5 Games That Deserve an HD Remake
HD ports or remakes are a double-edged sword.
Some gamers enjoy them, as they offer a chance to replay classics from a previous generation or finally try that one masterpiece game from some years ago they never got to play for whatever reason.
On the other hand, others complain that devs should focus on offering exciting new content and experiences. Remakes can also give gamers the impression that devs are afraid to take risks (which is a justifiable point), or that they’re only trying to stay relevant (or just make a quick buck) while working on new and mysterious projects.
BAD HD PORT/REMAKE: The Last of Us Remastered. THE GAME CAME OUT A YEAR AGO. Give us time to at least forget about it. Or maybe God of War? Sony Santa Monica originally released them for PS2. Then PS3. And now on the Vita. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a God of War Complete Collection on PS4 within the next year or two. That’s just overkill.
GOOD HD PORT/REMAKE: Perfect example – the Metro franchise. Deep Silver will be releasing, within the next few weeks, a compilation, titled Metro Redux, which will include both the original 2010 game Metro 2033 and its 2013 sequel, Metro Last Light. And not only will the games feature a fresh coat of HD paint, but all post-release DLC for both titles will be included for $50 (American)!
Another good point about remakes was brought up by Aubrey Norris, PR of Deep Silver, saying on Twitter that “doing a remake is a great way for production teams to get some experience using the new hardware.”
So, here are 5 games that I think deserve the HD remake treatment – and exposure to a new audience of gamers!
Original release: 2002-2006
What is it?: Initially supposed to be a 6(!) part game, Xenosaga was developed as a spin-off of PSOne’s Xenogears and had 3 of the originally 6 scheduled games released.
Set in the year 4767, Earth is gone and renamed Lost Jerusalem while mankind lives on other planets and artificial colonies. Galaxy Federation, which somewhat acts as a gouvernment, resides in the capital of it all: Fifth Jerusalem. Also science and paranormal has given birth to new species such as quasi-lifeforms, including androids, cyborgs, Gnosis, Realians, and U.R.T.V.
The game features a standard turn based-battle with a party of 3 members. It doesn’t have random encounters, as you can see the enemies and thus avoid most encounters. When in battle, attacks are assigned to different controller button. Xenosaga is also reknown to be a story-driven game with its 1 hour + long cutscenes. The story was also as confusing as any Final Fantasy title out there, but the character felt somewhat fresh and fun. KOS-MOS was the ultimate badass android.
Despite Namco Bandai wanting to continue the franchise, sadly, hopes of having and HD port of this incredible futuristic RPG looks pale. Back in 2007, Namco Bandai sold 80% of Monolith Software to Nintendo meaning it is now a first party developer for the house that birthed Mario.
Console of choice for porting: The dream scenario? Due to its very long cutscenes, the PS Vita would be perfect as you can put the console sleep at all times. PS4 shouldn’t ruled out to offer Cross play. Realistically speaking? Nintendo would be a fool to not jump on this bandwagon and re-release all 3 games in a single package for the Wii U. Lately, they seem to go after what any other publishers seems to be afraid of (i.e. Bayonetta 2, Devil’s Third), the Xenosaga franchise would be the ideal addition to their portfolio and a great way to attract more RPG gamers.
Original release: 2005
What is it?: Initially a part of the 4 games exclusive deal with Nintendo, Killer7 is one Suda51’s many weird yet interesting project. The story is centered around the true nature of US-Japan relations. The US fires 200 missiles at Japan before hiring the Killer7 to kill the head of the UN Party; Toru Fukushima. Players control a group of assassins called the Killer7 who tracks down various targets on behalf of the US government or for personal reasons. Enemies are infected with the Heaven Smile virus which turns them into zombie-like targets. They also have a single weakpoint which can one-hit kill them. This game features restricted movements (i.e. on rails) mixed with third person (when moving around) and first person (shooting) sequences.
Once the exclusivity deal with Nintendo was done, Killer7 then saw release on the PS2. And despite the quirky mechanics and intense story, the game received mixed reviews; with the Gamecube version being the superior one.
