The 10 Best HD Remakes
Michael Plant is chief editor and writer of gaming ezine and blog GamesCatalyst.com, as well as editor of 'The Independent'’s games review printed in the Saturday supplement 'Information'. Established in February 2011, Games Catalyst endeavours to bring its unique brand of fact and satire to the videogaming community and, in tandem with 'The Independent', hopefully turn a few non-believers on to gaming while we’re at it.
Thursday 22 March 2012
There are plenty of HD remakes available right now, from long neglected twenty year old classics to last gen legends that needed a polish, but which ones are most deserving of your gaming budget? We take a look at ten of the best shiny new trips down nostalgia lane.
Ico/Shadow of the Colossus Collection (PS3)
These two games really defined the last generation of consoles. Strangely meditative, dealing with relationships and loss as much as monsters and action, Team Ico built two titles that broke the mould in almost every way. Ico with its quiet, puzzling platforming, and Shadow of the Colossus with its wide open spaces and gargantuan boss battles. Polished up and smoothed around the jagged edges, with 3D thrown in for good measure, they still put many modern games to shame. A brilliant collection of two of the most important games of the last ten years.
Beyond Good and Evil HD (XBLA/PSN)
Criminally ignored when it was first released, Beyond Good and Evil is an eco-conscious third person action adventure that casts you as plucky photographer Jade. Blending stealth, puzzles, a brilliant cast of supporting characters, including a cigar chomping pig called Pey’j, and an intriguing story that revolves around an alien invasion, the game garnered a fervent cult following. This downloadable HD release manages to retain the charm of the lo-fi original, whilst introducing a new console generation to Ubisoft’s under appreciated classic.
Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix (XBLA/PSN)
Instead of just tidying up the old sprites and putting a few more pixels in the background, Capcom went all out with their remix of the 16-bit arcade classic. Featuring all new character and backdrop artwork from Udon, the company behind a lot of the Street Fighter comics, the game also featured redone versions of the soundtrack, while offering the same brilliant 1-on-1 gameplay that made the original such a massive hit. A trip down memory lane has rarely looked, sounded, or played quite as good as this.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
Not technically in full HD, but Nintendo’s recent 3DS re-release of this seminal N64 adventure is still good enough to make it onto the list. The graphics look crisp and detailed, and the game uses the handheld’s 3D capabilities to great effect, modernising and reinvigorating itself in the process. The narrative and characters are still brilliantly drawn, and the experience is just as mesmerising as it ever was, but a shiny new look and brilliant use of the hardware make this version of The Ocarina of Time the definitive one.
God of War Collection (PS3)
Spread across two releases, the God of War collection brought four classic brawlers onto high definition screens for the first time. The first volume of the collection brings together Kratos’ first two, PS2 era adventures, whilst the second features his two PSP outings, all done up to current gen standards. The games are as brutal as they ever were, and look amazing. This is the perfect introduction to one of the best brawlers out there, and shows that videogames did violence just as well in previous generations as they do now.
Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition (XBLA/PSN/Steam/iOS)
The point and click adventure to end all other point and click adventures, Lucasarts’ legendary comedy pirate romp received a gorgeous lick of paint and a download only release. You can swap between the classic, pixelated look of the early nineties, and the gorgeous hi-def cartoon visuals whenever you want, and a new hint system makes the game easier than ever to get in to. If you’ve never played a point and click game before, then this is the place to start. It’s laugh out loud funny, fiendishly clever, and the perfect example of a genre that’s fallen by the wayside in recent years.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (Xbox 360/PS3)
A mammoth package of classic stealthy espionage action, the MGS HD Collection offers five games for the price of one. Alongside Hideo Kojima’s eighties originals, you can enjoy Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, all in gorgeous high definition. Peace Walker would be worth the price of admission alone, but this is a brilliant, nostalgic packaging together of one of the most important videogame series. It’s a shame that the original Metal Gear Solid isn’t included, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (Xbox 360)
Another title that lets you flip between the new polished graphics and the classic last gen style, Halo Anniversary is a beautiful updating of the game that made Microsoft’s original Xbox. It showcases the changes and strides forwards that FPS games have made in the ten years since its release, whilst also proving that the original has more than stood the test of time. A unique rhythm, and gorgeous graphics make your play through new yet eloquently reminiscent.
Final Fantasy IV (DS)
Another handheld title that’s not technically a ‘HD-ification’ but Final Fantasy IV on the DS still deserves special praise. Almost all of the game has been completely overhauled, with 16bit sprites replaced with gorgeous 3D graphics, and new, jaw dropping cut scenes. Whereas the other games on this list tend to celebrate the past, FFIV instead rewrites it, wringing out the original until all that’s left is the story and the characters. It’s a bold move, and one that pays off. Final Fantasy IV is a gorgeous reimagining, that fans of the series will lap up, and newcomers will find deliciously simple to pick up.
Resident Evil 4 HD (XBLA/PSN)
Resident Evil 4 reinvented survival horror, picking up countless game of the year awards and huge plaudits as it did. A taut blend of action and suspense, it rebuilt the Resident Evil template for a new generation. This HD, download-only version isn’t perhaps the smoothest of offerings, but it does allow you to relive Leon’s desperate attempts to rescue the president’s daughter. Violent and creepy in equal measures, and with a host of truly memorable creatures and abominations for you to slay, this is a title that demands to be played in its finest iteration.
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