Table of Contents
- Brings new life to a classic
- A way to replay the game in a fresh paint and/or perspective
- Not everything is perfect
Why video game remasters and remakes are awesome
There is a popular trend going on around right now in the video game industry where old games (either a previous iteration or a stale series/franchise) are picked up once again and become modernized in sorts of ways. Currently, the approach is categorized into two techniques:
The remake approach where the old game obtains updated mechanics to be in-line with the more recent titles along with updated visuals and sounds. For example, Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes has now adopted to be 3rd person shooter, a mechanic that was introduced in Resident Evil 4. Originally Resident Evil had fixed camera, and tank controls.
Fixed camera, as the name suggests, the camera angle of a specific area is already predetermined and cannot be moved. While tank controls is a type of design in player control where players control movement relative to the character's position rather than the perspective of the camera. These design patterns were used before as a means to deliver a game out of a system limitation.
Although clever approach to solve a hardware problem at the time, one must admit that for newer players, there is a certain degree of learning curve one must learn to be able to play the game under this design in-contrast with the 3rd person perspective.
Some fans hate the 3rd person and wants the game to go back to its roots while some prefer to embrace the new change, eitherway, its a matter of perspective preferences. Where I personally prefer the 3rd person perspective over the other.
Resident Evil 3 Remake on the top and the original on the bottom
The other one is the remastered approach, where the old game still retains its core gameplay mechanic while obtaining a set of enhancements. Mostly done to make the game run on newer hardware but some added quality of life improvements while some also gets updated visuals and sounds too.
For example, Diablo 2 Resurrected is essentially the Diablo II and Lord of Destruction expansion combined into one. For more part is the same game aside from the updated visuals and sounds and now some improvements such as crossplay, gamepad support and shared storages where items can be shared to other characters compare to the original where mules (throwaway characters) are used to share items across different characters.
Diablo 2 Resurrected on the top, original on the bottom
Resident Evil and Diablo are not the only franchises that received this treatment. Other examples include: Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Mana series (Trials of Mana is a remake of a Japan exclusive while Secret of Mana is a 3d remake while Legend of Mana is a remaster), Other Blizzard games (Starcraft 1 and Warcraft 3) and etc.
Essentially, both remakes and remasters are an enhanced form of re-releases for older game projects. Although it became more popular these recent times, remakes and remasters are nothing new. Infact it has been a practice since the early 80s and 90s, Example include Super Mario Allstars from the SNES where older Super Mario games (Mario 1, 2 and 3) are remastered with updated visual and sounds to showcase SNES capabilities, and Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride a PS2 game that is a 3d remake of Dragon Quest V from the SNES.
So why do video game companies do it, why do gamers pick it and why do fans love it? Let us discuss below:
Brings new life to a classic
Unlike a re-release, where it is the same game just running on a more modern or newer hardware. Remasters and remakes help bring life and gain traction to new players alike with the quality of life improvements, updated visuals and sound and or story parity/retcon to align with the newer iteration of a franchise.
For example I have a friend who I wanted to invite to play Diablo II with me ever since but cannot because he is not interested with the old pixelated graphics. When resurrected came out, I was able to easily convince him to play Diablo II with me because of the updated visuals.
Including me, I have a few friends dedicated on playing in Diablo II for all these years that tried Resurrected and can no longer go back because they got so used to the remastered graphics. Same case as well with a few of my Starcraft I friends. This is because the graphics are like higher detailed versions of the original and going back is just a disservice to them, like, trying to watch a 1080p video and then rewatch the same video in 480p
A way to replay the game in a fresh paint and/or perspective
For fans of the original, its a way to revisit the game with a different experience in mind. For example, when I first played Trials of Mana, I was super excited because for the longest time, the only way to play the game was via emulation and unofficial translated ROMs but then I thanks to the remake, I was able to enjoy the same story with an update, fun yet modern mechanics of platforming and combat.
Trials of Mana remake on the top, the original on the bottom
When I tried the remastered version of Duck Tales, even though I already know most of the secrets, it made me feel like how I felt when I was a kid playing the game that was base on the cartoon. But this time it feels more authentic because the graphics really does look onpar with the cartoons which is awesome.
Ducktales remastered on the top, the original on the bottom
So yes, being able to replay these games in a new experience yet being familiar is something that is englamouring for many gamers. There is just something to it that kinda feels magical in a way where it brings out that joy that you had when you first played and enjoyed the game yet it being a modern rendition of an old stuff you once enjoy.
Not everything is perfect
A proper remaster or remake can bring up the joy that old fans once have but not every remaster or remake can pull it off properly. For example, I had played Fable Anniversary before and although the remastered visuals do look great compare to the original, there is just something off/odd about it that I cannot get off. Although honestly it is still a great remaster
Another one, and this one is a better example, is XIII. Incase you are not aware, XIII was one of those quirky games back in the PS2 era known for its comic-styled cutscenes and timeless cell shaded graphics. Unfortunately the 2021 version (remastered) is a failure of sorts.
For starters, they replace the comic-styled cutscenes with generic looking cutscenes. The models of the remastered are certainly better but the cell-shaded style is mostly gone, which is crazy, considering that was one of the things the fans loved about the game. In other words, the game lost its identity. Then the final nail in the coffin are the performance issues
There are plenty of other examples, like the botched Warcraft 3 Reforged and Silent Hill HD Collection. So no, it does not mean that Game remakes/remasters = safe success. If the teams working on it does not understand what made the game successful, then it is bound to fail.
The reason why game remasters and remakes are awesome is because it has the potential to revive (either out of sheer nostalgia or updates) the interest that a fan has which is a completely different feeling with trying out and loving a new game that just came out or tried.
It is like falling in love again with something that you already fell in love for and I am sure I am not the only one with this sentiment. Millions of gamers across the globe that have enjoyed the remakes and remasters will probably say the same thing.