Most video game remakes are quite simplistic. They feature a visual overhaul, reworked music and extra content, but all of those features are usually window dressing. But those games still sell well because most of the people who buy them are driven by nostalgia. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that some remakes are more than extra missions and pretty graphics, so with that in mind, here’s a compilation with some of the best remakes ever made. By the way, I didn’t take into account high-definition remakes as part of this list.
10. Persona 4: Golden (PlayStation Vita)
Persona 4: Golden is an expanded version of Persona 4 for the PlayStation 2. There are new characters, story elements, personas, character outfits, expanded spoken lines, anime cutscenes, social links and the list goes on and on. Additionally, Golden includes wireless networking features that enables you to help other players in dungeon battles.
9. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary (PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PC, Mac)
3D adventure games were changed forever after the release of Tomb Raider in 1996. The remake of that game brings better graphics, gameplay changes unique to each console and more. It may not sound like much, but Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary is a truly special remake that both fans of the original and newcomers can enjoy.
8. Metroid: Zero Mission (Game Boy Advance)
Although I had an NES when I was a kid, I didn’t play the original Metroid until I was a teenager. But for multiple reasons, I could never finish that game. Luckily, I eventually had a chance to play Metroid: Zero Mission, an enhanced version of Metroid. The Game Boy Version of Metroid had a complete map, improved graphics, new areas, items, mini-bosses, the possibility of saving and more.
7. Super Mario 64 DS (Nintendo DS)
As its name suggests, Super Mario 64 DS is a portable version of Super Mario 64. Not a lot of features were added to this game, but that’s because Super Mario 64 didn’t need them. Nintendo updated the graphics, fixed the camera and control issues and added multiplayer support. As far as 3D platformers go, it doesn’t get better than Super Mario 64 and thanks to Super Mario 64 DS, you can take that experience anywhere you want.
6. Resident Evil (GameCube, Nintendo Wii)
Resident Evil is usually regarded as one of the scariest games of all time and the GameCube version represents the best way to experience the survival horror game. The graphics and sound were vastly improved, there a new gameplay elements (a new running style, 180-degree turn, use of body language to show the character’s health,) new environments (such as the graveyard and path through the woods) and an unlockable difficulty. On top of that, the FMV sequences and dialogues were remade, so no more awkward lines such as “You were almost a Jill sandwich.”
5. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (Xbox 360)
The most surprising thing about Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is the painstaking attention that the developers paid to this remake. After all, how do you remake one of the best first-person shooters ever made? You give both veterans and newcomers the choice of playing the game however they want. Without a doubt, the game’s best feature is the possibility of alternating between the graphics of the original and updated ones by touching of a button. But there were features such as cooperative and multiplayer gameplay, remastered sound effects and music and extras such as achievements and in-game collectibles.
4. Counter-Strike: Source (PC, Mac, Linux)
Released in 2000 as a fan-made modification, Counter-Strike took the world by surprise. When Valve released its brand new Source engine, they had the brilliant idea of remaking the first-person shooter. The online multiplayer is still the same, but the appealing visuals, new weapons and maps, make Counter-Strike: Source a remake worth playing.
3. Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade)
Understanding the naming conventions that Capcom uses for their fighting games is extremely difficult. But despite its weird name, the only thing you need to know about Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is that this is the best version of Street Fighter II. The gameplay from the original remains pretty much untouched, but the high-definition visuals and online options make this remake something truly special.
2. Bionic Commando Rearmed (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PC)
Bionic Commando Rearmed is an updated version of the 1988 NES version of Bionic Commando. Although memorable for letting the player kill Nazis, the original was praised for its unique gameplay that featured the ability to swing using a bionic arm. The remake might retain the 2D gameplay and core mechanics, but also features a variety of improvements, including 3D graphics, new weapons, hacking minigames, a fantastic soundtrack and a cooperative mode.
1. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (GameCube)
I recently played the original Metal Gear Solid for the purposes of review and I absolutely loved it. Nevertheless, The Twin Snakes has some features that improve upon the original in several ways and those who had the chance to play it, highly recommend it. The remake has improved graphics, new cutscenes, gameplay functions from Metal Gear Solid 2, a revised translation and re-recorded voice acting.
Honorable mention: Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilver (Nintendo DS)
Gold and Silver are usually regarded as the best Pokémon games ever made and a lot of effort was put in the remade versions of those titles. Better visuals, 493 critters to capture, improved music, new areas to explore, online features and the same true and tested gameplay.
These are some of the games that were considered for this list, but didn’t make it to the final cut: Bully: Scholarship Edition, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, Broken Sword: The Shadows of the Templars Director’s Cut, Castlevania: The Dracula X: Chronicles, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, Klonoa for the Wii, Perfect Dark for XBLA, Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Star Ocean: The First Departure and the Second Departure, Super Mario All-Stars, Doom 3: BFG, Sword of Mana, The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition and Monkey Island 2: Special Edition Le Chuck’s Revenge, Conker Live & Reloaded, Punch Out!, Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, Persona 3: Portable, Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, TIE Fighter CD-Rom and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.
For more information about video game remakes, check out this list on Wikipedia.