High definition remakes are becoming more of a staple nowadays to help recapture the great games of the past with a modern feel. It’s not just this generation that has been doing, either. When the Sony PSP was released, there were two Megaman games that were released with updated graphics. There were also sprite-based games in the past that had graphical updates as well. But now, we are getting updates to famous series’ that seem to be coming off as a deal, but in most cases are not.
A remake that came out a few years ago that possibly spurred this trend was the release of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo: HD Remix. Capcom took the model from, at that time, the greatest Street Fighter of all time and added new art and music and only charged $14.99 (Back when Capcom was still Good Guy Capcom). The game also featured online play, which was a first for Street Fighter. This game still stands as a great game, but SF4 was announced and released not too long after this. This actually took some work as basically everything in the game was redone.
I don’t know if the ideas officially spurred from this, but Sony announced a few years later they would start doing “Classic HD” and “PSP Remasters”. The idea of this would open up a door of broad opportunities to re-release classics with modern graphics and possible online play. In anticipation of God of War 3, Sony released the God of War collection, which was HD remakes of God of War 1 and 2 from the Playstation 2. Sony saw this as a way to introduce new players to the franchise.
The game was released with tremendous success at I believe $29.99. The idea of getting two legendary games for that price in HD was awesome. But once you play the game, you realize that it’s the same game, but just at a higher resolution. The textures aren’t necessarily improved, and a mix of that and the high res can be downright ugly. However, if someone has not played 1 or 2, and were in preparation to purchase 3, this worked out.
This idea of HD remakes also stems back to the lack of PS2 backwards compatibility in new models of the PS3. Would you rather spend $30-$50 on a new bundle with potential issues, or pick up used copies that are cheaper and would look better due to owning an HDMI cable and an HDTV with a backwards compatible PS3? This, to me, is where the money making gimmick comes off. Sony soon began announcing many franchises that would get remakes, then a few other companies got on the bandwagon.
Sony would announce the Sly Collection and also Ico and the Shadow of Collossus being next in line for HD remakes. Sony has advantages in doing their remakes due to Move functionality (Sly Collection) and 3D(Shadow of Collossus). Soon after this, releases of Splinter Cell and Tomb Raider HD remakes were announced, as well as Resident Evil 4 and Code Veronica, Silent Hill 2 and 3, and hugely Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and Peace Walker. With Peace Walker, this opened up even more from Sony with the inclusion of PSP remasters.
Sony was able to release both God of War’s that were on PSP as yet another remaster. Initially, much like DLC, this was a brilliant idea, until it began to get gimmicky. Honestly if you try to go back and play a PS1 or PS2 game, its ugly. Any of the GTA’s just look disgusting if you go back and attempt to play. You get spoiled by the way games look and are presented to you in todays world. Im sure people felt the same way going from Super Mario World back to Super Mario 3. And I agree with the concept of introducing new players to a franchise that started ages ago.
When looking at the big picture of these releases, a pattern develops. If a company is going to release a “collection”, it should include all parts of the collection. Sure the Devil May Cry collection is parts 1-3, but Metal Gear and Silent Hill are only parts 2 and 3, with a thrown in PSP game for Metal Gear. The Resident Evil Collection is only part 4 and Code Veronica, and not 1-3. They could have atleast thrown in REmake, but I think that’s tied in with Nintendo release only somehow. Capcom also announced the railshooters that were released on the Wii for HD Remake. The trend is a lazy, cash crop.
The games that get the remakes are last generation games. All that’s needed to do is to raise the resolution, and in some cases, improve the textures. There’s not much involved in doing that. What’s worse is in most cases it’s already been done due in part to a PC version being released. Silent Hill is a good example of this, also both Resident Evil titles are PS2 ports and available on the PC. If these companies wanted to actually go back in and remake a title, it would take effort and money. People still cry for a RE2 remake that’s equal to the REmake (the best of all time), or the original Silent Hill or Metal Gear Solid.
These remakes aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Games that weren’t played in the past are given the opportunity to be playable by today’s standards. However, some of the conversions are bad, as is the case with the Silent Hill remake. For the most part though, they are cheap and usually bundled together. The Metal Gear Solid collection is the best HD remake that has been released so far. This is a double-edged sword as they are worth it, but there could be more done for the customer.