Born again


The remasters we really need

This week a new leak suggested that Horizon: Zero Dawn (which is just 5 years old) would be the next game to roll off Sony’s remaster production line. We don’t know whether it’ll be a free next-gen spruce-up, a £70 re-release or somewhere in between, but that didn’t stop the internet from bursting into its usual flames of fury as it so loves to do.

Anyway, enough has been said about that this week I think, and here at The Week in Games I try to keep complaining to a minimum – so I’m not going to talk about that. No, instead of telling you which games I think shouldn’t be remade, I’m going to highlight a few classics that I think should.

And I’m going to start with my own personal most wanted…

ICO

Team ICO and Japan Studio’s seminal action/puzzle/platformer is one of gaming’s most important and influential titles. A game that was (is!) unlike anything else and one still regularly put forward as ‘Exhibit A’ in the games-as-art debate. Director Fumito Ueda’s PS2 classic is a stunning, dreamlike experience that reportedly persuaded none other than Souls, Bloodborne and Elden Ring creator Hidetaka Miyazaki to pursue a career in game design.

A Bluepoint Studios remake akin to the stunning Shadow of the Colossus and Demon’s Souls remakes – just leave the game as-is and slap on some next-gen visuals – would be lovely.

Power Stone & Power Stone 2

These Capcom classics are two of the greatest multiplayer brawlers the industry has seen, yet despite excellent reviews and their fan-favourite status remain locked away on arcade and Dreamcast (and PSP) hardware. Power Stone 1 & 2 are an absolute riot, with tight gameplay, wonderful characters, imaginative arenas and a host of weapons and projectiles adding to the chaos.

With online multiplayer and a nice resolution bump this is a series that feels perfectly suited to – and long overdue – a modern update.

Metal Gear Solid

Hideo Kojima’s PS1 stealth-action masterpiece has actually already been remade once in developer Silicon Knights’ lavish GameCube reimagining MGS: The Twin Snakes. But that was way back in 2004, and not all of the game’s changes were well received. Also, its GameCube exclusivity meant that, quite simply, not enough people played it.

A modern-day Metal Gear remake has been heavily rumoured for a while now, but despite a lack of concrete evidence it’s probably safe to assume that one would be very warmly received indeed.

Jet Set Radio & Jet Set Radio Future

Released during one of Sega’s most creative periods, Jet Set Radio is a relentlessly stylish Dreamcast graffiti-em-up that is still unlike anything else out there. Well, except for it’s own sequel, which landed on Xbox two years later. Jet Set Radio Future’s rather unfortunate awards of ‘Best Game No One Played on Xbox’ and ‘Most Unfairly Ignored Game’ by GameSpot and OXM should give an idea of just how underappreciated that one was.

Indeed, neither game set the world alight in terms of sales, but an impossibly cool aesthetic and peerless soundtracks ensure they remain effortlessly fresh to this day. Both games deserve another chance to wow a new generation of players.

Eternal Darkness

Hamstrung by poor sales of the GameCube, Silicon Knights’ Eternal Darkness is a title begging for a remake. The first M-Rated title published by Nintendo, this psychological horror combined elements of both Resident Evil and Silent Hill and added ingenious elements entirely its own. Most notably the game’s “Sanity Effects” which would increase in regularity with enemy encounters.

These effects ranged from creepy in-game moments where statues would watch you and walls would bleed, to stunningly naughty fourth-wall-breaking tricks such as your screen ‘turning off’, your entire inventory disappearing, fake game resets and even messages confirming that your saved data had been successfully erased.

Far too few people played this bold and brilliant game, but everybody should.

Jak & Daxter / Banjo-Kazooie / Rayman 2

Ok I’m going to be a bit cheeky and include three games here. To me, the first Jak & Daxter, Banjo-Kazooie and Rayman 2 are the finest 3D platformers not bearing Mario’s name. And all three are long overdue an update. Sure, Jak & Daxter got a PS4 upscale and Banjo an Xbox port, but they (and Rayman) really deserve more.

With the help of indies the humble 3D platformer has been enjoying a bit of a mini-resurgence of late, and these are true genre classics released during some of the genre’s most fruitful times. All three are worthy of a second spell in the spotlight.

Crazy Taxi

Anyone who’s dabbled with emulation in their time will probably know how utterly phenomenal Dreamcast games can look upscaled to 4K and with proper widescreen hacks. An official Crazy Taxi update with that irresistible gameplay intact, the even-at-the-time-horrendous pop-in eliminated and online leader boards added is a very appealing thought indeed.

Just as long as we can get the original licenses and that Offspring soundtrack back too yeah? (yah-yah-yah-yah!)

Viewtiful Joe

Another game that suffered due to its timed GameCube exclusivity, Viewtiful Joe was a blisteringly cool side-scrolling beat-em-up with stunning comic book art direction and laser-focused gameplay.

Given the recent mini-revival of old-school side-scrollers, surely one of the best and most beautiful of them all would be well received on modern consoles, and hopefully find the wider audience it always deserved but the GameCube couldn’t quite give it.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Co-Written by Alex Garland and featuring performance capture from Gollum himself Andy Serkis, Enslaved was well reviewed but for some reason never really hit a chord with audiences. It’s a special game though, and despite its availability on Xbox backwards compatibility a nice remaster or remake would be very welcome indeed.

And who knows, maybe its stunning nature-reclaiming-the-world post-apocalyptic environments would be better received this time around, following the success of similar worlds in the likes of The Last of Us and Horizon.

1080° Snowboarding / Pilotwings / Wave Race

Ok so I’m going to be cheeky one last time and include three-in-one again for this one. Nintendo’s peerless N64 trio of Pilotwings 64, Wave Race 64 and 1080° Snowboarding were all genuine technical marvels at the time, and all three feature gameplay that holds up today. Nintendo don’t really make games like this anymore, so visual and frame rate updates and not a lot else would be enough to give a new lease of life to these brilliant and still unique extreme sports classics.

(As it happens, Wave Race released in its original form on the Switch Online service recently, Pilotwings is next week and 1080 will join them next year. Let’s all get them downloaded and show Nintendo just how much we want these series’ back, eh?)

And that’s about it I think! Actually no, not quite…

…and a 60fps patch for Bloodborne too. Please?


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