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Remasters: You're Doing it Wrong

This generation, we're getting more than a handful of remasters. No really, as thin as game cases are these days, you probably wouldn't be able to hold them all in one hand comfortably, gamers with original XBOX Duke controller hands withstanding.

Anyway, we've been getting a lot of them these days and it's gone from mild to shamefully shameless. Granted, the lot of them have been remasters of very successful titles that were very-well received and sometimes hard to find. So when exactly do we have enough remasters? When we run out of games, I guess, but remasters aren't a bad thing; I just think the industry has, for the most part, been going about this very poorly. In this post, I will share when, in my opinion, a remaster is a good idea and when it isn't, starting with remasters we have to remasters we should be asking for.

So far we have...

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition

Sleeping Dogs was a great game. A lot of fun in an open world chaotic environment packed with karaoke, pork buns, and civilians stuffed into car trunks (don't pretend you haven't done it). In about 2 years' time, we're graced with a definitive edition that packs in the DLC with some graphical and gameplay tweaks (among other, subtler things). Was it worth it? Unless resolution and DLC are enough to entice you, no. It was a remaster of a great game, but it was a safe bet and perhaps a shameless cash-in. The game isn't rare; in fact it can be purchased digitally on your platforms. Heck, you can ignore the cost of the game entirely if you got it on PlayStation Plus where you'd only need to buy the DLC. Same experience in reality.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD

What isn't there to love about a remake of one of the GameCube's stand-out, knock out hits? It was vibrant, lengthy, intuitive, and fun. Add Nintendo's quirky new manipulations with the Game Pad and you've got a game worth revisiting. You can tell it was remade with elaborate care and revisiting the game was so pleasant. In a way, it's like going to the movies to see Titanic and then watching the IMAX remaster in theaters on the 100th anniversary of the ship's incident. It was an unforgettable experience and revisiting it is worth the trip. It doesn't add content, but it's a faithful recreation to an amazing game.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

Oh, Tomb Raider. Fantastic game all around. Very survivalist with reusable arrows, the makeshift upgrades, great cast/voice acting, and fun multiplayer. It looked like a worthy combatant for Nathan Drake's adventures and really showed that a long-running franchise can catch its second wind if done well. Then, in a more shameful act than Sleeping Dogs, the game receives a current gen version within a year of the original's release. The game is prettier with an improved frame rate, added content, and fun little functions that make use of the current controllers, but is it worth it? Now I ended up buying the PSN version on impulse recently because it was on sale on PS4 but I also bought the original during a flash sale. Still haven't paid the full price for one version. But no, it wasn't worth the premium they were selling it for if you played it already. I don't regret re-buying it, but then again I didn't pay full price for either version.

The Last of Us: Remastered

There's something very special about The Last of Us. Some people don't get it or found it to be nothing spectacular in terms of gameplay but the story was phenomenal. I'm not one to cater to reviews very much, but the consistency is overwhelming where this very game was awarded over 200 game of the year awards. For many of us, it was a very intimate experience from beginning to end as you watch the relationship between characters play out. Then Naughty Dog came out and released The Last of Us: Remastered, featuring a doubled frame rate, very noticeable graphic and resolution improvements, DLC, and of course Grounded Mode (the hospital still gives me nightmares and I have no idea how I cleared it). The Last of Us was a game I bought at full price once and traded it in to buy the remastered version for about $20 a year later, both on release day. In hindsight, it wasn't necessary and easily regrettable, but it's still a phenomenal game. Would I say the remaster was worth it? Not exactly. It was a fun go around again and it made fun use of the DualShock 4's speaker, but the experience was still fresh in my mind. It was like rewatching your favorite show on Netflix on your new TV where you've likely seen it enough times to recall the outcomes a little too well. It's still a phenomenal game (every game mentioned so far is, but I think The Last of Us more so) but unless you're having a PS4 gaming drought, I can't see a reason to buy it again unless you haven't played it. Given the game has sold to about 10% of the PS3's install base, I'd say a lot of you haven't experienced the game yet, but even then, it's much cheaper on PS3. If you're like me and a glutton for punishment where Grounded doesn't scare you, it may be worth exploring the buzz. Otherwise, a re-release a year later is overkill. The odd glitches at times don't help either.

