By Bryan Smith on January 5, 2016 at 11:06am
Ok, last list that focuses on 2015. No better time to look back than January, right? So here is a list that you might not have expected. This one is going to be a Top 10 list for remakes and remasters. I believe we have come quite far enough to be able to make a list for games that have been made before and getting some new additions or tweaks.
Let's preface this list, shall we? There won't be any remasters where the original was released this year. Also, in order for a remake or remaster to get on this list, they either need to add a lot of content or fix a lot of the problems and/or be exceptionally great games getting ported to a new console. One of the most important things to keep in mind for this list is how much value you'd get for buying a particular remake or remaster.
10. "Mega Man Legacy Collection"
I think this may be the absolute bare minimum that you can do with a collection. You all do is put a collection of games, make them look a bit nice on your HD TV, throw in some leaderboard stuff and achievements, add a Challenge/Museum mode, and that's about it. I would also like to mention that most of these games are extremely old, with the first “Mega Man” being as old as consoles can get, and there are only 6 out of the 10 main “Mega Man” games, not including the “Wily Wars” nor “Mega Man & Bass.” This is a rather bare collection to be honest, whereas the collection for the GameCube at least has the eight games.
With that said, however, there's the fact that the emulation has been almost perfected, if not better than the original games when they debuted. If this collection has anything to boast, it's that the “Mega Man Legacy Collection” has better emulation than past collections. If you want to see the first 8-bit “Mega Man” games running as they should, this is a decent collection. Though knowing Capcom, they may pull another collection that actually has more games.
9. "Divinity: Original Sin: Enhanced Edition"
One of the games that I think may have slipped past me was “Divinity: Original Sin.” I heard fantastic things about this RPG, getting onto many Top 10 Lists (which I think missed my list from 2014... oops). So now there's an Enhanced Edition, which adds more content, game options, and was free for those who already bought it! Oh, and PlayStation 4/Xbox One got their own versions, so that's nice. Seeing that this is just an Enhanced Edition and not much else (and being from last year no less), it doesn't get too high on this list.
8. "Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition"
What, were you expecting “DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition” starring Twilight-Fanfiction Dante? Haha! No. I'm giving this entry to the special edition that actually adds something new to the original game: “Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition.” That, and I feel that giving more love to the original series will help send the message to Capcom that we want to see regular Dante more. It's working for the “Resident Evil” series so far.
Now while some of the backtracking is still a major problem, I think having new characters and play styles helps give people more to work with and experiment. Who do you want to play as the most? Dante? Nero? Vergil? Trish? Lady in her first playable status? I also think this entry is more of a test or laying out of foundations for a new game. We could see a new “Devil May Cry” game with these characters with their own things to do. That is something I want to see, rather than just backtracking to places we already been to. Though as it stands, this new special edition is pretty good with the new characters, seeing that most special re-releases don't really add much new anyways unless it's a remake.
7. "Tearaway Unfolded"
This one is similar to “Divinity: Original Sin,” though being a bit bigger on ambitions. As opposed to going from PC to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, “Tearaway” had to go from the technically inferior PlayStation Vita to the PlayStation 4. For the most part, this version of the game works and plays fantastically. The charm and whimsy of “Tearaway” is intact while offering PlayStation 4 users an excellent experience.
However, there's one draw. Intimacy. No, not like whatever you're thinking, you dirty minded readers. There was a certain level of intimacy while you held the Vita, as if you were getting to know the world with your own hands. I can agree to that, but... it's the Vita. I hate to say it, but that ship is quickly sinking when some of your hit games for the system such as “Tearaway” and “Gravity Rush” are coming to the PlayStation 4 anyways. At the very least the game can live on with the PlayStation 4.
6. "Gears of War Ultimate Edition"
I struggled to find a spot for this entry. While it is a borderline remake of the original “Gears of War” with new looking graphics that really aren't just HD upscaling and the PC DLC for the game, it retailed at $60. You may think that that isn't so bad- I get to have the first “Gears of War” on the Xbox One! Then you realize that you have backwards compatibility for all four “Gears of War” games, where you could probably find it for $5 used at GameStop (or maybe even less). Oops. If they really wanted something to blow fans away, they should have redid everything for all the “Gears of War” games like they did with the first one.
However, on that note, the upgraded visuals are pretty nice (save for a few shoddy water effects). The controls have also been refined quite a bit, while not being too far off from the original, the multiplayer is still fun as ever, the graphics are nicer, and there's some new content (old from the PC front) that Xbox 360 users didn't get to see yet. Now it's reduced in price- about $40 or so. If you want a nicer looking “Gears of War” while ignoring that the other two games probably won't get this treatment, I think it may be worth your time.
