Friday, February 15, 2013

5 Games That Need a Remake

So, System Shock 2 has "finally" been released on GoG.com, apparently a highly anticipated re-release of a game this year. I put it in " (quotation marks) however, because personally this might as well have been the first release - I completely missed this game the first time around so I can't really say finally to this happening. The game was released in 1999 the first time, when I was only 14 years old and considering I still sleep with the lights on occasionally I am sure 14-year old me would've shit herself just looking at the cover of this game. Besides, back then I only had a Mac and this game probably didn't run on that (always find somewhere to sneak some Mac-whining in if I can).

This time around I was intrigued though, the game looks really interesting. I love what they do over at GoG.com, releasing old games in playable versions again is a genius idea and now I've put both this and Planescape Torment on my list of games to buy. I might quite possibly add Neverwinter Nights, Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale to that list. So I have been, and will be, playing a lot of old school games lately, both on console and computer. And it has got me thinking a lot about stuff like graphics, game play, controls - then vs now. A lot of the games I play are perfect the way they are, like for instance Settlers 2. They've tried improving on that concept numerous times but I honestly think that it can't get much better than how they did it in the second game. Not even the graphics need to get better, they're perfect already (both in the original and the 10th anniversary edition). I can see and understand what I need to see and understand, I don't need it to be HD 3d or what not. In fact I think it would be worse off with more schmancy put in it.

Sarah Kerrigan?

But then there are a ton of games out there that are so much fun to play, they are basically perfect, but they could do good with a little face lift. System Shock 2 might well fit into this category. I'm not talking about changing the story or the characters or the gameplay in any way, simply hotting up the graphics a bit (or a lot) or change a couple of bugs here and there, just to make the game look and feel the way it truly deserves. Since there are so many games out there that would deserve this treatment, this is not going to be a top-list, simply five games that I, off the top of my head, really feel need this and that I would throw money at in an instant if it was made. See it as a part 1, and there might be a part 2 in the future.

5. Stalker
I'm a pretty big fan of the concept built up by the Strugatskij brothers short-story Roadside Picnic, although I'm actually not overly fond of the book itself (might be the horribad swedish translation of it that I read though). The story, as Wikipedia puts it;

"Roadside Picnic is a work of fiction based on the aftermath of an extraterrestrial event (called the Visitation) which simultaneously took place in half a dozen separate locations around Earth for a two-day period. Neither the Visitors themselves nor their means of arrival or departure were ever seen by the local population who lived inside the relatively small (a few square kilometers) area of each of the six Visitation Zones. Such zones exhibit strange and dangerous phenomena not understood by humans, and contain artifacts with inexplicable, seemingly supernatural properties."

 The book spawned a movie (which I like) and a game series of three named Stalker: Clear Sky, Stalker: Call of Pripyat and Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl. Now, I will admit that I have never actually played any of these games myself, but my ex loved them fiercly so that I got to see a lot of gameplay from them. And I will agree that they look like a lot of fun, and like I said I totally love the concept and the games follow the book idea very closely, making a really interesting game series out of it. It is scary as shit and really requires you to think as a survivor to make it through the game.

It desperately needs to be remade though, but this one probably needs the graphic update the least of the games on the list. What it does need however is a total sweep of all the bugs and sometimes weird design choices that riddle the game. Because this game is so good, yet so filled with sometimes crippling bugs it has a fairly big fan base that has taken it into their own hands to remedy the situation. There are loads of good mods to download to all three of these games that ease up on some of the worst bugs and issues. Creds to their work and dedication, but it only goes to show how much this game series needs, deserves and would joy the fans to get a complete overhaul.

4. Escape Velocity
This is probably a game not many of you have heard of and I don't blame you. EV is a modest little space game, and actually there are three games in the series although they are all very similar. You shoulder the role as the captain of a ship and... that's pretty much it. What you want to do with that ship and how you want to spend your space traveling days is completely up to you. You've got a vast expanse of space and loads of star systems to explore. You can choose to trade, do quests or turn into a pirate if you like. Considering how small this game is, it really offers a lot and I remember spending hours with it when I was little. If I remember correctly it was one of the first games I paid for, since if you don't a little space shuttle comes and pesters you for money (it's a shareware product) and in the end he is out to kill you. Once you've paid the 5$ or whatever the game cost back then, he leaves you alone though.


Pew pew
When I was little I usually stuck to trading, keeping track on which goods were wanted in which systems, where I could buy them cheaply and sell them expensively. If you venture too far away from the center, that is the Sol system, you will eventually enter creepy regions held by rebel confederations and even further than that is not much more than pirates who will attack and rob you on sight. If you feel up to it you can upgrade your ship in many different ways, either getting bigger freighter models to ship more goods, or getting combat models to fight the pirates yourself. If you don't feel like fighting but want to be able to defend yourself, you can hire escorts and bodyguards that will do the fighting for you. If you're skilled enough you can disable ships and board them and well, there are just lots of things to do.


