There are times when I see trends in the game industry and can’t help but question whether they’re a good or bad thing. One such trend that has been picking up in recent times is remasters and remakes of older video games. Is this trend a good one? With titles like Okami HD and Shadow of the Colossus receiving remasters and remakes, there’s no better time to discuss the topic.
What’s a remake and a remaster?
So, what’s up with remasters and remakes? Aren’t they the same thing? Well, not exactly. They both appeal to gamers for similar reasons but also have some differences.
A remake, on the other hand, is not just a visual overhaul. Remakes are usually the same game rebuilt from the ground up. There may be extra features or variations to the story or gameplay. There are also re-imagined games like Devil May Cry and Jet Set Radio Future, which are both takes on established games but with a different creative vision. These happen less frequently but are also intriguing. The second one (Jet Set Radio Future) can be debated as being a sequel, but if you’ve played the original it’s obvious that it’s leaning more towards a re-imagining.
One more time
Buying the same game more than once: I’ve been guilty of it many times, even when I tell myself I don’t need to get the same game again. Remastered games help bring back old games that you may have forgotten, and can even bring niche titles to the masses that may have missed it, giving them a second shot at success. Valkyria Chronicles comes to mind when I think about the latter. It was a great title that was released on the PS3 to critical acclaim, but hardly anyone bought or played it. By some miracle it was then again released on the PS4 as a remaster, and this brought it to a bigger audience. In turn, this bigger audience may have breathed new life into the underappreciated franchise, and this may well lead to possible sequels.
Let’s tweak it a little bit
Remakes can go one of two ways. They can be amazing and bring something new to the table, or they can mess up a classic IP leaving fans disgruntled. It seems that there are very polarizing opinions and that there’s rarely an in-between.
Rise from the grave
In talking about the subject of remakes and remasters I am reminded of games that never had the chance to flourish. These franchises have come and gone and stayed buried. They’re games that are dying for a second chance at life. I’m glad that Okami is getting another chance, and everyone needs to play it this time around. Some other cult classics have also been fortunate to have a second chance — games like Psychonauts, Beyond Good and Evil, and Torment. But what about some of Clover Studio’s other unsung games like God Hand or Viewtiful Joe? Aren’t they due for another chance at the limelight? I’m just spit-balling here, but how about a new Battletoads, Jet Set Radio, Grandia, Panzer Dragoon or Suikoden? If they revived the mediocre (I’m being nice here) Bubsy series, I’m sure they could look at some of the ones I’ve just mentioned.
Taking a risk
Remakes and remasters are a good thing in my book. As long as they don’t detract from developers coming out with new IPs or sequels, I’m all for them. I would much rather see a new installment to a series, but it’s also nice to go back to an old favorite if it has a fresh coat of paint. More than anything, I’m glad to see old games that never got the recognition they deserved having a second chance. That’s something I can definitely get behind.