People mock this generation for having way too many “remakes” or “remasters”, but I am actually quite happy with them – with a condition. They present opportunities to enjoy old favorites again or even play an old fan-favorite for the first time when switching consoles. For the lazy in us they even provide the chance to play some game you have on an older console without the hassle of plugin it again, with modern day enhancements such as screen captures or trophies. But the true lure of this games is when they come with enhancements that range from extra features to entirely new looks. I recently played two very good examples of this kind of games.
Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age doesn’t rework the whole game that existed around a decade ago but instead focuses in polishing it with a coat of high definition paint, a wonderful orchestrated soundtrack, and slight gameplay tweaks. It’s a delight seeing this game in HD up from its former standard resolution during the days of the Playstation 2. The new job system changes things for western players who never got to enjoy the Japan-only Zodiac Age edition, keeping the experience fresh. This is a “remaster” that works. I understand others like Kingdom Hearts have provided similar experiences in current generation consoles, though I don’t have those titles (yet).
Crash Bandicoot – N’sane Trilogy takes things much further. A simple port of the PS1 games wouldn’t do. They completely “remade” the entire three original Crash Bandicoot games with current-generation graphics and music while keeping the gameplay almost intact. If you played these titles on their original releases then you would feel right at home here – it looks new, but under the hood is it the same game you remember. I had a great time reading forum/Reddit/twitter posts commenting on the difficulty of these games; most people isn’t accustomed to how hard these used to be, specially the first one where a couple of levels can be rage-inducing.
Nostalgia may play a big factor in remasters or remakes, and the fact that new consoles like the Playstation 4 do not support backwards compatibility is an open door for developers to sell this games again and maximize profits, but as long as these games aren’t just ports I am perfectly fine with them.
I am not against we getting more of these kind of games, as long as they’re done right: keeping as close as possible to the originals when it comes to gameplay while sprinkling them in HD seasoning to make them more visually appealing to today’s audiences and available technology. A game that comes to mind is the Secret of Mana remake, which I will definitely be getting. I do, however, dislike seeing games that change too much from what my memory remembers all for the sake of dazzling (i.e. the Final Fantasy VII Remake) – they then become something else, something unrecognizable.