You’ll never forget the first time you played them. Maybe you were a child playing past your bedtime, or a seasoned pro testing your skill on the battlefield. Whatever the occasion, some games can change your world.
Well, nowadays, we’re truly going back to the future. With updated hardware technology, graphics, and game design, there has been a resurgence of the classics you know and love being remastered for new audiences. Outdated graphics are no longer an excuse, so why not play the following games and get lost in the world of yesteryear!
10. Grim Fandango Remastered
If you haven’t heard of Grim Fandango by now, it’s your own fault. First released in 1998, Grim Fandango is a noir adventure story split up into four chapters, each taking place a year apart. Throughout the game, you’ll play as the main character—Manuel “Manny” Calavera—wandering around Grim Fandango’s instantly classic city setting.
Grim Fandango ain’t no joke, and that’s why it’s held up (and is as acclaimed as its been) for so long. Whereas other adventure games grant you the same play styles and arcs, providing meaningless quest after meaningless quest, the point of Grim Fandango is to ingrain you in both the characters and the universe.
In short: the game mechanics are simple, but the game itself is hard as nails.
There’s a dual layer to everything the game has to offer. It’s not enough to give players a puzzle if it doesn’t further the plot as well. It’s not enough to provide players information using cut scenes: turn the noir dial to an 11 instead and you get a Casablanca-inspired comic interplay with characters you’ve just met but already love.
All in all, do yourself a favor and play the remastered version of Grim Fandango. You won’t regret it, and even if you have played it before, you still won’t regret it.
9. Dark Souls Remastered
The release of the original Dark Souls became a force in the gaming community. While a similar game of a reputable franchise, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, was being released the same year, Dark Souls did to the action genre was most would have considered impossible: ingrain a quasi-open world action game with arcade level difficulty.
One could even say Dark Souls awakened the sadistic game play trend of punishing and crushing the average gamer with its difficult (and almost impossible) bosses. What most don’t mention, however, is the beautifully dark environment and rugged terrain which perfectly complimented the gameplay.
That’s what catapulted the Dark Souls franchise from a frustrating action adventure to one of the most notable and recognized gaming franchises of today, and the love-hate relationship continues on with the newly remastered Dark Souls.
8. Final Fantasy VII Re-Release
If you haven’t had the fighting theme song from FFVII trapped in your head for years, I pity you. One of the truly great installments of the series, Final Fantasy VII follows Cloud and his hilarious, lovable compatriots as they wage war against the vile Shinra Inc.
While this game may seem typical now, it was a redefining moment in RPG gaming. Its sheer popularity was enough to shock the gaming industry at the time.
That’s without mentioning the now legendary play style, soundtrack, and environment gamers have come to know and love from Final Fantasy. Additionally, with Steam’s latest revamping of FFVII, you get modern integrations to the instant classic like achievements, cloud saves, and bug fixes.
7. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
Give me a second to catch my breath. You have to when talking about such legendary franchises as The Legend of Zelda, and especially when discussing as strange a look as Wind Waker possesses.
The cartoonish art style was enough to give Wind Waker a go on its initial release. With the release of Wind Waker’s HD version, Nintendo pulls off all the right moves.
Higher resolution capabilities, an alternative lighting engine, and other graphical modifications will make you forget this seemingly fresh Zelda game was 10 years apart from its initial release. If you didn’t learn to adore Wind Waker huddled up to a Gamecube on a rainy day when you were young, you have no excuse now.
Get It Now: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for Wii U
6. The Last of Us Remastered
It’s hard to remember a time before The Last of Us. A game as beautiful in its gameplay as it is in its story line, The Last of Us was released to critical acclaim and has maintained its spot as a pinnacle in gaming history.
Besides the obvious enhancements to in-game textures and terrains, the remastered version of The Last of Us also includes the gigantic benefit of 60 FPS gameplay. Which means smoother shooting, a smoother environment, and smoother stealth in-game. Oh, and there’s an all new Photo Mode to capture all the pretty/gritty goodness of The Last of Us’s post-apocalyptic United States.
