Who needs new games when we can just play the old we we already love in a prettier package? Okay, new games definitely have a place in our hearts, but in an era where development costs continue growing, publishers have come to rely on remakes more and more. But, in order to catch our attention, a remake has to do more than simply give us the same experience we played years ago. That said, the following games go above and beyond when it comes to dusting off old experiences for a new generation of gaming.
Day of the Tentacle Remastered
Day of the Tentacle Remastered follows in the footsteps of the recent Grim Fandango Remastered by expertly touching up an old LucasArts adventure. Rather than farming these creations out to a third party, the people who actually worked on the original games supervised their remakes, which definitely shows. And Tentacle amounts to a much more involved production than Grim Fandango’s remastering. You can play the game in its original, chunky-pixel glory, or immediately switch to an updated art style, which keeps the assets intact but artfully transfers them to a much higher level of graphical fidelity.
On top of this, Day of the Tentacle Remastered also features an in-depth commentary from the game’s original team, which provides plenty of trivia and historical information about that era of game development. Oh yeah, and Tentacle stands as one of LucasArts’ best adventure games—and more importantly, one that’s easy to jump into today. [Bob Mackey]
True, Rez has received an HD remake in that past—close to a decade ago as of this writing. Once again, those talented developers who created the 2001 original Dreamcast game have created a worthwhile reason to play this modern classic all over again. Even though Rez has since passed its 15th birthday, its rhythm-based shooting experience remains unique and amazingly fun. And, thanks to its timeless visuals—which rely more on style than graphical prowess—Rez only looks better on the PlayStation 4.
Along with including a new level that fully takes advantage of the PlayStation 4’s power, Rez HD also works with PlayStation VR—seemingly, the way it was always meant to be played. Even if you’ve been around the block with Rez before, this new release provides plenty of reasons to dive back into this trippy rhythm shooter. [Bob Mackey]
BioShock and BioShock Infinite are two of the most critically acclaimed games of the last decade. Meanwhile, BioShock 2 is an underrated gem and all the games’ DLC is worth revisiting as well. For people new to current generation consoles, they needed a simple, straightforward way to give these celebrated FPSes a try. Enter BioShock: The Collection.
This PS4, Xbox One, PC repackaging spiffs up the last-gen shooters, but it’s no massive technical improvement. The real draw of BioShock: The Collection is having all three games in one convenient, accessible package. Most importantly, if you never played the terrific single-player add-ons like Minerva’s Den and Burial At Sea, both are more than worth the price of admission. As they’d say in Rapture, it’s a circus of values. [Henry Gilbert]
Ratchet and Clank
If you’re like most humans this year, you completely missed the CGI film, Ratchet & Clank. No big loss, and the best side effect of that film bombing is Sony and Insomniac teaming up to remake the first entry in the long-running shooter/platformer hybrid. And so we got the PS4 remake, Ratchet & Clank.
Half a remake and half a reboot, Ratchet & Clank takes the cute mascots back to their roots while incorporating what the sequels did so well. It was reliably funny and fresh, everything folks had come to expect from Insomniac’s series. Whether this is the start of a new chapter in their life or a thrilling send off, Ratchet & Clank is one of 2016’s best remakes. [Henry Gilbert]
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past
This was a game North American players had waited ages for. After a wonky release back in 2000, one of the most epic, lengthy RPGs ever made got a massive update on the 3DS back in 2013 — but only in Japan. It would be another three years before the 100-hour long role-playing game hit the US. Good thing Dragon Quest VII was worth the wait.
The 3DS version of Dragon Quest VII greatly streamlined the story, particularly in the much shorter opening. It plays like a classic RPG, but with so many different chapters telling a sprawling epic of a world that was lost and then found. Dragon Quest VII is so large that you’ll find yourself battling no less than The Almighty himself for the fate of the humanity. For a game that long, and with tens of thousands of pages of text to translate, this was a massive undertaking, and one gamers will hopefully embrace for years to come on the 3DS. [Henry Gilbert]