Remake Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Remake RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Square Enix Announces Dragon Quest 3 HD 2D Remake https://www.gameskinny.com/d6mgt/square-enix-announces-dragon-quest-3-hd-2d-remake https://www.gameskinny.com/d6mgt/square-enix-announces-dragon-quest-3-hd-2d-remake Thu, 27 May 2021 10:58:23 -0400 Josh Broadwell

During the Dragon Quest 35th anniversary event, Square Enix announced a Dragon Quest 3 remake, but it's not just any old remake. It's Dragon Quest 3 HD 2D, building the game in the same art style Square Enix used for Octopath Traveler.

Dragon Quest 3 remake doesn't have a release date at this point. However, series creator Yuji Horii said it will be a simultaneous worldwide release when it does launch. No platforms were mentioned either.

Horii couldn't share much more about the game, but he did mention he's interested in potentially revisiting the first two Dragon Quest games in a similar style. When the event emcee quizzed him further on that, a Square Enix official quickly blew the whistle for silence.

That was likely as much part of the show as it was potentially keeping Horii from saying too much, but either way, we could potentially see a Dragon Quest remake and Dragon Quest 2 remake. For now, we'll just have to content ourselves with what we called "one of the series' finest titles" when it was re-released for modern consoles in 2019.

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Mafia Trilogy Officially Announced, Two Games Out Now https://www.gameskinny.com/omk4d/mafia-trilogy-officially-announced-two-games-out-now https://www.gameskinny.com/omk4d/mafia-trilogy-officially-announced-two-games-out-now Tue, 19 May 2020 14:18:39 -0400 Daniel Hollis

After weeks of teasing on the official Mafia Twitter page, the Mafia Trilogy has finally been unveiled with definitive versions of Mafia 2 and Mafia 3 out today.

Mafia 2: Definitive Edition marks the first time the game has appeared on current-generation systems and brings with it new HD visuals and all post-release DLC. Mafia 3: Definitive Edition, on the other hand, remains the same as the original game released three years ago, but it's now bundled with all the DLC released up until this point.

Mafia: Definitive Edition is set to be a complete remake of the original game from the ground-up. It's currently pegged for release on August 28, and you can see the reveal trailer below:

You can pick up the Mafia Trilogy digitally now, granting you immediate access to Mafia 2: Definitive Edition and Mafia 3: Definitive Edition, with access to Mafia: Definitive Edition on August 28. The trilogy will set you back $59.99 digitally.

You can wait for a physical release to coincide with the Mafia: Definitive Edition release, though the physical release is only planned for select EMEA region territories at this point. 

Alternatively, you can pick up separate digital versions of Mafia 2: DE and Mafia 3: DE for $29.99 each. Mafia: DE will retail for $39.99 when it releases. 

You can see our review of Mafia 3 here, where we said it was both controversial and gripping. Be sure to keep an eye on GameSkinny for all Mafia related news as it comes in!

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Spyro Reignited Trilogy Coming This September https://www.gameskinny.com/p7zo8/spyro-reignited-trilogy-coming-this-september https://www.gameskinny.com/p7zo8/spyro-reignited-trilogy-coming-this-september Thu, 05 Apr 2018 16:59:31 -0400 Zach Hunt

Turns out all those rumors about everybody's favorite purple dragon getting a remaster were true: Activision announced today that the original three Spyro the Dragon games are getting full HD remakes just in time for the series' 20th anniversary this fall.

Set to release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 21 at a suggested retail price of $39.99, Spyro Reignited Trilogy will include Spyro the Dragon (1998), Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! (1999), and Spyro: Year of the Dragon (2000). From the looks of the reveal trailer above, former Skylanders developer Toys for Bob has completely overhauled the visuals of the original PS1 trilogy, bringing the beloved little scorcher fully into the 21st century alongside fellow mascot Crash Bandicoot (who himself recently enjoyed the HD treatment).

In addition to the polished new looks, Spyro Reignited Trilogy will feature full analog stick support, new rewards, and (perhaps controversially) a "reimagined" soundtrack, making this more of a complete remake than a remaster. And in news sure to please everyone, actor Tom Kenny, who voiced Spyro in Ripto's Rage! and Year of the Dragon, will again be bringing his incredible talents to the series.

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How excited are you for Spyro Reignited Trilogy? Are you apprehensive about remakes, or are you among the legion of Spyro fans who have anxiously awaited this news for years? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to stick with GameSkinny for more news and information on Spyro Reignited Trilogy as it becomes available.

 

 

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Shadow of the Colossus: A Novice's Review of the Remaster https://www.gameskinny.com/famt9/shadow-of-the-colossus-a-novices-review-of-the-remaster https://www.gameskinny.com/famt9/shadow-of-the-colossus-a-novices-review-of-the-remaster Fri, 09 Feb 2018 11:43:56 -0500 Joseph Ocasio

When reviewing a classic in any medium, it can be hard for a new generation to talk about the importance and significance that a piece of work has had, especially if it's one that has a dedicated cult following. Whether it's due to its narrative structure, artistic value, or how distinct it was from other similar pieces of art, it can become a challenge. That's the position I find myself in when talking about Shadow of the Colossus. Prior to this remaster, I had only had a small interaction with it, when it was made free on PSN for PS Plus users back on the PS3. I only managed to play up to the first fight before I ended up selling my PS3 in order to find something else to play on my new PS4.

A couple ominous eyes searching for you in Shadow of the Colossus

Rebirth of a Classic

Since then, I could only rely on tales I'd heard of Shadow of the Colossus: discussions about how each Colossus represents different aspects of humanity, how it's able to tell a story with very little dialog, and much more. I've wanted so badly to be part of the discussion, but my brief experience with it wouldn't allow me to join in. Enter E3 2017, where Sony announced that it was allowing Bluepoint Games, the same people who worked on the excellent remasters for the Uncharted trilogy, to remake this classic for modern audiences. I feel that the only way for me to review this game is to recall my past experience while judging it for what it is now. 

And So It Begins

As it opens, a young man rides his steed with a dead woman lying with him. He rides on to a temple and is told by unknown voices that in order to bring this woman (it's unknown if it's his sister or lover) back from the dead, he must slay 16 giant beings called Colossi ... and that's about it. There is a little more to it, but that doesn't happen till near the end of the game and falls into spoiler territory.

Shadow of the Colossus relies more on its atmosphere and music to give its story emotional depth. The world you traverse through is bleak and feels hopeless, but it's also filled with beauty and serenity. The same can be said about the music, which helps sell this tale and is absolutely at its best when you confront any of the Colossus. 

If you just take a glance at a screenshot of the original PS2 version of Shadow of the Colossus, it's pretty obvious the amount of love and care that Bluepoint Games put into remaking this game. Shadow of the Colossus is one of the best-looking games you can get on PS4. The animations of things like character movement, grass, and facial hair look so natural that they border on realistic. Textures have greatly improved, and the frame rate never buckles. If you have a PS4 Pro, you can even choose to play it at 60 FPS, and while that leads to better controller response, it also adds a bit of phoniness and breaks some of the immersion the game creates. But, it's still up to you how you want to play.

Despite being 12 years old, Shadow of the Colossus still has some of the best art and creature design of all time. The various ruins, grassy fields, and desert lands exude personality, as if they were characters themselves. The Colossi are equally pleasing, representing some of the most unique enemies seen in gaming. Much of the game reminds me a lot of Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time; I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Team Ico took some inspiration from the Zelda series and vice versa. In all, this remake keeps all of the original's graphical charm while updating it to make it more appealing, without sacrificing the original intent of its visuals. 

Attack on Colossus

A towering Colossus staring down at you

What really made Shadow of the Colossus a classic was not only its visual art style and its unique approach to storytelling but also its equally unique gameplay. The only enemies you fight are the Colossi, and they do not disappoint. Every encounter feels different and constantly fills you with dread, as each of the giant Colossi looks and feels enormous. Taking them down is simple enough; just stab at the glowing weak points on each of the Colossus's bodies, but it's easier said then done. Getting to these spots has you constantly studying a Colossus's attack pattern and seeing where you can grab on. 

Making this matter more difficult is having to watch your grip meter, which depletes the longer you hold on. You have to know when to let go and wait for it to replenish. This might sound tedious, but it actually keeps things tense and interesting, as the meter never feels like it will drain as you're about to kill or strike a Colossus. What keeps the gameplay from getting too repetitive are the various forms the Colossi take on. From simple walking giants to birds to sand sharks and much more, each fight feels like s puzzle to solve, and they never feel too complex to figure out. When you finally slay a beast, you'll get a great sense of accomplishment that few, if any, games will give you.

The game features amazing lighting

While it might be blasphemous to nitpick classic, I do still have some issues with some of the design and gameplay choices. Despite the game lasting just six hours, the sense of repetition does start to set in after long play sessions. You'll use your sword to find a Colossus, fight and defeat it, and then get sent back to the starting temple. While the lack of anything else to do (other than hunting for lizards that increase your grip meter) is intentional and adds to the atmosphere, it can get tiring having to repeat the same process after the first two or so hours. Equally annoying is your horse, which has an annoying tendency to instantly slow down when you're trying to turn. Seeing how integral your trusty steed is to gameplay, it can grow quite annoying, especially when you're fighting a Colossus that practically requires you to have your horse with you.

Finally, Shadow of the Colossus could have explained some of its mechanics a bit better. For example, you can only see a Colossus's weak point if you have your sword equipped. You also have a bow you use to slightly hurt and get their attention, but the game doesn't tell you that it won't show a foe's weak point when that weapon is equipped. It's more of a nitpick, but it did cause me a bit of trouble early on.

Conclusion

Shadow of the Colossus is still a great game despite its game design becoming repetitive and the fact that some of its mechanics can be quite irksome. There still isn't a game out there that can match its dreary atmosphere, simple but effective storytelling, and outstanding boss fights. It's a one-of-a-kind game that still holds up and that PS4 owners should check out -- especially since it's only $40. It may be flawed, but it's another example that shows that truly great games are timeless.

