The recent release of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition got us thinking, what are the best computer game remakes of all time? Remakes of classic games are all the rage right now, so what are your favourites? While I haven’t played the new Halo yet (I’m in two minds given it’s the first Halo game that Bungie haven’t made and have trouble trusting Microsoft’s abilities to build its own version of Bungie), here are my top five:
1. Tomb Raider Anniversary (Xbox 360 & PS3)
Putting this at the top of the list was a no brainer for me. The original Tomb Raider was a revolution when it was released on the Sega Saturn and then the PlayStation a few months later (Sega paid a fortune for a few months exclusivity on it). It was leaps and bounds ahead of any other game before it and raised the bar considerably on level design and puzzles. I never had the opportunity to complete the game the first time around because my brother always hogged it, so having the opportunity to play it again all the way through in the new Legend engine was one of the best console experiences of my life. While the levels had that familiar feel of a remake (they’d have to be right?) most of the puzzles and the combat had been completely rewritten, so even if you played the original to death, this would still deliver a new enough experience for you. Incredible. Oh and don’t assume this is anything like the new Tomb Raider games who share the same engine (Legend onwards) as they’re pitiful. This however is fantastic.
2. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (Gamecube)
While nowhere near as ambitious as the Tomb Raider remake, this upgrade of Metal Gear Solid for the Gamecube was a lot of fun. While the core gameplay was exactly the same, the graphics and cutscenes were improved considerably. That might not seem like much, but given that half the Metal Gear games ARE cutscenes, by my maths revamping those made for half a new game. Throwing in doses of Matrix inspired bullet-time for good measure, the cutscenes were not just enjoyable to watch but helped to add that epic feel that was otherwise lacking in a game that was otherwise very similar to the PlayStation original.
3. Far Cry Instincts (Xbox)
Far Cry Instincts was a brave move by Ubisoft. Not content with simply porting their PC classic to consoles intact (which I’m sure would have worked fine with a bit of tweaking to the engine), they decided to create an entirely new game. Only the premise remained the same. In the process Ubisoft created a game that was widely regarded as even better than the PC original. Not a bad effort.
4. Nights: Journey of Dreams (Wii)
This is a more controversial choice I know, as it’s more of a sequel than a remake, but given the expectation for this game, and its closeness to the original, I’m going to include it. For those who never owned a Sega Saturn (that’s most of you), Nights was one of its real standout titles. The objective of Nights is to fly the main character, who incidentally is called Nights, around beautiful dream worlds. The fun comes from guiding Nights through hoops to build up high scores and beating your best times. The game also mixes things up with lots of gameplay twists. This hits the list because it’s a fun game that, with the exception of the first Night’s title, is still totally unique.
5. Crysis (console versions)
This is last on my list, not because it’s a bad game (it would be a crime to even suggest such a thing), but because it’s not so much a remake as a re-optimisation to be released on consoles. I missed Crysis the first time around as I didn’t have a PC that could do it justice, so having it finally available on consoles is a wonderful thing. It’s a little odd to have this available after the sequel came out too, but there you go. Still a fantastic game, and only £15 as a download.
So this is my top 5. What do you think? What did I miss? And how about we follow this up with a post on the top 5 remakes that should be made?