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HD Remakes: Are they worth it?

HD Remakes: Are they worth it?

By Shadow Links

HD remakes are they worth it?

A recent phenomenon i’I’ve seen mostly on the PS3 and a few on other systems has been the remake of classic games into high definition. If you want the short answer, its probably yes.

Now if you already own the game, you are far less likely to deem it worth buying one with updated graphics for good reason except for certain additions. However if you don’t own it, buying a remake is probably worth it since it was deemed popular and good enough to even be given the chance to be remade.

The first thing to realize is that not all remakes are equal. Some have been completely re-hauled whereas other have only brushed the surface with a more precise brush. Second is that sometimes they can include new content, however nothing ground breaking has been added and most are less in impact than most DLC content today.

Zone of the Enders HD collection would be an example the early and somewhat lower end remake, but well worth considering where it had been on the PS2 and the lack of popularity compared to Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid Series. Much of the character designs are sharper, the frame rates are stabilized, and both games have remade opening sequences.

Halo CE Anniversary is a more involved example, completely re-textured everything as well as including new features such as skulls and terminals which reveal background information, that can be found around the maps. The nicest thing about this games is that with a press of a button you can revert back to the original textures and play that ways just to see how far things have come in the years since its first release. The multiplayer contains all the old maps as well as updated versions to play with the updated styles of Halo Reach.


Metal-Gear-Solid-HD-Collection-Gets-New-Details-2-214x300There are some collections like the Metal gear solid HD collection that includes previous unreleased on console versions of games like Metal gear Solid Peacewalker as well as Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 which both are the special versions of each game previously called Substance and Subsistence.

Kingdom Hearts HD Remix 1.5 is a recently released example of an HD remake. 1.5 Included Kingdom hearts 1 Remix, Chain of Memories (PS2 version), and HD cinematic and diary entries of 358/2 days which is all the games between KH1 and KH2. In this case we get a directors cut version of the first game with updated controls and HD visuals as well as some bonus content in the form of new moves, cutscenes, enemy color palettes, and bosses that were absent in the american version and added in the remix which was only released in japan. While the visuals in the original version were not bad, the update in this case is enough that it materializes what you might have seen in your mind’s eye when playing this years ago. A 2.5 Remix will be available before too long that will include KH2, Birth by Sleep (PSP), and scenes from Re:coded (Mobile).


Assassins Creed Liberation was a PS Vita exclusive that now has a full HD version coming to PS3. Now normally I’d expect that this would be a simple port since the Vita is so powerful, but the developers seem to have decided to make an effort in this case. All the models have been remade, captures re-done, controls redone, and feedback from the vita version (which had not been received but so well) has been incorporated into the design of the game and the mission structure.


Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Symphonia 2 Dawn of a New World are both getting a remake on the PS3 in the Tales of Symphonia Chronicles. While this may not be any different from the originals, the controls from Dawn of a New world receives a much needed makeover considering the original Wii controls were questionable at best.


Other remakes that come to mind:

  • Beyond Good and Evil HD
  • Bully: Scholarship Edition
  • Devil May Cry Collection
  • Golden Eye 007: Reloaded
  • God of War Origins Collection
  • ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection
  • Jak and Daxter Collection
  • Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D
  • Legend of Zelda Windwaker HD
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy
  • Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green/Heart Gold/Soul Silver
  • Prince of Persia Trilogy
  • Ratchet and Clank Collection
  • Resident Evil 4 HD
  • Splinter Cell HD Collection
  • Sly Collection

So would you buy any remakes? Which ones?

Written by Nerd Bacon

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  1. Shadow Links says:

    Congratulations, your comments managed to be 2x the length of my article, lol.

    I just need to point out a few things. All the collections are updated to a minimum of 720, which i considered HD since last gen barely half the games could even do 480p. Much less many people even having the component cables and TV to show off the ability. As for Pokemon Red and Green there is a whole story behind that.

    In Japan it was Red and green originally released. Blue came later with an updated engine and bug fixes. In the American port, Red and Blue both had the updated engine from the Japanese Blue, but the American Blue had the same monster spread, sprites, and rarities as the Japanese Green. Why they changed the name, who knows.