Why am I still writing? It’s a better looking version of an already fantastic, sincerely impressive game.
Get It Now: The Last of Us Remastered for PS4
5. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
Yes, games look better when re-released at a higher definition. That’s only one part, though, of what makes these re-releases so exciting. It’s about reliving a complete experience, while also granting newer generations a chance at that same splendor. Twilight Princess HD does just that.
The higher quality textures throughout the game do, in fact, make the game feel newer. A fantastic game in its own right, the added graphics and new controller scheme modernize a past classic.
While the overall graphics don’t provide players a realistic environment—as the game doesn’t exactly utilize modern shader graphics—those who played the original Twilight Princess will find the HD version does provide just enough pep to enjoy it anew.
Get It Now: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for Wii U
4. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
You can’t talk about remastered video games without talking about the new Skyrim Special Edition. Released five years after the very successful original Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim release, Skyrim Special Edition was a long overdue graphical update for fans of and newcomers to (if there’s such a thing) Skyrim.
The allure of the Skyrim Special Edition release should fall largely on console players looking to immerse themselves in a redeveloped version of an already familiar game. While the original packed more than enough characters, factions, zones, quests, monsters, demons, spells, and so on, into its frame, it lacked the one thing console players often wish more of: mods.
Most PC gamers tailored their games with better graphics, texture packs, and weather settings before the release of the Special Edition so the official graphical updates didn’t much compare to those already available.
The best thing about this update, however, isn’t graphical. It’s technical. Skyrim Special Edition is a 64-bit game, meaning most in-game aspects—both official and modded—run better, faster, and with less glitches. Better yet, if you owned Skyrim and its expansions before the release of the Special Edition on Steam, you were upgraded for free!
3. Bioshock: The Collection
Bioshock leaves such an impact when first played, it’s hard to think it can be enhanced in any way. But that’s exactly what Bioshock: The Collection does. With new textures, lighting, combat advancements, and additional commentary, Bioshock: The Collection is a staple for gaming fans everywhere.
For gaming history junkies or game design aficionados, there’s also an additional virtual museum in the first Bioshock where you can view all the cutting room floor material created for the game.
What more is there to say: it’s the same incredible environment, storyline, DLC content, and gameplay, but with higher resolution and better graphics. Besides, if you already own Bioshock 1 and 2 on Steam, you automatically get the upgraded version for free. Get this now!
2. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
Uncharted is one of those games that lives up to its name: the game will place you in waters you didn’t know existed. If only it could be remastered, right? One of the absolute best action adventure games to date, the Uncharted trilogy’s remastered release, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, was well worth the wait.
The Nathan Drake Collection grants players new versions of Uncharted 1, 2, and 3 complete with enhanced graphics, textures, and 60 FPS gameplay. So if you haven’t already replayed the Uncharted series, which is hard to believe, there’s no better offer than this fantastic collection.
Get It Now: Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection for PS4
1. Okami HD
Okami is a masterpiece, just a rather strange one. And its hype only makes sense once you’ve played the game. One of the oldest games on this list, the fact that Okami has maintained enough of its popularity to warrant a re-release this late in its career is impressive enough.
Okami deserves the HD release. Its watercolor art style certainly benefits from the whopping 4K resolution capability, and very little from the original has (thankfully) been altered to ensure an original experience.
Unfortunately, Okami only runs on 30 FPS. That said, its cinematic art style does wonders with these settings. You officially have no excuse not to play Okami.
Relive, Replay, Remaster
Some argue remastered releases are simply ways for companies to squeeze a little extra juice out of a previous release. And there’s some truth in that. However, there’s also little doubt that re-releases can also breathe new life into classic video games.
If any of the games listed above brought back memories, consider the above. It’s never too late to relive and replay these remasters. And if you have you played all of the game in your Steam library check out our list of the best alternatives to your favorite games!