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LONG BLOG

Opinion: We need smarter remasters, not less

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I love the idea of remastered collections. It gives those who missed out on the original versions a chance to try them out with a new coat of paint. The tables have turned this generation between Sony & Microsoft, and there are quite a bit of PS4 owners out there who didn't own a PS3 last gen. While I may not be in that category, I still like the idea of owning some of my favorite games with new features and built-in sharing functionality. However, I feel that while some remasters hit the nail on the head, others have dropped the ball in numerous ways and left me with some seemingly obvious questions.

My first complaint against some of the remasters of this generation is very simple: they aren't remasters. The expectation is that these collections are supposed to be the definitive versions of the experience, with all previously separate DLC included as well as better graphics, framerate, and stability. However, the Ezio Collection, the Prototype Biohazard bundle, and the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance bundle are just a few examples of collections with very little graphical upgrades, a 30 frame-per-second cap, and shoddy performance issues. Probably the worst offender of this is the Batman:Return to Arkham collection. Despite being delayed for a few months due to negative reception of some unwise artistic changes, the result was still a game that barely looked better than the original despite switching from Unreal 3 to 4. As if that wasn't enough, Arkham City suffered some of the worst graphical errors I've seen outside of Steam Greenlight. From awful texture popups to loading screens every minute or so while gliding through the city and seemingly random crashes, this is one of the most embarassing displays of apathy I've ever seen from a game publisher. 1080p/60fps, all previous DLC, and similar if not better stability should be the bare minimum for remasters. How publishers think they can do less than that and avoid blowback is baffling.

The second reason for my disappointment with the state of remasters is that I think we're missing some obvious choices. As stated before, a good reason for the existence of remasters is for people who skipped the previous console generation to play some of the games they may have missed in the best format possible. While Microsoft has done well with Rare Replay and digital backwards compatibility, Sony is slowly bringing out remasters one at a time. Sure, we got the Nathan Drake Collection and the Quantic Dream Collection, but the remainder of them have been done individually. Why wasn't God of War:Ascension re-released alongside God of War III? We got God of War 1&2 for $40 last gen and the PSP spin-offs for the same price. Why is 3 so special that it alone deserved the same price? Also, where are the remasters for the Killzone, Resistance, and Infamous series? Sure Killzone started on the PS2, but the later entries (along with the other mentioned franchises) helped define the generation for PlayStation alongside Uncharted and Ratchet & Clank. Speaking of, why not remaster some of the Future line of games? Into the Nexus was an underrated return to form after two disappointing spinoffs, and Tools of Destruction and A Crack in Time were both stellar entries in the series. It might be weird to visit that timeline after the Reboot, but those who missed out the first time could get a kick out of it. 

Sony's not the only one missing out on chasing easy money either. Electronic Arts published two excellent trilogies last generation with Dead Space and Mass Effect, as well as the Battlefield: Bad Company series. While I respect EA's previous statements saying they wanted to focus on new entries in their series instead of re-releasing old titles, this ignores the fact that there's so much demand for the return of these series and the elements that made them so good. Dead Space and Bad Company have been on hiatus for a while, but I think that a solid remaster with a reasonable price would show EA that consumer interest is more than just words. Plus, the original Mass Effect's gameplay has not aged well, and some simple changes to balancing combat and loot would go a long way. It's not as easy money as the other potential collections, but it could sway people who have already played them to pick them up again. As someone who played the first game for the first time after the second and third were already out, I'd love to give it another shot.

I understand this may not seem like a big deal to some, but to me it's relatively easy money being ignored. Either through sheer incompetence like Activision or misguided priorities with Electronic Arts, what should be simple collections of some good video games are either missing or rushed out with seemingly no effort or care put into them. It's an absurd situation we're in where the task of "release good games again and make them prettier" manages to get screwed up on occasion.

And yes, I would rather see a Dead Space 4 or reboot than a remastered collection. That would require risk-taking on EA's part though, so I'm trying to meet in the middle here.

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About Triton7kone of us since 1:11 PM on 06.20.2014

Just another guy writing about video games in between playing and listening to music. Looking to improve my writing skills, so constructive feedback is appreciated!