There is no shortage of fantastic new games out there to play, but what if you don’t want something new? What if you want to wallow around in nostalgic memories of games you’ve played before? Thankfully developers like to cash-in on past glories as much as you love to relive your childhood, so there are always plenty of video game remakes available.
Video game remakes are increasingly common and there’s one reason for it: they sell. A good remake does a lot more than splash a fresh coat of paint on an old game. They add features, smooth round the original edges, and hopefully improve upon the original. The entries you find on this list redo the previous work to a high-quality, producing a new game that is considerably more beautiful, smoother, but still maintains the feeling that made the original so special.
Just because you remember adoring a title, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some pretty glaring flaws. Somewhere out there, there is a kid that will grow up nostalgic for tripping in Smash Bros Brawl. Some of them even get away with changing a few major things. These remakes, presented in no order, are a lot more than just a fresh port.
1. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
This collection of video game remakes includes all three mainline Crash Bandicoot games developed by Naughty Dog. These titles were the foundation of the franchise and they’re what most people remember when they think of Crash Bandicoot. The N. Sane Trilogy managed to sit in the PS4’s best selling list for longer than most major releases in 2017 — it was actually kind of hard to even find a copy for a while.
The big improvement in this remake is the visuals; upgrading from an original Playstation game was always going to be a big step up. The gameplay is mixed up a little, though the changes were not to everyone’s liking. The way Crash was controlled became a little muddled in the translation to the modern day. His jumping arcs and collision boxes contributed to the player character’s movement not feeling as natural in the remake as it had in the original. There were some bonuses added, like the ability to play as Coco in most levels.
The N. Sane Trilogy remained as hard to beat as the originals, which really contributed to the game’s popularity and the longevity of its sales. The N. Sane Trilogy didn’t care if platformers were easier now, it stayed as frustrating as the originals.
2. Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 2 is a remake of a 20-year-old title that managed to steal the spotlight from Kingdom Hearts 3, a game that’s been teased since 2013. It deserved this attention as it manages to improve on one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time.
This remake has done more than give Racoon City a fresh lick of paint. The entire feel of the game has been modernised. Of course, this brings crisp modern graphics but the fear factor has been severely stepped up. As the zombies have become much more fleshed out, Resident Evil 2 has elevated its horror beyond cheap jump scares.
Overall, it makes for an impressive package, and one of the best remakes in the last few years.
“Resident Evil 2 is, quite simply, one of the best remakes of all-time. Capcom have nailed their new vision of a classic just like they did back in 2002 by modernising a decades old game to feel like something completely fresh. Whether you want to take a trip down memory lane or are just experiencing the disconcerting decadence of the police station for the first time, Resident Evil 2 is the first essential purchase of 2019.”
3. Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of The Colossus has a status among games that’s only really challenged by Ocarina of Time. It is a genre-busting redefinition of old gaming clichés that forever changed the way narrative games were made. Shadow was previously remastered alongside ICO for the PS3, this port really just drew attention to the game’s flaws. This port made a good case for a full remake being necessary.
In terms of gameplay, it keeps in most of the eccentricities of the original and makes no apology for any of them. It helps that Shadow was always relatively polished in terms of gameplay. It kept the action short and contained, telling a story through atmosphere rather than action.
It’s the visuals that really elevate this video game remake. It was always a beautiful game, but one that has not aged fantastically. This modern remake really makes those Colossi come alive, while still maintaining the spirit of the original.
“While it may lack the initial wow factor by way of being a remake, Shadow of the Colossus on PS4 does the original justice, and then some. It cements the legacy of Team Ico’s classic while bringing a few new things to the table, creating the perfect introduction to a masterpiece in design and understated storytelling in the process.”
4. Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee
Pokémon: Lets Go Pikachu & Eevee is a reimagining of the original generation of Pokémon. Kanto is recreated yet again, but this time on a home console with that extra power that traditional handhelds just can’t muster. This video game remake features the Kanto that fans know and love, but in an entirely new way.
The combination of the increased visuals and an overworld completely packed with Pokémon made the world of these games feel more real than ever — it is the only Pokémon title to actually resemble the world shown in the anime. The overhaul to the story kept the old nostalgic notes but provided enough variation to stop players being bored by their hundredth play of the same plot.
Let’s Go is the definitive word on the Kanto region. It’s the second video game remake of this reigion, along with non-stop depictions in other Pokémon media, yet Let’s Go still made Kanto feel fun. This remake elevates the original Pokémon game by presenting a version of these monsters and their world that previously only existed in player’s imaginations.
“For veteran players, just experiencing the original games one more time in a brand new way is enough to put a smile on your face and reawakening that inner child. Playing along with a newcomer or first-timer makes it even more inviting and enjoyable, reminding you why you fell with love with Pocket Monsters in the first place.”
5. Metroid: Samus Returns
When it comes to video game remakes, Metroid is a series that just keeps on giving. After failing to produce anything Metroid related that wasn’t some weird space football game for a while, Nintendo went to the Metroid well for another remake. As it happens, Samus Returns might be the best remake yet. It improves immensely on the original Metroid II: Return of Samus.