5. "Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection"
This goes back the to “Gears of War Ultimate Edition” thing, but in the opposite direction. We have three games that have been tweaked a bit so they can run on the PlayStation 4 for $60. While not adding much at all, that's three great games for the price of a brand new game, where “Gears of War Ultimate Edition” was one old game at full retail price. Yeah... I think it's safe to say which one has more bang for its buck.
Granted, the multiplayer isn't there for “The Nathan Drake Collection,” but the single-player stuff is the main meat of the content, where the multiplayer for “Gears of War” was basically the other half of its popularity. Having all of the main “Uncharted” games on one console is also a plus, making it feel complete (other than that one Vita game, but... semantics). The collection also should tide people over until “Uncharted 4” comes out.
4. "Rare Replay"
Probably the definition of “bang for your buck” for this year. We got 30 games for 30 bucks. Now that is something to be impressed about. It even has the best version of “Conker's Bad Fur Day!” Seeing that the original goes for $80 on Amazon and eBay, that alone is worth the purchase. There's also the first two “Banjo-Kazooie” games, “Perfect Dark,” “Jet Force Gemini,” “Battletoads,” “Killer Instinct Gold,” “Kameo,” a bunch of the ZX Spectrum games, and more.
I hate that some of these entries keep getting the “however.” But... however, “Rare Replay” is a painful reminder that Microsoft just doesn't know what to do with Rare. “Grabbed by the Ghoulies,” “Perfect Dark Zero,” and especially “Nuts & Bolts” are your reminders. There's even more painful reminders that there have been several cancelled games under Microsoft's wing, such as “Conker's Other Bad Day” (not mentioned in this collection) and “Kameo 2” (mentioned in this collection). That, and I think they should have went further beyond to add other entires or have a Nintendo version on the Wii U. But as it stands, it's a great collection of old games that made Rare great... even if we have the games that aren't so great.
3. "Resident Evil HD Remaster"
What I consider the best remake of any game of all time gets a HD port to current gen consoles (as of this writing) and PC. Need I say more? No really, I don't think I can really say more. They added HD graphics, an optional control scheme, a new costume for Jill and Chris, and achievements/leaderboards. Considering this sells for $20 (or $40 with “Resident Evil 0 HD” on the “Resident Evil Origins Collection” disc), that's a steal. I strongly recommend the game and only say wait until the “Origins Collection” comes out in January 2016 so you have a physical copy. If you don't need one, then go right for it digitally.
2. "Grim Fandango Remaster"
This was a major surprise to see brought back to the light of day. “Grim Fandango” was a cult classic and an extremely good game that sadly got forgotten by time (seems to be a thing for Tim Schafer). I heard many people wanting to see a remake of the game or to simply bring it back, seeing that the original is exceptionally hard to come by. Like... hundreds high for the original version. Now we have the remaster, which PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita users can experience! Or re-experience.
I think something that remastered games should have the option to switch between the new graphics and the old ones (unless there's a new engine that simply won't allow that or the game is too complex to do). This game does, as well with different control schemes that the HD version of “Resident Evil Remake” did (though without the graphics switch). As for the game itself, it still holds up phenomenally. The fact that adventure games of this caliber are coming back is great, as more diversity in games helps the genres stay fresh.
1. "The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D"
This is technically one of the only remakes of a game that I know of that was made in 2015 that goes by the “make better with some noticeable upgrades and differences” mentality. “Majora's Mask 3D” follows “Ocarina of Time 3D's” route (and engine) by making the game work on the Nintendo 3DS and adding new stuff and better controls. Things have been changed, such as a few positions of NPCs, item loadout, and design choices to make the game a lot smoother than the original N64 version. For the most part (save for a certain change to the Zora), the game is a better and more manageable experience.
While not as heavily requested remake as “Final Fantasy VII” or “Resident Evil 2,” seeing that it's on the 3DS and could have been much bigger on something like the Wii U, I think Nintendo made the right choice to giving one of the best “Legend of Zelda” titles more attention. The fact that Nintendo also went to make some gameplay changes for the better, in my book, makes this the best remake for 2015. That, and like I said, this is about the only remake that isn't just graphics being upscaled.
With that, this ends 2015. Here's to an excellent 2016! What remakes/remasters do you think were worth your time? Any I missed? Tell us what made your year special by playing something you liked before!