HD Remakes: Wonderful Compilations, or Shameless Cash-ins?

Love them or hate them, HD Remakes are all the rage these days on both the 360 and the PS3. For those who don’t know, HD Remakes are compilations of last gen games, upscaled to high definition, and sprinkled with the system’s reward system (trophies or achievements). These collections typically include two or three games and are priced below a new current gen game. The problem is, as I pointed out a couple of days ago, there are few new IP being released, and the current popularity of HD Remakes has an irritating effect on gamers who are looking for something new and fresh. HD Remakes are often criticized for being cheap cash-ins and simply trying to sell the same game several times. The question up to the board today is whether HD Remakes are good for gaming or a cheap blight on the industry.

I own all the games in this. So why am I going to buy it?

HD Remakes were popularized by the God of War Collection released in 2009. It introduced the world to the idea of upscaling the graphics of old games and reselling them as new. You see, internet, the God of War Collection was a tremendous success and companies have been keen on imitating it. They have been successful for the most part. It costs very little to upscale the graphics and to implement a trophy or achievement system in an already complete game. Being able to sell them, even at a discounted price, allows for gaming companies to rake in huge profits from relatively little work. Since the God of War Collection there has been no shortage of HD Remakes including series such as Tomb Raider, Sly Cooper, and Metal Gear Solid. Next year is poised to continue the trend with Final Fantasy X HD, the Silent Hill Collection, and the Devil May Cry Collection being released.

Yeah, I’m going to buy this one too, damnit!

There is the accusation that these HD Remakes are just trying to get gamers to double-dip. So, why do consumers buy them? People aren’t just buying them because they have no choice. They buy them for a reason. In my case, I would re-buy quite a bit for trophy support (a subject of another post I’m sure), and I find the HD upscaling to be very well done. However, I am not the main audience of these collections. You see the real audience are people who have never played them before. Gamers tend to forget that not everyone has played every game even if they are masterworks. These HD Remakes allow for a younger generation of gamer to enjoy games that otherwise would be very difficult to find. Old generation games are not easy to find. Some get put on the Arcade or PSN, others on the virtual console, but many are extremely rare. In most cases, it isn’t an option to go out and find the original, and, without proper backwards compatibility, it isn’t desirable for new gamers. While some gamers, such as myself, are definitely coerced into double-dipping, HD remakes allow new gamers to experience these classics, and give old ones something new to do with the trophy/achievement additions.

Maybe we shouldn’t release the Manhunt HD Collection

The next accusation is that these games are cheaply made and are of very low quality. There is a major supporter to this theory in the HD Remakes of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica X. Both of these games were upgraded to HD, but the achievement/trophy support was ridiculous. For such excellent games, which were open for so many interesting achievement opportunities, this comes off as lazy. Hell, PS3 gamers didn’t even get a platinum trophy on either of these games, while the 360 still got 1000/1000 points. Very lazy indeed. However, I’m more willing to submit those remakes as exceptions under the “Capcom is evil” banner, than as the rule of HD Remakes

It looks good, meaning Capcom did half of their job, their simple, simple job.

Unlike Capcom’s damning treatment of one of the greatest games of the last generation, many HD Collections are stepping up to the plate in terms of adding something new. The Silent Hill Collection is recording new voice work for the two games included. Of course this has royally angered fans who enjoyed the original voice work, which was, frankly, some of the worst voice work in mainstream, modern gaming. The Metal Gear Solid Collection goes a step further than this and pioneers the “transfaring” (they misspelled it, not me) system, which allows for HD Remakes to be transferred onto the PS Vita to be played portably. Either of these collections could have easily just released the games with no work added, but they chose to go a little further and I think they deserve praise for it.

Lots and lots of praise

So basically, HD Remakes can be really lazily done and a total ripoff like the Resident Evil HD games. However, in most cases they are at very least worth the price of admission if you care about graphics or trophies, and they are most definitely worth buying if you’ve never played them before. HD Remakes showcase some of the best last generation has to offer so they are pretty much all very safe buys. If only I didn’t feel like I was shilling this whole post. Oh, well.

Now for the great taste of Diet Coke

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer


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