It’s a good time to be a gamer.
Not only are we seeing modern titles like Horizon Zero Dawn and Hellblade break new ground, but gaming staples such as Zelda, Mario and FIFA are better than ever.
Perhaps the sweetest recent phenomenon in gaming though is the remaster, which sees developers rebuild a classic game for the modern audience, as has been done recently with the brilliant Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and the haunting Shadow of the Colossus.
These releases, as well as the rumours that the wonderful Spyro the Dragon could be getting a new lick of paint, led me to wonder what other games could do with a remaster on modern consoles.
So, with no further ado, here are the eleven games I believe need to be remastered immediately.
NB: We’ve excluded Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Burnout since remasters for these gems have recently been announced.
Snowboarding is woefully underrepresented in gaming these days, but it wasn’t always the case. While many remember the more recent SSX series, for me it was Cool Boarders (and particularly the third edition) on the PlayStation 1 that really stands out.
The game was quintessentially 90s, with corny rock and incredibly cliched characters to select from before hitting the pistes. Admittedly, it wasn’t perfect, but with improved physics engines and current gen level graphics, this would be amazing.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Okay, I promise these won’t all be extreme sports games. But anyone who played the PS1 and PS2 Tony Hawk’s games will tell you how many hours they wiled away in pursuit of that perfect move while angst rock played in the background.
The series’ last entry – THPS5 – was a total dud and not much time has passed since its 2015 release, but without consulting anyone I am confident there is an audience out there for a shiny, beautiful re-imagining of the greatest skateboarding series of all time.
To anyone asking me to 'remaster" old games, or complaining about THPS servers being down: Activision owns the THPS license but I am no longer working with them. If I had the skills / authority to reboot servers or code games for newer systems on my own, I would be happy to…
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) February 26, 2018
Unfortunately, a fairly shoddy remaster was released in 2012 and, if this Tony Hawk’s recent tweet is anything to go by, we may have to wait a while for this one.
This game blew pretty much everyone away when it was released in 2001, with its Matrix-style slow-motion shooting, stunning graphics and film noir theme showing what was possible in action games just months ahead of the release of groundbreaking and more famous Grand Theft Auto 3.
It was far from just glossy gimmicks though, as this was all complimented by cracking gameplay and an interesting story. Two sequels followed in 2003 and 2012 but we’d love to see the original re-released on modern consoles, and we don’t think we’re the only ones.
Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage is one of those games that almost all 1990s kids remember fondly. It was pretty basic stuff; you walked through streets (of rage) and beat the absolute guff out of generic bad guys, who handily dropped chicken legs and other health power ups when defeated.
How would it work? I’m not sure. A full remake that plays like Arkham Asylum could work with a modern audience, though I suspect fans would probably prefer a faithful version of the original with a retro look, similar to last year’s Sonic Mania.
Manhunt is a fairly divisive game. It provoked outrage among parents when it was released, and perhaps with good reason. It is obscenely violent – hardly surprising for a game which rewards you for the viciousness of your murders – but beyond that there’s a brilliant game in there.
The gameplay is fantastic, the mood genuinely eerie and the story both gripping and disturbing in equal measure. These qualities, combined with the advancement in graphics and in-game atmosphere since its initial release, mean that a remaster would be incredible.
Donkey Kong Country
This is one of my favourite games that I never owned. A friend of mine had it and I played it whenever given the opportunity, so my nostalgia for it is strong. But nostalgia aside, this remains one of the best side-scrolling platform games ever, and would be very welcome on the Nintendo Switch.
Yes, there was a Donkey Kong Country game released as recently as 2014 but nothing really comes close to this. As such, it should be remastered as soon as possible, if only for a 2018 version of that mine cart level.
This is another game that gives me little nostalgia highs every now and then, but for good reason. Banjo-Kazooie was one of the brightest and most charming games to come out during the 1990s and – while aimed at kids – it had a fairly innovative play style that satisfied people of all ages.
Fans were understandably excited when 2008’s Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts was announced but, unfortunately, aside from the titular characters, this game did not resemble the original in any way. On a positive note, the disappointment surrounding it has probably made the appetite for a proper remaster all the greater, so please make it happen, whoever you are.
Crash Team Racing
Mario Kart rightly receives the plaudits when it comes to kart racing games, but you’d do well to not forget just how good Crash Team Racing was when it arrived on the PS1. It features most of the modes you would expect from a kart racing game, with arcade, time trials and battle modes all in there, but it’s the actual racing mechanics that – if recreated properly – would make a remaster just as successful as the original.
Perhaps most crucially though, it would give the PlayStation 4 its very own answer to Nintendo’s little plumber. Rumours online suggest this may well be on the horizon, so let’s just cross our fingers and toes.
This game is hard to describe. You play as a pink-haired young man in a world seemingly filled with pigs. You swing among the trees and ride said pigs around the place. It’s pretty strange stuff, but also very enjoyable.
You can find it on the PlayStation Store, but time has not been kind to its aesthetics, so a remaster would be nice to see.
If you’re a fan of team-based shooters and alternate histories, Freedom Fighters is the game for you. Set in New York in the Soviet Union-occupied United States, you play as a plumber turned resistance fighter who has to put together a rag tag group of unlikely heroes. The game’s dynamics were revolutionary for their time, with charisma gained through bravery making you more attractive to potential recruits.
There are also tactics involved with your ability to issue team commands, which allow them to cover you, attack and defend their position. As a property of IO Interactive (whose return to the Hitman series received critical acclaim in 2016), a remaster of this would likely be brilliant, even if the storyline hits a little too close to home for some.
Die Hard Trilogy
A three-game movie tie-in, with a separate genre for each game and released a year after the final film in the trilogy came out? Die Hard Trilogy really shouldn’t have worked, but it did. It really, really did. The approach was novel – even by modern standards – with the first game being a third-person shooter, the second an on-rails shooter and the third a driving game.
How did it work? Well, all three games were fun, decent games. Amazing? No, but when you’re getting three games for the price of one then fun is enough. Most importantly, they were all entertaining enough to keep things lively at all times and, given the quality of the most recent Die Hard film, fans of the series deserve a bit of fun.
Do you agree with out choices or have we made some glaring omissions? Let us know on social media.