Giving older video games a new coat of paint is one thing. But have there been any remakes that have significantly improved on the original in every way? Here are a few games that turned out better the second time around.
Remaking games is a tricky business. On the one hand, you don’t want to deviate too far from the original’s core design; but on the other, you do want to fix problems, update controls and make the game playable on completely different hardware. Sometimes it doesn’t work very well, and sometimes the people doing the updating merely scale up the graphics and call it a day. But occasionally, a remastered release improves upon the original and is a better game overall. Here are a few examples.
(Original: PlayStation – Remake: GameCube)
The original Resident Evil was released for the Playstation in 1996. It was fairly popular and can be given credit for codifying survival horror. But there’s no denying that the live-action cutscenes and dialogue will make the average person cringe so hard they pull half the muscles in their face.
The game was rereleased several times for different platforms and twice as a Director’s Cut before the remake was released for the Gamecube in 2002. While still not exactly Oscar-worthy, the voice-acting is much improved, and there are distinct new enemies along with more consistent environmental design.
Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
(Original: Amiga, Atari ST, CDTV, DOS, FM Towns, Mac OS, Sega CD – Remake: iOS, PC, Mac, PS3, Xbox 360)
One of the classic adventure games from LucasArts, The Secret of Monkey Island, and its first sequel LeChuck’s Revenge, are games that needed an update for preservation if nothing else.
Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition isn’t so much a new coat of paint as it is a complete reupholstering. There’s new hand-drawn artwork, new character models, voice acting from Curse of Monkey Island, and a new hint system. If, for some reason, you are overcome with nostalgia and need to see the original graphics, you can do so at the touch of a button.
Metro 2033: Redux
(Original: PC, Mac, Xbox 360 – Remake: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Based on a Russian novel (a description which should really be applied to more games, if you ask me), Metro 2033 was a dark, thrilling survival horror first-person shooter. While it was perfectly adequate by itself, it was outstripped visually by the engine of its sequel Last Light.
The Redux bundle, which also includes a slightly updated Last Light, is Metro: 2033 with the new engine. Redux also added a difficulty setting called “Spartan,” which relaxes the difficulty from 2033 to Last Light levels, along with a simplified setting for your light-detecting watch and an updated HUD.
Metroid Prime Trilogy
(Original: GameCube, Wii – Remake: Wii, Wii U)
The Metroid Prime trilogy took the world of Samus Aran into three dimensions. The first two games were released on the Gamecube, and the third on the Wii. The Trilogy, which was released for the Wii in 2009, packs all three games onto one disc.
All three games are now in widescreen and redone for Wii controls. These new controls make lock-on targeting easier and more precise. The unlocking system from Corruption was put into Prime and Echoes. Nintendo has also made sure that current-gen players don’t miss out either, as the Trilogy is now available for the Wii U on the Nintendo eShop.
Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered
(Original: PC – Remake: PC)
In 1998, up-and-coming game makers Her Interactive published Secrets Can Kill, the first game in their Nancy Drew series. The character models were cheap, two-dimensional animation in 3D environments; and the game was technically inefficient, running on two discs that often need to be swapped at the oddest moments.
For Nancy Drew‘s 80th anniversary, Her remastered Secrets Can Kill, making new character models and a whole new character, new puzzles that play on veterans’ knowledge of the original, and some new story threads that lead to an entirely different ending.
(Various Nintendo handhelds)
There have been remakes of almost every Pokémon game to date, with the exception of Black and White. I expect to hear about the Ebony and Ivory versions any day now, Nintendo.
Each remake has improved on the original through graphical updates and new content. FireRed and LeafGreen added new lands and a new experience system. HeartGold and SoulSilver added new Pokémon, battles, and sidequests. Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby put in all of the Pokémon currently catchable, Mega Evolutions, and Super Training from X and Y. That’s barely scratching the surface of what changes with every update.
Final Fantasy IV: DS Remake
(Original: SNES – Remake: Nintendo DS)
The fourth Final Fantasy has been rereleased so many times that I suspect the number of people who’ve played it on the Playstation, Game Boy Advance, and finally the Nintendo DS now outstrip the number who played it on the SNES.
The DS remake was released as part of the series’ 20th anniversary. In addition to the new 3D graphics, the remake includes voice acting, minigames, and sidequests. There’s also a New Game Plus mode that allows you to replay the game, taking on previously unseen bosses. This version was released for mobile devices and is currently available on Steam.
Are there any remastered games that you think improve on the originals? Let me know in the comments below!