New video games are great–don’t get me wrong–but more and more games are getting remastered and remade for both a generation of fans who are growing older and for younger gamers who didn’t get to experience these games in their prime.
Here is a list of eight great remastered games (in no particular order) and why they did fans, and developers, justice.
1. “Halo: The Master Chief Collection”
Master Chief stands side by side with Mario and Sonic as one of the most iconic video game characters ever made. Sure, some people may refer to him as the game he’s from, Halo, but they recognize him nonetheless. When 343 Industries took the reins of the franchise after the original developer Bungie separated from Microsoft in 2010, they developed games “Halo 4,” “Halo 5: Guardians,” and last year’s “Halo Wars 2.” Those games may not have stood up to Bungie’s previous “Halo” games, but they did strike gold when they decided to remaster “Halo 1” and “Halo 2.”
In 2014, 343 Industries combined the first 4 “Halo” games into one gigantic bundle on Xbox One with over 100 multiplayer maps and remastered versions of the first two games. The game’s multiplayer has had trouble allowing players to matchmake, but even four years later, the development team is still dedicating resources to improving the overall experience. It is, however, the definitive way to experience the four games’ story campaigns, with the first two games even allowing you to swap between the HD and original graphics with the push of a button.
2. “Bioshock The Collection”
The “Bioshock” games are incredible. That’s why “The BioShock Collection,” a combination of the remastered version of the first two games alongside the more recent “BioShock Infinite,” is great too. It’s a collection of some of the most suspenseful and eerie moments in the realm of RPGs.
The games blend the genres of horror and all things steampunk to deliver thought-provoking commentary on everything from the objectivism movement to American exceptionalism. Upon first playthrough, you wouldn’t, expect a game with murderous little girls and their accompanying mech guardians called “Big Daddies” to offer such a critical stance on American politics–but it does, and the newly remastered versions are simply an excuse for players new and old to jump back into the franchise. Though the remastered versions of the first two games don’t really offer graphics that are notably different from the originals, it’s still a little bit more refreshed and less dated for younger gamers.
3. “Shadow of the Colossus”
What better way to revive your dead girlfriend than by scaling and stabbing 20-something-story concrete giants? “Shadow of The Colossus” graphically defined a generation when it released on the PlayStation 2 in 2005 and even after having been remastered for the PS3, and now the PS4, it is still setting the bar on wide-open landscapes and horseback scenes.
There’s something amazing about a Colossus being rendered in high definition from far away and then climbing on its back and seeing the same attention to detail up close. The PS4 Pro version offers both 60 frames per second and 4K resolution at 30 frames per second options so you can choose which aspect of graphics is more important to you. The game wields mystery and scale better than most games do today and that’s why it was worth remastering again and why you should be playing it.
4. “Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy”
The “Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy” strikes a perfect balance between innovation and reverence for the source material. Developer Vicarious Visions was able to improve the aesthetics and gameplay enough to make the remake stand on its own while keeping enough the same so that the unbridled fun of Naughty Dog’s original trilogy could transport through time to the 21st century.
The quirkiness of the PlayStation 1’s graphics have been updated to be easier on the eyes and yet still retain the cartoony madness that Crash is known for. It’s still just as hard as you probably remember, and a way to test new gamers who never had to overcome the originals.
5. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered”
It’s a little over ten years old, but “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” still holds its place in video game history. For consoles, it demonstrated (alongside “Halo 3”) what Multiplayer Shooters were capable of in terms of bringing players from the internet together in a competitive and graciously repetitive cycle. This game is what comes up when you search “first multiplayer shooter” into Google, literally.
This remastered version may not have changed some of the unbalanced elements of the game’s multiplayer, such as the infamous M-16 Stopping Power combo or the silenced MP5, but these cracks are a part of the game’s charm and to change them would have sent fans into a tirade. It looks and sounds better than before and that’s reason enough to jump back in. It sold tens of millions of copies back then, and despite a rough launch, the game is now available as a standalone title separate from “Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.”
6. “The Last of Us Remastered”
“The Last of Us” is heralded by many as one of the greatest video games of all time and it has the awards to prove it. Developer Naughty Dog decided to take the critically-acclaimed PS3 game and push it even further with better graphics running at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second. They even included some improved controls with the PS4’s (at the time) new controller.
This year’s Game of The Year, “God of War,” recalled conversations about “The Last of Us,” especially since both games tell their stories from the perspective of a father figure. This remake is a better version of an already great game and goes to show just how big a difference in hardware can make.
7. “Pokemon Alpha Saphire and Omega Ruby”
“Pokemon Alpha Sapphire” and “Pokemon Omega Ruby” stand as a testament to the eternally successful gameplay loop that is “Pokemon.” Back in 2002, these stories were experienced at a 240 x 160 resolution in a top-down adventure game with pixelated Pokemon. Twelve years later, the same emotions and sense of joy are accessible in 3D and with fully-animated characters and Pokemon.
Seriously, graphics alone are a reason you should play this game. Collecting Hoenn Pokemon in this level of detail is joyous and not only for its nostalgia. Nintendo also added a new Primal Reversion mechanic alongside the Mega Evolution system that was introduced in “Pokemon X” and “Pokemon Y.” Unlike those games, however, the remakes sadly do not allow players to change their characters’ clothes, but that wasn’t offered in the original Ruby and Sapphire so kudos to Nintendo for staying true to the source material.
“Doom” (2016) is technically the fourth installment in the franchise, but if you have ever played the 1993 version on MS-DOS, you’ll know what I mean when I say that this is an entirely new version of the game. Everything from the heavy metal music score to the gore-filled gameplay has been taken to an entirely new level. If your mom didn’t approve of the original game, it’s unlikely she’ll be in favor of this one.
The game was developed by id Software and published by the well-known Bethesda Softworks (“Fallout 4,” “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”) and while the game is much more in line with what we’ve come to expect from AAA shooters, it’s still a great opportunity to relive the hell that was mowing your way through a demonic horde. It also won The Game Award for Best Action Game, and praise in our review, so it’s certainly worth a shot.