If you’re like me you’ve noticed that a lot of games are coming out with remakes and HD updates and “Definitive Editions”. I, as a serious gamer with limited funds, have an issue with this and if you read on you can discover exactly what those issues are.
The first major issue is that it is causing an oversaturation of the same game. For example, The Last of Us. They released the game on PS3 and it was one hell of a game. Then, not even a year later, they released it on PS4 with the DLC included and slightly improved graphics. So now I have to wonder if it’s worth spending another $60 on a game I beat multiple times just because it’s prettier and has some “additional content”. It’s hard to judge if it’s really worth the hassle of getting an upgraded version just because it looks mildly better. This, of course, only has to do with games that were released on last-gen and are being re-released on new-gen consoles, but is still really annoying.
As stated in the previous section most HD remakes of already recently released games seem to add content. This, I assume, is to give players a reason to have two copies of the same game in their collection. For most games this amounts to a few added items or very minor exclusive mission. So again when they announce the additional content for a game that I thoroughly enjoyed the first time through on my old console I have to wonder if I’m missing out on something awesome if I don’t buy it a second time on the new platform. This goes for definitive editions as well. I’m all for companies being competitive but I hate that if I don’t play such and such on the PS4 then I’m missing out on an hour of extra content or whatever the definitive edition or remake has that the PS3 version doesn’t. It’s just mean developers and you should really stop.
Old Games Made New
The thing that is inherently awesome about old games, in my opinion, is that the controls are generally horrid in comparison to newer titles. But don’t those controls add to the nostalgia? The reason we play most old games is more for the great memories they bring from the first time we played through as opposed to the game being able to hold up to modern standards. Sure there are some games that stand the test of time, but more often than not, they don’t. I’ve gone back and played countless games from my childhood, the era of Sega Genisis and N64, and most are just bad games by today’s standards. But I enjoy playing them almost primarily because of that unpolishedness that is inherent in most old games. A lot of remakes that come out now that are of old games adjust the cameras or change controls around and I think that takes away from the experience of playing through a game from your childhood that you remember was really hard to master because of the controls but made you feel like a badass when you were the first of your friends to do so. Sure it’s nice that they look better and play better but it so detracts from that memory of decimating your friends high scores because you learned the nuances of the controls before they did.
Most games that are HD remakes or Definitive Editions should just stay where they belong, on the old consoles of yester-year and if you missed out then buy that old console and find that old game and play it the way it was meant to be played. Even brand new games like Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, and Diablo 3 have definitive editions because the companies wanted to sell more copies on the new consoles and I think that it is just greedy and bad business by adding content you can’t get just because you haven’t spent $500 on a new-gen console but you bought the $60 game on the last-gen.
The only exception to the rule, and where other industry professionals should learn from, is Grand Theft Auto 5. Rockstar did an HD Remake/Definitive Edition right. Yes, they upped the graphics and added a few guns and vehicles and music tracks that you can only find on new-gen consoles(and eventually PC) but they also added an entire new way to play, first-person. This, my dear readers, is something that all HD remakes need in order to not just be a ploy to grab a few more million from a great game. By going in and adding so much detail that you add in an entirely new way to experience the world of Los Santos Rockstar made GTA V feel like a completely different game. It isn’t just something they threw in at the last minute either, they worked hard to make sure that it felt right and worked well. It has its issues, being initially made for third-person gameplay, but the options they added to auto-switch in those instances where first-person doesn’t work is genius. If more HD remakes/Definitive Editions were like GTA V I wouldn’t have any qualms about buying a game a second time. As is though, GTA V remains the only one I feel is truly worth a second buy.
Unless you’re going to add in essentially an entirely new way to play or a new story, keep the game on the platform it was released on. In my opinion no game that has been remade is really worth it unless certain components, like multiplayer in AoE 2, are completely impossible to play on the platform it was released on. The only other way is if you do like Rockstar and make it feel like a completely different and better experience than the older versions. Don’t release an HD remake just to make a few extra bucks from those desperate to experience the nostalgia if you have no intention of improving anything but the graphics. The gameplay should be improved in such a way that it either feels entirely new, if the game is already fairly modern, or feel exactly as you remember, if the game is more than five years old.
If companies keep remaking games that came out the year before I can wait a year until it’s been remastered and additional content has been added. I sincerely hope that this doesn’t grow into a trend and is merely because the new-gen is in its infancy. Hopefully 2015 will be filled with far fewer remastered and HD remade games that were already in HD.