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Everyone loves the chance to make a second impression, and video games are no different. As much as the more cynical among us love to moan about the sheer volume of remakes and remasters these days, the fact is that the best remakes actually make the classics more accessible and approachable than ever before for a whole new audience - and that’s a great thing to do. Join me, then, as I guide you through some of the best remakes ever made.
Capcom’s 1998 survival horror was widely regarded by many as the best Resident Evil game in the series. That is, until the remake came around. Gorier, faster, and more terrifying than ever before, 2019’s Resident Evil 2 is a stunning reminder that Capcom can still make games that’ll make you brown your trousers faster than the world’s strongest laxative. X is, I’m afraid, gonna give it to you.
1993’s beloved handheld Zelda adventure captivated an entirely new audience when it was reborn on Nintendo Switch in 2019, complete with some smart modern bells and whistles that greatly improve the aged experience’s overall feel.
The game’s original 8-bit world is replaced by a vibrant toybox aesthetic that reimagines Link and friends as characters in a delightful handcrafted diorama. But as cute as this remake looks, never forget that it still ends with Link basically killing a whole bunch of people just so he can get a lift home.
As a showcase for just what the PlayStation 5 can do, Demon’s Souls is a staggering achievement. Bluepoint went all out in making sure that its remake of FromSoftware’s cult 2009 classic was as eye-poppingly beautiful as possible, all while staying true to the original.
If you’re looking to see where Dark Souls and Elden Ring really started, Demon’s Souls is the game to play. Just be aware that The Tower Knight remains the most actively bullshit boss FromSoftware has ever guffed in our direction.
There was really no way that Pokémon Heart Gold/Soul Silver could fail, was there? Game Freak took the iconic Game Boy Colour games and reworked them for the massively popular Nintendo DS, adding in overhauled visuals, new content, shiny new online features, and all the Pokémon that had been introduced in the two generations since the original Gold/Silver. Quite simply one of the best remakes of one of the greatest games ever made, and one absolutely bursting at the seams with content.
Bluepoint’s approach to remaking classic video games is pretty clear: don’t change a damn thing about the gameplay, but focus all efforts on making the game itself look completely and utterly stunning.
If you didn’t like Shadow Of The Colossus back in the day, you still won’t like Shadow Of The Colossus on PlayStation 4. But Bluepoint’s incredible effort makes this an unmissable experience for fans, pushing the PS4 to its limits to convey the scope and scale of Team Ico’s classic like never before.
By far the best way to experience the original Metal Gear Solid story, The Twin Snakes is an expanded and enhanced retelling of the 1998 classic that was originally released for the Nintendo GameCube. With smoother controls, better visuals, and vastly improved weapon aiming, this is a masterclass on how to polish up an older game for a new audience. It is, frankly, astonishing that it has yet to be ported to any other console.
Everybody knows that Spyro is better than Crash Bandicoot, and while the fuzzy orange critter may have been first to get the remake treatment, Spyro Reignited Trilogy proved definitively that the purple dragon’s gorgeous open level design, tight gameplay, and colourful characters have aged much better. In other words, the Spyro remakes didn’t contain any levels that made me want to kick my PS4 into the sun. I like that about it.
Vicarious Visions did such an incredible job reviving Crash Bandicoot for modern audiences that most of us knew long before we ever played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 - Remastered was in safe hands.
Exactly why Activision refers to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 - Remastered as a remaster when it’s quite clearly more of a full-on remake has always baffled me. Completely reworked visuals bring the skaters and levels to life like never before, while a faithful soundtrack, pleasingly tight gameplay, and all-new online features complete the experience. Naturally, Activision rewarded Vicarious Visions for its incredible work in the most sensible way: by merging the developer with Blizzard and ensuring it’ll never be able to make a remake again. Awesome move, Activision.
Insomniac Games never miss, so it’s no surprise that 2016’s Ratchet & Clank is a spot-on remake of the 2002 classic that started it all. The original game’s anarchic sense of humour and imaginative alien worlds are all present and correct, Insomniac’s talent merely amplified by best-in-class PS4 visuals that make the Ratchet’s wild arsenal more fun to use than ever before.
Mafia: Definitive Edition (Hangar 13, 2020)
While all three Mafia games received a lick of paint and some much-needed fixes in 2020, it was the original Mafia that most benefitted from a surprisingly robust overhaul. Completely rebuilt from the ground up with new performances, refined gameplay, and a city dripping in1930s atmosphere in a way the 2002 version of the game could never manage. This truly is the definitive way to play Mafia. Honestly, Rockstar Games should look at this remake and feel nothing but shame.
Featured Image Credit: Capcom/Sony/Activision/2K Games
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