Top 5 Unnecessary Remasters

As this generation of console continues its advance, it is impossible not to see the huge focus there has been on remasters. Every other day we hear about an old game that’s getting a fresh lick of paint to be kicked out the door to the hungry punters. Of course remasters have their place, and principally it gives those who haven’t played a certain title of yore a chance to experience it with enhanced graphics and often with all the DLC.  That being said, it seems that the corpse of a game that is barely cold these days is still worthy of a remaster, and to me it’s symbolic of an industry that is increasingly looking backwards for inspiration, rather than pushing forward with innovative ideas fuelled by much more powerful hardware. With this in mind I thought I’d round up the biggest offenders in this generation of consoles. Like adding sodium metal to concentrated hydrochloric acid there’s bound to be a little salt (and fire), so without further ado…

TLOUThe Last of Us on PS3 was without a doubt my Game of the Generation. Not only was it a visual masterpiece that squeezed every last ounce of power out of the aging PS3, it had a magnificently crafted narrative carried by fantastic voice acting and motion capture coupled with engaging and brutal gameplay; never have I played a AAA game that has been so cohesive in every aspect. Released on June 13th of 2013 to universal acclaim, I have to say I was a little surprised when the remaster released a mere year later (July 29th 2014). Releasing some eight months after the release of the PS4, TLOU Remastered came at a time when the PS4 had an extreme dearth of AAA titles worth crowing about. As a remaster of the crowning achievement of the PS3 generation, its inclusion on this list might be a little controversial, but to me TLOU Remastered represented a slap in the face to early adopters of the then next-generation of consoles. We wanted new experiences, not a game that likely anyone who owned a PS4 had already experienced on the previous generation.

TRTomb Raider is guilty for many of the same reasons mentioned for TLOU Remastered (funnily enough it was my GOTG before TLOU came along). Appearing in the twilight of last-gen, the TR reboot wrote the book on how reboots should be handled. It redefined the famous Lara Croft as we knew her, having her transform gradually from a vulnerable young explorer seemingly at the mercy of her surroundings into a powerful force to be reckoned with. While it did eventually fall victim to that classic tonal disconnect that typifies action-adventure games (where superficially morally sound protagonists possess a near psychopathic ability to methodically eliminate their enemies without batting an eyelid), it was nonetheless a successful reinvigoration of the series. It took less than a year for it to be regurgitated on the fledgling Xbox One and PS4 (the original released 5th March, 2013 and we were graced with the remaster 28th January, 2014). What the generation needed at that time was innovation, what it seemed to be getting was games that most gamers had already played.

SkytimThe Elder Scrolls series receives a lot of well deserved praise. Bethesda have consistently proven themselves masters of the open world WRPG, revelling in giving players unprecedented freedom to explore and create their own stories in expansive fantasy worlds. So it was slightly baffling to me when I heard the pre-E3 murmurs of a potential remaster of the most recent game in the Elder Scroll series: Skyrim. Bethesda confirmed these rumours at their E3 showcase, and as the crowd cheered and the Internet poured itself a virtual horn of mead from the digital celebratory flagon, I started to feel like I was going mad. Why in the name of all things holy would you remaster the most recent title in the series, which thousands of people are still playing and happily modding as we speak? Why not remaster Morrowind or Oblivion for the love of Christmas? I’m not saying Skyrim is a bad game (it’s actually fantastic), but it makes zero sense to remaster it instead of the older Elder Scrolls games. My only guess is that it’s for console players that can’t use PC mods to pretty up the graphics on the current version, or the fact that being the most recent title makes it easier to remaster and turn into a money-printing device (Skyrim is just under five years old whereas Oblivion and Morrowind are ten and fourteen years old respectively). Perhaps I’m wrong, but I think if you quizzed any Elder Scrolls fan, a Skyrim remaster would be as close to the top of their wish list as more horse armour DLC.