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We Want Shadow of the Colossus II, Not Your Crappy Remaster https://www.gameskinny.com/ndf6h/we-want-shadow-of-the-colossus-ii-not-your-crappy-remaster https://www.gameskinny.com/ndf6h/we-want-shadow-of-the-colossus-ii-not-your-crappy-remaster Mon, 22 Jan 2018 11:11:59 -0500 ThatGamersAsylum

Shadow of the Colossus is getting a remaster (or is it a remake?). While it received a relatively standard HD remaster -- alongside its spiritual predecessor, Ico -- on the PS3 (which means its muddy, PS2-era visuals were put into HD while still largely being just as muddy as they had been), this PS2 Classic is now getting a second remaster, or remake, whatever you want to call it. However, this remaster falls more in line with what was offered with Crash Bandicoot's N. Sane Trilogy: the whole game is being functionally remade with all-new character models that mimic the old game while looking like a game released during this generation. And on its surface, this is great; literally, it looks beautiful.

What Makes SotC So Great

For those who have been living underneath a colossus-sized rock for the past decade, or those who were born with demon horns and sealed away on a mysterious island and have only just now escaped, let me give you a really quick rundown of what exactly made SotC so unique in the first place.

Releasing on the PS2, this title saw a young man trying to revive his young love with the assistance of an ancient being. This being offers a bargain: kill the 16 colossi scattered across the land and he will revive your love. The premise is relatively straightforward, and so is the game: There are no small enemies, NPCs, side quests, etc. There are only these 16 colossi.

The colossi in SotC are essentially puzzles. Each one has to be “solved," i.e., killed in its own, unique way. Some require you to utilize the environment, while others ask you to merely use the tools at your disposal: your insane grip strength; a horse with a name that you always yell yet somehow mumble enough so that no one can agree on its name; a sword that, despite being plunged into beasts whose blood seems to be the personification of darkness itself, is still shiny enough to catch a sun ray in the middle of a dark forest; and bow and arrows.

To be fair, it’s hard not to be somewhat enthralled by this remaster. SotC is a great game. In fact, it wouldn’t be outlandish to call it one of the best games on the PS2, which is a console that competes for having one of the most stacked game rosters of all time. Regardless of where you stand on those debates, it’s hard not to marvel at what this game did with the hardware at its disposal. The colossi tower above you, exuding a sense of scale that many modern games still struggle to capture. While it’s true to say it was unlike anything seen in gaming at its time, it’s equally true now, so many years later.

Legacy

Which brings me to my next point: SotC was influential. Many games have tried to emulate it, but few have ever captured the essence of what made SotC great.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow had a few of its own large colossi, but they mechanically didn’t stand up to SotC. Lords of Shadow merely went for scale while lacking any of the actual thought-provoking complexity.

God of War has always been about spectacle. God of War 2 even opened up with a battle against the Colossus of Rhodes. But it wasn't until God of War 3 came out on the PS3, a full console generation later, that we finally saw battles that captured the seamlessness of the fights against the colossi. 

Dragon’s Dogma, a successful Capcom RPG, also featured gameplay elements that allowed you to climb on the game’s many large foes, similar to what was seen in SotC.

Some indie games have also drawn influence from SotC. For instance, Titan Souls is a top-down game with 8-bit graphics that features a gauntlet of bosses and minimalistic mechanics. In many ways it conjures up a lot of the same bullet points as SotC: puzzle-like bosses and streamlined mechanics. It doesn’t quite have the same majesty and sense of scale, but that’s to be expected in a top-down game. Titan Souls might be the game closest to SotC in both quality and player experience, but two games make a genre not. There’s also Malicious, a downloadable title, which combines the boss fighting of SotC with weapon collecting from the Megaman series. 

Ultimately this is likely only a sample of the many games influenced directly, or otherwise, by SotC. I’d like to point out that just because these games are different, doesn’t mean they’re bad. Many of them are going for different play experiences than SotC. Moreover, similar mechanics don’t mean that they are necessarily influenced by SotC. However, seeing similar ideas pop up in successful games, many of which were popularized by SotC, does mean that there is a trend here: that there is a market for this sort of game.

Remind Me of the First Time

Lastly, while SotC is great, its bosses are fundamentally puzzles, meaning that once you know the solution, half of the actual fun is gone. There is still challenge to actually executing the solutions since the “puzzles” are actively trying to kill you, unlike most puzzles, but it still minimizes the appeal. The only way to grant returning players that same thrill they experienced so long ago, rather than merely imparting nostalgia onto them, is by giving them new colossi to fight.

In fact, the video below goes over how the original number of colossi was going to be 48. While this number was reduced drastically, there were an additional eight colossi that got pretty far into development before being cut. There were 24, but the final release only featured 16. That means a third of the colossi were cut. Put another way, an extra 50% of colossi were cut. While they were cut due to repetitiveness and/or developmental time constraints, that’s not really the point. They could now do this, either in this remake or in a future title, assuming Sony gave them the resources. There is undoubtedly room for more ideas within the constraints of this game’s mechanical framework, and gamers would love to see them come to reality.

In summation, Shadow of the Colossus was and still is great, both due to its innovation and its quality. It has left a noted mark on its peers throughout the years, and more importantly, the qualities that made it so successful still appear to be attractive. That's not even to mention the wealth of existing ideas and prototypes that new and returning players would love to experience after all these years.

Sony, you have an audience who are not only ready for a sequel but who are practically salivating whilst waiting for one. Announcing a SotC sequel at E3 could rival recent outstanding moments like the revitalization of God of War, the resurgence of The Last Guardian, the remake of Final Fantasy VII, or the announcement of Horizon: Zero Dawn. In the end, all we can do is hope that Sony sees enough excitement surrounding this modern classic’s remake to warrant a sequel.

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Why Does Game Freak Keep Making Mid-Gen Expansions? https://www.gameskinny.com/qbns3/why-does-game-freak-keep-making-mid-gen-expansions https://www.gameskinny.com/qbns3/why-does-game-freak-keep-making-mid-gen-expansions Fri, 17 Nov 2017 15:14:41 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Pokemon is one of the most recognizable franchises in gaming and pop culture. The series rocketed to fame almost instantly upon release in Japan and in the West, taking developers and consumers by surprise, and it's still going strong 20 years later. With all that success, one might be forgiven for thinking that Game Freak is tempted to abuse the franchise, and many often point to the mid-gen expansions like Pokemon Crystal and Pokemon Platinum as proof of that. These expansions don't always offer drastic changes to the formula, it's true. However, they serve several important purposes, from being a testing ground for developers to giving fans what they want, while offering the definitive version of that generation for newcomers as well.

In the Beginning...

The first three generations saw expansions that didn't add much in the way of content, but provided just enough to help encourage players to dip back into the franchise.

Of all the expansions, Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition is the easiest one to point at and say "cash grab." Its main purpose for existing was for the developers to tie the game franchise more closely with the anime series that was blossoming nicely at the time. Your first Pokemon had to be Pikachu, Jessie and James (and Meowth) took the place of a few key Team Rocket battles, and you could obtain all three starters over the course of the game. Otherwise, apart from being colorized, there wasn't much difference between it and its predecessors.

But Game Freak made it difficult to easily pass off the game by making it so good. It was the perfect way to capture new fans who had seen the show but not played the games, and the fanservice was moderate enough to keep from harming the overall package and just enough to make it worthwhile. The challenge of having to use Pikachu required players to develop new strategies, and it introduced an important mechanic that still plays a role in the series as well, the friendship mechanic. Despite not offering a whole lot of new content, Yellow is almost always at the top of the 3DS eShop sales list.

Pokemon Crystal was a bit more conservative, though it did introduce battle animations for sprites and the option to choose gender. It experimented with story additions and laid the foundations for the Battle Frontier later too. There wasn't quite as much to justify returning to Johto, yet fans hold it in high regard as the definitive Gen II experience. Like Yellow, it offers just enough to entice owners of the original two and makes for an even smoother entry for newcomers, even if it's a bit sparing as far as expansions go.

Changes Afoot

Pokemon Emerald was the true gem of the first three expansions, though. It was the first to add significant changes to the story and tweak the gameworld enough to make returning interesting, switching around some key character roles and adding a wealth of new features, including the fan-favorite Battle Frontier. The story changes were the most significant, though, combining the plots from Ruby and Sapphire and giving you an actual reason to catch all three of Hoenn's legendary Pokemon, while refining the overall experience.

Despite being widely criticized for not radically changing the series, these seemingly minor alterations fit in with the studio's vision for the series. For example, the developers wanted to add more unique challenges, but the Frontier was deemed too difficult for Ruby and Sapphire, so it was left out. Like the others, the level of investment on the player's part depends entirely on how much they enjoyed the originals, but also like the others, most fans consider Emerald the pinnacle of its generation.

Expanding the Expansions

From the 4th generation onward, the series brought with it a wide variety of changes as it gained a more secure footing in the industry. The expansions were no different, as Game Freak added a number of changes to entice players back for more.

Generation IV's expansion brought with it more significant changes. Pokemon Platinum followed Emerald's footsteps and revamped the story, giving both legendary Pokemon new roles and making them central to the plot. It wasn't a gripping plot like you'd expect from a Final Fantasy game, of course, but it went a long way in creating a more coherent world and giving concrete motivations to the villains therein. Here is where Game Freak started using expansions to fit their overall goals for the series as well. They improved and expanded the role of Wi-Fi, which served the dual purpose of making the games perfect for the competitive scene and making it easier for people to connect over their shared interest in the series.

Sinnoh itself was changed a fair bit, more so than in previous expansions, with aesthetic changes throughout, redesigned gyms and updated gym rosters, and, even more importantly, a streamlined battle system. Gone was the lag between actions and their effects from Diamond and Pearl, with everything functioning much more smoothly overall. The Battle Frontier was greatly expanded too, providing even more incentive to play after finishing the main campaign, along with the ability to face off against major figures again in tournaments. Little wonder, then, that Generation IV was the best-selling generation in the series.

New Territory

The series stumbled a bit with Generation V. Black and White divided some with its too-linear progression through Unova, unique design choices, and stilted storyline (ethics are good, but a series where you imprison innocent creatures and force them to fight isn't really the best platform for an ethical message). Black 2 and White 2 aimed to fix those issues and add even more. Game Freak's chief goal with these was twofold: to defy players' expectations by not making a Grey version and to expand the world of Unova in ways they didn't have a chance to for the previous entries, hence the choice for a direct sequel. Junichi Masuda, the games' director, said he wanted to create a world that had changed in the two years since the original games to help give players a sense of that progression and make it seem new again.

