There’s a new trend that’s taken over gaming in the last few years: remakes and remasters. Some of these are literally just a port of the exact same game to current-gen devices, while others have been rebuilt from the ground up.
This is the list of the best remakes of the year. Now, to be honest, I’m limited by the 6-7 remakes that are made every year, but these games deserve their own category. It’s not fair to new developers to group these games in with their brand new titles, and even more so there’s an art to remaking/remastering a game that deserves its own recognition.
So, without further ado, here are the nominees:
Catherine: Full Body
This game is fucking weird, but it’s also one of the few anime games that I actually enjoyed.
Catherine originally was released in 2011 and kinda flew under the radar. The game revolves around a the main character who’s torn between his girlfriend Katherine, who’s constantly pushing him to get married, and Catherine, a girl that seduces the main character and has a big secret.
All of this is woven into an awesome anime series paired with puzzle gameplay. It’s a truly unique experience.
So what’d they change for the remaster? Well, they added about 20 new anime cutscenes, ported the whole game to the Persona 5 engine, and added an easier difficulty that fans had been begging for.
Katsura Hashino said he wanted Catherine Full Body to be the definitive way to play through this game, and believe me, he delivered.
Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled
I was never a big fan of Crash Team Racing because, um, there’s this game called Mario Kart that’s 100x better.
But honestly, this game really isn’t too bad now that it’s been remastered. The graphical changes to the map and characters are beautiful, and they’ve stripped away many of the annoying features in the original title.
Also, unlike most other Mario Kart clones, this game actually has a decent difficulty curve. The controls are tight, the maps are challenging, and the kart customization is awesome.
If you don’t own a Nintendo console, Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is the best alternative.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
I downloaded the Link’s Awakening remake right before a long flight and I loved every second of it. It took me back to those early years playing A Link to the Past on my SNES.
The cutesy modern art style is adorable, and that’s coming from a grown-ass man in his late 20s. Every inch of the world is so much fun to explore and see all the new characters. And the music does a great job supporting the new atmosphere.
And it’s a great entry-level title for top-down Zelda games! The combat isn’t that difficult and the puzzles force you to think wayyyy outside the box.
Nintendo has proven that they can bring classic titles back with great improvements. Here’s hoping A Link to the Past is next.
I’d never even heard of this game prior to its announcement. But I do know it looked fucking awesome and I was yet again jealous I didn’t own a PS4.
But when it was released, I was thankful I missed out. This game is kinda broken. There are almost no checkpoints and the platforming hasn’t been touched since it’s initial release, making each level and boss fight annoying as hell.
BUT, the graphical improvements are phenomenal. I mean really, the game looks absolutely beautiful. It’s just a shame that you spend most of your time cursing at the game instead of enjoying it.
Hopefully, the game is patched in the near future because there’s a lot of potential here.
Resident Evil 2
I’d never played Resident Evil 2 until the remake this year and I think I’m actually pretty glad I waited so long.
This game was absolutely phenomenal. The changes they made with the camera, the graphics, the layout; everything has been polished to perfection.
Every moment of this game keeps you engaged, whether you’re trying to solve puzzles, run from zombies, run from zombie dogs, or run from the dreaded Mr. X. (I heard those footsteps in my sleep for weeks).
It takes a lot for me to feel good after spending $60 on a game, especially one that’s technically two decades old. But the Re2 Remake is worth its money and then some, providing one of the best experiences of the year.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
I love Spyro. He’s my second favorite platformer behind Mario.
There’s just something fucking awesome about playing as that little purple dragon in his fantasy world. And that world, with it’s new updates, is absolutely gorgeous.
This is the perfect example of a game that just needs a fresh coat of paint to be excellent in 2019. The original Spyro trilogy didn’t’ need any gameplay or mechanical changes, because it was already great. It’s like if Super Mario 64 got remade, you wouldn’t need to update anything but the graphics because everything else is already great.
And for $60, you can’t really find a better platformer nowadays, much less 3 in the same package.
And the winner of this year’s “Best Remake/Remaster” Award is…
Resident Evil 2
This is how remakes should be done. It should feel like a completely new experience for those who played the original and for new players it should feel like a modern title that upholds the current standard in gaming.
And RE2 does even more by being not only the best remake of the year but one of the best overall games in 2019. If you haven’t played this title, you should pick it up on sale right now. Especially with Resident Evil 3 getting the same treatment in 2020.