    Great comments and points though. I liked the analogies with the movies. It makes you think.

  2. As I proofread my novel length comment above, I thought of an analogy that might make sense to anyone on the fence, at least when it comes to actual remakes.

    Take a second to think about when a film is remade. Now I know that most people have been conditioned to give a knee-jerk reaction of “TEH ORIJINAL IZ beTtr” but what about the shit you don’t even realize is a remake? Would you rather watch the black-and-white “The Fly” from 1958 or Cronenberg’s 1986 classic? Rather exert the effort it takes to sit through, understand, and actually enjoy stuff like Infernal Affairs and Abre Los Ojos or walk away 100% satisfied from The Departed and Vanilla Sky?

    Point being that remakes are often done to update an essentially timeless core to a language and framework that modern audiences can understand. I don’t care how much the world loves 1968’s Night of the Living Dead; the audio is bad, the acting is atrocious, the special effects are almost non-existent, and oh yeah, it’s in fucking black and white. And it’s not that I can’t appreciate it for what it is or that I don’t understand the cultural significance or whatever else any freshmen film major or self-accredited movie buff would like to throw in my face. It’s simply that I am accustomed to a certain aesthetic standard that’s purely a result of the cultural influences that surround me. Maybe this is a bad example because the whole world hates Savini’s 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead, but in 1990 we had blood and gore, we didn’t have the stilted archetypal characters of the 60’s, we had Tony fucking Todd. Not only was the presentation of the artform itself updated, but so were the parts of the story based on cultural norms from 22 years prior that no longer held any relevance.

    Everyone is always upset when a movie that’s remade changes the story, yet when a remade video game is added to or altered it seems to significantly increase its critical value. Remakes, in film, aren’t made for the people that loved the original. If you love Romero’s NotLD from 68, then go watch it again. They’re made for the people that DON’T love the original.

    Now you could always do something as stupid as Van Sant’s shot-for-shot 1998 remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho from 60, but why bother to do it at all if the aim is only to produce an exact copy? Here’s where video game companies will REALLY stumble if they attempt such a thing. Releasing earlier collections for later platforms doesn’t fall into this trap because it’s more analogous to releasing a film on Blu-Ray that was only on DVD before.

    Ultimately, I guess the connection I’m trying to draw here is to look at these “HD remakes” like you’d look at a remake of a film. Watch Infernal Affairs or Romero’s NotLD (or whatever original it is you can’t get into) and apply that disconnect, that detachment with the material, that sort of unfamiliarity you feel to what a younger gamer may think of Starfox 64. Now think of how much easier it is to focus on the story being told in The Departed or Savini’s NotLD since you aren’t distracted by limitations which you aren’t accustomed, conventions that are no longer the norm, something that you recognize, from your frame of reference, as a “film.” This familiarity is exactly what the same young gamer who goes for Starfox 64 3D feels. Instead of constantly having to ignore the technical constrains of the N64 version, he or she can experience what’s great about the game in an environment that they can immediately identify with.

    I think this is the real take-home message from remakes in any form of entertainment. Yes, it all boils down to money, but people wouldn’t pay for it if it didn’t work. Remakes are a great way of extending the life of something specific. After all, how many truly innovative games are there out there? Nearly everything boils down to an imitation of something that came before no matter what the facade. It’s just that remakes go about it a little more blatantly.

  3. I’ve actually got Wind Waker HD for the Wii U in my stack of recently purchased Wii U games. I wasn’t wild about the idea to begin with until I read up on it a bit to see that included mounds of new content, plus a lot of new added functionality with the GamePad.

    Strictly speaking, several of your mentions aren’t HD remakes at all. In some cases they are simply collections of games for older systems slapped on a disc or 2 for a later system. Also, in the case of Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen, these were updated versions of the earlier Japanese Red and Green. North America never saw a “Green” for the Game Boy (we got the totally different “Blue” for whatever reason) and from what I understand, “FireRed,” as an updated version of the Japanese “Red” is quite different from the North American “Red.” “LeafGreen” is new to North American audiences altogether as we never saw “Green” in any way, shape, or form.

