the high def glory. Each game features completely new graphics, with new textures lighting and character models.
Also, the developers decided to replace old sounds and music, replacing them with high-quality files that are ready for modern surround systems.
All three games look like they were made for current gen consoles, but they play like PS One games. Every single one is hard as its original version, asking for focus and perseverance from players, unlike most modern titles which is awesome, most of the time. The deal comes with some caveats.
For instance, controls can be problematic, especially during complex jump sequences where you can be positive that you nailed the landing only to watch Crash falling into his death. Further, levels are untouched which means that those nasty levels that felt unfinished or unreasonably hard are also untouched.
This can make some fans frustrated and for a good reason. Remasters should go beyond simply upping the graphics and offering support for high resolutions, they should also fix the shortcomings of the original title and Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy doesn't really do that. Despite its flaws, the Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy is a great collection of games we played while grooving up and is a wholehearted recommendation.
Since Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy ended up being a best seller and a huge hit, Activision decided to remaster another of its classic IPs. This time the cute Spiro the Dragon was to receive remaster and it is just as good as the Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy.
Spiro Reignited Trilogy is a remastered collection of the three original games from the series and they all received massive facelift along with new sounds and music. It all looks cute, shiny, and detailed but this time the game feels better when in motion because controls aren't so frustrating. This is mostly because the three original Spiro games had better control schemes and they also didn't have levels with parts that were practically impossible to master.
Overall, this is another bestseller that offers excellent value and that will give dozens of hours of fun for fans of the classic games. But more importantly, new players will enjoy playing Spiro and they won't get frustrated by touchy controls and infuriating levels.
On the other side, the games didn't receive any new content and all you get are the same old levels in case you already played it on the PS2. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't give a chance to Spiro because now he looks better than ever and is a joy to play in this new high def version.
Before they decided the recreate Resident Evil 2 from scratch, Capcom began re-releasing classic Resident Evil games with a remaster of the first title. Unlike Resident Evil 2 Remake, the first game isn't a complete rebuild of the classic. Instead, it is an HD version of the Resident Evil for Nintendo Game Cube.
It includes HD textures, improved backgrounds (the game uses pre-rendered backgrounds that now look crispier than ever), slightly better character models and improved animation, and that's about it. Oh, and the game received a new control scheme that is light years ahead of the original tank control scheme, which was awful. The story, dialogs, levels, enemies, are all identical to the original version.
The humble list of improvements doesn't have to be a negative because Resident Evil is still a game with a chilling atmosphere that still plays excellent.
Tight corridors make you feel super claustrophobic, a labyrinth made of numerous rooms that are part of the creepy mansion that only looks abandoned can be chilling to explore at times, and the constant tension fueled by the lack of ammo and undying enemies are still nerve-wrenching.
The game is awesome, and playing with the classic camera is even better because that fixed camera only adds to the excitement and the claustrophobia. Yes, Capcom could've made a complete remake like in the case of Resident Evil 2 but even a simple HD remaster is enough for many to again experience the birth of the most known survival horror series of all times.
And new gamers won't be disappointed because the game looks decent and because it plays like a proper survival horror, which never gets old.
Uncharted games were the biggest hits found on the PlayStation 3 and I am sure that those three alone sold tens of millions of consoles. And for all PS4 owners that didn't have the chance to play some of the best games of the previous generation The Nathan Drake Collection was the best thing since sliced bread.
All three games are found in one package, with a total playtime of more than 30 hours, all that sold for less than what a new AAA game costs (and for way less nowadays). What more would a hardcore gamer who always wanted to play the first three Uncharted games want? And this collection is one of the best remasters I've seen in my life.
Other than the first game, which received a bit heavier facelift, the second and third game gained more subtle improvements. This makes even the first title (which was noticeably less pretty than the other two titles) looking sharp, clear, and detailed. New textures, new character models, greatly improved lighting and the quality of foliage make the original Uncharted enjoyable to play despite its shortcomings (gunplay is noticeably worse than in other two games, and those jet ski sections are still an utter pain to play).
But the real value of this collection lies in the second and third games that not only look like they've been made for the PS4 but the offer much better stories and much more enjoyable gunplay.
The second and third game received sharper textures, better lighting, more detailed characters, and noticeably farther LOD values, which makes both games to look almost on par with Thief's End. And by keeping their signature gunplay, cheeky stories, excellent dialogs, and characters, they are still a blast to play even in 2019.
If the developers improved on lackluster stealth gameplay - which is horrendous in the whole trilogy - we would get a remaster that's on par with Resident Evil 2. So, if you own a PS4 and never played the original Uncharted trilogy do yourself a favor and get the Nathan Drake Collection right now.
Like Resident Evil 2 Remake, Black Mesa is a complete rebuild of the cult classic game from 1998. But, unlike Resident Evil 2 Remake this one is made completely by the fans of the original game. Valve released a sort of an HD remaster of the original Half-Life back when Half-Life 2 got out.
The remaster was based on Source engine but it didn't bring anything new to the game aside from some HD textures and support for high definition resolutions. Fans were disappointed and some of them decided to recreate the complete game inside the new Source engine and the work has begun back in 2005. The full trailer came out in 2008 but since Black Mesa was a project made by volunteers the team needed some time before they were ready to release a finished product.
The development took some time but in 2012 the newly founded Crowbar Collective released Black Mesa in Early Access form. The game was far from being complete but fans were simply in awe once they tasted it.
