The nostalgia culture is at an all-time high. On the left, right and in the middle we see how our favorite television shows, films, fashion trends and video games get the modern treatment when they come back to our lives after a little refreshment. New live-action versions of the most popular Disney films have hit the screens, our favorite cartoons like She-Ra have become household favorites again, and video games have received a major graphics update for the next generation to enjoy. But do we really need more remakes?
If you had a choice between a great childhood game that’s being remade or a brand new title you could enjoy – which one would you choose? When I asked the BGFG offices about the same topic, we all chose new titles over remakes – why are they so popular?
Game Remakes Vs. New games
In 2020 alone, a litany of game remakes hit the shelves, along with even more remasters and game sequels. In fact, one of the most anticipated games of the year was a remake of the classic JRPG Final Fantasy VII, which had been raised for years by enthusiastic fans. One of the best-selling games of the year was Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which, while not a remake, is an updated version of a long-popular game.
However, this does not mean that we have not been treated with some excellent new original titles. Games like Disco Elysium and Death Stranding introduced new play styles and genres and pushed themselves to the top of the game charts. So it wasn’t just about remakes.
It’s easy to understand why game developers love remakes – they know that there is already an audience for the game. But as Mike said at PCGuide: “Remakes are strange because they rely on the fact that they can improve an established favorite. If you change a game too much, the original fans will end up moaning instead of enjoying it”.
Sometimes the reason we love these games at all is easily lost when developers try to replicate this “magic” in a new format.
Best game remakes (and a terrible one)
Although the idea of game remakes can spark a serious debate, we cannot deny that we are still enjoying the good ones that hit our shelves. So let’s take a moment and look at some of the best game remakes and one terrible one that should never see the light of day.
Resident Evil 2
Original version: January 21, 1998 | Playstation
New version: January 25, 2019 | PC, PS4 and Xbox One
The Resident Evil games have always been at the forefront of the horror gaming genre, so redesigning them was a risky endeavor. But with the Resident Evil 2 remake, they really showed us how some game remakes can actually improve the original. By putting the camera angle over their shoulders in the remake, they contributed so much to the horror setting. They also updated the combat system and updated it more modernly to match the updated graphics. This must easily be one of the best game remakes in recent years.
Resident Evil 3
Original version: September 22, 1999 | Playstation
New version: April 3, 2020 | Xbox One, PC, PS4
I know, I know. Two Resident Evil games in one article. But come on, both are incredibly good remakes. With the Resident Evil 3 remake, they did a fantastic job of connecting it to the Res 2 Remake, helping to make these new games work together smoothly. They also removed the mechanics of the branching paths to highlight an optimized story arc. Both games really brought the series into the modern age and enabled those who don’t have access to the originals to really experience what made the games so scary at all.
Final Fantasy VII remake
Original version: January 31, 1997 | Playstation
New version: April 10, 2020 | Playstation 4
Of course, we couldn’t talk about game remakes, and we couldn’t mention the latest Final Fantasy VII remake. As a big fan of the original game, I was happy about this original E3 trailer, but then I started to worry that they’d screw it up. When I heard that they were using voice actors, I was worried – my classic Final Fantasy games never had VO. When I saw that they were using a new combat system, I was worried – I love the turn-based systems of the old days. But now that the game is here, I can see that I wasn’t worried about anything. They did a great job of redesigning a classic, yet still providing players with a whole host of new story elements to enjoy.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
Original version: November 5, 2007 | Playstation 3, PC, Mac, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii
New version: November 4, 2016 | Playstation 4, PC, Xbox One
This remake was far from perfect thanks to the changes in multiplayer, but we can’t deny that it should be on this list. Granted, this is more of a remaster than a direct remake, but it really is an incredible remaster. The subtle changes to some missions have helped improve the continuity between this and the Modern Warfare trilogy, an unnecessary but welcome change.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
Original version: Spyro the Dragon – 1998 | Playstation, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Fury – 1999 | Playstation, Spyro: Year of the Dragon – 2000 | Playstation
New version: November 13, 2018 | Xbox One, PC and PS4
For those of us who grew up on Playstation, Spyro was a common sight in our game libraries. With the Reignited Trilogy, however, he also branches to Xbox One and PC. This classic platform was reinterpreted in an original, yet innovative way. By rebuilding the whole thing in Unreal Engine 4, they really managed to bring Spyro up to date. They really do justice to all of their favorite kite dragons (sorry Barney).
Original version: 1997 | PC, DOS, Mac
New version: October 10, 2013 | Android, iOS
I promised you a terrible remake that should never have happened, and here we are. Dungeon Keeper was a great game. A tower defense game that puts you in the role of an evil tyrant rather than a brave hero. It was very popular when it came out in 1997. But then they redid it as a free mobile game. Why?! Without going into a 2000 word tirade of why I don’t like paywalls, the Remake Dungeon Keeper makes it almost impossible to play by forcing you to invest real money to get ahead.
Remakes will always be a hot topic of discussion – especially for gamers, but we love the chance to go back in time. if they do it right. But what about you? What are your favorite game remakes? Did we delete them from the list? Let us know in the comments below!