The video game community love to say that we’re so sick and tired of sequels and we all want something new and fresh. But do we really? If we really want something different, why are we always so hyped up for the next entry in our favorite video game series? In addition to that, we have a tendency to gobble up all of the remakes and the remasters that come out without seemingly a second thought.
This kind of thinking really hit home this E3 as one of the most exciting announcements this year was the remastered version of Resident Evil 2. I do understand why everyone so eager for it because it is one of the better games in the series and probably my favorite PlayStation game next to Final Fantasy VII and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It does look like Capcom is throwing a lot of money as this isn’t just a simple touch up on the game’s graphics engine. They’re redoing everything using the Resident Evil 7 engine and making it look much more frightening than the original version, which I can definitely appreciate.
Yes, I would love an updated version of Resident Evil 2 but there are so many other games out there that I feel deserve the remake and the remaster treatment. And I don’t believe that only the big blockbuster games should be getting the HD facelift. There are so many other lesser known games that would get a wider audience if they just got a second chance. So, with that in mind, here are five underappreciated games from the past that would do well if they were remade or remastered.
1. Skies of Arcadia
If there was a reason to get a Sega Dreamcast (or a Nintendo Gamecube), Skies of Arcadia would be it.
Skies of Arcadia is one of the best reviewed games that just didn’t sell well. That’s incredibly sad because it got two chances already. It was first released on the Sega Dreamcast in 2000 and then on the Nintendo Gamecube in 2003. A lot of that probably has to do with the consoles themselves as both the Dreamcast and the Gamecube were trounced by the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It could also be because it was a new property and, as mentioned at the start of this post, we’re kind of hypocrites when we say we want new titles. Because of this, Skies of Arcadia generally flew under the radar of most gamers and that’s sad because it’s a really good RPG!
Now, Skies of Arcadia definitely hasn’t aged all that well. Even when it was ported to the Gamecube, it already looked kind of old by then. However, since Skies of Arcadia has gained a rather rabid cult following now, I think it can definitely sell much better if Sega spruced up the graphics a bit and ported it to modern consoles. Hopefully, the third time’s the charm and the game will finally get the success it deserves if they do remaster it.
2. Valkyria Chronicles 2 and 3
If you’re wondering what happened to Vyse, Aika and Fina after the end of Skies of Arcadia, they apparently moved on to Gallia and the world of Valkyria Chronicles.
I bought the first Valkyria Chronicles game on a whim as I was just looking for a new game and I was amazed that Sega created a new IP. I was immediately drawn into it because of its great story, fantastic art style and generally likable characters. But the thing that really made me fall in love with Valkyria Chronicles was the tactical combat gameplay. I waited for Sega to develop a sequel so I can get me some more of that tactical combat genius. Imagine my disappointment when it was announced that both the second and third entries were exclusive to the PlayStation Portable, a system I had totally no intention of getting!
Well, it seems like Sega wizened up since Valkyria Chronicles 4 will be coming out on modern consoles like the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and even the Nintendo Switch. They even saw it fit to give us a remastered version of the first game a couple of years ago. However, it does seem odd that they’re leaving this gigantic hole in between the first and fourth games since not many fans have had the chance to play Valkyria Chronicles 2 and 3. This is precisely why Sega really should think about remastering the games. They can even update them by fully animating all of the cutscenes using the in-game engine like what they did with the first game since the PSP couldn’t handle it.
2. Lifeline (PS2)
Yes, voice commands were a thing during the PS2 era. It didn’t work all that well, though.
Lifeline was a really unique as it had a really neat gimmick. Essentially, you’re trapped in a space hotel and you only ally is a girl named Rio. You have to talk to Rio and give her commands by actually talking to her instead of using the controller. While the premise is really good, it can be really maddening at times because Lifeline’s voice recognition is spotty at best. There are times when you swear you’re saying “left” as clearly as possible and Rio will misunderstand it and go to the door. Then you’ll be swearing for real! Suffice to say, Lifeline was incredibly frustrating because of the voice command gimmick.
