We here often mock, belittle and degrade the trend of the current-gen remastering and re-releasing of games that frankly aren’t that old, and are still available for purchase (at quite cheap price points too) on their original console. While in some cases, the developers make sure to put in the time and effort required, that might justify another purchase, (like The Last Of Us or GTA V remasters), most of them are quite frankly useless. Even, if you desperately need an HD update of a last gen game, that runs at 60fps, you’re better off getting the PC version off steam, rather than burning your money on a ‘current gen port’.
However, while we don’t need more PS3/360 updates, we desperately need more PS2/XBOX/GC remakes. That era was by far, the best ever in gaming history. In terms of creativity, it realized the full potential the previous generation(s) hinted at, and set the standards for the generation that followed it. I came to the realization whilst playing the recent Shadow Of The Colossus remake on PS4. I used to be only marginally interested in playing it when it was announced, but an hour or two in, I could feel the awe and epic majesty so many people speak of. And the new visual and sound design seemed to fully realize Team Ico’s grand vision, that was partially obscured in the PS2 version, with the choppy fps and a somewhat monotonous visual scheme. It never grabbed me back in the day, but now I’m really awestruck and amazed.
So without further ado, here are 10 more amazing titles that I feel can benefit from a modern facelift, lest their amazing qualities be lost on a whole generation of gamers.
10. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox, PC): It’s an all-time classic RPG, which not even Bioware’s successive titles have been able to top. It’s the best Star Wars game ever made and deserves a full on HD, Galaxy-spanning, Mass Effect-esque remake (a series which ironically, owes KOTOR its entire existence to). It would be a blast to revisit the entire epic saga (and plot twist), and would considerably help us STAR WARS fans to get the bitter taste of THE LAST JEDI out of our mouths, if nothing else.
9. Genji: Dawn of the Samurai (PS2): This excellent and extremely underrated samurai action game will appeal to otakus, Japanese history buffs and those who like fast, gratifying and responsive hack & slash gameplay. The PS2 was chock-full to the brim with great Samurai action games, but we have a soft spot for this underrated gem. Newborn fans of the genre, thanks to titles like Team Ninja’s Nioh are sure to appreciate this one, if it’s ever reborn with touched-up production values.
8.Zone of the Enders/ZOE: Second Runner (PS2): Arguable the best thing Kojima put his name on. Whilst the first game is little more than a tech demo, it forms a strong basis for it’s sequel. The Second Runner is one of the PS2’s best, most badass action games and an almost perfect mixture of storytelling and game play. Pretty much the perfect Mech game, it’s a title that has both style and substance (and epic set pieces). While it is getting an HD VR remaster for PS4/PC in 2018, we would have much rather preferred a full on remake.
7. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (PS2): The Persona games are all the rage these days (and rightfully so), but Nocturne is the Shin Megami Tensei game that real men play. Jokes aside, this is one of the best in the series (and my personal favorite), mixing together a spooky tone, disturbing atmosphere, complex philosphical themes, and a challenging, strategic combat system. It’s one of 6th gens’ most highly regarded cult JRPGs and the possibility of seeing its all of it’s twisted, demented corners reborn in HD/4K (with possibly a touched up Shoji Meguro soundtrack) has us salivating.
6. Ikaruga (Dreamcast,GC): One of the most celebrated (and hardest) side-scrolling bullet-hell shooters ever made. Ikaruga is more like a work of art, and a moving painting than a video games. Few games have ever managed to mix such fun, innovative gameplay, provide such an awe inspiring scale and tax players to the very essence of their being. Whilst, it’s readily available on Steam (with a 10/10 rating no less) and also has an upcoming Nintendo Switch port, we would really appreciate it being realized again with current gen graphical capabilities. It would no doubt leave most players in awe (and exhausted). Fans of the recent indie smash-hit Cuphead are sure to enjoy this one.
5. Skies of Arcadia (Dreamcast, Gamecube): Pirates seem to be all the rage these days, especially after the Pirates of the Carribean movies, and Assasins Creed 4: Black Flag, but the only game to ever capture the day-to-day, high-flying, swashbuckling action that a sky pirate lives on was this underrated early 2000 title. It’s pretty much a JRPG classic, that has plenty of charm, wonder and magical feeling that matches (or exceeds) a classic Square Enix RPG. Remade with top-shelf production values, It can put any modern AAA blockbuster to shame.
4. Shadow Hearts 2 (PS2): The sequel to Shadow Hearts was just an incredible JRPG that mixes a unique world, cool spooky atmosphere and a turn based battle system that somehow manages to combine both strategy and the free-flowing feel of a combo system. Its a game that cleaned out all the rough edges around the original game, and managed to develop a superb time-altering storyline, and combine it with really fun and customizable gameplay. It’s an outstanding game that will make even JRPG skeptics envious of the genre.
3. KILLER 7 (GC, PS2): This game may not be for everyone, but it sure as hell is for me. KILLER 7’s unique aesthetic put Suda 51 on the map as a weirdo auteur, but there’s a lot more going on beneath the often inaccessible and off-putting exterior. Throwing off the player on the bizzaro deep end from the very beginning, this is the very definition of a gaming acid trip, that mixes unique gameplay, a politically charged storyline and moments so surreal, they can only be replicated in this particular medium. It’s perhaps the least accessible title on this list, but it still could use another chance to freak a new generation of gamers out.
2.God Hand (PS2): Capcom’s now-defunct Clover Studios got a lot of love recently, with remasters of Okami for both current gen (PS4, XB1, Switch) and PC now, as well as already existing PS3 and Wii versions available. Now it’s time for their other masterpiece to get its due. It’s tongue-in-cheek tone and playful art design may suggest a random mindless beat-em-up that Shinji Mikami made for kicks , but in reality, this is as sophisticated and technical a video game there has ever been made. With an incredibly customizable combat system, adaptive difficulty, (that is part of the gameplay) and a satisfyingly insane challenge level God Hand is one of the best action games ever made. This late 6th gen masterpiece has somehow been elusive from Capcom’s plans, despite becoming a cult legend, and we’re not sure why.
1. Silent Hill 2 (PS2, PC, XB): This game hasn’t aged one bit to this day, and still holds the power to shake the players psychologically, and emotionally to their very core. It’s still pretty much the landmark for mature, thematic, psychologically rich storytelling to this day. Although, upgraded visuals and especially redone voice acting will make it even more forceful, and immortalize it in a way that the REmake did the original Resident Evil. It’s been too long since James Sunderland’s fateful trip to the strange, mysterious town called Silent Hill. Now it’s about time for an encore.
What are some of the titles that you think deserve the full-on next-gen treatment? Let us know in the comments below.