Today’s the day; the start of our Game of the Year awards. Between now and the end of the year we’ll be checking off over a dozen categories and weighing up the best games in each from the past twelve months.
But we start by looking back even further, in some ways. Perhaps the trend of the decade has been the revisiting of older titles and sprucing them for modern hardware. As we come to the tail end of the 2010s and the end of this console generation, we’ve moved far beyond simply taking a game and bumping up the resolution and level of detail settings. While that kind of remaster still exists, we’re now in the realms of full blown remakes, rebuilding games from scratch and bringing them up to the standards of modern games.
Resident Evil 2 is the new high water mark for a game remake. Capcom took the 1998 original and completely reimagined what the game could be in a modern setting. Gone were the tank controls, gone were some of the hilariously cheesy performances, and in came a slick over the shoulder horror game that mixed together the best of the original’s narrative and puzzling with the defining action gameplay of Resident Evil 4.
Not only that, but Capcom lavished the game with some of the finest visuals we’ve seen this generation. Built on the company’s RE Engine, which is shared with Resident Evil 7 and Devil May Cry V, it features some staggeringly pretty characters with some of the best, most human looking faces found in video games. It’s an absolute treat regardless of the platform you play it on.
Whether you’re an old fan hoping to relive a classic horror game or a newcomer to the series, Resident Evil 2’s remake is one of the essential games of 2019.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled – Runner Up
As soon as Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy was first rumoured, fans of the series clamoured for Crash Team Racing to be remastered as well. Two years later and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled has gone far, far beyond even their wildest dreams. Not just content to take the original game and spruce it up with fresh graphics, Beenox dove deep into how the game worked, creating a more modern, lighter feeling kart racer compared to the original. They also weren’t going to just limit themselves to the original game, throwing in tracks, karts, modes and characters from Crash Nitro Kart and Crash Tag Team Racing.
However, by far and away the biggest change between 1999 and 2019 is the rise of online gaming. Nitro-Fueled embraces online kart racing in all its glory. It’s a thoroughly contemporary set up, with skins and characters to earn and unlock (or spend real world money on), built around in-game seasonal events.
More than a remaster, more than a remake, Nitro-Fueled is another wholesale reimagining of what Crash Team Racing could be in the modern era.
Link’s Awakening – Runner Up
One of the most beloved entries in The Legend of Zelda series, Grezzo took a much more straightforward approach to remaking Link’s Awakening compared to Resident Evil 2 and Crash Team Racing. This is the classic adventure, lavished with a gorgeous new tilt shift, claymation art style. Making common sense quality of life changes (like using all of the Switch’s many buttons and easier inventory) help make the game feel more fluid and engaging as well.
It’s yet another wonderful remake from a year that’s been stacked with them.
Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
- Halo: Reach Remastered
- World of Warcraft Classic
What was your personal favourite of the year? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to stick with us through the rest of this month as we tick our categories off one by one. Next up? Best Visual Design.