While our favourite recent game from Naughty Dog is their post-apocalyptic masterpiece The Last of Us, there's no denying the quality of the trilogy of treasure hunting action adventures starring Nathan Drake that the studio produced on PlayStation 3. As Uncharted 4: A Thief's End needed a bit more time, The Nathan Drake Collection filled the gap nicely and given there's a large portion of PS4 owners out there who never even owned a PS3, there was an eager audience for this collection.
While it skipped the multiplayer, it did offer up three of the most visually impressive PS3 titles in 1080p and with improved frame-rates. Some of the unfortunate Sixaxis bits in the first game have been tweaked, but other than that this is simply a very solid remaster of a trilogy of games that helped define the PS3. We particularly enjoyed the second chapter, but quite frankly the entire collection holds up well in spite of its age. It's also interesting to see how Naughty Dog's skills have evolved over the years with us now eagerly awaiting the fourth and final chapter.
The quality of remaster is not just down to the quality of the originals, and the improvements made. There's also something to be said for remasters that actually comes across as great value. We've seen one too many quick and dirty HD updates this generation and in contrast to this The Nathan Drake Collection offers great value, especially for those who have previously missed out on the adventures.
What's that? We made it through this text without any snarky remarks about this remake looking so good that our competition mistook it for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End? Oops. Well, it couldn't be helped, but it does say something about how competently crafted the original material and these subsequent remasters actually are.
Originally developed by Relic Entertainment way back when we were partying like it was 1999, Homeworld received accolades left, right and centre, with the sci-fi strategy game offering a change of pace that put its creators firmly on the map. It's a true classic of the genre, and as such it makes sense that it was on the receiving end some remaster treatment (even if we were genuinely surprised by the initial announcement).
This time round the development falls upon Texas-based Gearbox Software, well known for not having much success in carrying the torch for other beloved franchises, as demonstrated by the releases of Aliens: Colonial Marines and the infamous Duke Nukem Forever. Rest assured Homeworld Remastered is still the classic experience it used to be, as Gearbox hasn't tampered with it too much; although that's not to say it hasn't changed at all.
The most noticeable difference is how beautiful it looks, the ships, the atmosphere and the effects have all been translated perfectly to fit with modern graphics, and the intergalactic dog-fights provide a spectacular light-show that should not be missed. Gearbox has also improved the game's UI, making it integrate better with the game and allowing users easier control over their fleets. On top of all of this, the Homeworld Remastered Collection also comes bundled with Homeworld and Homeworld 2's Classic editions, for those who want an extended nostalgia trip. If you haven't had a chance to pick this one up yet then it's highly recommended that you do so; it's a fantastic upgrade to a classic milestone in strategy gaming.
There was an abundance of remasters released during 2015, but Rare Replay comes out on top for its mammoth offering of golden oldies. Unlike the vast majority of remasters that feature slightly updated graphics from games usually released little more than a generation or two ago, Rare Replay provides a generous offering of 30 titles that takes us all the way back to 1983.
The collection includes games from multiple genres originally released on consoles ranging from the ZX Spectrum right up to the Xbox 360. It's a brilliant collection not just for fans of Rare, but for anyone who loves games in general, and it's unlikely all but the most dedicated of players have sampled all the gems on offer here.
Rather than just being an acknowledgement of Rare's best achievements, Rare Replay is a celebration of the vast creativity the studio has bestowed upon the industry. It's the perfect opportunity for players to experience a slice of video game history offering iconic, widely celebrated titles like Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark to all but forgotten relics like Jetpac and Atic Atac. While the older offerings may only appeal to die-hard Rare fans and lovers of all things retro, the versatile range of more modern games including shooters, fighting, platforming and racing means that there's something here for everyone to enjoy.
Playing the games also rewards players with exclusive behind the scenes footage and interviews detailing the developer's biggest titles and its unreleased games. Other new features include a rewind option that allows players to skip back a few seconds, a clever implementation that further modernises the games with an element of accessibility. Snapshots sets up challenges for small sections of older games adding extra replayability to a collection that already more than justifies its incredibly generous asking price in terms of both the quality and the quantity of games it offers.