The game features a complete overhaul of the original with new textures, models, animations, and everything in between and it looks simply amazing. Levels also got some redesign, but not too much. The team behind the game simply wanted to make some levels better looking and easier to navigate without stripping them of that classic Half-Life feel. And they succeeded big time.
Black Mesa is, alongside Resident Evil 2 Remake, the best remake or remaster you can find out there. It is stunningly beautiful and offers a mouthwatering presentation of the original game. Those headcrabs look much more sinister in this remake, and zombies are now even scarier.
Gameplay is perfect and completely reimagined to reflect changes made in Half-Life 2. But below all that makeup Black Mesa plays like the good old Half-Life, keeping the amazing AI used in the original and featuring astonishing gunplay that debuted in Half-Life 2.
The team is still working on the last part of the game - levels that take place in Xen universe - because they plan on completely redesigning Xen levels since those feel rushed and incomplete in the original. But despite this Black Mesa is an easy recommendation for all Half-Life fans and for all gamers who like single player shooters.
And once it gets Xen levels (and it will definitely receive those in the near future) this game will be the ultimate reimagining of one of the best shooters of all times.
Shadow of the Colossus is a cult game that did all things quite well so developers of the remake had a relatively easy job. All they had to do is to buff visuals, remaster the audio department (and make it compatible with surround systems), fix controls a bit (the original game features controls that can feel a bit clunky), and don't touch anything else. And they did an amazing job.
The game looks incredible like it was made for the PS4 from the ground up. Detailed levels filled with breathtaking vistas, huge creatures that look monolithic during each and every fight thanks to their super detailed models and superb animation, and lifelike lighting system are the best parts of this remake.
The game didn't receive any new content; it contains all fights found in the original along with the emotional story that can really bring tears to your eyes and minimalistic presentation.
You still rely on your sword to locate enemy creatures and the HUD is basically nonexistent, which just makes the game more atmospheric. But when it comes to controls, Shadow of the Colossus remake is definitely not a contender.
Your horse still behaves like an elephant when it comes to responsiveness and more often than not you will be frustrated by the inaccuracy of the controls. But these two failings cannot cast a shadow on one of the best games of all times. Yes, controls can sometimes be frustrating but everything else is as good as it was back in the glory days of the PS2 and as an added bonus the game looks phenomenal.
One of the best Zelda games (the best if you ask some fans) was ahead of the pack when it came out in 1998 and almost a decade later it was remade for the Nintendo 3DS, offering gamers a chance to play a classic game while on the go.
The game looks amazing and so much better than on the Nintendo 64. Every visual was remade, creating one extremely pretty game that is filled with color, warm lighting, and incredibly designed levels that look better than ever in this remake. It's surprising how Nintendo managed to create such a pretty experience because, let's face it, the 3DS isn't very powerful gaming machine, even when compared to other handhelds.
The most important changes happened to controls that received support for the motion controls featured on the 3DS allowing players to aim weapons by moving the entire console, which works fantastic!
Further, the second screen was used to enable simple touch controls used to switch tunics you wear or to play as the Ocarina, which also feels great and shows that sometimes a game doesn't have to be completely overhauled in order to make it attractive and exciting to play again. As a package The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D is one extremely well done remaster and one of the best games you can find for the Nintendo 3DS.
Microsoft didn't do much this generation when it comes to first-party exclusives. They offered us Halo 5 and a couple of excellent Forza games along with unique and immensely fun Sunset Overdrive. Other than those the Xbox One wasn't really rich with exclusives, as is evident by poor sales numbers and the general conclusion that the PS4 won this console generation. But if anything Microsoft did lots of good when it comes to playing classic games on new hardware.
Their backward compatibility program offers old games that can be played on the Xbox One and some of them look like they are indeed remastered. And another home run Microsoft did with making old games playable on the Xbox One is the excellent Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
This collection contains the first 4 Halo games, with all levels intact and each game comes with a full list of multiplayer maps. Each game received a noticeable graphical upgrades but by far the best work was done with Halo 2 which now looks like a modern shooter made for the Xbox One. Other games received upgraded textures, some nice lighting effects and support for HD resolutions but even with these simple upgrades they all look more than solid on the Xbox One.
The best thing is that both levels and story of each game are intact, along with the gameplay that still feels tight and visceral, just further confirming that Bungie created perfect gunplay in Halo and Halo 2. Four games in one package is even better deal than The Nathan Drake Collection so if you own an Xbox One and you didn't play any Halo game you simply have to get this amazing collection.
Metroid: Samus Returns is a remake of a game that defined an entire genre. Metroid 2: Return of Samus was a Game Boy title that practically started (alongside with a couple of early Castlevania titles) the whole Metroidvania craze that lasts untill today. And once Nintendo revealed it will release a remake of this cult classic fans were excited and worried at the same time.
Fortunately, they ended up ecstatic because Metroid: Samus Returns is a superb remake of the original title. The game received completely new visuals that look amazing but do not mess up the game's original 2D platform gameplay.
Everything looks so much better, with rich graphics, excellent animation, superb lighting, and fluid gameplay. The second screen on the 3DS is used to show the map and the game also supports 3D effects that can be enjoyed without wearing any glasses.
On top of all that the game received slight changes to level design and story (much like Resident Evil 2 Remake) that all make sense and that only made the game better than the original. Eveyrthing looks crisper on the 3DS screen and the game kept that old-school mix of exploration and puzzle solving that's perfectly combined with superb combat encounters.
The final package amazed both critics and fans and the game ended up by taking lots of handheld GOTY accolades and becoming one of the best-selling titles for the Nintendo 3DS.