With every man and his dog having a rip-roaring whinge about bloody remakes, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they were as contagious and worrisome as STDs amongst first year uni students. But put away your frangers for a minute you horny little bastard, because if you believe me, remasters and remakes may be the video game equivalent safest sex around. Providing you choose the right games of course. The last generation is home to an amazing range of games, many of which wouldn’t feel entirely out of place on the Playstation 4 or Xbox One, providing they had a bit of a cut and polish.
Being the shallow bloke I am, here are nine games I’d love to play again, after a good old fashioned nip and tuck. Now get to it, Doctor!
Call me utilitarian – I do live in Canberra after all – but I quite liked the endless office and warehouse buildings you traverse through the course of Monolith’s horror-shooter FEAR. It wasn’t the most amazing technical show piece even at the time of release – and the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 version even less so – but its functional visual design did just enough to keep things interesting. And that was never really the draw of the game, because while it did rely to some extent on its visuals to create some of the game’s scariest moments, it was the soldiers’ eerily humanlike artificial intelligence that made FEAR such a brilliant first person shooter, and one that still plays as well now as it did then. I don’t necessarily need an excuse to play through the game again, but a fresh coat of paint would certainly sweeten the deal.
No game from the last generation better defines ‘next generation’ than Dead Rising. It may not do much to impress almost a decade on – particularly when compared to the most recent sequel – but at the time the combination of its brilliant art direction and the sheer number of shambling corpses on the screen made it a bit of a showpiece. Both of its sequels made significant technical leaps, but it’s the hallowed halls of Willamette Parkview Mall that remains the best game in the series, and the game with the most to gain from a makeover. Adding in some of the weapon crafting elements from later games would just be the cherry on top.
Singularity was both a cracking playing and cracking looking game when it came out, but much like Raven’s other shooter effort Wolfenstein, fell largely on deaf ears when it was released into the wild. A remake would give it another shot at life, and with the horsepower of the new consoles, that alternative soviet-era world could really be brought to life. There are fewer shooters last generation that had such a unique setting as singularity, with Bioshock being the obvious point of comparison, but for mine Singularity edges it out as the more deserving of the two for some plastic surgery and a second chance at love.
Rockstar presents Table Tennis
It’s hard to believe that Rockstar made a Table Tennis game for one console, let alone the fact that they tried it again on the Nintendo Wii a few months later. But while Rockstar’s Table Tennis, the fabled developer’s first foray onto last generation hardware, wasn’t the most full-featured game around, it certainly played a great game of deceptively deep tischtennis. It also looked pretty great, although some of that shine has worn away with time. It is a game that doesn’t necessarily suffer as a result of its age, but there would certainly be no harm in giving it some graphical peptides and giving it another shot at upending the table.
I can’t imagine how much time the animators at developer Rainbow Studios spent studying how the legs of arachnids articulate when they walk, but Deadly Creatures captures scorpion and spider movement perfectly. And I should know, I spent the better part of my youth catching highly poisonous spiders, to much displeasure from my parents. But strange childhood fascinations aside, Deadly Creatures’ premise is a unique one, and the world created around it creates some fantastic ‘Honey, I shrunk the Kids” moments of scale and scope, making it as close as you’re ever likely to get to experiencing the world as one of our eight-legged friends. And I can only imagine how much more impressive that would be running on something other than the Wii.
I’m not sure there is any game more deserving of belonging on more powerful hardware than Vanquish. It was blisteringly fast in a way that few games are, and I’m no frame rate connoisseur, but running at a rock solid 60 clicks I can only imagine how much of a spectacle Vanquish would be if it was beefed up. As one of the most visually striking and effects laden third person shooters of the generation, it’d be nice to see its rough graphical edges get a bit of smoothing out, to bring its cheesy but memorable world to life. I can’t think of anything better than 1080/60 sliding, if i’m entirely honest.
Midnight Club: Los Angeles
Racing games are the sort of thing that quickly become superseded, but with no new Midnight Club game on the horizon, Midnight Club: Los Angeles it is still the best in breed when it comes to arcade street racing. And it can’t easily be topped, with brilliant core racing topped with an impressive living virtual realisation of the city of Los Angeles, that still looks and plays the part quite a number of years on. Rockstar Games’ Rage engine got quite the workout with the last Midnight Club game, with super saturated sunny days making way for stunning artificially lit nights, and the cars shimmering as they drove through the streets of Los Angeles at speed. It was truly something to behold when it was released. Of course a touch up here, a spruce up there, and an entirely new soundtrack everywhere wouldn’t necessarily go astray.
And if a remaster could include the remixed levels found in the quite impressive Playstation Portable version of the game, well that’d just be a bit of a bonus to an already spectacularly complete game, really.
Red Faction: Guerilla
Two of my favourite Playstation 2 era games were the Red Faction games, both of which were brilliant shooters, but neither of which were particularly innovative in their approach to game design. When the sequel Guerrilla came along though, that’s exactly what it did, making enormous steps forward for not only the franchise but for the way physics and destruction are incorporated into open world gameplay. Watching a building crumble around you, or ideally on a bunch of Ultor goons, after you’d taken your hammer to its support structure wasn’t only fun, it was a bloody revelation. Giving the physics a good hard do over while making Mars’ dirt look a bit more detailed could only improve a game that was already fantastic.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma
As far as I’m concerned no generation of hardware is complete without Team Ninja having a crack at peddling Ninja Gaiden onto the masses. And the Playstation 3 remake of the Xbox exclusive, Ninja Gaiden Sigma, still looked pretty good at the start of last generation due in part to the enormous jump to high definition. But by the time the PS Vita game rolled around, while it was impressive to see it running on the small screen, it was starting to look a little long in the tooth. But by Jove it still played as well as it did way back in 2004, and with a bit of updating, it could be brought back to its former technical glory. A remake of a remake of a remake? Don’t mind if I do.
Do you have any last-gen games you’d like to see get the remake or remaster treatment? Let us know in the comments.