Unova received a completely new makeover, and the way players moved about it changed a good bit as well, along with alterations to gym rosters and the ability to create a varied lineup early on in the story. The story received a good bit of flak for returning to the old gangsters-versus-child line but managed to still add something unique to the plot with the divisions in Team Plasma. One of the biggest changes Masuda was excited about was Pokewood, since it gave players an opportunity to engage in something similar to a puzzle challenge the more they progressed with their films. None of it was the huge shakeup of the franchise many called for, but the developers listened to their fans and gave them what they wanted.

The Red-Headed Stepchild

Then there was Generation VI with Pokemon X and Pokemon Y. Both received high praise in reviews and disappeared from shelves much faster than other installments for a variety of reasons, not least of which was the jump to full 3D models. They built on some of what made the Black and White sequels successful, but a cursory look through fan communities is enough to tell you that people wanted more. "Kalos was underdeveloped, the plot needed more to it, and the constant presence of the player's posse stole the thrill of adventure and exploration" is how the most common complaints usually go.

And it's true. For such a major milestone in the series in terms of presentation, the gameworld, and the sheer number of available Pokemon, there should have been follow-ups to help tie it all together in a definitive package. For example, as goofy as Team Flare is, and Y took the series' storytelling in a more serious direction. There's plenty of material for an expansion or alternate timeline to help make that story more potent. As intrusive as Shauna and the gang could be, expansions would have provided the chance to give them more of a real place in the game, either through battles or significance to the plot. But fans wanted remakes of Ruby and Sapphire. So that's what they got, with some minor tie-ins to X and Y, leaving Kalos a slightly odd, lonely addition to the Pokemon world.

Critical Reception

Critical reception of these expansions tends to be mixed. They always receive high scores, with the exception of a couple here and there for the Black and White sequels, but the primary complaint remains the same: there isn't anything new to make playing them worthwhile. Some argue that the expansions come too soon on the heels of the originals, as with Black 2 and White 2, not giving players enough time to really want to come back. Even those that rate highly will sometimes deride the expansions for not really adding anything drastic to the overall experience.

But these criticisms miss a few important points. After Gold and Silver, it was widely believed that the "Pokemon fad" was dead, making the development of Ruby and Sapphire a very stressful experience. Preserving what made the series successful to begin with became very important, to keep from alienating fans and creating a sharp divide between those who played older Pokemon games and newcomers. (And given what happened with what I call the Sonic Effect, where Sega strayed from the series' foundations with each new entry, that surely wasn't a bad decision.)

Game Freak used expansions as a way to add in extra ideas that might not have gone over well for the base installments -- either by adding too much content or straying from the core experience -- and it's a way for Game Freak to train newer members of the development team while veteran developers work on projects with higher stakes attached. Most importantly, though, it's a bit unfair to judge expansions for not radically altering the franchise when that isn't their goal to begin with. It's like complaining that vanilla ice cream isn't chocolate when it never tried to be anyway.

The New Kids on the Block

Fast forward to 2017, and there's another set of proper expansions contending for players' time and money: Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. After the major changes that were the original Sun and Moon, these seem set to be more in line with Black 2 and White 2, providing some alterations in world structure, different Pokemon, and a much meatier plot. Many fans complained about how restricted Alola seemed, and like with Kalos, it's not hard to see why.

Sun and Moon made big promises with story and the world itself, and despite the finished products being worthwhile themselves, they leave the player wanting more -- more to do with these new Pokemon, more to see and explore other than just another quest to catch some additional legendary Pokemon. Many of these complaints addressed problems Game Freak believed existed anyway but just didn't have the time to address.

Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are set to provide fans everything they wanted, but most think it's too much, too soon. Fan communities are echoing the critics of yesteryear and saying there isn't enough to justify purchasing new games only a year after Sun and Moon released. In all fairness, The Pokemon Company hasn't done much to help market the games either. Sun and Moon were almost over-marketed, being featured at the 2016 E3 show and with countless little info drops that practically spoiled the games anyway. It's a shame, really. The new entries are set to strike a perfect balance between the major changes of Sun and Moon and the more conservative alterations of the previous expansions, with a heaping helping of new content on top.

The Verdict

Even though they don't always add loads of new content, there's more than enough to draw fans back in, and the fact that the expansions are always as well made as the originals makes them worthy as standalone entries anyway. Yet it's easier for those who miss a generation to value the mid-gen expansions, since money isn't as much of a question and almost everyone recommends Emerald or Black 2 over their respective predecessors. In the end, however useful and practical they are, it's down to the individual consumer to make the choice.

What do you think about Game Freak's mid-gen expansions? Love 'em? Hate 'em? Let us know in the comments.

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Outcast - Second Contact Review: Familiar Story but With a New Look https://www.gameskinny.com/fe6j5/outcast-second-contact-review-familiar-story-but-with-a-new-look https://www.gameskinny.com/fe6j5/outcast-second-contact-review-familiar-story-but-with-a-new-look Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:16:18 -0500 ESpalding

If you have been interested in gaming for as long as I have, you might be familiar with a game called Outcast. It was originally released in 1999 by Belgian developers Appeal. It was hugely popular and has since become a bit of a cult classic. The newly released Outcast - Second Contact is a remastered version of the game with updated graphics and gameplay to make it suitable for today's gaming tastes and console suitability.

The original game was a groundbreaker! It was innovative and was the first 3D open-world exploration game to be released. Upon release, it won hundreds of awards, including Adventure Game of the Year 1999 from GameSpot. There are a couple of sequels, but none lived up to the popularity of the first.

Anyway, you aren't here for a history lesson about the original game. You want to know what I think about the remake, right? Instead of playing it again on PC, I played it on the PS4 so that I could see how different it felt playing it on a modern console.

The Story Stays True

If you are already familiar with the game, then you're going to be familiar with the storyline. It hasn't changed (it is a remake, after all). If you're new to the game, however, you're going to find the storyline quite interesting.

Outcast - Second Contact is set in the near future and explores the possibilities of alternate universes. You play as a Navy SEAL called Cutter Slade, and along with a team of scientists, you are sent through a portal into a new world, Adelpha, to recover a probe previously sent through by the US government. As you explore your new surroundings, you come across the world's inhabitants and all manner of new flora and fauna.

You are the Ulukai, the foretold Messiah who the inhabitants think is going to save their world from war and persecution. In order to complete your own mission, you have to help the inhabitants of Adelpha with their problems. If they think you are helping them, they are more likely to help you.

A Total Facelift

It's clear that the main draw of this remaster is the work that has been done to improve the graphics. Everything now has so much more texture and depth than the original had. One of the main points of the game is to explore, and you really want to explore this new land. Close attention has been paid to giving everything a new life.

My only negative comments on the game's graphics are to do with the intro. While I can see that they're going for something a bit artistic -- and that is quite good -- I don't think it paid off. The characters are very still and very much like cardboard cutouts. It doesn't really gel with the original. I wanted to watch the whole introduction to get reacquainted with the story, but I wanted it to be over quite early on. Of course, this is personal taste, but given the rest of the game's graphics upgrades and the actual storyline, I think the introduction to it could have been a bit more ... substantial.

Playing on a Console Works

I didn't have any problems playing the game with a controller. The controls are crisp, and I had no problems moving around. There have been some movement features added to this new version, including the ability to sprint and crouch, which definitely make gameplay better. It's simple things like that which make the game more relevant to today's open-world fans, as they are features that one would expect from a game of this genre.

A Familiar Score

One of the more appealing features of the game is that the developers have used the same score as the original game. And when I say the "same score," I really mean it! It sounds like nothing has been done to it at all apart from making it a bit cleaner. But, you know what, that is OK. If it was reworked and new voices added, it wouldn't be the remaster fans would want.

Overall Verdict

I would say that this is what happens when remakes go right. For what the developers were hoping to do, it has been done extremely well. Sure, there are some things that are a bit rough around the edges or a couple of things which could have been done better, but it is a huge step up graphically from the original.

Will it please the die-hard fans of Outcast? Yes, I think it will. In this day and age, where the word "remake" has bad connotations, it is natural to have some reservations. But the developers have kept true to their previous work and have simply launched the franchise into modern gaming for an all-new generation of fans.

Outcast - Second Contact is out now on PS4, XBox One, and PC via Steam.

(A copy of Outcast - Second Contact was supplied for review purposes.)

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Square Enix Announces Secret of Mana Remake https://www.gameskinny.com/rjbok/square-enix-announces-secret-of-mana-remake https://www.gameskinny.com/rjbok/square-enix-announces-secret-of-mana-remake Fri, 25 Aug 2017 10:53:26 -0400 Josh Broadwell

In a recent press release, Square Enix announced that it's remaking the highly acclaimed RPG, Secret of ManaSet for launch this coming February for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Steam, this remake will feature "modern visuals and sound," along with some other unspecified gameplay enhancements.

In addition to releasing a teaser trailer (which you can watch above), Square Enix also stated that those who pre-order from the PlayStation Store will receive special costumes for the game's characters characters -- Randi and Popoi will get Moogle Suits and Tiger Suits, while Primm will get a Moogle Suit and a Tiger Two-Piece. There will be three special PlayStation Network avatars too. Steam buyers who pre-purchase or buy the Day 1 edition within the first week get the costumes as well, along with a downloadable wallpaper.

Secret of Mana originally released in 1993, and is widely regarded as the best of the Mana series. You take control of three heroes -- Randi, Primm, and Popoi -- in order to fight a power-hungry empire bent on stealing the world's supply of mana for itself. The original game also featured multiplayer, though there's no word yet on whether that mode will make it to the remake.

That's all we know for right now! But keep checking back for more news as it comes. And in the meantime, pop into the comments to let us know if you're excited for this upcoming remake. 

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Video Game Remasters - Are they Here to Stay? https://www.gameskinny.com/wl6nm/video-game-remasters-are-they-here-to-stay https://www.gameskinny.com/wl6nm/video-game-remasters-are-they-here-to-stay Fri, 28 Jul 2017 11:00:01 -0400 JazmanGames

Lately, we've seen a trend of older games getting remastered and re-released onto modern platforms. Between the success of collections like Crash Bandicoot  N. Sane Trilogy and Kingdom Hearts 1.5+2.5 ReMIX, it's clear nostalgia sells. However, as many reasons as there are to re-release older games, there are plenty of those who feel remakes are killing the industry. Let's take a look at both sides below and try to answer the question – is the trend of remastering games here to stay?

