Every week, it feels like there’s more games for more platforms than ever before. Part of that is the fact that it seems like almost everything released on the PS3 or earlier is getting a graphical upgrade and a re-release. So if you’re looking to explore some gaming history, or want to add something more quirky to your Christmas list, here are the five best remasters we’ve seen.
Pick Of The Week: Okami HD ($20, PS4, Xbox One, and PC)
Console games have a strange tendency, thanks to how they function economically, to come out, disappear without a trace outside the hearts of critics, and then slowly build a following through re-releases, fan tributes, and developers praising it in interviews. No game illustrates this better than Okami, Capcom’s experimental game released nearly a decade ago and in fact was one of the last games for the PS2. Thanks to that little factoid, it didn’t exactly light the charts on fire, but the love was so great this will make the third re-release. And yes, it’s still worth it.
Grim Fandango Remastered (Free today on GOG.com through December 14th)
The remastered version of this beloved, witty adventure game, in which Manny Calavera discovers there’s something sketchy about the afterlife, does have its flaws. Some of the levels are poorly designed so you have to run around constantly to solve puzzles, and it is an adventure game from the ’90s, with all the problems that implies. But its vast, witty canvas makes it beloved, and that love is richly earned. Besides, they also fixed the controls, which was really its biggest problem, so now you can play like a normal person.
Rogue Trooper Redux ($30, PS4, Xbox One, and PC)
Rogue Trooper, which for the time was a superbly engineered cover shooter, got buried by the arrival of Marcus Fenix and his ‘roided-out buddies arriving just a few months later, but it’s gotten a second chance with the remaster wave. And if you haven’t played it, you really are missing out on one of the more fun shooters of the era.
Crash Bandicoot: The N. Sane Trilogy ($40, PS4)
Yes, the platforming franchise finally returned this year, with a full remaster. The gameplay, marking a turning point for platformers, holds up as more than just nostalgia, and especially with the rush on platformers this year, is a good reminder of how it can be done right.
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition ($40, PS4, Xbox One, PC)
This shooter is both a hilarious satire of the meatheaded immaturity of an era when every shooter was trying to be Gears of War and… actually a really fun shooter that demands you think about your environment and use both weapons and your tools (an energy lasso called a “leash” and your mighty foot) effectively. If you’ve never played, give it a shot.
Any favorite remasters of your own? Let us know in the comments!