RE4Many consider RE4 as not only the best game in the iconic series, but a classic in its own right. It represents the high water mark for a franchise that more recently has moved towards action over survival horror (although RE7 looks to change all that).  Capcom have outwardly stated that one of the key focuses of their business strategy includes remastering everything but the kitchen sink, and there’s no title in their RE backlog (be it a spinoff or numbered entry) that they aren’t willing to dust off and rerelease. Releasing in March 2005 as a GameCube exclusive, the game was quickly ported to the PS2.  In 2011, it was remastered in HD for the PS3/Xbox 360 generation (as well as for PC as the ridiculously named RE4 Ultimate HD Edition). Now we have an announcement that RE4 will be remastered yet again for current-gen, which effectively makes it a re-remaster. I love the game, but does it really have to appear every generation of consoles? DYEGB’s Chief Bro Zach Jackson would say definitely, but then again he would buy a stick that was vaguely shaped like Leon Kennedy with Resident Evil written on it if Capcom released it. Any time spent on a re-remaster of RE4 is time wasted not bringing back Onimusha or Dino Crisis.

BTSB:TS was largely panned by critics, receiving middling scores more or less across the board. A PS exclusive that released towards the end of the PS3 generation in November 2013, the game looked the part and had some big name actors (Willem Dafoe and Ellen Page) and impressive motion capture tech, but it felt fairly passive in the gameplay department and some found the non-chronological storytelling to be a bit discombobulating. I actually quite enjoyed the game when it released, and was surprised to find myself reviewing its PS4 remaster just over two years later. Here’s what I had to say:

‘…where good remasters will feature vast visual upgrades and gameplay additions that might make the purchase worthwhile for those who have already experienced the game, the B:TS remaster contains few meaningful additions and feels more or less like the exact same flawed yet enjoyable experience I had two years ago.’

I can’t say I know exactly who the B:TS remaster was for, but it came off as a low effort cash grab (although to be honest I can’t imagine it sold too strongly).

Agree? Disagree? Light up that comment section or leave me a passive-aggressive Post-It note. If you’re not ready for this info now, wait a year or so and this article is sure to be remastered and rereleased.

Kieran is a consummate troll and outspoken detractor of the Uncharted series. He once fought a bear in the Alaskan wilderness while on a spirit quest and has a PhD in organic synthetic chemistry XBL: Shadow0fTheDog PSN: H8_Kill_Destroy
  • Brad Marcus Kirchhoff

    Only one I even remotely agree w is Beyond 2 Souls. TLOU was common sense. Why wouldn’t they put it on ps4 and double their money? Why put it only on more limited machines? That would’ve been incredibly dumb. Skyrim is necessary unless someone can tell me of another fantasy rpg w magic elements that I can play in first person on ps4…If u can’t tell me a game like that on ps4 then now u know why it was necessary for this console.

  • PillPopNaNimaL

    I think TLOU was a no brainer. It’s one of the best games released….in all of video games. It made sense because there were probably a ton of people that had 360s that jumped shipped to PS4 in the next generation and never got to play such a masterpiece. I somewhat agree with Tomb raider but I was one of the ones that didn’t get to play it on previous gen so I was happy it came. Skyrim probably should have came out as a remaster earlier in this generation. RE4 is the staple of that franchise and many people wanted it. Beyond two souls is the only one I don’t really know or care why they remastered.

  • J.j. Barrington

    You failed when you asserted new games were being put off for remasters.

    • DarthDiggler

      @jjbarrington:disqus

      I am so sick of intellectually lazy authors writing for game websites.

      • J.j. Barrington

        I mean, if you’re making a claim, back it up with SOME sort of stats.

        • DarthDiggler

          @jjbarrington:disqus

          What stats do you want? So many websites these days rely on lists, gaming websites are not immune to this. Lists like these do not offer any intellectual value. They don’t offer any real information. They are a waste of time and internet bandwidth.

          Often gaming websites will rely on myth and cliche. Like the ones who complain about the price of video games, DLC & Microtransactions. 99.99% of those articles never include any information about the historical context of game pricing, which is germane to the discussion. If you going to make a comparison you should have something to compare it to. Just saying games are expensive doesn’t really provide a comparison.

