The trend of remastering and remaking games continued into 2016, thus we take a look at our favourite updates from the last twelve months.
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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess really impressed us when it released on the GameCube and Wii back in 2006, and ten years later we were treated to a HD version, which we loved. It took what made the original good, and made it even better, knowing exactly what to change and what not keep in order to get the best out of the remaster.
For example, some bits of the game stayed exactly the same in order to retain how it felt when first released, such as the frame-rate of 30FPS (a conscious choice), and the overall feel of the world. The atmosphere is still as we remember it, being a bit darker than the other games, and it was great to experience this all again but with a bit more polish. The Twilight Realm, for instance, looks very good in this new version.
The polishing that has been done is slight, subtle, and carefully done. Time has been shaved off the cutscenes, the resolution has been improved, and all round it just looks and plays far better than it did in 2006. In terms of gameplay, the underwater sections have been tweaked to make them that bit easier to navigate, and the whole control system has been specifically designed for the GamePad. There is even Amiibo support, making it that bit more accessible to Wii U owners.
Twilight Princess HD is great because it keeps the essence of the original, and in an era where there are increasingly fewer quality titles for the Wii U, this is a game that players can still enjoy today, and one that really stands the test of time, feeling that bit better than the original while still reminding us why we loved it in the first place. Newcomers can enjoy what it offers, as can fans of the 2006 original.
In 2002 we fell in love with rhythm shooter Rez on the Dreamcast, and now it's back (again) in the form of Rez Infinite, a game that we thoroughly enjoyed experiencing again, but this time with a bit of extra content to sink our teeth into, not to mention the obligatory improved visuals that come with remasters these days.
This time around we have a new area to explore, giving us a little bit more freedom and, although we got lost a few times, we appreciated the change of pace. What's there from the original, however, is made to look even better, with the psychedelic feel still remaining untouched. Everything on the PS4 looks, feels, and sounds fantastic, with Area X adding to an already memorable soundtrack and keeping the game feeling fresh.
There's even a VR mode this time around, for those who own a PSVR headset. This is a great addition as well, since we didn't feel motion sickness and the controls are very intuitive, head-tracking being used to great effect to really immerse you in the experience, not to mention the 3D sound feature, which is truly a treat.
Rez Infinite is a remaster and then some, adding meaningful content while replicating the original's style on PS4. It's worth playing again, and we enjoyed doing so. It remains one of the best rhythm shooters out there, and the VR functionality is just the cherry on the top of the cake, bringing Rez into a world we've never seen it in before.
Ratchet & Clank
This year's Ratchet & Clank is more of a remake than a remaster, reproducing the 2002 PS2 game from the ground up in time for the accompanying film release. By doing this, it produces a game that those who are new to the franchise can get in on when they see the film, but that also has enough in there for existing fans to appreciate.
The story remains the same, and for the most part doesn't differ from the original, which is why it toes the line between remaster and remake, producing essentially a very faithful version of the original but for a modern day audience. New weapons make their way in among the existing ones, such as the very fun Pixeliser, and famous locations and characters are all recreated to modern visual standards.
The visual aspect is where Ratchet & Clank really shines. The game has this gorgeous almost Pixar-esque quality to it, not far off of the film, and although there are tweaks, there isn't too much of a departure from the original. It all feels more colourful and slightly smoother, though, and the variety in there is equally astounding, making it, for our money, the best looking remaster/remake of 2016.
While the film wasn't rated very highly, the game that landed alongside it was a treat for both young and old. We loved the 2002 original, and equally enjoyed it this time around; the playful tone and entertaining gameplay remaining untouched, and the controls and visuals improving significantly. It's a worthy top spot on our list.