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin

I don't have much to say about Dark Souls II other than it was one of my games of the year and the DLC was pretty rough, especially Crown of the Ivory King which was probably also the best. Being re-worked for PS4 and XBOX One, this game is an interesting case. I'm not going to be as condemning of this, despite it too being a re-release in a year's time with all of the current content available. In the previous mentions, the games included all of the additional content of the old version. In the case of The Last of Us: Remastered, new DLC was made for it while the definitive editions don't add anything to the experience to my knowledge. In the case of Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, it's essentially the same game with multiplayer improvements and newly-introduced balances. I might say it's more forgiving though because anything added to the revised edition will be available for the current versions as well. It doesn't deliver much of a stigmatizing blow to customers who stuck by them since they aren't missing out, but still unnecessary. I can forgive FromSoft here for making things right to early adopters.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

Now I love Final Fantasy X. Really and truly. It was a a ton of long-lasting fun with a sequel that I actually didn't dislike. Seeing it remade in HD and trophy support was a dream come true. But the frustrating part is its new announcement for PS4. Square is getting pretty shameless with their remakes (and I'm not done mentioning them on this blog) and it shows here. Yes, they're fun games. Yes, I'd recommend them very highly, but no, I don't think it's worth it unless you haven't touched the game since PS2. Honestly, there was potential to sell the Vita as a great companion here if you could stream the HD version to the PS4 via remote play rather than making it available for PS4 as well. For some companies, this generation is becoming the era of "ICYMI" on the PS3 and PS4. Maybe there's an ulterior motive, but all in due time. Oh, and I won't give Final Fantasy XIII its own section since it's in the talks phase at the time of me writing this, but yeah, it's a waste of time. You can probably get all three for a fraction of what you'll probably pay on PS4 and XBOX One. That's just a waste of time since the original games are all HD anyway. The only offered improvements would be frame rates, visuals, and the XBOX One version fitting on a single disc. Pass.

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 & 2.5 HD ReMix

Cheesy story about hearts, add Final Fantasy characters in Disney worlds along with Disney characters in those Disney worlds and you get Kingdom Hearts, a game that was released ages ago along with many of its sequels. Despite the condescending tone I took when I started talking about the series, this is actually a remaster done well. The HD visuals are an enormous overhaul with what I imagine are improved controls and, surprise, they're the Final Mix versions with trophy support. With Kingdom Hearts III finally being confirmed for development, it's great that we have the games to catch us up to speed on the impending release. Let's also consider that it does us a favor and only feeds us the cutscenes of the less popular games in the series (Re:Coded and 358/2 Days). The choice would've been nice, but Square more than made up for it with the addition of the incredibly rare Birth By Sleep Final Mix.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo has an enormous following, that goes without saying. It's pretty much THE go-to first person shooter that isn't Call of Duty or Battlefield. That said, do I think The Master Chief Collection is worth it? Aside from the multiplayer issues we've all heard about, yes. It and Kingdom Hearts' remasters are perhaps the most effective recaps to prepare for their upcoming sequels yet. Halo spans generations and the visual overhaul is nothing short of unreal where the original 2 games look so refreshed that many people have said it feels entirely different. Let's not forget the Forge maps from the originals brought back. Every. Last. One. Of course, if you owned the original games, you could technically play them all on the XBOX 360 since it's backwards compatible with them, but that's probably a rare scenario. Besides, the games have cleaned up very nicely and, aside from the multiplayer bump, it is a huge service to Halo fans. I know multiplayer is crucial to Halo as a series and the multiplayer problems defeat the purpose to a point, but the single player has far more often than not been a delightful experience for those who play it.

So that all being said, we have pointless remasters and some that were done exceptionally well. Though they haven't been mentioned, what would some great ideas for remasters be? Well, for starters...

A Valkyria Chronicles Collection

This underrated gem was truly phenomenal. The SRPG mechanics, heartfelt story, and beautiful visuals went largely unappreciated and sadly, the sequels were made portable, never to see the light of console again (yet?). A remaster/collection of Valkyria Chronicles I, II, and III would be wonderful because (a) more people can play it, (b) like Birth By Sleep, a console controller can really enhance the experience of II which was a PSP title, (c) we would have a translated version of Valkyria Chronicles III that isn't fan-made, and (d) the original would benefit from trophy support. A man can dream...

