The Holidays are up as you know, and when you open your gifts there is as much a chance of opening up an “updated” “remastered” or “definitive” version of a game you already played as there is an actual new one.
Early on I told myself I’d be happily ignoring these, fully unconcerned with what they may be like under the better circumstances provided by the new consoles. How much better could they really be right? Soon I found myself owning Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition. The difference, while not groundbreaking was quite substantial for a resolution/frames per second/gameplay geek. In the end I just wanted to have the best possible version in my collection. I think that is one reason that these remasters are flourishing, we simply must have the best of the best, but game collectors are of course on the decline.
When that Tomb Raider DE did come out there was a mad dash to tear it down despite Crystal Dynamic’s explanations for why it was still quite costly. Were the upgrades worth that cost? TR was pretty, especially for a multiplat, but was never truly amazing. Then gamers learned about The Last of Us: Remastered. One had to be curious, “How much better could they get it to look with that extra power?” Honestly, it was something all Playstation gamers kinda wanted to know and even see for themselves. No internet videos would be enough to get the true sense would they? If you have grown accustomed to the buttery smooth wonderfulness of 60 frames per second then you probably couldn’t help yourself from re-experiencing the horror under those more lifelike conditions. So is born the curious superfan who must see how the increase in power affects every possible bit of awesomeness the remember just to see how much better it is.
I’m just as guilty on the frames per second front. We recently heard of the DmC: Definitive Edition coming to next gen consoles. I had a lot of fun with that game after taking some advice from the Taylor Swift and “shaking off” the commentary from the hater’s peanut gallery. However, the game just needed better textures since the Unreal 3 engine can be a pain in processing and it also needed 60 fps because no super fast action game (and no DMC) should run in anything less than 60 fps period. At 30 it just felt wrong. Now I know I’ll get exactly what I want for my second play through. New Dante skins, classic lock-on, and new modes don’t hurt either.
Then there’s also nostalgia. I mean, it’s actually a very short time since most of these games originally came out but not all of them. If you are among those who find themselves buying the same Halo games repeatedly then how much has “reliving the old days” brought you to pledge your dollars where you hadn’t planned to yet again? I always planned to get the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster for PS3 because it was a classic and an upgrade from SD to HD. Now that it’s coming to PS4 I am once again telling myself there is just no way. Square Enix has more of my money than they deserve for all the bad games they’ve put out lately, I may not play FFX again for ten more years, and yet there’s this itch that it might just run and look a tiny bit better, so mixing that with the strength of my nostalgia for the good old days of high quality Final Fantasy games makes me certain that I can’t promise I won’t have it eventually.
We all complain about how it’s no longer the best of the best but simply every game under the big tent being sent out for remastering, but something keeps us coming back to these games. Is it one of these? All these? More? In any case I think we need to take a step out of this cross-gen period in order to get the other foot out of the remaster realm. Only then can we expect games that don’t just claim to fully utilize the power of the hardware we spent a whole bunch of money on… or that you had someone else spend a whole bunch of money on for Christmas ;)