It Keeps Older Games Alive

The world is changing at a fast rate and this especially goes for the game industry. Games are advancing so fast while older games quickly become incompatible and unplayable on newer hardware. As a result, they get left behind and forgotten about. Remastering games updates and modernizes them. It allows them to run at higher resolutions and frame rate, and to a lot of people, this helps keep that game alive. Even if it's not the original game, it prevents it from dying out and being forgotten about in a world where most consoles do not have full backwards compatibility.

Time Could Be Spent Developing New IP

On the flip side, why bother keeping an old game alive when the time and resources could be better spent on developing new franchises? If you look anywhere on the internet with regards to this topic, you will undoubtedly see the opinion that old games should be left where they are. They've been developed, had their shot, and are done with. Although the developers remastering games usually aren't the same ones that worked on the originals, some still argue that the time and resources could be better spent on entirely new games.

Nostalgia Does Sell…

A big reason for remasters is nostalgia. Publishers know that nostalgia sells and often this can encourage a remaster. Take Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy for example. When the originals released on the PlayStation they were extremely popular, the first three games were considered masterpieces and players wanted more. There were several releases since the original three but they didn't recapture what the originals had and were not as successful.

Players have been wanting a remaster of these games for years and finally this year, we got the N. Sane Trilogy. Easily the most popular remaster so far, the whole game sold entirely on nostalgia. Original players wanted to re-live their youth, new parents show their children the games they grew up on, and friends showing others what they missed out on. The N Sane Trilogy topped charts and the success of this could trigger reboots of other series as well like Spyro the Dragon or Ape Escape.

But Publishers Are Just Money Grabbing With Repackaged Content!

Perhaps the most obvious reason, it’s more than likely true that the reason behind remastering a game is money. If the game being remastered is a popular one, such as Crash Bandicoot. The publishers are obviously going to decide that it is worth while doing a remaster. After all, it is very easy to repackage the content, making it look modern and work on modern hardware. Fans will buy it and they make a bit of money out of it as well. The thing with this though is that they are right. Fans will buy the remaster and the popularity, along with how well it sells will make publishers consider remastering other franchises.

Take Bulletstorm Full clip edition as an example. The original Bulletstorm was released in 2011 and this year we got a remaster. Releasing on current generation consoles and PC, this remaster contained a huge graphical upgrade, a move to Unreal Engine 4 and all the DLC included as well. There wasn’t much added in the way of new content. For some reason though, this remaster was released as a full priced game. The only real benefit of this remaster is for console players who are newcomers to the game as this allows them to play this game on current generation consoles. Even though there is hardly any new content, we have a repackaged and over priced remastered game.

Lack of Backwards Compatibility

One of the common questions you'll see when a new console is released is whether it will support backwards compatibility. More commonly the answer to that questions is no -- especially for the older generations such as the original PlayStation and the original Xbox. Because of this, the only way to get games onto the modern platform is to remaster them.

The Last of Us originally released on the PlayStation 3 with raving popularity. It took some time before the PS3 really caught steam, and some skipped the generation entirely, meaning they didn't get to play the game. Because of its popularity, it was remastered and released on the PlayStation 4 even when it didn’t really need to. If every game was made backwards compatible then there would be less of a need for remasters. 

On the flip side of this the lack of backwards compatibility has allowed remasters to introduce people to the games they might have missed when skipping a generation or playing on a different platform. If someone moved from the original PlayStation across to the Xbox and didn't own a PlayStation 2 or PlayStation 3, when they picked up a PlayStation 4 there might have been games from the previous generations that they had wanted to play but missed out on. Games being remastered onto the PlayStation 4 would enable them to play those games and finally be introduced to the franchise and this is what the remaster of The Last of Us did.

Is Remastering Really Needed for PC When There are Mods?

The answer to this is both yes and no. The Modding scene on PC is quite big and often a modder will release an HD or High-Resolution texture pack for a game that will make it look spectacular. Also, if a game is designed to run on a PC it will most likely already look good enough for years without needing much.

When Skyrim was released on PC in 2011 it had the Steam workshop and modding support. This eventually sparked the release of High-Resolution and HD texture packs which drastically improved its looks. In 2016 Bethesda released Skyrim: Special Edition which featured a remastered version of the game with improved textures and lighting effects. Unfortunately on the PC this is actually worse than what mods were able to do and does not look as impressive.

While a remaster for a PC game is less needed, it's usually better to have an official remaster -- even if it's not as good looking as the modded versions. The reasons behind this are because the developers know the game inside out and have access to the original files. They can do far more to release a stable remaster than a modder could. They can also add genuine improvements such as controller support and most importantly they can support you if things go wrong.

Sometimes, remastering can produce a better game

It is possible for a remaster to produce a better, more improved version of the game. Going back 10 years we had the 10th anniversary of the Tomb Raider series. To celebrate this, Eidos Interactive decided to produce a remastered version of the original Tomb Raider and release it on multiple platforms. The result of this was Tomb Raider Anniversary. This fully remade / remastered game re-imagined the original. Set in the same locations and levels while following the same story. Anniversary ran on an improved version of the Legend engine, used for Tomb Raider Legend. This remaster received some high reviews and is arguably a better game than the original was. It is a good example of a scenario where a remaster did the original game justice and exceeded it.

So, is the Trend of Remastering Games Here to Stay?

It seems that this trend of remastering game isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Publishers know it will make money, and they won't stop until the cash stops flowing. They play heavily on nostalgia knowing for a fact that people will buy them. Its far easier to remaster a game than it is to develop a new IP, and it solves a lot of backwards compatibility issues.

Remasters really aren't a bad thing though. If they're done right they can keep the original games alive, and opens them up to new people who may not have been around when the originals came out. They allow players to relive their past, playing old favourites and having them look exactly how they imagined they would.

Have you played any remastered games lately? Do you agree with this increasing trend? We would love to see your opinions in the comments section below!

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Video Game Remakes and Remasters are Killing This Industry https://www.gameskinny.com/dimod/video-game-remakes-and-remasters-are-killing-this-industry https://www.gameskinny.com/dimod/video-game-remakes-and-remasters-are-killing-this-industry Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:00:02 -0400 Marc Hollinshead

Remasters, remakes, definitive editions, HD collections; whatever you want to call them, they’re more prevalent in the industry than ever. Games that have barely had a few years of life on the shelf are already receiving a glossy coat of paint with all of the DLC thrown in to land a few extra bucks. It might be good for business, but it’s certainly not good for the evolution of the games industry as a whole. You could even say that this practice is actually devolving the world of video games to the eventual point of death.

The last generation of consoles saw HD collections of older games emerging. Classic titles from the Metal Gear Solid and Hitman, amongst a plethora of others, were repackaged and given HD treatment for newer systems for enhanced performance. This provided a nostalgia trip for returning fans as well an incentive to hop on board for those who never got the chance to experience the games when they first launched. These collections weren’t exceedingly common at this stage, though, so it was forgivable that we saw a few of them rear their heads.

Metal Gear Solid, HD Collection, Remaster

Then came the current generation. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 toted much more powerful technology that allowed enhanced graphics, bigger games and better performance for any developer’s creation. However, the ever-growing games industry became a magnet for shady business practices, cutting corners for the sake of extra prophet. Easily being one of the biggest grossing entertainment industries on the planet, re-releasing games that are still fresh in players’ minds started to be the norm and it has skyrocketed these past couple of years. Let’s take a look at few examples.

The reboot of Tomb Raider was lauded over by many as the triumphant return of gaming icon Lara Croft. March 2013 was quite the month, thanks to Ms. Croft and her reimagined origin story. 

Later that year, the next generation of consoles were unleashed to the world, and of course, this brought along an advanced gaming system. Barely a few months later, Tomb Raider was re-released in the form of Tomb Raider Definitive Edition.

What was this? An option for those who wanted to see Lara’s escapades in higher definition? Or was it simply a cash grab, a sneaky tactic to acquire even more money on what was already deemed a successful title? Perhaps it’s a bit of both.

Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Tomb Raider, 2013, Lara Croft

The Last of Us could be seen as Naughty Dog’s crowning achievement in their most recent years as a developer. This new IP was quite literally worshipped by gamers across the globe for its storytelling, sublime graphics, and solid gameplay, so what better way to celebrate this than to remaster it? Just over a year later, the title became The Last of Us Remastered on PS4.

In the same vein as Tomb Raider, the game was released prior to the next wave of consoles so there is the argument that fans wanted a higher performing version of both games while they were still fresh in their minds. However, the very fact that they were still fresh validates how pointless these re-releases really were.

Since the first remasters of this generation hit, many other developers and publishers decided to jump on the bandwagon. Sleeping Dogs, Gears of War, Dark Souls II, Uncharted and many more were ported over to the newer consoles under the banner of “Shiny, new and amazing edition”.

The problem with this is that many of these games simply aren’t old enough to justify these newer editions. While the difference can be seen in games that are older like the first Uncharted and the original Gears of War, the others aren’t as worthwhile.

Uncharted, The Nathan Drake Collection

There is also the flip side of the remaster practice. Developers have also given us remakes of much older games, or currently have them in the works. Ones of note are the remake of Final Fantasy VII and the Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy. These particular titles have received an extreme makeover, as the developers have literally made them from the ground up as though they were a new game.

Of course, we know that they aren’t brand new games as we have experienced these adventures in years gone by. Make no mistake, Crash looks sensational in his shiny new form and the nostalgia trip will be like no other, but one can’t help but think what those resources and hours of labour could have been used for instead. A whole new game, perhaps? We can only speculate.

Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy, Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bash

We know that the big names of the industry jump at the opportunity to cash in on their most successful games, but there is one such company that has denied fans a remaster of a certain series, even after they specifically asked for it.

The Mass Effect series is plastered across the Internet more than ever at the moment, thanks to the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, but instead many are pining for a return trip to the Milky Way with Shepard in a remastered trilogy.

While originally pondering the idea, EA has basically said a flat out no to this happening. Whether this is one of the few series that deserve a remaster, or that fans have cottoned onto the growing trend and want this one as well is anyone’s guess, but it appears that EA has got the right idea in terms of trying to move the industry forward. However, it is still a little baffling that EA of all companies aren’t following through with a remaster. Profit is what they love, after all.

