Remastered HD Double Deluxe Director’s Cut Plus
Greetings again retro ladies and classic gents, today I’m going to be doing something a bit different on RetroHate that could possibly become a thing or it might just be a 1-Hit Wonder. In light of the DuckTales Remastered release and its very mixed reception thus far, I decided to tackle the subject of remakes & “HD Collections” and why some seem to hate them. That’s right, I’m going to be hating on other people’s hate: It’s RetroHate-ception.
Just so we’re all on the same page, game developers have long been in the habit of re-releasing their old games to more modern game consoles. Sometimes these are straight ports where little to nothing is changed. Other times the graphics might get a quick polish or a complete reworking. Still others will opt for a complete reworking of the game (often marketed as being “inspired by” the original game) to better suit the modern system and the new gaming “standards.”
With so many ways to remake an old game, this can be quite the quandary for a developer given how loyal fans can be to the original work. Developers of remakes are often chided for not doing this, or changing that, or subtracting this; no matter how they choose to remake a game, there is going to be a group of people that will criticize it. Fortunately, I’m here to criticize their criticism. So let’s start getting specific.
First up, when a developer merely ports or re-releases an old game to a new platform, often digitally like Nintendo’s “Virtual Console” or GOG.com, this is nothing but a good thing. As long as the game works and is priced reasonably there’s absolutely nothing to complain about; it allows new gamers (or old nostalgics like me) to play old classics without having to scavenge for old hardware & media. The only time this complaint ever holds water is when a developer ports a current-gen game to the next-gen console but for more money and precious little extra content. Then all I can say is: JUST LOWER THE STUPID PRICE!!!
How bout those “HD” remakes & collections though? You know the ones, where they take an old game and spruce up the graphics a bit so it looks nicer on the modern system. Sometimes these come in collections like Super Mario All Stars (SNES) or the Jak & Daxter Collection (PS3/Vita). Or they’ll come individually like Earthworm Jim HD, Final Fantasy III (DS) & the most recent DuckTales: Remastered. The HD collections often draw ire because they’re usually just a quick repacking of a bunch of last-gen games on the new system with a little bit of spit and polish but not much else.
Well, you know what? Your argument in invalid: old games (even if they’re not NES old) on new systems with nicer graphics and bundled price equals win. Now if the new graphics are faulty or the framerate is in the gutter (like the Silent Hill Collection) then feel free to take issue. When people complain about HD remakes like DuckTales: Remastered because while it looks like a modern platformer it plays like a 25 year old NES game, well… Good work genius, IT IS A 25 YEAR OLD NES GAME!! Just because a game gets a fancy coat of paint (whether that’s more pixels or completely new art) doesn’t mean you should expect the actual gameplay to change. You didn’t expect the new Spider-man movie to be a silent picture film, did you?
Finally, the “Inspired by” is the remake that takes an old game, tears up the graphics & sound, rips out the gameplay and then makes an entirely new game that may or may not resemble the original. Tomb Raider Anniversary is a perfect example of this. It’s basically a modern Tomb Raider game with all its gameplay and trappings, but it wears the very polished and rounded skin of the original PS1 Tomb Raider. This is when things can get tricky. While it’s nice to have a fully “modern” game that still somewhat looks like the old one, at some point the original work can get lost & nostalgia is longer a driving factor. If the “new” gameplay isn’t quite able to hold up its end of the bargain, then you just have a weird mess that can’t quite decide what it wants to be.
I will defend almost any and all video game remakes, but you also have to understand what the developer was trying to accomplish when they remade the game. Did they just want to port the original for mostly old gamers? Did they want to fancy-up the graphics to attract new gamers while still keeping the core “old-school” gameplay the same for the retro-ites? Or were they actually trying to make modern-style game but dress it up in an old, slightly dusty dress? Also, your opinion on remakes may reveal how tightly you wear your Nostalgia Goggles, if you even wear them at all. Here’s a hint: You really should wear your Nostalgia Goggles especially ’round these parts… I’m just sayin…