The original game was severely hampered by the hardware of the original Game Boy. It lacked basic features that have been standard in every Metroid since. A port wasn’t going to cut it with this title, the whole thing had to be remade from the ground up.
The 3D novelty adds some density to this video game remake, but it was released at a point in the 3DS’s life cycle where that feature wasn’t being focused on. It is a cool feature in the cutscenes, though the existence of cu scenes at all is a cool improvement.
Upgrading the classic 2D adventure into a 2.5D remake sets a new standard for this type of Metroid game. Its quality has left fans wishing for more 2.5D Metroid adventures alongside the upcoming Prime title.
While it doesn’t make Samus Returns homogenous with the more recent games, this remake brings it up to speed with the series. This video game remake really is the only way to experience Metroid II now.
6. Super Mario Bros. 2
The North American and European version of Super Mario Bros. 2 bears little resemblance to the original Japanese version. This remake was the result of an original game being too baffling to even release. The story of why a remake had to take the place of the original in international markets is too long to detail here, but it is an interesting one.
Essentially, Nintendo developers took the Mario premise and made it way too hard. There is a crossover with mascots of a Japanese TV studio mixed in, but the big issue was the alienating difficulty. The original Super Mario Bros. 2 was so hard that Nintendo of America decided that international players wouldn’t stand for it. They set about remaking the game for an international audience.
This remake is considerably easier. Super Mario Bros. 2 is still challenging, but in the normal Mario way. It’s a much more traditional Mario game, which you’d probably want from the second game in the series. It made it back to Japan as Super Mario USA, and the Japanese original became The Lost Levels. Super Mario Bros. 2 has a weird backstory, but the international remake is considerably more fun to play than the original.
7. Halo 2: Anniversary
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a collection of video game remakes of the first four Halo games. Following some teething issues with the multiplayer, it now also includes Halo: ODST, a spinoff title from Halo 3. Each title receives the graphical boost you’d expect, but Halo 2 has been given a much more expansive remake.
Halo 2 is the incarnation that gets the real boost in quality. This remake manages to upgrade the original look of the game while maintaining the style of those older graphics.
It also gets a bit George Lucas and starts adding things posthumously into the franchise. Terminals from future Halo games have been shoehorned in. A lead character in Halo 5, Spartan Locke, was also included in the game. These touches help establish more continuity between the current franchise and its roots, but maybe weren’t entirely necessary.
The main appeal of this collection, and Halo 2: Anniversary, is the multiplayer. Halo 2 was a lot of players’ first experience with a big online shooter. This game remakes a number of the original multiplayer maps, so you can relive those early multiplayer experiences.
8. Ratchet and Clank
The Ratchet and Clank remake is the product of a strange symmetrical production with the movie of the same name. It is a video game adaptation of the film adaptation of the original video game. Kind of. It was developed pretty much alongside the film, making it more of a video game remake of the original game than a movie tie-in. In any case, it is clearly a much better product than the unfortunate movie of the same name.
This video game remake uses the same assets and writing as the movie it coincided with. This made it a particularly striking game in appearance, but it had a disappointing effect on gameplay. This version of Ratchet and Clank runs at only 30 fps, half of the rate that the original PS2 title managed.
The game was of a much higher quality, though. It took the basics of the original game and remade them pretty accurately. Disappointingly, it featured fewer planets than fans would have expected and is weighed down by the pace dropping in places. This isn’t necessarily a negative, but the fun of the original was often linked to its fast gameplay.
If you want to experience a modern take on Ratchet and Clank, this remake is definitely a better choice than the movie.
9. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
Spyro is the second PlayStation One icon to receive the remake treatment in recent years and the results are just as impressive. This video game remake once again took the original batch of Spyro games and overhauled them. This remake was pretty faithful to the originals, but with seriously upgraded visuals and a remixed soundtrack. There was some tinkering with the gameplay in places, too.
The low-poly look of the originals has been replaced with a new style made in the Unreal Engine. It brings Spyro’s cartoon world to life with real beauty. The remixed soundtrack is nice but the game also offers the classic music as an option, which you’ll have to turn on if you want to hear this Radiohead-like song.
This remake lacked that difficulty factor that many enjoyed in Crash, but this was authentic to the originals. The Spyro games often surprise those revisiting them with just how easy they were and are now. Reignited invokes the same feeling as the original, even if that’s not quite how you remember it.
10. Metroid: Zero Mission
Yeah, it’s another Metroid. This one takes the obtuse and difficult original Metroid game and remakes it entirely. Much like Samus Returns, its main concern is modernising gameplay to add all the features that hadn’t become commonplace or weren’t possible at the time of the original NES release.
Small features like a map, extra areas, mini-bosses, and a sense of direction really pay off in this reimagining as the NES Metroid can be a hostile and difficult game to get through. The story for the game is pretty much relegated to the manual that shipped with it while Metroid: Zero Mission places it properly into the ongoing Metroid story. The feelings of isolation and loneliness are still there, but this remake does away with the frustration and confusion that came with it.