Mass Effect, Shepard, Commander

Innovation is what the games industry really needs to push it forward. When one developer found solace in remasters, many others followed so if another dev utilizes the tech available to them to its full potential, then with any luck the rest will attempt to do the same. With backwards compatibility on Xbox One, and the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio making an entrance, there’s more reason than ever to leave old games behind and be revolutionary in what can be achieved.

Many of us have shamefully been lured into a tantalizing remaster or re-release at some point, and it’s hard to deny that a Mass Effect trilogy collection for the current generation, despite all three games being backwards compatible on Xbox One, would be a dream come true, but we must grit our teeth and see the real reason behind this business practice -- business.

Innovation and adventure should always come first in this industry if it really wants to succeed, so let’s hope that developers will have their clouded vision cleared. That way, their old titles don’t have to keep them afloat, but rather the immeasurable success of newer ones can see them shooting to gaming stardom.

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Why Hasn't Konami Remastered Its 2D Castlevania Backlog? https://www.gameskinny.com/uk73r/why-hasnt-konami-remastered-its-2d-castlevania-backlog https://www.gameskinny.com/uk73r/why-hasnt-konami-remastered-its-2d-castlevania-backlog Thu, 06 Apr 2017 17:42:10 -0400 ThatGamersAsylum

Konami has made some odd decisions in recent years from top to bottom. From all the drama surrounding the Metal Gear series and its now-independent creator Hideo Kojima, to the whole fiasco with Silent Hills getting cancelled, the company has been subjected to a lot of criticism from its fans. 

But there's another influential IP that Konami hasn't quite been treating well lately -- Castlevania. With the industry's recent influx of reboots and remasters, a lot of fans are wondering why the heck we haven't seen some Castlevania games coming to modern devices. 

In the last few years, Konami has decided to restructure its company to be more mobile-focused, while largely forsaking the franchises that made them successful. It drove away Metal Gear Solid’s creator, Hideo Kojima, in an epic display of giving zero f*cks about what he brought to the company. The Silent Hill reboot also fell to the same fate since it was under Kojima's name. 

Konami has since announced a Kojima-less entry in the MGS series that's really more of a zombie spinoff. And aside from that, the company seems more concerned with making mobile games, pachinko machines, and ruining beloved childhood TCGs than it does with revisiting any of its iconic Castlevania games. 

A little history...

The last Castlevania game was Lords of Shadow 2, released 3 years ago in February of 2014 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Before that, there was Castlevania Mirrors of Fate for the 3DS -- which despite being a 2.5D side scroller, was still an action-oriented game in the same vein as Lords of Shadow.

To find the last Metroidvania-style Castlevania game, you have to go back almost a decade 2008’s Order of Ecclesia. It had a killer style and top-notch bit art that earned it glowing reviews upon release. But in spite of its success, we never really saw another game like it. 

Where's My Castlevania?

Not Around Here (Not Anytime Soon, At Least)

There are two questions begging to be asked here:

  1. Why haven't there been any new 2D Castlevania games?
  2. Why haven't any of the older Castlevania games been remastered?

With the rise of mobile gaming on smart devices, the continued popularity of handhelds like the Nintendo 3DS, and the recent release of a hybrid console like the Switch, it seems like the perfect time to revisit a style/genre of game that was basically made for handheld play. The Switch provides an especially lucrative opportunity to bring those much-beloved classics into the modern day. Nintendo is doing it with many of its exclusive fighting games, so why shouldn't Castlevania get the same love?

Just imagine having Symphony of the Night and all six handheld-based Castlevania games available for one system. Heck, with all the advancements we've made in terms of storage, you could probably fit multiple games on one disc or cartridge and sell it as a bundle. 

Sure, the first two GBA Castlevania games -- Circle of the Moon and Harmony of Dissonance -- were released on the Wii U Virtual Console in 2014. But the Wii U isn't exactly a super successful console, so making those games available there doesn't make them available to their whole audience. Symphony of the Night is also available for digital download on PSN and Xbox Live, but even then it's not currently available on current-gen consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One. 

The Market Has Spoken!

Konami might be justifying the lack of new or remastered Castlevania by saying that there simply isn't any consumer interest in it. But a quick Google search will prove that's patently untrue. 

If you Google "metroidvania games", you get a massive list of modern games that are trying to emulate what Castlevania did back in the day. And it just keeps going and going and going. 

The case for Konami revisiting its Castlevania titles only gets more compelling when you look at how much the market wants more Metroidvania games. Not only does the market want them, but a lot of those that have been released in the last several years have been very successful. Here are some examples:

  • Axiom Verge
  • Guacamelee
  • Rogue Legacy
  • Owlboy
  • Apotheon
  • Salt & Sanctuary
  • Steam World Dig
  • Shadow Complex
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Recent Shantae games

Hell, just recently Hollow Knight was released and has been getting great reviews across the board.

Some of these games play very close to the vest with the Metroidvania formula, while others innovate and only loosely utilize it. But the consistent theme is that the formula holds up and people love it. Chances are that you've heard of at least a few of these games, and maybe have even played (and enjoyed) some of them yourself.

This isn’t even considering the fact that the man behind the Castlevania formula, Koji Igarashi, secured $5.5 million worth of funding for his Metroidvania game, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, via Kickstarter.

There’s very clearly a market for these games. And it doesn’t have to be a triple AAA, high-risk venture. Konami could make a game with a smaller scope, or at least test the waters by porting older games in the series to see if the interest is still there.

Their whole purpose is to make money, just like any other company. And their rationale for the recent treatment of many of their IPs -- the Castlevania series included -- is that they can't make money off those games or genres anymore. But that's clearly not true if you look at the indie development scene and how thriving the Metroidvania market still is. They could profit off of that while pleasing their fan base. It's a win-win.

Metroidvania even has its own "tag" on Steam!

I want more 2D Metroidvania style Castlevania games. And for now, I'd be willing to settle for ports and remasters on current gen consoles or the Nintendo Switch. And I know I'm not the only one -- there are a lot of avid Castlevania lovers out there who miss the days of old.

We know you can do it, Konami. If Capcom has done a halfway decent job of porting the Mega Man games, surely you can give Castlevania a shot. After running your fans through the wringer with Silent Hills and the Kojima fiasco...you kind of owe it to us. 

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Enough With the Enhanced Editions Already Beamdog! Just Stop! https://www.gameskinny.com/ti2gb/enough-with-the-enhanced-editions-already-beamdog-just-stop https://www.gameskinny.com/ti2gb/enough-with-the-enhanced-editions-already-beamdog-just-stop Wed, 05 Apr 2017 12:00:01 -0400 Ty Arthur

I maintain to this day that Planescape: Torment is still, bar none, the best RPG to have ever been released.

It's certainly the best written, with the most interesting characters and story this side of the multiverse. More modern quasi-RPGs like Skyrim don't even hold a candle to Black Isle's crowning achievement.

A succubus who runs a brothel where only intellectual lusts are sated, a suit of armor animated through unwavering belief in the force of law, a psychotic wizard who tried to burn down a city and was punished by becoming a human lamp for a dingy bar: Torment always had something unique up its sleeve that made you keep playing hour after hour.

RPGs now, RPGs then, nostalgia gogglesKudos to the particularly on-point memeologist who put this together...

Considering my borderline-worshipful level of adoration for Torment and overall love for the Planescape setting in general, you'd think I'd be stoked about a whole new version of the game arriving... right? Well, maybe not, because we've got to consider who is doing the releasing and just what exactly was changed.

Enhancing or Repackaging?

Torment isn't Beamdog's first enhancement rodeo, having released updated versions of nearly all the Infinity Engine games now, to varying results. The Baldur's Gate saga for instance got some tweaks that actually improved on an aging engine like allowing more arrows to be stacked together than in the original, updating certain AD&D rules to be more clear and less frustrating, and adding new companions.

Not all the changes were welcome, however. Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition swapped out the opening cutscene of Sarevok throwing a fellow Bhaalspawn off a roof, with something that actually looked worse than a 20 year old cinematic (and THAT takes effort).

Many new bugs were added into the engine as well, with a lot more crashes, and the changes overall weren't much better than the huge number of fan mods released throughout the years.

Offering even fewer changes and upgrades this time around than ever before, Torment is is the most blatantly half-baked Enhanced Edition yet with such a minimum of effort applied that it's sort of appalling Beamdog is actually charging money for the end result.

The main difference on display is a suite of visual "enhancements," which if you've played the other Enhanced Editions, you'll know won't actually be upgrades. The entirely unnecessary zoom feature -- rather than allowing for screen resolution changes in the options -- results in a visual experience that's somehow even lower quality than the original 18 year old game.

You'll be endlessly zooming in and out to find the right setting for any given map, when the original areas managed to look just fine without this distracting feature. The black pixels added around sprites further manage to make characters look even more jagged than they did originally.

The new quick looting feature is neat however -- especially when dealing with lots of corpses on the ground all in a small area -- and some of the UI is a little less cluttered, but on the whole there's nothing here that hasn't been done already by fan modders, with the possible exception of now having Torment available on your Android device.

A Startling Lack Of Content

What's truly baffling is what isn't included in this new edition: like the fan-made Unfinished Business mod that restored missing quest lines and re-implemented cut dialog. If you're going to give us a new edition of the game with reams of text re-edited by Chris Avellone, why not add in things we haven't seen or read before?

Nothing legitimately new was included on the character, item, dialog, map, or story fronts. The lack of added content while charging more for the game than normal is difficult to justify, with images like the one below making the rounds across the various gaming forums:

 It's hard to argue with this...

On the other hand, it may actually be better that they didn't add anything new. We weren't exactly thrilled here at Gameskinny with Beamdog's original content in the SIege Of Dragonspear offering, and it seems like the rest of the gaming world wasn't having any of it either.

While nostalgia was on tap by the bucketful and there was fun to be had for Baldur's Gate fanatics, the writing just wasn't up to par. Simply put, Siege Of Dragonspear offered the mechanics of Baldur's Gate without the soul, and it seems unlikely this team could have given us characters or stories up to snuff that would match the oddity and style of Torment.

A Declining IP

The lazy Enhanced Editions, much like the sub-par PC ports of classic Final Fantasy games, is only one symptom of a franchise that feels like it's on its last legs.

