Here are 8 stunning video game remakes and remasters you need to play
© Team Ico
New games are exciting, but fresh takes on old favourites can be just as satisfying. These are the remakes and remasters we urge you to check out, now.
Nostalgia in video games can be a dangerous thing. It’s all too easy to romanticise past experiences, remembering the splendour of some old-school favourite through a warm haze that may not be entirely accurate. Indeed, it’s likely many of the games you adored all those years back may not even be playable now.
The flip side of that, however, is that some games are genuinely worthy of such long-standing devotion, even if the years have exposed some of their more pronounced flaws. This is why lovingly-crafted remasters or remakes are so appealing, with Final Fantasy VII Remake indicative of just how great the appetite is to revisit old favourites with a fresh lick of paint.
Here, we’ve gathered the eight best remakes and remasters you should play, right now.
Final Fantasy VII Remake (PlayStation 4)
It may not be available quite yet (apart from the stunning demo that you should definitely play right now. Seriously, what are you doing?), but this is the long-awaited remake of one of the best games of all time, so it’d be remiss of us not to include it. With blockbuster production, updated combat and all your favourite characters brought back to stunning life, part one of this episodic release is so close we can taste the smog of Midgar. Yet, it’s still not close enough. Just give us this right now. Right. Now. April 10 is too far away, still.
Resident Evil II (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
Look, you know the drill. Hit Raccoon City, meet the incredibly hungry undead (and the hulking, terrifying Mr. X), and desperately try to escape by exploring a vast and curiously hidden passage-laden police station. Resident Evil II is a bona fide horror classic, and 2019’s remake does so much more than offer up a fresh lick of paint – switching the camera to Resi 4’s over-the-shoulder style, upping the action and generally delivering a brand new horror classic, that just so happens to be an old horror classic. Arguably the current benchmark for video game remakes.
Okami (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch)
Capcom and Clover Studio’s strange, bold and beautiful adventure Okami may not have received the level of spit and polish that some of the games on this list were treated to, but frankly, that’s because it didn’t need much more than a touch-up.
Okami HD sees you play as Amaterasu, the Goddess inhabiting a white wolf, tasked with restoring a broken world. Originally appearing on the PS2 and then remastered for the PS3, Okami is one of the most visually stylish games of its generation, featuring a still-unique hand-drawn, painterly world. The latest remaster especially sings on the Switch, where players can use touch to swish the Celestial Brush and bring its stunning world to even greater life. Okami was gorgeous, is gorgeous, and fully deserves your time.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC)
The painstakingly remastered version of the already-stunning Wrath of the White Witch more than makes up for the slightly underwhelming sequel to the epic JRPG. Featuring animation from Studio Ghibli and a soundtrack you’ll be humming for years after, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a remaster that brings the joy, wonder and beauty of this incredible game back to our screens with just the right amount of care and attention. The story may feel slight, but the journey is epic and fully worthy of its 80+ hour playtime. A stunning achievement, and one that we’re always happy to revisit.
Shadow of the Colossus (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
Shadow of the Colossus is a masterpiece – it’s as simple as that. Team Ico’s 2006 adventure, which tasks you with battling and destroying enormous creatures across a stunning world was breathtaking in scope, undeniably gorgeous and had a rich undercurrent of melancholy that was keenly felt every time you felled one of the colossi. It was also, let’s be honest, a little flawed – with awkward controls and a sometimes clumsy camera occasionally resulting in frustration.
2018’s remake, then, was as welcome as a sunny day. Addressing some of the issues that plagued the original while still keeping the sense of awe and majesty each time you approached these monolithic beasts, Shadow of the Colossus is still a masterpiece – and one any self-respecting gamer owes themselves to check out.
Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC)
Crash Bandicoot may never have achieved the critical acclaim of Mario, or the cult hero-status of Spyro, but the three platform titles that first appeared way back on the PS1 are choc-full of charm, excellent platforming and a memorable cast of characters.
Crash’s popularity was always assured, but the N.Sane Trilogy collection of remasters reminded us just how wonderful these games were, and still are. Offering a surprisingly stiff challenge, the remasters brilliantly update the visuals for current consoles, as well as rebuilding the levels from the ground up to sharpen up the gameplay and introduce a whole new generation of gamers to our favourite spinning marsupial.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC)
Speaking of classic platformers, the original Spyro trilogy holds a special place for a lot of people who opted for Sony’s PlayStation, rather than Nintendo and its red-hatted hero. The three games – Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon – were joyously realised platformers with an adorable protagonist and glorious mechanics (hello, gliding).
The series has understandably aged, and so developers Insomniac and Toys for Bob took the little purple dragon under their wing to reignite the much-loved series, now available across multiple platforms (yes, including Switch). Redesigning the world so that it came to greater life (grass catches on fire now, obviously), and bringing greater focus to the different dragon types you encounter throughout your journey, Spyro Reignited is a welcome reminder of the lasting qualities of a fondly-remembered platform series.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Nintendo Switch)
Nintendo’s remake of the 1993 classic Link's Awakening does a fantastic job of introducing a classic title to a whole new generation, showing gamers who’ve only just discovered the adventures of Link through Breath of the Wild that there’s so much more to discover. For those who played Link’s Awakening when it first arrived, the remake is so lovingly crafted, retaining all the charm, wit and surprising toughness of the original, that it’s easy to fall in love all over again.
With the classic JRPG top-down perspective, the Nintendo Switch version of Link’s Awakening is a 3D take on a classic format, with eye-popping colours, stunning visuals, and as many strange quests as you can shake a stick at. Oh, and it’s also adorable as hell. If all that doesn’t rock your boat, we don’t know what will.