    To the larger issue at hand however, we as a culture are obsessed with how much better stuff can look and sound. It doesn’t even matter if it was adequate or even excellent in its time. I’m almost convinced that you could slap “HD” on VHS and people would tell you they noticed a difference.

    Take my parents for instance. They aren’t the most technologically savvy people in the world, but they do alright. They bought a nice, new, HUGE HD TV while I was away at college. Years and years later (I’d guess about 5, no joke) I was playing around with their TV and insisting that I saw no difference between the channels marked as “HD” and those that weren’t. They vehemently swore up and down that the HD channels were sharper, clearer, etc. Well, as I started digging around back there one night, I realized that with all that nice TV sitting there, EVERYTHING was still running through coaxial cables. I mean DAMN. For at least 5 years, my folks sat there thinking there was a difference when technically there NEVER WAS. I ran out to Walmart in the middle of the night, did the whole HDMI thing, and showed them what HD *REALLY* looked like the next morning.

    Sure, it sounds stupid, but it’s not an uncommon story. Tell people that something should look better, and they’ll agree, because most people don’t want to risk sounding like a total luddite by insisting that there’s no difference.

    Not that I think HD remakes are made to pull the wool over people’s eyes, but the economics are simple. If people even THINK it’s supposed to look better then they want it. Personally I don’t understand the obsession, but that’s just me. I’m perfectly happy running my PS4 into my cathode ray tube TV. Hey, at least I can still play Duck Hunt and Yoshi’s Safari.

    On the flipside, it can be A LOT of fun to see additional levels added to beloved games. If someone came out with an HD version of Faxanadu tomorrow and promised 50% more content I’d pay $100 for it. Doesn’t really have anything to do with the graphics quality, I just want to experience more of a game I love. I think this at least *somewhat* offsets the money grubbing bastards, though the game ought to be priced accordingly. (I think Wind Waker HD was $50 as opposed to the usual $60 for a Wii U game…I’m thinking $30 would be more appropriate.)

    Another good purpose these remakes and collections serve is to reintroduce old favorites to gamers that may have forgotten them. Not everyone has the inclination to keep 37 consoles lying around like I do; there comes a point when most people get rid of their PS2s and justifiably all the games that go with it. So when a massive God of War collection drops for the PS4 11 years later, these guys can enjoy games they loved with the enhancements that modern-day technology has to offer. This is exactly what’s going on with the Halo Anniversary Edition; how many people still have an original Xbox sitting around at arm’s length?

    Finally, it also serves to introduce seminal games to a newer generation in a format they can understand. A 12 or 13 year old with their shiny new 3DS could probably care less about ANYTHING that the N64 has to offer, but throw Ocarina of Time 3D into their handheld and they’re in love. It’s another way for companies to capitalize on what’s worked in the past. Maybe I’m being naive, but I also like to think that maybe they want to appeal to those who’ve distanced themselves from video games as the years have passed and possibly rekindle their interest. Younger gamers get the familiar technology to introduce them to a classic game, and older gamers gravitate towards titles they love and are thus introduced to modern systems. There’s a level of familiarity on both fronts so that parents and kids can enjoy a game together…or maybe so that Nintendo can sell 2 3DS’s and 2 copies of the same game to the same family. Whatever, it does serve a legitimate purpose beyond $$$.

    In summation, I think what you’re really asking here extends well beyond the self-titled “HD remakes,” but it all amounts to the same thing. Most people who’ve been chewing on their Wii U’s for the past year or plan to pick up one this holiday season have long since discarded their GameCubes. A case with a title they know is likely to attract their attention immediately resulting in not only the purchase of the game but increased interaction with the new platform.

    Superficially it may seem too redundant to bother with, but seen within the context of the typical gamer/family/kid who only has 1 or 2 *maybe* 3 systems operational at one time (if they’re lucky), plus the obligatory semi-functional 10 year old system in the attic and the 7 year old console in the closet that no one can find the cables for, it really makes a lot of sense from multiple perspectives.


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