A disturbing lack of effort has been a recurring problem of late with Dungeons and Dragons branded games. Frankly, it feels like Wizard of the Coast has just given up and has no interest in creating compelling stories or captivating games anymore, instead giving us shallow drek like Sword Coast Legends and an endless stream of re-releases.

Of particular concern is that these new Enhanced Editions are now replacing the originals rather than being an available option. Seriously, navigate over to Steam or GOG and search for Baldur's Gate. Guess what? You can't buy the superior original versions anymore -- only the Enhanced Editions are up for sale.

Unless you bought the original editions previously on digital platforms or have the discs from way back when, it's now becoming next to impossible to experience the games as they were released.

Neverwinter nights complete, posterSomehow it's been 11 years since the last legitimately worthwhile D&D game!

Time For Something New

Having now artlessly vivisected the corpses of several truly classic games, and having even released an Infinity Engine expansion set between Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II, the question has to be asked: why not create an entirely new game?

Siege Of Dragonspear may not have been well received, but lessons can be learned there to improve on future releases, so why keep making minor tweaks to existing games as a business model rather than actually creating content?

There's gamers out there who want old school titles, and they are willing to pay for them. Plenty of developers are keeping the lights on solely by releasing new material in classic cRPG style and without just making small changes to existing games. Underrail immediately springs to mind, having resurrected the original Fallout style to critical acclaim and with a small indie team on a limited budget.

      If a game that looks like this can make money in 2017, there's really no excuse for always riding on an another developer's coat tails...

Age Of Decadence is as retro as they come and is consistently covered in praise. Divinity: Original Sin met wild success utilizing an exclusively old-school formula. I Am Setsuna was essentially an updated SNES RPG and it was among the most anticipated games of 2016.

Obsidian and inXile figured out crowd funding could result in classic games being profitable, with Pillars Of Eternity and Tyranny directly mimicking the Infinity Engine style and Wasteland 2 updating a 25 year old classic into a modern setting. The Torment name and style itself was resurrected with the recently-released Tides Of Numenera.

With Beamdog running out of Infinity Engine games to mildly mod and re-release, where else is there to go besides trying something original?

Sound off below -- do you feel the Enhanced Edition of Torment is worth $19.99, and have you been satisfied with Beamdog's re-packaging of classic Infinity Engine games?

For me, it's a hard pass on re-buying a game I already own with worse aesthetics and a handful of free mods pre-installed.

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Shin Megami Tensei: Deep Strange Journey Heading to 3DS https://www.gameskinny.com/ycqzl/shin-megami-tensei-deep-strange-journey-heading-to-3ds https://www.gameskinny.com/ycqzl/shin-megami-tensei-deep-strange-journey-heading-to-3ds Sun, 26 Mar 2017 11:18:56 -0400 Glitchieetv

Atlus recently announced it will be remaking Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey for the 3DS. Titled Shin Megami Tensei: Deep Strange Journey, the game will feature updated elements for the 3DS, new art, and a new character. Releasing in Japan this fall, there are no details on a Western release just yet. 

The story remains as deep and dramatic as before. Hoping to save humanity, a strike team is sent to the ruined land of Schwarzwelt,. which acts as a black hole. This is where players meet Alex, the new character included in Shin Megami Tensei: Deep Strange Journey. Openly hostile, she attacks the protagonist while they are exploring Schwarzwelt. Along with Alex and her story, there is a new ending route that players can explore. 

Featuring 350 demons, full voice overs, updated graphics and art, Shin Megami Tensei: Deep Strange Journey is prepared to make a home in the hearts of series fans. What do you think of the remake? Will you be purchasing the game once it is released in the west?

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5 Final Fantasy Games That Should Be Remade Before Final Fantasy VII https://www.gameskinny.com/hhh00/5-final-fantasy-games-that-should-be-remade-before-final-fantasy-vii https://www.gameskinny.com/hhh00/5-final-fantasy-games-that-should-be-remade-before-final-fantasy-vii Sun, 26 Feb 2017 21:56:42 -0500 BizarreAdventure

So Final Fantasy VII is getting a current generation remake. This is making a lot, and I mean a whole hell of a lot, of people really happy. Unfortunately, I can't really share in that happiness because I don't like the game that much. Call me contrarian, call me edgy, you can even call me an idiot. The fact of the matter, though, is that I don't like it all that much and don't think it should get a remake. We've had enough of Final Fantasy VII -- give me a remake of a different game in the series.

Give me any of the ones on this list.

 Final Fantasy

The original, the one that was actually supposed to be final. If we're talking remakes, I don't see why this one shouldn't be on here.

Yeah, yeah, I know they brought this one and a bunch of others back with updates for mobile devices and the like. I'm not talking about those, though. I think it would be cool to have this game re-done for the 3DS. You could even give the characters some actual, well, character. It would be tricky to pull off, but I think it could be pretty rad. Plus, let's face it: The game deserves better than that really bad looking mobile phone version it got a few years back.

This one should be remade before Final Fantasy VII for one reason only: it came first. Why wouldn't you want to save your "in case of emergency, break glass," game remake for a bit later and start re-imagining your entire franchise from the beginning? It's probably not a solid argument to some, but I think it would have been nice to see. 

Final Fantasy IV

Arguably one of the best Final Fantasy games, this is many peoples' favorite in the entire series. For an entry like this, that actually has fleshed out characters and the like, I think it would do best being remade like Final Fantasy X or XII.

The Final Fantasy games after those two are just too different. So I say keep it kinda simple and just make the remake a PlayStation 2 style Final Fantasy, with fully 3D characters and environments and the turn based (or pseudo turn based if we're talking about Final Fantasy XII) that fans of the series love. Admittedly, this one has probably the best current remake of all of the ones on this list, but a full 3D remaster would be even more amazing.

This one should be remade because as I stated, it's many peoples' favorites. Just because Final Fantasy VII is the most popular doesn't mean it's loved by everyone. Square has focused way too much on Final Fantasy VII and forgotten the favorites of many other people. This is one of those favorites and that's why it deserves to be remade instead. 

Final Fantasy VI

The best main line Final Fantasy game -- fight me. If this game were remade to the standards of video games today, I could maybe die happy after finishing it.

It does everything right. The characters are plentiful and all extremely unique with motives to match (excluding Gogo and Umaro). Hell, the story is expertly written and paced to the point that almost every Final Fantasy since has tried to copy it to some extent. That's how good it is. Just remake it -- remake it now Square!

With my personal bias in heavy effect, I think it's clear why this one needs to be remade instead of Final Fantasy VII. It's just plain better.

Final Fantasy IX

The underdog of the series in my opinion. Quite a lot of people don't like this one, but I find it very enjoyable. The only Final Fantasy games that are truly not that fun are Final Fantasy II and V.

The only thing Final Fantasy IX did "wrong" was try to bring back the flavor of the older games after the new age Final Fantasy VII and VIII. For some reason, people really didn't like this and shit on it all the time. I don't think it deserves that at all, though. It was a nice change of pace from the two games prior. It had a creative fantasy theme that permeated throughout the entire game. Couple this with the cast of lovable characters who had actual emotions and motives for going on their adventure and you've got something wonderful. 

Which is why it's on this list, not just because it should be made before Final Fantasy VII. But because it deserves to get some more love.

Final Fantasy Tactics

This one doesn't even need the Final Fantasy title on it to warrant being remade. This is probably one of the best games ever made, period. The fact that this game hasn't been remade is actually a bit astounding. Does Square not like money? Seriously, this will make you a lot of money Square. Do it.

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Well, there's the list of Final Fantasy games I think should be remade before Final Fantasy VII. Like I said, we've already got too much Final Fantasy VII in the world. Let these ones have a chance first. Maybe, if you haven't already played them, they'll become your new favorite.

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5 Star Wars Games That Need to Make a Comeback With The Last Jedi https://www.gameskinny.com/k66yw/5-star-wars-games-that-need-to-make-a-comeback-with-the-last-jedi https://www.gameskinny.com/k66yw/5-star-wars-games-that-need-to-make-a-comeback-with-the-last-jedi Thu, 02 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 sknau002

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There are plenty more Star Wars games that should make a comeback. But this was just a list of five that we thought really deserved it.

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In fact, many of these games were made back before their potential could really be reached or appreciated. With the technological advances we've made since their initial releases, comebacks from these titles could really take the gaming community by storm.

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So Disney, do us a favor. Get to work on bringing these amazing titles back, and we'll get to work buying them.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/w/o/swotor-2b142.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/w/o/swotor-2b142.jpg","type":"slide","id":"149462","description":"

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

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By: BioWare/EA
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Oh 2003, you hold a very special place in this writer's heart. It was the year we were blessed with the presence of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Set thousands of years before the prequel movies, BioWare was free to essentially do whatever they wanted with KOTOR.

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The first game was about a hero that rose to become a Jedi and save the galaxy from Darth Revan. At least, that's the non-spoiler version. Knights of the Old Republic 2 was like the first one, but with better skills, more manageable gameplay, and an even better story. One of the stars, Kreia, will always have a place in my heart as one of the most philosophical characters in a video game.

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Then EA had the wonderful idea of turning the franchise into an MMORPG. Truth be told, I couldn't care less about MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's pretty, it's got that Star Wars look, it has great NPC characters that BioWare is known for... But it plays like an MMO and that's a no-go for many players.

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Knights of the Old Republic needs a comeback. Enough TOR expansions. Bring the simple player tabletop-like adventure back! We haven't had one of these since before Mass Effect and if they applied any of their technology and know-how from the Mass Effect series, it would be an instant success.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/e/p/repub-523a4.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/e/p/repub-523a4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"149457","description":"

Star Wars: Republic Commando

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By: LucasArts/Magellan Interactive
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Star Wars: Republic Commando was an awesome first-person shooter that went above and beyond the typical FPS model. First of all, you played as an elite squad of Clone Troopers called Delta Squad. You played as the leader, codenamed Boss, and you command a squad of specialists. Each squad member is good at specific things, and your role, aside from shoot the bad guys, is to command your squad to tactfully take out your enemies.

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First of all, you played as an elite squad of Clone Troopers called Delta Squad. You played as the leader, codenamed Boss, and you command a squad of specialists. Each squad member is good at specific things, and your role, aside from shoot the bad guys, is to command your squad to tactfully take out your enemies.