However, we live in a time where voice recognition has improved to the point where Lifeline’s central gimmick would work without all the frustration. We live in an age when Siri can look for recipes if you ask or even play Skyrim on your Amazon Alexa. Even the PlayStation 4 has the ability to understand simple commands, such as opening up applications and the like. Imagine using this technology with Lifeline! It would be amazing! Having Rio bark like a dog would be wondrous!
4. Snatcher and Policenauts
Yes, we’re combining both these Hideo Kojima gems into one package because they’re kind of the same game if you think about it.
Although Hideo Kojima had already made a name for himself since he was already the producer of the first two Metal Gear games, the man wanted to do something different and tell more compelling stories. Most people think he managed to do this when he made Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation. However, that assumption is incorrect as he already made, not one, but two games with incredibly deep plots with Snatcher and Policenauts.
Both Snatcher and Policenauts were inspired by and pay homages to various Hollywood films, such as Blade Runner, Lethal Weapon, The Terminator and various film noir and detective movies. The games have already been ported over to various consoles like the Sega CD, PlayStation, Sega Saturn and even the 3DO. However, they have never been released in their original Japanese uncensored versions due to various reasons. I contend that, if they do re-release the game, use the uncensored version. I think we’re all adult and mature enough to handle it, right?
Both Snatcher and Policenauts do need some sprucing up. Snatcher’s cutscenes were very limited so adding more animated scenes to them would definitely improve them; Policenauts, not so much as the hand-drawn illustrations still look good but maybe both of them can get an HD upgrade. Also, the sparce shooting scenes definitely need a lot of work. Still, both Snatcher and Policenauts are some of Hideo Kojima’s best work and it’s sad that most gamers have yet to experience them.
5. Fear Effect 1 and 2
Sure, the franchise isn’t doing all that well, thanks to Fear Effect: Sedna. But the first two games were wonderfully weird!
The Fear Effect games were released hot on the heels of other survival horror franchises like Resident Evil and, more specifically, Silent Hill. However, instead of taking place in present time and fighting off zombies and monsters, the Fear Effect franchise did something different. In the games, you take control of a group of thieves and hustlers led by Hana Tsu-Vachel and things turns screwy in the supernatural sense for one reason or another. What definitely sets Fear Effect from games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill are its visuals as it uses a cell-shaded look mixed with a looping full-motion video clip as the background and areas. This looked great at the time but they do look rather dated now. But this was something really unique and it worked for them, giving them a distinct flavor.
The first two Fear Effect games also used the same tank-like controls of Resident Evil and Silent Hill, which made the characters incredibly difficult to control. So, why not go the route of the Resident Evil 2 remake and use a modern game engine and rework the levels to make them much more easier to navigate? Although they don’t technically have own the franchise, Eidos Interactive, which is now part of Square-Enix, can borrow the Tomb Raider engine and use that. Just make sure they keep the cell-shaded look and retain Hana’s badass and sexy personality.
Besides, don’t we all need more female protagonists in video games?
BONUS: RAD: Robot Alchemic Drive
Have you ever experienced a game that’s so bad that it’s good? Well…
This is a game that I know will never be remade but I’m putting it here because I really loved RAD: Robot Alchemic Drive. As a fan of giant robot anime like Mazinger Z and Voltes V and kaiji monsters like Godzilla, I’ve always been amazed that we’ve never had a game that makes you feel you’re controlling a giant mechanical robot that could wreck a city. RAD: Robot Alchemic Drive managed to give me that feeling. It had a unique control scheme where you use the PlayStation 2’s analog sticks to throw punches while you walk by pressing the left and right shoulder buttons in an alternating pattern. It’s awkward but, once you get used to it, it’s really fun!
Unfortunately, the game is pretty bad. The game had PS1-era graphics and atrocious voice acting. However, if you imagine that this was intentional and you pretend they did this to give it a B-movie feel, it strangely works!
If they do remake RAD: Robot Alchemic Drive, a long shot, I know, I actually hope they keep the cheesy look to it and just increase the in-game polygon count. Yes, it won’t sell well but I’ll love it just the same.
What little known game would you want to see remade or remastered? Let me know in the comments section below!