COLUMN: Remakes and Remasters: Are they Great or Disasters?

If you have played video games for nearly as long as I have, then you and I both have experiences with the terms “Remake” and “Remaster.”

Throughout the entire history of video games, countless titles have been re-released with changes as simple as updated designs or as extreme as an entire re-imagining of the game itself.

On the surface, the concept of reigniting the nostalgia for a beloved game sounds like a perfect idea, but many people in the gaming community are split on this concept; Should these games be left alone in their original forms to avoid spoiling their legacies or does re-creating them enhance the quality?

The answer to that question … is complicated.

I’m always supporting the recreation of a beloved video game, however the intentions of the developer can easily make me regret supporting their decision.

Do the developers plan on creating a Remake, which I define as a total re-imagining of the concept and experience of the video game, or do they want to design a Remaster, which redesigns but maintains the ideas and experience of the original game.

Both of these concepts can be done wrong and have misguided intentions.

Typically, remasters get the wrap of being designed solely to make bank off the nostalgia of fans, an example being The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition which decides to focus on making pretty lights instead of fixing game killing glitches.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the original game-it’s a phenomenal open-world experience.

However, I still accept the fact that the game had many hilarious errors and glitches that constantly broke the immersion of the world.

The so-called “Special Edition” fixed none of these bugs and decided to put their efforts towards enhancing the lighting and shadows, because that is clearly what was missing from my initial experience-enhanced shadows oooooo!

It’s okay for a Remaster to simply update the look of the original game, that doesn’t mean that there is no room for actual effort.

One of my favorite video games from my childhood, Spyro The Dragon, just got a remastered version in 2018, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and unlike Skyrim, the game has an amazing amount of love and heart placed into it.

Characters and scenery, voice acting, glitches, ect. The entire game and its 2 sequels were remade from the ground up and bundled together on one disc for the price of 1 game!

That is what I feel like a true remaster should strive to be, a new and improved look onto the aesthetics while maintaining the concepts and feel of the original games.

A remake is similar to that idea, except they tend to alter every aspect of the original game, creating a new experience for the player.

If done right, the developer can build upon the nostalgia for the original while implementing their own decisions and ideas that make the game their own.

The Resident Evil 2 remake was one of the best, if not the best video games of 2019, being able to completely revamp the terror that was felt from the 1998 version.

It’s a remake at its finest in my book and clearly demonstrates the tip-top quality of a re-creation.

But the beauty of re-creating games when properly done so doesn’t just fall upon your ability to totally revamp the quality.

Remember when I was hating on the Skyrim remaster? My hate wasn’t centered on the fact that the game’s appearance didn’t look as amazing as I hoped-the remaster failed to accomplish the simplest job, TO FIX THE GAME!

The ultimate goal of any remaster or remake out there should be to fix what was missing from the original game.

Resident Evil 2’s original horror effects have become outdated and cheesy, the remake wanted to recreate the horror aspect of the game.

Spyro The Dragon has become forgotten among the many other plain platformers, the remaster wanted to revive the series and make it stand out with its beautiful scenery.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is riddled with errors and glitches, the special edition should have focused on fixing these problems.

The most important part of bringing back any video game is to bring the game up to today’s standards and revive the quality that the game held in its prime.

If that goal can be accomplished, then I wholeheartedly believe that the remake/remaster that does so should be supported in their efforts.

And hey, even if you still do not support the recreation of your prized video game, remember that the original exists and you can always return back to it.