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First-person shooters today can't even achieve what this game did in 2005. It really did feel like a squad, as opposed to a one-man-army. Today, developers seem to take the shortcut of making a squad made of other players. While multiplayer may be a plus for some, others can immediately see the problems that would arise and would prefer an NPC squad with good AI that you have total control over.

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Republic Commando takes place during the climax of the film Attack of the Clones, making the clones look much more fleshed out than they do in the movie series. It's a story, or at least a playstyle, that Star Wars and video game fans alike have been clamouring for from the FPS sector.

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Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire

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By: LucasArts
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At first glance, this game may look bland. But remember, it was released back in the early days of the Nintendo 64 and boy was it ambitious for its day.  It takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi as protagonist Dash Rendar.

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He's a mercenary, AKA not a Jedi. Unlike Kyle Katarn, he remains not-a-Jedi. This seems pretty rare in Star Wars games, as Jedi are really popular. That's what the suggestion of a comeback focuses on; A Star Wars game that focuses on someone who isn't a Jedi.

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Remember that game everyone was super hyped about, Star Wars 1313? It wasn't supposed to feature a Jedi. In fact, it followed Boba Fett in his younger years in sector 1313 of Coruscant. A real seedy underbelly tale of the grittier side of Star Wars. No high adventure and Force using in this title. But as many of us know, 1313 got canceled.

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Shadows of the Empire, along with Dash Rendar, proved that a game NOT featuring a Jedi could work, and very well at that. Shadows of the Empire was the third top-selling Nintendo 64 game of 1997 next to 007 GoldenEye and Mario Kart 64.  Come on Disney, Rogue One showed that it doesn't need to always be a Jedi, it's time to let those wings out again.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/a/t/battlefront-ae9e0.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/a/t/battlefront-ae9e0.jpg","type":"slide","id":"149398","description":"

Star Wars Battlefront

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By: LucasArts
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This one may seem too easy, as it's an easy target because DICE's Battlefront, but it wouldn't be talked about so often if it wasn't true. We want to see the true Star Wars Battlefront return.

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What does that entail? A story. What made Star Wars Battlefront II so special was the story following the 501st Legion of Clone Troopers. After Order 66, you followed them as Stormtroopers. Each mission had objectives that made sense and every one of them felt different from the last.

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In DICE's Battlefront, it just feels like Battlefield with a few changes. There are plenty of people who may say otherwise, but the point is there is no story to be invested in, just one deathmatch after another. Is the gameplay fun? Sure! But it's the characters and story that make Star Wars special.

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Another thing to note: The old LucasArts Battlefront games had their own skirmish maps called Instant Action. These maps were more-or-less what DICE did, the difference being that it's merely one mode in the old games and the entire package in the new one. It does leave something to be desired. But if DICE insists on keeping the new Battlefront an online-only deathmatch-fest, then maybe the other games on this list can fill in the need for Star Wars lore.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/w/j/swjk2-ss1-1a2af.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/w/j/swjk2-ss1-1a2af.jpg","type":"slide","id":"149389","description":"

Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

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By: Lucas Arts
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First of all, this game stars Kyle Katarn. Next slide.

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No, but really, many people debate whether Kyle is a bad ass straight out of whatever Star Wars people call hell or a literary Mary Sue. Not only was he a cool character, but the games were actually really fun to play. They may seem dated by today's standards, but this game was like The Force Unleashed for the early 2000's. 

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Here's where the eureka moment happens. Combine the creativity of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast with the fast-paced and pretty looks of The Force Unleashed and you can really give the Jedi Knight series the comeback it deserves.

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In Jedi Outcast, players started off not being a Jedi and slowly learning the ways of the Force. This meant fighting with a blaster and other non-lightsaber weapons. As you progressed through the game, more force powers were achieved, giving a sense of accomplishment.

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Now obviously, The Force Unleashed was a game about a fully unleashed Sith apprentice with overwhelming power from the get-go. That's fine, it's what it was. But applying the progression of Jedi Outcast to the mechanics of The Force Unleashed could be a big accomplishment. It could even be done from another angle, putting a Jedi in the driver's seat once again.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/w/c/swc-e8c02.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/w/c/swc-e8c02.jpg","type":"slide","id":"149463","description":"

Star Wars is a precious topic to many pop culture fans. Many of these fans also happen to be gamers, and it's no surprise that over the years, we've had many top notch Star Wars games.

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With the announcement of Star Wars 8 being subtitled The Last Jedi, discussion on the reemergence of Star Wars games has taken place. But what games would we like to see return? Some on this list may be obvious, but the details of "how" are what really make this list worth it.

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Why TES III: Morrowind Deserved a Remaster More Than Skyrim https://www.gameskinny.com/75x7u/why-tes-iii-morrowind-deserved-a-remaster-more-than-skyrim https://www.gameskinny.com/75x7u/why-tes-iii-morrowind-deserved-a-remaster-more-than-skyrim Sun, 30 Oct 2016 10:31:22 -0400 Justin Michael

When it comes to the Elder Scrolls series of games, I may have a bit of an unhealthy obsession. This includes somewhere around the ballpark of 3000+ hours split between Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim as well as closed and open beta testing for The Elder Scrolls Online. So naturally, when the rumors started going around that there was to be a remaster for an Elder Scrolls I became very excited.

Was I finally going to see the sprawling city of Vivec in next-gen glory? Would I gaze upon the Red Mountain bathed in God rays? Would I once again know the seething hatred of having my romp through the countryside ruined by Cliff Racers?

Morrowind Cliff Racers Flock

No. The answer is a heartbreaking no. 

Instead, we got a remaster of Skyrim, a game that came out only 5 years ago.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love Skyrim. It's beautiful, the story is fun and engaging, and the combat system is the best of the series to date. But it lacks the level of depth that Morrowind provides. 

For starters, Morrowind has a more varied skills selection, allowing for roleplay-intensive character design. There are 27 different skills the player can choose from to build their class. Their class is based on 5 major and 5 minor skills -- and while you can gain proficiency in skills outside of your class, they do not count towards your character progressing in level.

Skyrim has 18 different skills that the player can level up while they play, but there is no class system in place. If you wanted to go from a heavy armor wearing, 2-handed sword-wielding madman to playing an archer assassin, it's totally possible on the same character.

There are no tradeoffs if you decide to change your playstyle. And to me, that just feels off. Besides, we all know that it typically ends up going something like this...

Morrowind was also superior to Skyrim when it came to the depth of the world. There were close to a dozen different factions to join in Morrowind, and it actually felt rewarding to get to the top of a faction. On top of that, the quests given helped you to explore the game and take in the sights, as there was no fast travel system aside from paying for a boat or silt strider.

Skyrim has 4 guilds you can join, and the choice of siding with the Stormcloaks or Imperials in the base game. Additionally, in the "Dawnguard" DLC you can choose to be a vampire or vampire hunter. There are a few minor factions that can be joined, but they have close to zero impact on the player or the world. 

And while we're on the topic of depth, there was so much dialogue in Morrowind. Even a basic NPC had a half dozen or more dialog choices to pick from. Now that might be a stretch to do in Skyrim since the NPCs are all voiced, but generally, they have a handful of lines that make up their personality and that's about it. 

Morrowind Dialog box

Last, but definitely not least, is the fact that choice mattered in MorrowindIt was 100% possible to "lose" the game. NPCs who were essential to the story could easily be killed -- and not just knocked unconscious like they are now. You could make a wrong choice with consequences that could only be undone by loading a save.

There were no failsafes to protect you or your character. If you screwed something up in an irrevocable way, you were given the choice to reload at a save point, or simply "continue on in the doomed world you created". And the latter was a totally viable option. 

So why was Skyrim picked over Morrowind?

Well, the answer is pretty simple -- time and money. For those of you who aren't familiar with the technical side of games, they take a long time to make. This is even more true for the big budget AAA titles. Bethesda's most recent release, Fallout 4, was released on an upgraded version of the game engine Skyrim was built on. 

From the time and money standpoint, this is the most logical remaster for them to do, as there is little work that has to be done in order to port the game to the new engine since it's so similar. This would not be the case for Morrowind or even Oblivion, as they were built on the Gamebryo engine.

On top of that, Skyrim has been the best-selling game in the Elder Scrolls franchise, topping over 23 million copies sold worldwide. While it's not the game that older Elder Scrolls fans may want, it the one they got.

Would it be great to have a Morrowind remake? Yes, it would. Is it likely that Bethesda is going to make it for us? No, not very likely. But there is still hope that the amazing team over at TESRenewal will be able to bring us a Morrowind in a more up-to-date format. 

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The .hack Series Deserves an HD Collection or a Remake https://www.gameskinny.com/m29d7/the-hack-series-deserves-an-hd-collection-or-a-remake https://www.gameskinny.com/m29d7/the-hack-series-deserves-an-hd-collection-or-a-remake Mon, 03 Oct 2016 09:45:25 -0400 Alex Anderson_0905

The .hack series was a weird one. The game takes place in a MMORPG called The World. The World had a deep and interesting lore that wasn’t discussed much in game -- usually only in passing conversation by one or two characters. Players could learn more about the game through posts on an in-game forum. Because the developers treated The World like an online game, the .hack series really felt like you were interacting with other people, even though you knew they were just characters in the game.

Unfortunately, for all that the series had going for it, .hack kind of died out, especially in the States. Now, if you want to play the entire English language series, you have to shell out over $500 just for the first four games. With all the re-releases we’ve been seeing lately, .hack is the perfect candidate for a re-release, or a flat-out remake.

There are several games in this series, each in their own subset of games: .hack//GAMES, .hack//G.U., and .hack//LINK. I will be focusing on .hack//GAMES, the first four.

First off, the original games were riddled with problems.

As much as I loved the series, I would be remiss to not mention its slew of issues. The camera was awful. It was hard to control and it was jumpy. The first game, INFECTION, had a playtime of roughly 25 hours, and most of that was grinding. Some of the plot could also be hard to follow if you haven’t watched the anime, .hack//SIGN, but not impossible.

But for every problem the original series had, it made up for in innovative gameplay, beautiful music, and amazing scenery (although the graphics are definitely dated now).

While I am focusing on the original series, .hack//G.U. fixed a lot of these problems.

G.U. kept what made the first games amazing, especially the environments and music, and fixed a lot of the other issues. There were only a few times when the camera was ever a problem in G.U. and it was usually during fights in small areas, which was very uncommon. The story was never hard to follow without seeing the previous anime, .hack//ROOTS. I never watched it and fully understood the story because the developers put in cutscenes to show what players may have missed. All you need to know is told to you in the first 30 mins of the game and then you’re on your way.

