Once few and far between, remasters have now become a staple of modern gaming. Taking classics from a bygone era and sprucing them up in HD was a no-brainer but it didn’t take long for the floodgates to open. It always makes us chuckle a bit when we hear of game being remastered that we had no idea existed in the first place.
That said, there are still plenty of classics out there in much need of a re-release and, as 2017 has shown us, these remasters can often outshine the latest and greatest the gaming industry has to offer.
PlayStation fans have had no shortage of quality remasters in 2017. Standing deservedly above the rest, however, is the long-awaited return of Crash Bandicoot. Mascots don’t get any more iconic than Crash and developer Vicarious Visions really pulled this one out of the bag, rebuilding not one but three sensational 3D platformers for a new generation.
We were quickly reminded just how brutal these games could be, especially when revisiting The High Road for the first time in many, many years. Not every aspect of the Crash trilogy aged particularly well though, as a remaster, fans couldn’t have asked for more.
Yakuza Kiwami – Runner Up
2017 has been one heck of a year for the Yakuza series in the West, and it finally feels like it’s getting the recognition it deserves outside of Japan. The year started with the Yakuza 0 prequel, and it made sense that the remake of the original game, called Yakuza Kiwami, would follow in August.
Sega gave it an extensive makeover, not only improving the graphics, but also adding some additional content to resolve certain plot points in the story, as well as tie the game more closely to Yakuza 0 with its gameplay and with the Majima Everywhere system.
WipEout Omega Collection – Runner Up
The WipEout Omega Collection was, at first glance, all set to be the least ambitious of all this generation’s raft of remasters. Drawing together the PS Vita’s WipEout 2048, as well as the PS3’s WipEout HD – itself a remaster of the PSP’s WipEout Pulse and Pure – it all felt as though this was going to be far too familiar; a bunch of old handheld games, even after a bit of extra spit and polish to take advantage of Sony’s new PlayStation 4 Pro.
Put simply, it wasn’t. Getting WipEout 2048 on console instead of being trapped on a 5″ screen is great, and the jump to 4K is fantastic across the board. While some games haven’t really benefitted in any perceptible way from the Pro’s increased processing power, the Omega Collection is one to hammer home the relevance of the burgeoning Ultra HD format. Sure, it’s least partly to do with the quality of Studio Liverpool’s visual design, and as a remastered racing game, it’s not likely to have stretched the Pro to its absolute limits, but there’s no doubt that it looks utterly amazing, especially in break-neck motion.
This is of course, all on top of some of the best futuristic racing to have been committed to code, with none of the series’ enthralling handling or action-packed modes lost in the transition. Perhaps though, for long-time fans, it’s the fact that the Omega Collection is Studio Liverpool’s ultimate send-off, and this lovingly put together restrospective of three of their finest pieces of work show’s us just what a loss the studio’s closure was.
How about you? Are you sick and tired of the seemingly endless supply of remakes and remasters? Or have you found yourself hooked on a classic game that’s been spruced up for the modern generation?