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Half-Life to Vice City: 8 classics we want remastered for next-gen

Friday, 23rd May 2014 09:23 GMT By Mike Irving

If we’re only going to get remasters and HD remakes for Xbox One and PS4 in the near future, can we have these ones please?

half-life

We’re stuck in a severe post-launch drought of stuff to play on our shiny new Playstation 4s and Xbox Ones. There are welcome clouds gathering on the horizon, but a lot of them seem to be “Definitive Editions” of games we’ve already played: the Tomb Raider reboot, The Last of Us, Oddworld, the four mainline Halo games, trilogy packs for Mass Effect and God of War.

But while we really would like some new things to play on our new consoles too, the remake trend isn’t all bad: it gives us an excuse to re-discover some of our favourites with a fresh lick of paint.

So while we’re at it, we have a few more suggestions for classics we’d like to play again, without the trouble of digging old consoles out of the attic.

Half-Life-half-life-663708_1024_

Half-Life
The favourite game of the internet as a whole, and an icon of frustrated anticipation, Half-Life is largely responsible for the way we tell stories in single-player games.

Gordon Freeman’s crowbar-aided journey through the overrun Black Mesa Research Facility, without a word of complaint, is legendary, but it’s starting to show its age. It was, after all, released in 1998.

The wisest of Half-Life fans have moved through all the stages of grief and accepted that we probably won’t get Half-Life 3 (or even Half-Life 2: Episode 3) any time soon, if ever, but a HD remake of the first game would go a long way towards healing that wound. Or possibly just open it right up again.

It could make a nice bundle, too, if you throw in the extra episodes, Blue Shift and Opposing Force. Of course, if we’re feeling greedy, then why not HD-ify Half-Life 2 and its episodes as well? That might be a nice segue into Episode 3, mightn’t it Valve? Hmm?

239831-spd grand theft auto vice city review

GTA: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto III was mostly about the spectacle of a fully explorable 3D city (something we’re used to now), and we only just revisited San Andreas in GTA V, so Vice City is our choice for the franchise’s Definitive Edition makeover.

Sure, we do already have a port for iPhone and Android devices, but it’s hardly “definitive”. No, we’re talking about a remake from the ground up. Just imagine how incredibly vibrant Vice City’s bubbly personality and neon colour palette would look in HD, among the dull browns and greys of the next generation.

And it seems like the 80s and 90s are making a cultural comeback lately, so there’s no better time to throw fans the opportunity to revisit the decade of glitz and excess, and re-experience Tommy Vercetti’s Scarface-inspired ascension to crime lord.

And we may actually get to go back sooner than we think. Parent company Take-Two has recently filed a trademark for “City Stories”, a GTA title suffix they’ve used several times before. Judging by the past, we may soon revisit Vice or Liberty City on a handheld device, most likely the Vita. Or, it could be a DLC episode for GTA V. We’ll see.

crash-bandicoot

Crash Bandicoot
While Mario was off pioneering the 3D platformer in the mid 90s, this weird little marsupial apparently stumbled onto his old discarded formula and made it his own.

Super Mario 64 chose to focus on exploration, and while it was a great game it sacrificed some platformer elements in the process. Meanwhile, Crash Bandicoot came along, took the pace and rhythm of a sidescroller and did a fantastic (and fairly under-appreciated) job of adapting them into 3D. The linear levels were no longer confined to left and right, but made good use of that third dimension, twisting and turning towards or away from the screen.

Sorry, I’m rambling. I just love Crash so much. Well, I love what he used to be, anyway, before all this mutant-riding and brawling and whatnot. A HD remake of the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy for Playstation was even suggested by his co-creator, and co-founder of Naughty Dog, Andy Gavin. It’d be lovely to see him come full circle, return to his platformer roots and his original home on Sony’s hardware.

And while we’re on the subject of original Playstation gems…

Resident Evil

Resident Evil
It’s in my somewhat unpopular opinion that the Resident Evil franchise peaked not with 4, but around RE2 or Nemesis. Less unpopular an opinion is that the series would do well to change its current course: 5 and 6 were fairly generic action games, as much a mutation from their survival horror roots as Umbrella’s creations themselves.

