The 1970s were an incredible time for new inventions and marvels in technology. Many think of mobile phones, emails and video games as being a modern concept but they were actually invented in the 1970s.
It wasn’t until the 1990s that video games truly found popularity as the Nintendo 64 and the original PlayStation elevated video games to another level. Many players are nostalgic to hit video games from this era but sadly the nostalgia is broken once they replay the game and realise all the issues with the original.
This is why remakes and remasters have become so popular within the past 10 years as fans have been yearning for classics to get the much-needed upgrade that they deserve. With improvements in graphics, more CPU (central processing unit), bigger hard drives and an overall better experience, why wouldn’t developers improve fan-favourite video games?
Arguably, most of the remakes and remasters manage to keep video game franchises alive and recreate the magic decades later. Remakes have the power to turn forgotten video games into timeless classics.
General graphical improvements
It’s no surprise that the advancements in the visuals would be one of the first things that are noticed in remakes and remasters. Most of the original games were created in the earlier days of video games where technology was limited and most games often looked the same.
Take the original Resident Evil as an example. The game was released in 1996 along with Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot and Duke Nukem (all of which have been remade later on). Most of the characters look grainy along with the environments lacking a huge amount of detail – but these were limitations of the time period. The 2002 version of Resident Evil set the standard for video game remakes in multiple ways, but the biggest has to be the complete overhaul of the graphics.
In 2002, Capcom remade Resident Evil and managed to convey the true horror that the studio wanted to show in the original game. With graphical improvements, the story of the Spencer Mansion could truly be explored. The tone of the game was enhanced with a more gothic and spooky atmosphere created by the subtlest touches such as eerie reflections on the floor and mirror reflections in claustrophobic corridors.
As a critical and commercial success, Resident Evil arguably revitalised the franchise showcasing the series as a powerhouse in survival horror. After the release of this game, players were treated to a whole host of Resident Evil titles such as Resident Evil Zero, Resident Evil Outbreak as well as the iconic Resident Evil 4 showing that the series was still thriving years later.
Improving the combat
One of the easiest ways for remakes and remasters to enhance the original game is by improving the general combat and other key systems. The Final Fantasy VII Remake was highly anticipated for many reasons, but most fans were fearful of the potential changes to the original 1997 game.
Thankfully, the remake actually improved the original combat and players were highly receptive to the change. In the original game, there was a simple turn-based combat style of fighting that is found in most other Final Fantasy and Japanese Roleplaying Games (JRPGs) but this was improved in the remake.
Whilst there was an element of the turn-based strategy design that made the original game popular, the remake included a hybrid of this with real-time combat to gain something unique. Despite having a real-time element to the combat, players can slow down time and re-assess the battle from the menu.
Other remakes such as Yazuka Kiwami and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories completely changed combat systems for the better and enhanced the original experience. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a soft remake of the original Silent Hill and features no real combat meaning that players instead have to run away from monsters creating a scarier atmosphere.
When these changes are done well and strengthen the games’ tone, these are welcomed by players and can completely rejuvenate the experience. The upgrade to the battle system in Final Fantasy VII Remake makes the game feel like a fresh concept whilst retaining all the brilliant parts of the original that players loved.
Fixing issues from the originals
Classic video games often blind players to any faults through pure nostalgia which is why so many people are hesitant to get excited about remakes and remasters. Many fear that developers will ruin the original and destroy everything that is great about it.
The Resident Evil series found new life again through Resident Evil 2 Remake after Resident Evil 6 almost destroyed the franchise. Once Capcom announced the remake, fans of the game were sceptical if the developer could pull this off after the ridiculous tone shift in Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6.
Thankfully, Resident Evil 2 Remake completely delivered on all of its promises and even fixed issues from the original. There was no longer a fixed camera to cause issues and lead to unnecessary deaths as well as tank controls being scrapped making movement in the game a lot smoother and more natural. The biggest issue resolved has to be the improved boss fight battles with the terrifying Mr X. The 1992 version of Resident Evil 2 had originally intended to have Mr X chase around players randomly, but Capcom did not have the technology to make this a reality.
When the remake was in development, Capcom knew that they wanted to change Mr X for the better and make him into a real threat. Mr X was no longer scheduled to appear at scripted moments in the game as his movements were now completely random and this created a terrifying atmosphere that was definitely appreciated. Capcom managed to fix the issues from the original whilst staying faithful to the source, this is perhaps why Resident Evil 2 Remake is hailed as one of the best remakes ever and led to the other remakes of Resident Evil 3 and Resident Evil 4.
Remakes and remasters can improve the experience
There is no denying that both remakes and remasters can ultimately increase the quality of something for the better and revitalise a franchise that was considered dead. For years, mediums such as movies, Television shows and online slots have upgraded the experience for someone through a remake or remaster.
The tactic of upgrading a beloved classic with remakes and remasters is something used across multiple mediums. As one of the biggest iGaming franchises out there, Rainbow Riches has almost 20 different titles within the series but Rainbow Riches Pick ‘n’ Mix remains the most popular slot over 6 years later. Ultimately, the developers enhanced this game with a remake called Rainbow Riches Power Mix that freshened up the series for returning players whilst drawing in new ones with the creative gameplay.
It’s worth noting that not all remakes and remasters are successful as it takes a unique formula to make it work. Ideally, if there are general graphical improvements, resolving of issues from the original and an overall enhancement of the experience, then remakes and remasters can be successful.
Whilst many argue that remakes and remasters could be killing unique and original ideas, as long as they aren’t just a clone of the source material and add something new, there is no reason why remakes and remasters can’t stand alongside original content. After all, many remakes and remasters manage to keep fans engaged for decades and make something that was once considered old into something completely fresh and modern.