Finally, G.U. had a lot less grinding than the original games. There were enough quests and side-quests that players didn’t have to go to random areas and grind for hours just to beat the next area. If some of these fixes could be applied to the original games, they would definitely be a lot better.

The demand for new games is there

CyberConnect2 has acknowledged  that fans are still calling for more .hack games just last year. Fans are still replying to a tweet  from CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama, asking for a HD collection or a remake of the original series.

Famous characters have popped up in other franchises, and there was a Sword Art Online and .hack mobile crossover announced this year.

There’s so much potential for the series to expand into a MMORPG or, if the series remains a single-player RPG, to utilize the new VR capabilities sprouting up everywhere.

The .hack series deserves more. For all of the problems with the games, they were a unique and innovative experience that deserves revisiting. There are loyal fans waiting to support any new games that come out -- and with the unfounded Sword Art Online hype still circling around, plenty of new potential fans that could be picked up. With the ridiculous price of owning all of the original games, a HD collection would help players out immensely.

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Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past Review https://www.gameskinny.com/lrvoc/dragon-quest-vii-fragments-of-the-forgotten-past-review https://www.gameskinny.com/lrvoc/dragon-quest-vii-fragments-of-the-forgotten-past-review Sun, 18 Sep 2016 08:51:30 -0400 David Fisher

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past is a remake of the original Dragon Warrior VII that was released on the original PlayStation worldwide in 2001. Dragon Warrior VII has been long remembered as one of the best, as well as having one of the darkest stories in the series. But will a polished new engine prove this game stands the test of time? Or will the remake prove that old games are best remembered with their flaws forgotten?

The Plot

Dragon Quest VII starts innocently enough. Your character - the son of a well respected fisherman - is best friends with Kiefer, the prince of the lone island of Estard. Like many of the islanders, Kiefer and the main character (default name Auster) were brought up to believe that Estard is the only island in the entire world. However, the two boys refuse to believe this, and as such they go out of their way to discover the hidden secrets of their island.

Dragon Quest VII is very much a boy's adventure type story, with the two main characters' antics being the primary drive of the game's narrative

For the thirty minutes to an hour of the game, players will spend the bulk of their time trying to help Price Kiefer try to unlock the secrets of the temple found on the east coast of the island. Once the secrets of the temple are unlocked, the boys - along with Auster's childhood friend Maribel - find themselves in a strange new island devastated by monsters.

Considering the fact that Dragon Quest VII's Japanese title is quite literally "Warriors of Eden" it is only fitting that the story flows between the peaceful Estard and the monster-infested worlds beyond the portals. Similarly, the worlds you visit will be increasingly somber in tone and storytelling for a majority of the game. Those who are looking for lighter hearted Dragon Quest games might feel slightly off-put by its otherwise great story.

That said, Dragon Quest VII has a great story that is sure to amuse fans in its quirkier moments. The naivety of the adult characters is downright amusing at certain points in the game, and it really helps you feel like you're in a world where people can't fathom the possibility of there being anything outside of their norm. It's all in good dark humor fun, but just don't expect any flashy animated cutscenes as the image above is about as close as you'll get to one.

The Gameplay

In terms of raw gameplay, Dragon Quest VII borrows quite a bit from its source material. That said, a number of improvements have been made to help make the game feel like a modern RPG as opposed to a dated PSX title.

First and foremost, players will be happy to know that the notoriously long introduction of the original PlayStation title has been cut down from 3 hours all the way down to 30 minutes. The 30 minute approximation does take into account a player knowing what they are doing, and simply going from Point A to Point B with no detours, so keep this in mind during your own run of the game.

The addition of a radar-like device that is used for searching for stone shards that are essential for progressing through the game is also a feature that fans of the original - and newcomers to the game - will undoubtedly appreciate.

Fans of the original title will notice right away that all of the original sprite work over 3D worlds has been completely replaced with 3D models. This is not purely for show as the new design helps players feel much more in control of the game as overworld controls are responsive, and it's much easier to tell where you can and cannot walk.

Another change is that monster battles are no longer triggered by a random number generator. Much like a majority of modern JRPG titles, monsters spawn as overworld creatures that are encountered on contact. A lot of the monsters, dungeons, shops, and even player characters are as well. While this does chip away at the amount of time you need to grind before tackling major battles in new worlds, it has been done in such a way that players will find each world challenging at any given time provided they have not spent hours on end grinding in one world.

One issue that might steer fans of modern JRPG games away from Dragon Quest VII is the menu system. Not only does it look archaic, but the lack of streamlining or ease-of-access makes navigating through the menus feel slower than it actually is. The game does offer the ability to equip items once transferred to a character's inventory; however, the overall design feels dated.

How much you value a streamlined UI will greatly affect how much you enjoy this game. Long time fans of Dragon Quest (or earlier titled Dragon Warrior) games will find little issue with it. Fans of games like The Witcher or the Tales of series will certainly feel the effects though.

Another issue comes in the form of the game's pacing. Despite the streamlining of certain parts of the game, there are portions of this title that still drag on for quite some time. Sections at a time will feel longer than they should, and the lack of progressive tools and features can make the game feel as though it is dragging on at times.

One feature that has improved overall are battles. Visual improvements make the game feel fresh, while the smooth 3D animations help battles feel much faster than they actually are. Once again: the game does feel a bit dated due to its heavy reliance on the Dragon Quest formula. That said, if you are looking for a true traditional JRPG formula that feels like the games of old you won't find many games that do it better than Dragon Quest VII.

The Presentation

The graphics in Dragon Quest VII contrast bright and beautiful worlds against the dire situations in some of the places players will visit. Players who are worried about the original sprites being replaced with 3D models need not fear as the art style transfered over well.

Most enemies - despite being animated - will appear almost identical to their original sprite counterparts with much more fluid movement. Class changes are also visually different from one another in the remake as well - something that only appeared in artwork for the original game. Battle animations are quick and don't slow down pacing, and very rarely will updated visuals feel strange to fans of the original title.

Unfortunately, the game (as of release) does suffer from some slight hiccups in frame rate. It cannot be stressed how rare these half-second frame drops are, but they will be noticed on occasion by players adventuring in highly populated areas or those with multiple moving props.

The music in Dragon Quest VII features all of the original tracks from the source material, beautifully reorchestrated. The soundfont used for the game honors the original game's soundtrack by making it sound modern and fresh, while simultaneously not taking away from the original MIDI format the PSX title used. Battles feel upbeat, and towns feel cheerful or somber depending on the setting. It is a soundtrack that must be witnessed in action to truly appreciate.

Oh, and for those wondering if their beeps and boops for attacks are still there: yes, they are there in all their chiptune glory.

Final Verdict

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past is a great standalone title that pulls off what it sets out to achieve with virtually no flaws to be seen. While one could complain about the UI and other nitpicks, there isn't really anything negative that can be said about the game when looking at it from a genre perspective. Sure, the game could stand to update some features that are almost archaic at this point, but that's not what playing Dragon Quest games is about.

As a standalone title, I give Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past an 8/10 for its impressive presentation, simple yet effective gameplay, and memorable story. If you are a fan of classic JRPG action, or simply looking for an RPG with a little less complexity, this is your game.

As a remake, I would undoubtedly bump this score up to a must play 10/10. This remake has made so many improvements to the original game that this is undoubtedly the definitive version for anyone looking to play Dragon Quest VII. After playing this version, I guarantee that playing the original will be uncomfortable at best.

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Outcast Returns! First Images of New HD Remake https://www.gameskinny.com/6fknd/outcast-returns-first-images-of-new-hd-remake https://www.gameskinny.com/6fknd/outcast-returns-first-images-of-new-hd-remake Fri, 12 Aug 2016 05:15:02 -0400 Richard Sherry

Appeal Studios and Bigben Interactive have released initial screenshots from OUTCAST - Second Contact which was announced in May 2016.

In this full HD remake of the 1999 cult classic PC game Outcast, players will be invited to explore the alien planet Adelpha in March 2017 on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

A highly lauded action-adventure game and early open-world pioneer, the award-winning Outcast will return with updated graphics, remastered sound, and reworked controls for "optimum immersion" according to Appeal. The original game has garnered a dedicated fan base over the years, oft-praised for its ambitiously large open world for the time. 

Following former Special Forces operative Cutter Slade, Outcast's sci-fi story unfurls across the varied and open landscapes of Adelpha and Bigben Interactive claim that the new game may even hold some new surprises for longstanding fans!

More information on OUTCAST - Second Contact will be revealed at Gamescom 2016 from August 17th to 19th. Until then, enjoy these new images!

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Hope springs eternal - A remake of Demon's Souls maybe possible. https://www.gameskinny.com/hqkoq/hope-springs-eternal-a-remake-of-demons-souls-maybe-possible https://www.gameskinny.com/hqkoq/hope-springs-eternal-a-remake-of-demons-souls-maybe-possible Sun, 10 Jul 2016 11:22:45 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

After the release of Bloodborne and  Dark Souls 3, fans of FromSoftware began to wonder what's next. Many assumed they would remake 2009's Demons' Souls for modern consoles. It was revealed in a recent interview with Gamespot that the Demon's Souls remake is not completely out of the question.

Originally, the idea was shot down as the company president/game director Hidetaka Miyazaki stated they would be focusing on new IPs only. 

"The Dark Souls series is Bandai Namco Entertainment's IP, and Demon's Souls and Bloodborne is Sony Interactive Entertainment's IP. Hence, the decision to do a remake or remastering is under their jurisdiction.

His comments with Gamespot indicate that a remake would be Sony's decision alone. It would also be their choice as to what developer would be chosen to work on it.

In a previous interview, Miyazaki showed little interest in the likelihood of remaking the game, so FromSoftware's involvement -- if any -- would be unlikely. If a remake is considered, it will be interesting to see which developer is chosen to work on it.

Demon's Souls was original released for the PlayStation 3 and served as a precursor for the developer's later games. However, as a niche title many haven't had the opportunity to play it, which is why a remake appears rather appealing. After all, many of its concepts have heavily influenced later games. 

As we get closer to Demon's Souls 10 year anniversary, we'll hopefully hear something about a remake.

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