Whilst the term "remake" may often draw revulsion when used in the context of the feature film or television show the immediate reaction when we receive an announcement that a video game is being remade for a different generation of consoles is generally one of elation. It's not difficult to understand the divide in opinion though, the immersive nature of video games tends to vastly differ from the passive viewing of other types of media. It's our interaction that forms and drives the narrative of video games, and good narratives have a huge amount of replay value.
Nostalgia plays a massive part too, and the best received remasters tend to be those that strike a certain chord with our childhoods. Such was the case earlier this year when Square Enix revealed the hair raising Final Fantasy VII remake trailer for the game that fans had been dreaming about for a very long time.
As it stands there's already been a slew of remakes for the newest generation of gaming consoles; The Last of Us Remastered, Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition, Halo: Master Chief Collection, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition, even Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee got a shiny remastering with the PSN offering up New ‘n’ Tasty.
Here's the rub though, all of the above, Abe's Oddysee excluded, are from the past decade, the majority from the last few years alone. Whilst it's nice to be able to play favourite games on the next-gen consoles, particularly for those who have traded in their Xbox 360s and PS3s for the newer models with their noticeable lack of backwards compatibility (well, on the PS4 anyway), it does seem a little premature to be cranking out remasters a mere two years after the original game.
Some of the remakes do add to the merits of the original and refine gameplay elements such as Grand Theft Auto V's PS4 and Xbox One exclusive first-person mode, whilst others like The Last of Us Remastered are largely the same as their predecessors, just with some added extra definition. Meanwhile over on the handheld 3DS system Nintendo have cranked the nostalgia level up massively in recent years with well crafted 3D remakes of the massively popular Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and this year's Majora's Mask.
But there's a wealth of other games from the 90s and 00s that we'd like to see appearing on the newest versions of the popular consoles, what about these classics?
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
I don't know about the rest of you, but Vice City is hands down my favourite iteration in the controversial Grand Theft Auto series. Released back in 2002, it was one of those games purchased by unsuspecting parents on request and opened up a massive cityscape (by 2002's standards anyway) containing enough sex and violence to destroy the innocence of any young player. And it was glorious. Not to mention the cheat codes (flying tank anyone?).
A few years ago we got a mobile version of the game in celebration of Vice City's tenth anniversary for iOS and Android, but 13 years down the line and with the success of Grand Theft Auto V on the next-gen consoles the time is ripe for a Vice City remastering.
In case you still need convincing this gorgeous version of Vice City rendered by a modder using the GTA V engine should do the trick. Look at that sunset. And Vice City with the option of first person? Who wouldn't want to play that?
A few years back we received the massively disappointing Silent Hill HD Collection, encompassing a Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 port for PS3 and Xbox 360. The HD Collection played at 720p and featured an alternate dub, but was massively criticised by fans for the numerous technical issues and aesthetic changes.
An HD remaster is supposed to improve upon the original, or at least translate them to a state viewable on an HD TV, but the Silent Hill HD Collection was a complete failure; clunky, ugly and massively disappointing it's widely held to be one of the worst remasters in the history of video games.
The first four Silent Hill games are still held to be masterpieces of the horror genre, but the last bunch of offerings for the PS3 and Xbox 360; Homecoming, Shattered Memories and Downpour were all pretty underwhelming. Following the devastating cancellation of what looked to become one of the best horror games ever produced, Silent Hills, fans are really losing faith in Konami's ability to keep the franchise alive (or is that just me?). A properly crafted HD remaster of any one of the originals would go a long way towards saving face here.
Ōkami, the 2006 Playstation 2 game, is one of those critically acclaimed games that seemed to pass under the radar at the time but has gone on to become cemented as one of the most gorgeously designed games in history.
We got an HD PSN port of Ōkami for the Playstation 3 a few years back as well as a Wii version, and the idea for a sequel was tossed around before being abandoned due to underwhelming sales figures. The PS4 and Xbox One have already proven that they play extremely well graphically with painted cell-shaded games the likes of Ether One and Child of Light, and a 1080p Ōkami remake (or even a sequel) might end up being one of the most beautiful gaming experiences for the new consoles.
Ōkami's aesethics draw heavily from Japanese art, a genre that has become increasingly popular in the West over the past decade or so with the growing interest in anime and Eastern media, so this might just be the right time for an Ōkami remake.
What child/young adult of the 90s isn't familiar with the Crash Bandicoot series? The original game was one of the best selling PlayStation games of all time and the titular bandicoot character has become firmly cemented in pop culture.
The uniquely styled platforming game received widespread praise for it's graphics when it released back in 1996; though upgrading the graphics to the hyper-realistic style that the majority of next-gen games aspire to wouldn't quite play well with the cartoony characters there's still scope for the incorporating elements of the fun and vivid visual design into a new game.
It's been critiqued for not aging well, but we're nearly 20 years down the line since the initial release now and a remake or reboot now would give the devs much more to play with within the Crash Bandicoot world. Original developers Naughty Dog have gone on to grander and more ambitious things nowadays, with the critically acclaimed The Last of Us and their Uncharted series (which just got a next-gen remake as Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection) and it doesn't look like they'd be interested in developing a remake sadly, but we remain hopeful.
System Shock 2
Regarded as a spiritual predecessor to the critically acclaimed BioShock series, System Shock 2 was Irrational Games' cult favourite survival horror shooter originally released for PC, Mac and Linux.
Regarded as highly influential upon the first-person shooter and horror genres as well as for its early traces of sandbox gameplay, System Shock 2 is often credited for being well ahead of its time. Unfortunately, like Ōkami, the game received very positive reviews but failed to quite live up to sales expectations, squashing fan's hopes for a sequel.
But the massive success of the BioShock series and the cult following that still exists around System Shock 2 means that there's definitely a market there, especially as its doubtful we're going to see BioShock 4 anytime soon. However the closure of Irrational Games throws a spanner into the works, as does the history of debate over who owns the IP rights to the franchise. We can always dream though...
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