Remastered games have always been a personal gripe for me, but I am kind of hypocritical when it comes to them as I go from “yay Kingdom Hearts collection on PS4”, to “what the hell Activision, DLC for a remastered COD game!”. The past few months, however, I have realised just how great remasters can be if they wanted to.
I am currently replaying the awesome Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age and it is a perfect example of how a game can be remastered in the right ways. Its stellar orchestra soundtrack, great visuals, and of course the other dozen tweaks that see the Job System being rebuilt and the combat refined, makes it a great addition to this remastered library.
Another fantastic example of a remaster done well is the latest Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy that has all three classic games remade from the ground up in a new engine, some rather spectacular visuals and over 90 levels to boast about. It is an iconic remaster of an iconic series, one which I welcomed with open arms.
Last, but not least, is my other favourite remaster of the year, the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 HD ReMix collection. The game has four full-length Kingdom Hearts games included and on the PS4 Pro, they all run at native 4K 60FPS. To remaster all these games and include them in one package is a treat in a world where we are asked to pay for DLC the day new game releases.
After so many great experiences this year in the form of remasters, I questioned whether or not I was okay with re-purchasing a game, for perhaps the third time. Kingdom Hearts was released on PS2, then remastered for PS3, and now PS4, of which I own all three versions of the game.
Crash Bandicoot I played hundreds of times as a child and jumped at the opportunity to play it again. The same goes for Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac age, which I also played a few times as a child.
Could I be comfortable with remasters and be all for spending money again on a game? I beg to differ. There are cases where publishers blatantly try and make a quick buck, and then those cases where they genuinely want fans to experience their greatest titles again.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered left a sour taste in my mouth after playing it last year. Sure it is a great-looking remaster, but then we have the fact that the only way you could have purchased it back then was to spend over R1500 on a special edition of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
Activision announced recently that they, for the first time in almost a year, will be selling Modern Warfare Remastered separately. Yes, this is a step in the right direction, but then they announced that the DLC for the game which includes extra maps for the multiplayer mode, had to be purchased as a standalone package.
Already a remaster, it is a game which we are paying for again, now the DLC for it is a separate purchase altogether. This would make Modern Warfare Remastered’s price tag just as high as a brand new, never-before-released title. R629 for the game, and then another R229 for the DLC. We are looking at close to R1k for this “remastered” version of the game which has already been out for almost a year but locked behind yet another pricey purchase.
I stand highly against the Modern Warfare Remastered situation, and it gives remastered games like Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, and Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy a bad name. Not everyone wants to release their game three times and then add DLC on to it as a separate purchase. Most games remastered in a collection often include the DLC, no matter how much there is to pack in *cough cough Bioshock: The Collection*.
I think it all comes down to knowing what you want and the ability to sniff out a remaster that is out there to steal money left right and centre. Another perfect example of this is the recently released Marvel Ultimate Alliance which was not even remastered in any way shape or form. This PS3 and Xbox 360 game were re-released as a digital game for, wait for it, for R629. To make matters worse, both the first and the second game was released as two separate games for R629 each. That is R1200 for two old games which barely had any sort of optimisation.
I hope gamers out there know where to spend their money and stay away from these ridiculous cash grabs that clearly want to make money. Remasters are everywhere and there is so much to choose from, so make sure you do that before proceeding to the checkout.
What is your view on this situation? Remasters good or bad? Let me know in the comments below.
This post has been edited and reposted to reflect current prices and dates