Episode 176: When are Video Game Remasters Necessary?


Last week, I talked about playing one of my favorite games, Valkyria Chronicles. I enjoyed the game to bits when it came out on the PS3. So, when the Remastered version of the game came out on the PS4 (in a steel case, no less!), I went out and got it. I still love Valkyria Chronicles but, to be really honest, there was a small part of me that felt it was totally unnecessary to get it for the PS4 since, well, my PS3 is still working and I could’ve just booted up my copy and played it there, right? Technically, I didn’t need to get it but… well, it’s one of my favorite games so I was totally okay with my purchase.

I didn't need to pre-order it.

I didn’t need to pre-order it.

But if you do look at your local gaming store or even an online store like the PlayStation Store and Steam, you can see a rather growing glut of remastered games of old. Oh, there are still a steady flow of new games out there but it does seem like there are more and more remasters coming out lately. For some people, that can be a good thing. For others, it’s the worst. For me, remastered video games can be beneficial for the gaming community if they’re done in the right way.

First off, generally, I think the games that do deserve to be remastered are the ones that are from two generations ago or there should be an obvious leap when it comes to visuals. A prime example would be Final Fantasy X/X-2. Both Final Fantasy X and X-2 looked stunning when it came out on the PS2 fifteen years ago. But if you look at those games now, you can just see how non-HD the graphics are.

It may seem hypocritical for me to say this, especially since I did get the remastered Valkyria Chronicles. The game is from last generation and, while the game looks beautiful, the improvement in graphics isn’t all that obvious unless you have a really discerning eye. But besides getting it because it’s one of my favorite games ever, there’s another reason: I wanted to show my support for such an undervalued game. This actually segues neatly into my second criteria: making a rather obscure game available to a new audience.

While I could talk about Valkyria Chronicles, a great game that didn’t exactly sell like gangbusters when it came out, to prove my point, I’d rather use a much older game as the example here. Day of the Tentacle was a game I’ve never heard of before. Heck, I wasn’t even born when the game came out on PC. It does have a rather loyal following but, just a few months ago, if you mention Day of the Tentacle to any gamer roughly my age, they’ll probably have no idea that it was a very popular and incredibly hilarious game. But, thanks to it being remastered recently, a lot of young people like me can appreciate Day of the Tentacle!

Finally, remastering is also good if they decide to give you a lot of bang for your buck. Companies usually don’t just come out and remaster a single game. Rather, they’ve made it a habit of remastering multiple games. Sometimes, they can even remaster an entire series and just bundle the entire thing into one, nice little package and at a huge discount! I never felt the need to get it myself, but the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection for the PS4 puts together all of the original Uncharted games from the PS3 into one disc for one low price! Even if you do have all three games for the PS3, I can totally understand why the idea of technically repurchasing all Uncharted games. It’s cheap so why not?

And guess what? This practically covers every remaster that’s been released! A lot of gamers have gotten their panties in a bunch as it gives the impression that these are just simple cash grabs and an easy way to cash in on someone’s nostalgic love for a game they played before. That may be. But, at the same time, why is that really a bad thing?

Some people have the impression that remasters are taking away time and funding on new projects but I just don’t see that as the case. Usually, these remasters are farmed out to smaller third party studios and not the A-team. Okay, some of these remasters can be disastrous abominations like when Konami released the Silent Hill HD Collection on the PS3. The result was a buggy mess that would stutter when the action became hot and heavy, graphical glitches that would pop in and out as well as weird audio sound effects that just don’t do anything to enhance the game. I would go as far to say that Silent Hill HD Collection is a huge step down from the original versions.

But more frequently than not, remastered games deliver a more improved experience. And who wouldn’t want a better version of something good, right? Also, so what if these remasters are just quick and easy ways for gaming companies to make money?  Like I said earlier, producing these remasters isn’t taking away time and money from other games. In fact, these remasters may actually be funding their production! It takes a substantial amount of money to produce a new game nowadays and the profits from these remasters will also go into the budgets of these new games! With budgets so tight and a gaming developers and publishers folding left and right, we actually may need some of these remasters to be hits just so they can stay afloat!

Remasters, in my opinion, are actually good things based on my reasons above. On the outset, they may seem like terrible wastes of money, but if you look under the surface, they may be more necessary than we think.

Speaking of terrible wastes of money, I’m starting to think that the WWE Network is just that. But they do have a chance to show that it has value with WWE Hell in a Cell coming up next week. I’ll give you my thoughts on the show next time!


What are your thoughts on remasters? Let me know in the comments section below!

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