A Dark Cloud Collection

It's been literally ages since Sony and Level-5 crafted their sort-of answer to Nintendo's Zelda franchise which improved significantly in the second release. The Georama, character swapping, weapon synthesis, and many other things made Dark Cloud it's own game and a fantastic one at that. I played it the other day and, while the first one's controls haven't aged well, the second one has the potential to strongly become an amazing current generation title...but first, Sony and Level-5 should acclimate this generation of gamers to the series with an HD collection. The games are a huge time sink and quite challenging, though more straightforward with less random quest exploration than Zelda. It didn't need to be Nintendo's prized franchise though: as I said, it was its own game. Level-5 still has some magic in them considering Ni No Kuni turned out to be a great game. It'd be great to revisit the Dark Cloud games in glorious HD with trophy support.

Gears of War Collection/Remastered PC version

It's been a good number of years since we really dabbled in Gears of War. Personally, I could live without 2 and 3, but I know Gears has generated enough buzz where people would be dying to play the games again or get into it and with Black Tusk slaving away on the next big game, the XBOX One is the ideal place to do it. With the newfound power of the XBOX One, there's no doubt the games could mirror their PC doppelgangers, maybe outdo them at this stage. The Last of Us, a game that pushed the PS3 to the limit, wasn't overwhelming in the slightest for the PS4 and Gears didn't push the 360 as hard as the The Last of Us pushed PS3. That said, I have no doubt we could be treated to a 60fps, 1080p resolution showdown with the Locust Horde. I'd also wager we won't be seeing the random texture pop-ins either.

So that's what my list looks like. What would you love to see remastered/as a collection? Feel free to comment below!

Ranma13212d ago

I think remasters should be made simply for the nostalgia factor.

And besides it hardly wastes any of the developers resources or time. So its not like it will delay any game.

DarXyde3212d ago

Hm, I'm not so sure I'd say it doesn't waste developer resources/time. I mean, if the goal is to make money, I'm sure it isn't a waste of time, but resources are definitely something to think about. Square mentioned that they split their time so one works on Kingdom Hearts III while the other worked on 2.5. There was also a fair amount of time between 1.5 and 2.5. I imagine that even if it's a remaster of a PS2 game, if the development process isn't the same or similar, it takes some time.

zero_gamer3212d ago

Ports of games usually have different teams than developers of the actual games. Still, a company can rake in more money from a port than a new game. Either way, the risk factor is much less, and the reward is usually much higher per dollar and hour spent.

If a significant portion of a company's revenue comes from ports/remasters, then that's where the money is and developers of new games/IPs are at risk of being laid off. As it looks, expect this generation to be the generation of the remaster. It won't end here, either. These games will probably get remastered...yet again, for the Nintendo 7, PS5, and Xbox 4 generation.

s45gr323211d ago

I would love to agree with you, but I still wish console gamers got the option of backwards compatibility and remastered editions. What I do miss and this is where I applaud 343 when it comes to the halo master collection and that's a bundle of Halo1-4 plus Halo reach and Halo something for $60.00 that's a steal . That's how remastered editions should work in bundles not a remastered of a game and sell it for $60.00. In my opinion console gamers should of fought harder for backwards compatibility.

NixonMonoxide3212d ago

Nice read. You made some great points. For me things are quite clear.

The profound "beauty" of remasters is quite simple;

You can get Tomb Raider & The last of us etc. for £15 and under without looking hard. But why would you settle for that like some simpleton? You can get the same games for £30 and above. But that's okay, because they're "advanced", "definitive". some devs even said they rebuilt the whole thing! Why would they lie?

I thought the 360/PS3 early years were fraudulent, but god damn they're like heaven compared to the borderline rape that sheep are getting with the PS4/XONE.

Not only did SONY & MICROSOFT pretty much scrimp on their new console budgets and release surprisingly dated hardware, but they even gave the bricks less necessary features than previous consoles.

Nothing amused me more than the "We took away backwards compatibility, because it'd be too expensive" song. Even digital PS360 purchases won't play, because...well... NEXT GEN.