I’d much prefer to creep around a big deserted mansion, solving its puzzles, fearing every individual zombie that pops out of nowhere. The whole environment is like one big Rubik’s Cube: you need this key to solve this bit before you can get this other key to unlock this other room.

Revelations was a small step back towards this structure, but nothing would satisfy the craving more than a HD rerelease of the first three games from the Playstation One era.

Well, almost nothing. Rumour has it that Resident Evil 7 may be revealed at E3 in a couple of weeks, and if past comments from Capcom are anything to go by, it may just be a return to the franchise’s survival horror origins. That would be extremely welcome, but an RE1-3 HD pack would make a nice stop-gap and promo tool for this new entry.

Dino Crisis

Dino Crisis
While Capcom has arguably run Resident Evil into the ground, its sister series was left to languish in relative obscurity. Dino Crisis followed basically the same survival horror structure, except it had dinosaurs in it, which makes it at least 100 times cooler. That’s a science fact.

The universe is sick of zombies now, so it’s the perfect time for dinosaurs to reclaim their rightful spot at the top of the food chain. Their AI was pretty advanced for the time, and the dynamic ways they would interact with players was always exciting. They could pin you down, and the bigger ones would even pick you up and drag you around. Helplessness is key to effective survival horror, and those powerful lizards really made you work to survive.

And that was running on the original Playstation. Sprucing up the visuals and behaviour of the ancient monsters, a modern remake of the first two classic games (we’ll just keep pretending Dino Crisis 3 never happened) could really strike gleeful fear into the hearts of everyone’s inner 10-year old.

Of course, there’s a slight chance that Capcom’s E3 announcement isn’t Resident Evil 7 after all, but Dino Crisis 4 or a reboot. Be careful about getting your hopes up, though. Like concerned parents, we’re currently yelling at ours to get down from there before they fall, and just they wait until their father gets home.

assassin's creed revelations

Assassin’s Creed
I have a confession to make: I haven’t actually played any of the Assassin’s Creed games. They’ve always been on the to-do pile, but now there’s so many of them, and they’re all kind of linked in weird ways. The stories and concepts sound like something I could really get into, but truth be told, it’s all a little daunting.

A PS4 and Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Collection would be a nice, tidy way to entice newbs like myself to the series. Maybe they could be grouped by character: an Altair collection, an Ezio collection, a Whoever The Other Ones Are collection. Not having played them, I’m not sure how well that might work, but some kind of pack featuring a few core games might help fence-sitters and long-time fans alike jump into the next-gen Animus.

Destroy all humans

Destroy All Humans!
Invading aliens is a pretty standard scenario, but it’s only horrifying if you look at it from the perspective of the humans being enslaved. The invaders are probably having the time of their lives. Destroy All Humans embraced that idea, letting players step into the moon boots of Crypto, a representative of the planet Furon come to harvest humans for their DNA.

From the height of the UFO craze in the 1950s, to the swinging 60s, you trash cities in your flying saucer and unleash disintegration rays and anal probes on the pathetic human population, all with the morbid joy of a kid with a magnifying glass and an anthill. It was crazy good fun, and we want more.

Unfortunately, it began to peter out pretty quickly: only the first two of the four games were really worth playing. The third, Big Willy Unleashed, was a stripped back, ugly-looking Wii game, and the last, Path of the Furon, looked amazing on the PS3 and Xbox 360, but was a buggy, unfinished mess.

A Definitive Edition of the first two would definitely help rinse that bad taste out of fans’ mouths. Hi-def destruction and mayhem on an intergalactic scale? Beam us up!

lemmings

Lemmings
They sure don’t look it, but the Lemmings are gaming’s most badass characters. Life, death, whatever, they just don’t care. Nobody else has ever had such a reckless indifference towards their own survival, and failure in puzzle games is rarely punished with the extinction of a species.

The little green-haired guys performed their death march throughout the 90s, across pretty much every platform known to mankind, but they’ve been in hibernation for ages now, and we miss them. They reappeared in 2006 in a kinda-sorta remake for the PSP, which was later ported over to PS3, but that was still eight years ago. It’s due for a reremake by now.

Lemmings would actually feel right at home on handheld devices, with the touchscreens on both the 3DS and Vita making for tactile input. It could even, maybe, be squished down for the iPad.

