– James Orr
Some games are amazing the first time you play them, and even better the next time they come around. Here we’ll be looking at the times the remakes were as good or better than their originals. And to be clear, we’re not looking at graphical remasters, but only at remakes where the game has either been rebuilt from the ground up, or received substantial gameplay improvements, whilst still retaining the original vision.
5: Tomb Raider: Anniversary
As a kid, the closest I ever came to playing the original Tomb Raider was the demo where you fight a skeleton, pull a wheel to open a door, and find a spider inside a pot. All I remember was that I was terrified of the spider, it took me ten minutes to figure out how to open the door, and I ran away from the skeleton. I was neither good at action nor puzzles.
Whether your memories of Tomb Raider were like mine or you had actually played the game, Tomb Raider Anniversary shows why the original was iconic. The new graphics eliminated the risk of being cut by Lara’s improbable breasts, and the redesigned gameplay fixed previous issues and modernised the game. Tomb Raider Anniversary was even more intense than the original, and great for both veterans and newcomers.
4: Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
A classic game for the original Playstation, Metal Gear Solid’s remake made the odd jump to Nintendo’s Gamecube system in 2004, and surprisingly became one of the best games in the series. The upgrade in graphics meant that the characters actually had faces, the voice-acting was re-recorded with a new script, and gameplay elements from MGS2 were implemented to make The Twin Snakes into a better experience, without sacrificing the vision of the original game.
Plus it gets an award for having one of the most phallic titles of all time. What more could you want?
3: Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat is one of the top fighting franchises and it proved that with its 2011 remake. With redesigned controls and a move away from the previous Mortal Combat vs. DC Universe crossover, Mortal Kombat once again became the pure ‘goriphic’ fighter it was meant to be. Its combo system was easier, but still required enough skill and memorisation that only the best player would get to watch a fatality play out on their hapless opponent.
The story was also rewritten, being based off the original three games, but with a few new twists and still retaining its campy charm. But who really pays attention to story when there are spines to be broken?
2: Pokémon: Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire
Gamefreak are the masters of remakes with the Pokémon franchise. Every year we get a new Pokémon game with only a few upgrades and bonuses, but every year it’s just as addicting. Of course, with such a constant stream, it’s easy to lose sight of how much progress the series has actually gone through. The original Ruby and Sapphire aren’t necessarily the best games in the series, but their remakes, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire show the evolution the franchise has gone through.
The remakes brought forward all of the franchises newest features, such as mega evolutions, triple battles, swarm battles, 3D graphics, and of course, all 721 Pokémon. They also expanded upon the unique parts of Generation III, such as the secret bases, contests and of course the games’ story, which pitted the legendary Kyogre and Groudon against each other, truly bringing the classic Ruby and Sapphire experience into the modern era.
1: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
The number one greatest remake deserves to go to one the most competitive shooters today. A remake of the already perfect Counter-Strike Source (which was a remake itself), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive rebuilds upon everything that made CSS the top of its genre, and with it brings new graphics, maps, weapons and mechanics.
I almost gave the top spot to CSS, as it’s the granddaddy of competitive shooters but I realised that if I had to recommend CSS or CSGO, I’d have to say the latter. Developers Hidden Path Entertainment and Valve understand the differences between the competitive and casual players, and managed to cater to both sides of the playerbase. Competitive matches were enhanced, with ranked matchmaking that positioned players on a global skill ladder and led to tighter matches. But game modes like ‘Arms Race’ allowed newcomers a chance to learn the games’ ins and outs, without dumbing down the core mechanics and comprising Counter Strike’s hardcore reputation.
CSGO brought a fresh take to the Counter-Strike franchise and opened it up to new people, but still maintained the high standard set by its predecessor.