          In terms of entertainment there are few things cheaper than video games, If you put just 15 hours in a point A to point B action adventure game (something like Uncharted 4, non-open world linear game). That game was a net cost of $4 per hour, likely though that game has some sort of multiplayer and some sort of replay value. Every hour you put into your games lowers the cost of your entertainment hours by those games.

          • J.j. Barrington

            Didn’t mean from you, but from the site.

            I mean, setting forth some solid criteria on what makes a remaster worthy, detailing why these criteria matter, then explaining why these games don’t fit that.

            That, and the underlying- and hardly stated here, but I think mentioned more in an article around the same time with the same premise, which may have confused me a bit- assumption that these remasters are pushed out at the expense of newer products.

          • DarthDiggler

            @jjbarrington:disqus

            what makes a remaster worthy, detailing why these criteria matter, then explaining why these games don’t fit that.

            Obviously its an easier route to revenues for the publisher, there is less work involved and porting only requires a small team. Likely the biggest cost is marketing. Its really the publishers prerogative, unless the developer has some contractual say so.

            remasters are pushed out at the expense of newer products.

            Yeah the fact that this author is that stupid really mars the credibility of this entire website. Who is the editor in chief that allows complete fabrications to be published?

          • J.j. Barrington

            Sadly, the author IS the editor.

  • Noble Alfred

    Agree, agree, agree, agree and agree.

    What a surprise.

    • DarthDiggler

      @noblealfred:disqus

      Don’t scuff your knees up.

  • James Clark

    Disagree with all games except Skyrim (cashcow). Just shows you how two gamers can have wildly different perspectives I suppose!

    • DarthDiggler

      @disqus_dsLY8RNZ0N:disqus

      Please see my comment to Kieran Stockton. I am looking forward to Skyrim, didn’t really appreciate Bethesda until Fallout 4.

  • DarthDiggler

    @Kieran Stockton

    This website is entirely unnecessary. You do realize that the game news market is saturated so why would you bother to make yet another gaming website?

    Any company can remaster any title they want. Obviously the publishers thought that all of these titles still have some life left in them. Sony remasters are obviously catered towards the Xbox 360 players from the last generation. Many of them never played many of Sony’s exclusive games.

    One question for the author — just who the eff are you to suggest that you know which games should and should not be remastered?

    It is 100% a myth that Remastered titles delay new games. The fact that you repeat this myth showcases you aren’t a serious game writer and you don’t know the industry. I hope this isn’t your day job.

    If you don’t want to play a remastered title — don’t buy it. There is no reason to get mad about remasters. I am sick of this misconception that gaming websites seem to propagate that we gamers are victims of publishers whims. Speak for yourself most gamers I know are savvy consumers and can make up their own minds on how best to spend their entertainment dollars.

    • Shadow0fTheDog

      We made this site out of a passion for gaming, and we are thoroughly aware that there are many indie sites like ours. We all have day jobs and some of us have families, and in our spare time we like to play and talk about games; DYEGB gives us a platform to do so. Since our inception about a year ago our audience has grown as well, so there must be some people out there who like the cut of our jib. DYEGB is a something we created from nothing for which we don’t get paid, and we’re proud of how far we’ve come.

      As for the article, my point was not that remasters take away from current releases (I never made that statement in fact), but there seems to be more of them than ever before. I’ve been gaming for about 25 years and it seems like a recent phenomenon. I understand companies need to make money, and I’m not forced to buy their endless remasters, but I’m talking more from a philosophical point of view, where at a time when I was looking for new experiences on Xbox One and PS4 the big announcements were for remasters (this is mainly TLOU and TR I’m talking about). Skyrim is being worked on by Bethesda and I’d argue that that one does in fact sap resources, but in the end I don’t care; the older games are far more deserving of a remaster in my opinion. I guess this list is a little bit personal at the end of the day.

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