Do you agree with our choices? What else would you like to see remastered for the new generation?

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14 Comments

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  1. ArithonUK

    You can all of those games (bar lemmings) in HD. Buy a PC. They don’t need to be “remastered” they were in “HD”. Half-Life 2 was available in resolutions higher than 1080p in 2004. In fact Titanfall (the big XBone “exclusive” – also available on PC) uses the Half-Life 2 graphics engine. Which is why the game looks like a 7 year old PC title.

    #1 2 months ago
  2. Ekona

    ResiEvil would be superb. Give me a collection containing 1, 2 and Nem and I’d be very happy indeed.

    #2 2 months ago
  3. polygem

    Medievil (yes, another one!) and Eternal Darkness

    P L E A S E ! ! !

    #3 2 months ago
  4. fightclubdoll

    From 2 console generations back (Original Xbox), I’d want:
    Psychonauts
    Jade Empire
    Voodoo Vince
    Knights of the Old Republic
    an Oddworld games collection
    a Wallace and Gromit games collection, too.
    a Tak games trilogy… (whatever happened to that franchise, anyway?)
    …And I wouldn’t mind a Spongebob games collection, as well.
    (Xbox 360 already delivered Beyond Good & Evil HD and Fable Anniversary, so I’m skipping those.)

    #4 2 months ago
  5. mja

    Medievil & Medievil 2

    thanks @polygem
    Medievil is a great game.

    #5 2 months ago
  6. polygem

    @mja: oh yes it is!

    #6 2 months ago
  7. Dog4life

    Rather then few texture resolution updates , i would love see some old titles shine with new and “nextgen” graphical engine !

    #7 2 months ago
  8. zoopdeloop

    @Dog4life
    +1
    Remaking/remastering games from the 7th generation or even some of 6th is pointless and unnecessary.
    IMO old time classics need this treatment especially from developers who along with their franchises already are declining . eg Capcom/Resident Evil, Square-Enix/Final Fantasy.Drop the new installments for a few years,go back and remake those old time classics while they will be reminded what made them good

    I know a lot of people who find FF6,FF7 ,REsident Evil interesting in every aspect but in this time and age they can’t bare the outdated graphics and so they pass.
    Remaking those games sure is a risk and they may eventually disappoint some fans…those can always stick to the originals

    #8 2 months ago
  9. Blackened Halo

    the most useless list I have ever seen …those games are awesome as they are …we dont need remakes, we need new games !!

    and please stop acting like the nextgen consoles were something ground-breaking or something ..my god, half year passed since their releases and already now their content has to be edited because PC beats them …

    #9 2 months ago
  10. Judicas

    There already is a half life remake, Black Mesa

    #10 2 months ago
  11. Stephany Nunneley

    @fightclubdoll “Jade Empire” Yes please! I know Bioware had said it would revisit it at some point again, but that was when the Doctors were still with the company. Who knows what will happen now.

    I would also like to add to your list of original Xbox titles Armed & Dangerous. I had so much fun with that game, but never got to finish it because I rented it, and it was always out when I went back.

    Since Planet Moon was bought by Bigpoint and shuttered with all employees enveloped within the company I am sure it will never happen. Granted, since Planet Moon’s IPs weren’t bought along with the studio deal, it’s possible Lucas Arts (US publisher) could have owned the IP. If that is the case, it most certainly won’t happen under Disney.

    #11 2 months ago
  12. Revelate

    Half Life already has HD and remastered version – Black Mesa.
    AC in HD – lol wut?

    #12 2 months ago
  13. bradk825

    I want to voice my support of those who said “Jade Empire.”

    Half-Life with all the expansions would be awesome to play again. I played them all on PC, then played Half-Life on PS2 in later years.

    Lemmings! YES! That would be a fantastic downloadable. I would love that.

    #13 2 months ago
  14. Unlimax

    Parasite Eve should always receive the remake / HD treatment , that game was so great that even it has one of the best story / gameplay / cinematic cutscenes i have ever seen in a Videogame
    There’s also many many great titles deserve this .. but PE is absolutely and always NO.1 on the list imo

    #14 2 months ago