These consoles still load like shite & can barely chug proper 60fps (let's not dream of higher) on high resolution. Hardware's pretty much 3 years behind, but everyone's singing 60fps like it's something new; Especially when a majority of the titles than can actually run impressively are old games that PCs had be running for years.

There's nothing wrong with a re-release or nostalgia, but looking at the well executed scam that is New gen consoles, and the overblown prices of PC versions you can get for 10 quid or less.... Well, that's just hilarious.

All I see is manufacturers praising lukewarm console sales as "spectacular", hype & half-truths but no games.

Bakcwards compatibility? Nonsense. Hurry up and buy a HD re-release of a cheaper/identical HD release. This one's more HD than before.

Imo people that completely defend this as a positive are as stupid as sheep who believe; "teh devs rebuilt teh gayme" or those convinced that PSplus gives them free games.

s45gr323211d ago

Best comment thus far; I kept telling gamers to fight to keep backwards compatibility and I got shot down no wonder console gaming is shitty nowadays.

freshslicepizza3212d ago (Edited 3212d ago )

there's two ways to look at this. one is you could say its a money grab and resources should be going to new games instead or you could say its easy money and more money equals a healthier market.

i see it the same as re-releases of music and movies. why do people keep their old games if they never plan on playing them? which brings me to this, what is wrong with playing old games again?

we advance our hardware which includes the sights and sounds. not just the hardware that plays games. would there be a market for a brand new 1080p totally redone chrono trigger? how about mario 64? somebody did it on the pc and it looks great. why doesn't nintendo do that like they did with zelda or better yet have an outside party handle it so their own teams can keep busy with new games?

i see remasters as an opportunity. an opportunity to support jobs and an even bigger opportunity to gather new gamers who might have missed out on some old gems. also the opportunity to play these games with a fresh coat of paint. you can keep the integrity of the game intact while improving just the visuals and sounds.

there is no down side no matter how much you argue against it because at the end of the day if you dont want them then dont buy it. then again there is a vocal minority out there who likes to whine about everything even though they have the choice right in front of them.

garrettbobbyferguson3211d ago

Op, you forgot the new DmC: Devil May Cry: We're sorry fans, you guys were right and we wrong so take 60 fps and other improvements for a game you dont want: Remaster. That and the Mobile Suit Gundam Collection, which is a good one.

These re-masters are shameless and we're starting to see remasters of games released less than 2 years ago. That is unacceptable.

DarXyde3211d ago

Good comments, everyone.

@garrettbobbyferguson, you are the cheapest Broken Bones player ever. But that's besides the point. ;)

Yeah, I left a couple out in a half-hearted attempt at brevity, but it doesn't hurt at all to talk about it. I also neglected to mention GTA V, but that was intentional because I have a lot of angry thoughts on that haha.

I'm in total agreement with you though: these remasters of games that were released very recently are unacceptable. Some of them make perfect sense (MCC and Kingdom Hearts, particularly). I'm guessing these companies are just making use of the easier development curve of pre-existing software to bolster revenue. It feels like this generation is break time to recuperate the losses and studio closures of the last generation, but it's a bad habit to get into, Square Enix being a capital offender.

Revenue shouldn't even be a problem though. Some games have insanely inflated budgets and turned out ho-hum while some have far more moderate budgets and are shaping up to be incredible. Just feels like the remasters are their way of capitalizing on consumer gullibility.

garrettbobbyferguson3211d ago

You gotta be a broken record in this industry as a consumer. It's full of people that have no problems buying up all this shit happily. And then that affects people like me because it changes the games that I like for the worse. That's the biggest problem; no one gives a damn when they ruin another person's experience. They only care about their moderate satisfaction.

newflesh3211d ago

To me the main down factor to these remasters is price. If I already bought and own Sleeping Dogs for example, I can't be arsed to buy it again at full price. They should make it 20$ upgrade option for existing owners really. But I think they don't care about us, so they are targeting only first time buyers

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😯 I hope this means I could turn all assists off and get something a bit more manual like the PS2 Spider-Man. I still miss the abiyto do full loops

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Definitely did not know this. Turning that off immediately. That extra freedom with the PS5 speed is gonna feel crazy.

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THIS is what I was hoping for.

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TQQ34m ago

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