The last generation of gaming was absolutely rife with companies squeezing our wallets dry. They did this by re-releasing their older stock of games, nourishing themselves from our innate love for nostalgia. There were plenty of blunders when it came to video game remakes. Thankfully, companies in the last year or two have really started delivering on their original ideals of creating fantastic games for us to enjoy. Behind us (hopefully) are the days where we simply get an upscaling on a game, with a full cost asking price slapped onto the cover.
The market is currently swimming in amazing takes on remakes, remasters, re-imaginings, up levels, ‘legendary’ editions, and all-out recreated renditions of our beloved games from all hosts of gaming generations. So here is a quick dive into the games we believe rise above the rest of them.
Surprise, surprise, I’m back again to talk about my love for Mass Effect and its remaster - Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. There’s not much I can say that I haven’t written already. I’ve praised it since its announcement, mentioned it in almost every news article I’ve written. I even reviewed it for crying out loud. Why I haven’t been blocked on the Zatu Videogame Chat is beyond me.
But the game deserves every bit of praise it can get, especially the remaster. Not only does the remaster feature the usual graphical enhancements (which are stunning) and smoother controls. But BioWare went back and updated the combat system in Mass Effect 1 to better match those of its sequels. Making it much more accessible to newcomers. But it also allows veterans of the series to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Shepard won’t randomly stand up from cover and take a laser to the face.
Some remasters can feel like a quick cash grab, but Mass Effect: Legendary Edition feels like a labour of love. BioWare has gone above and beyond to give fans new and old the absolute and definitive Mass Effect experience in this three-game package. It certainly doesn’t disappoint.
As everyone here at Zatu is aware, I am a massive Nier lover. I love everything about the world in which Yoko Taro has sculped with his immaculate vision. The man is an absolute legend, and even somewhat of a myth. Nobody in the public even knows what he looks like, as he is always seen with the series’ iconic Emil’s head on his, well, head.
When news first hit about a remaster of the original Nier game, a game that I poured so many hours into, I turned my fangirling up to 11 and squealed for hours. Nobody but me seemed to have played the original back in the day, as it was released in a time rife with RPGs. So, I was excited for it to be played by more people, so I could finally, FINALLY talk about how amazing the game is with people.
Replicant is of course an enhanced version of the original. This brings the usual visual and audio improvements, but they went above and beyond what they needed to for this game. Bringing back almost all of the original voice actors, giving all NPCs actual dialogue instead of chunks of text, and adding in extra content was just the edible glitter, on the glazed syrup, on the cherry on the cake for me. Chef’s kiss.
I love a good remake; it tops a remaster every time. And in the last few years, developers realised the fans love their nostalgia. They realised that fnas want to relive them with today’s technology. It can be a reimagining or even a total recreation, but with the same core story to tie it together. My favourite of the nostalgia-driven AAA game remakes? Resident Evil 2 Remake. No competition in there for me! I eat, sleep, and breathe survival horror, and Resident Evil was my supplier.
Ignoring the obvious visual changes, which are stunning, the remake also puts some new elements into the game for both ease and to keep it spicy. Leon and Claire run their individual stories and cross paths in predetermined ways without hindering the other’s progress. Some of the weaker areas of the original have also been overhauled and others added in. I felt the sewer area was weak in the original but is now one of the most treacherous and scary areas. Also, the random moth boss fight is gone entirely. However, the game takes no prisoners with difficulty and emphasises the survival element in survival horror. The hideous monstrosities that will hunt you down are both petrifying and gruesomely gorgeous.
What Resident Evil 2 Remake does best is it instils that “first time playing” fear. You know what I mean: being cautious of doors, burning time to avoid a spooky area, never being ready for that sudden terrifying event. I know the original story like the back of my hand – I’ve played it so much the original CD no longer works – but this remake still managed to surprise me! However, the biggest and scariest thing is literally the biggest and scariest thing. Mr X. He’s relentless, fast and persistent… and he’s always on the prowl!
You expect there to be some rules in place for safe rooms and them being safe, but the biggest fear factor in this one is hearing his footsteps booming throughout the police station as he edges closer and closer. It builds an ominous impending doom sort of feel with ease and forces you to question your safety. Kudos to Capcom on this one, as it gave this fan the nostalgia trip he needed.
My first gaming love was Final Fantasy VII back in the original PlayStation days. I was instantly enthralled. The wonderful cast of iconic characters, locations, set pieces and glorious (for the time) full-motion video (FMV) cutscenes blew my mind. Even now I play it annually.
So, news of a remaster blew my mind. It was a long time coming from its initial announcement. The Final Fantasy VII: Remake finally hit shelves on April 10th 2020. Being directed by Tetsuya Nomura, who also directed the Kingdom Hearts series, it was never going to be a straight remaster. What we have is an absolutely gorgeous looking RPG that simultaneously respects the original story while also carving out its own path and narrative.
Cloud and the gang have never looked better. The battle system is similar to Final Fantasy XV’s but has been built on and perfected. Although the option for the old-school turn-based system is also available. Sephiroth is even more menacing, Aeris is even more focused and Cloud is even more emo. And with it soon arriving on PlayStation 5 it’ll be even more beautiful than before! Personally, I can’t wait for the next instalment.
Boy oh boy was I pumped for the remake of these 2 legends. So much of my gaming life as a youth was dedicated to replaying my favourite levels in the Tony Hawk’s series. Forever trying to beat my own insane combos. I loved the series that much, that I owned all of them. I was THE KING of combos back in the day. It wasn’t until I took the remakes online, however, that I learned that my self-appointed title, was going to be left in the dust of youth.
These games have been expertly remade. To the point where the original game code was used in the development of the remakes. This ensured that every ramp, every rail, every damn unmoveable trash can has remained in the exact same place as in the originals. This gives the game such an impressive immersivity that it really does bring that nostalgia kick(flip) that we all crave.
With an updated playlist that feels true to the times of the original, playing as the original skaters as they are today and a host of new skaters that will no doubt push the series’ revival to new heights; this game is not to be missed for fans of the old games.
And there we have it. Some of our favourite video game remakes and remasters from the last few years. Hopefully, these games are nothing but trendsetters for more, greater, better, and downright nostalgia-inducing games in the future!