In Defence of the HD Remake

By Brooker, 3 years ago
Much to no-one’s surprise, Sony have confirmed that we are soon to be treated to a super shiny and super pretty edition of The Last of Us (PS3) on PlayStation 4, and yet the mere hint of another remastered game seemed to send some people into fits of rage, accusing publishers and console companies of purposely withholding backwards compatibility to pad out their bottom line. While these accusations definitely have a little merit, I'm going to go ahead and start a fire of controversy:

I welcome them, and so should we all.

For many, convenience is a poor excuse, but let me enlighten you a little. Many gamers are in a position similar to my own: limited space, an other half that neither plays games nor understands the passion for them and general, "real life stuff" that turns the dream of a game room into just that, a dream. The two new consoles are set up in the primary television space, old consoles are mothballed and stored away. It's a story that plagues more than a few gamers.

This trend of remastered games began to hit home in 2009 when Sony released the first God of War (PS3) collection. Like many others, I jumped at the chance not just to play it again, but to refresh myself ready for the third installment which was soon to be released.

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I was blown away. Only a few years previously, I had played this collection and revisiting Kratos and his struggle against the Gods brought back all of the enjoyment I had the first time around with a fresh coat of paint. This was the beginning of a new time for games. The God of War Collection was a shining example of what we could look forward to in the future. It was a glimpse of how we were going to be playing our old favourites from here on in.

As this generation of consoles started to wind up and the previous gen began to wind down, the last few years seemed to fly by. Nostalgia began to set in as gamers were presented with a blur of brown shooters and attempts at fitting motion controls into everything. Those fond memories became much easier to relive as the list of old favourites to get PlayStation 3 releases grew. We were being handed the chance to go back to the worlds we loved once before and relive the fun, the excitement and sometimes the frustration of games that many had forgotten. Reliving my earlier years through HD classic releases of Devil May Cry HD and Zone of the Enders HD Collection was an amazing experience.


Classics like The ICO Collection that never hit my radar when they were first released (making me the point of ridicule in the queue outside of the Eurogamer Expo) could now be played in all that beautiful, highly-defined glory. As quick as Sony gave me the opportunity to download and play universally renowned classic series like http://www.truetrophies.com/Ratchet--Clank/trophies.htm and Jak & Daxter, I was looking for faster ways to give them my hard-earned cash.

Almost more than nostalgia, it's important to remember that these collections usually come with a budget price and include multiple games on a disc. For half of what you’re spending on your latest incarnation of Assassin’s Creed, you are getting two, sometimes three, games with a proven track record for quality. Furthermore, you are getting all of this without the need to set up another console, have another set of cables trailing across the floor, or take up another valuable plug socket behind the TV. With many of these games also having Vita ports, or the ability to play them remotely via the Vita, you can now enjoy these games in peace and quiet in the comfort of, errr, let’s say “the office”. That’s worth the price of admission alone.

This is not a new phenomenon though. Not by a long shot. Veterans and long-time gamers will remember Nintendo’s Super Mario All-Stars, an up-scaled rerelease of all the Super Mario Bros. games up to that point released onto the Super Nintendo, the Gameboy and later the Wii. I had a SNES, but my old console was sold to pay for it. This collection meant that I could keep playing my favourite games without the old console. It was a good thing then, it’s a good thing now.

But the elephant in the room, the turd in the punchbowl, is new generation remasters. Games we played last year are being sold to us again, usually close to full retail price in an attempt to pad out the catalogue of the new generation of machines. It’s a trend that began with Tomb Raider - Definitive Edition and it seems here to stay. But to write this off as simple wallet padding would be wrong. Tomb Raider's Definitive Edition is easily comparable to the PC version in looks and quality. It’s cleaner and prettier, the way the developer wanted it to be. An updated version of the Metro games was recently confirmed, with remastered versions of Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light coming to the PlayStation 4 giving some PlayStation players, myself included, their first opportunity to play 2033.

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I admit, The Last of Us Remastered leaves me cynical. It was a beautiful game when it was released and it felt next gen. It was the perfect game to usher out the PlayStation 3 and welcome the PS4, and releasing it to the newer console seems pointless... but it’s not. Put on a fresh coat of next generation paint, bundle in the DLC and you have not only the game that defined the last generation of consoles on this one, but all our fellow PlayStation 4 owners that jumped into Sony’s ship recently can play one of the greatest games ever made.

Love them or hate them, these HD classics and their new gen equivalent are here to stay. Of course they have their negatives and of course we're not blind to them, but who here wouldn't buy a super-duper shiny edition of the BioShock (PS3) Trilogy or a gigantic glittery edition of the Mass Effect trilogy? As long as we are given the chance to revisit old favourites without unearthing old consoles and fighting with our TVs to make them work we should be embracing these games. I know I will be.
Brooker
Written by Brooker
A thirty-something year old gamer with a nasty habit of swearing off games and franchises until a week before release. Then pre-orders them anyway. Also has delusions that one day, someone will take his writing about games or films seriously! Sadly, that's unlikely. it took three attempts and an editor just to write this bio!