Console of choice for porting: Being an “on rails” game with a first/third person mechanic, the PS Vita would be the console of choice thanks to its front and back touchscreen for easier and more precise controls. Or due to getting more niche titles, the Wii U could also be a good choice.
Original release: 2002
What is it?: The story features Alexandra Roivas who investigates the mysterious murder of her grandfather. While snooping around her late grand-dad’s mansion, she comes across a book titled The Tome of Eternal Darkness, which leads her to experience the life of different figures across time. In order to solve the mystery, she needs, as various figures, to take down The Ancients; god-like creatures that apparently existed even before time.
The game featured a sanity meter which was measured by a green bar on-screen. As Alex encounters enemies and weird sh*t, the bar lowers and the game will start mindf*cking the player. Sometime weird and unusual things would happen in-game and reflect the character’s lost of grip on reality. Once the meter was empty, our young protagonist would suffer damage. Where it gets nuts is that some effect would make believe the player there were issues with his console; such as a Blue Screen of Death, weird noises or any other simulated errors from the TV or console.
Although mixed reviews, the game won Outstanding Achievement in Character or Story Development award at 6th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards; among others.
Console of choice for porting: Obviously, the Wii U or Nintendo 3DS would be perfect for this. As with either console features 2 screens, I’m convinced whoever has the opportunity to work on this port could manage to find new ways to mess with the player. Former Silicon Knights (the game’s developer) president, Denis Dyack left the studio to form Precursor Games. They launched 2 Kickstarter campaigns for a spiritual successor (first one being cancelled and another one launched later in the year) last year which failed short of its $750 000 goal with only $323,950.
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 1 and 2
Original release: 2004 in Japan, 2005 in the US and 2006 in Europe.
What is it?: Digital Devil Saga series is a standard turn based RPG title set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland called the Junkyard; where its constantly raining. There 6 different tribes, who all adhere to Hinduism as residents are reincarnated and can actually remember parts of their past lives. All 6 tribes are at war in order to reach Nirvana which sets stage for a pretty dark and gritty story.
Much like other SMT RPGs, the game features dungeon crawling and does require some level-grinding as some dungeon and hidden bosses can be brutal if not properly prepared.
Unlike other SMT titles, instead of summoning demons into battle, the game’s protagonist party transform into different demon shapes. Battle can also take place whilst in human form with guns, however the characters aren’t as powerful as in demon form.
Console of choice for porting: Despite being released on the PSN for PS3 earlier this year, an HD port of this game (as a whole package à la Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster) would be perfect for the Vita or even 3DS. Perfect to be played in quick bursts and also the fact that portable consoles can be put on Sleep mode, no need to find a Save point to stop playing. Gives new RPG fans get a different taste (with darker tones) of JRPG.
Resident Evil Outreak
Original release: 2003
What is it?: It was Capcom’s attempt at a online experience on the PS2. In early 2000’s, Sony released the Network adapter allowing online gaming for the PS2; through dial up or broadband. Outbreak featured cooperative gameplay and online multiplayer. The latter was not available for the PAL version of the game. This game was set during the same time period as Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. It also featured 8 ordinary people as characters. Unlike other RE titles, the protagonists weren’t trained soldiers, cops or anyone with firearms experience; just regular folks trying to survive in a zombie apocalypse.
Console of choice for porting: PS4/Xbox One/PC. Obviously, with the strides the gaming world made since 2003 with the online multiplayer, a HD port of Capcom’s Outbreak could be successful and the shot in the arm the Resident Evil franchise needs to be relevant again.
Although not a franchise in itself, an HD pack of EA Sports BIG games could give gaming sports fans something different to chew on. For those unaware, EA Sports Big was a brand name EA used to feature games with non-realistic and extreme gameplay. That brand was alive between 2000 and 2008 and released widly different titles such as NBA Street franchise, FIFA Street franchise, Def Jam Vendetta, SSX games, among others.
It would give sports gamers an alternative to the usual flavors of NFL, NBA or FIFA games. With the fighting genre somewhat more niche with games for tournaments, the Def Jam franchise could be an interesting way to spice up the genre. While racing gems like Shox and Freekstyle could be interesting alternative; especially with the latter due to the motorcross genre being very laking.