All systems lead to Rome
So this game offers a lot in terms of gameplay and fairly much in content, but it has an extremely simplistic graphics style. It doesn't really need more, in the sense that it's perfectly playable and fun the way it is, but I just always feel it could give so much more. For instance most planets, moons and space stations can be landed on (if the local government allows it), but is only represented by the one screen, with a picture of the planet landscape and a few different places to go to like "Trade Center" to trade, "Shipyard" to buy new (or used)ships or "Bar" to get quests and hear gossip from around the galaxy.

I just try to imagine how awesome this game would be if it had actual 3d graphics, or at least a bit more than it offers now. If this was turned into a game with a million dollar budget rather than what it might have had now, something with graphics similar to Mass Effect maybe. It could be an MMO too with people trading, pirating and rebeling all over the place. Come to think of it, maybe this is what EVE Online is?

3. Jackie Chan's Stuntmaster

I'm a pretty big fan of Jackie Chan, I'd honestly give just about anything to meet him and I am super excited just at the prospect that he might be in Expendables 3. I wish he wouldn't age so that he could just go on and make magnificent movies his entire life, if someone deserves immortality it's him. But just because Jackie Chan is just about the coolest person alive, doesn't mean any of his games are any good. I've only played one though, and it is pretty awesome - Jackie Chan's Stuntmaster on PSX.

I read a review on IGN about it and the author mentions one of the things I really like about the game - that there is so much of Jackie in it. It isn't just his name on the cover, the entire game feels pretty much like playing one of his movies. Jackie has done motion capture for the character you play (which obviously is Jackie himself) meaning you do loads of cool kicks, punches and jumps just like him. He has added a lot of little Jackie-lines, quirky one-liners that crack me up each time and are sometimes nonsensical in a hilarious way. Here and there on the levels are items lying around, really random things like a big fish, a paint roller, a plunger, anything really, that can be used as a weapon for a short time. Each weapon comes with it's own unique combination of kicks and punches where Jackie combines the weapon into his fighting. Everything about this game oozes Jackie, so if you're a Jackie fan this game is a must have.


Name one other game where you can smack people with a broom?

 But even if you're, not this is still a pretty good beat-em-up (although I suspect all the Jackie stuff gets annoying unless you love Jackie). I'm only on the third level and get my ass handed to me. The control is pretty sophisticated, with the possibility to counter-attack, roll, kick, target-lock, punch and combine all of those things in different combos. The AI isn't too clever, but damn are they fast sometimes, so you have to think carefully about offense and defense to not end up surrounded and beaten to a pulp. The game also offers some platforming and collecting, which is quite fun since it requires some good timing to do well (and not die).

So how cool would this game not be if it was updated to modern graphics? If Jackie consisted of not 10 pixels, but maybe 10.000 pixels (or whatever amount we use nowadays)? Funnily enough, the reviewer on IGN thinks the graphics are very good, and they probably were back then (the review was written 2000), but now they could definitely do with a lot of polishing to make Jackie look as cool as he can. The control could maybe use a little tweaking, but overall this game is pretty perfect the way it is. And it would totally rock ass if it was even prettier.

2. Resident Evil 2
I doubt this game needs much of an introduction, even if you've never played it you've most likely heard of it. This is the second game in the Resident Evil series, which apparently is Capcoms best selling game series (yes, even better than Megaman and Castlevania). A lot of people consider this second game to be the best, although I know many think the newer games like the fourth and fifth are pretty good too. Personally I prefer the first one just because it really gets the ominous feeling down perfectly and because it is the basis for the freaky story that is the RE series. The latter games take the virus to all new levels, where you mostly try to just reduce the damages of Umbrellas (possibly the best name for a villain company ever) plans of world-domination (or whatever, that's what it seems to escalate into anyway). But in the first one you simply discover all of these things, and that is also true for the second game that takes place in the same time but in a different location.


This...
Now if it wasn't for the Gamecube remake of RE1, that game would've been on this spot on this list. But since we got that, I feel like RE2 is next in line, not only because they've promised us this remake ages ago already. Where did that go to? I have no idea. If the RE1 remake didn't sell enough to make Capcom want to give RE2 the same love I'd blame that more on the lack of interest in the Gamecube than lack of interest in the remake.

...could be this.

I actually like the changes they did to the original game in the remake, they kept enough of the original to make it feel familiar but added a lot of new things to make it worth a replay not just for the updated graphics. Admittedly, the original is ugly as shit and needed that remake so badly, whereas RE2 is ok graphic-wise. But it would look so good with the same crisp graphics as the RE remake or the graphics of RE6 for instance. And like I said - it has been promised. Now deliver.


PROMISES!

1. Final Fantasy 7
Big surprise, right? I know it's a pretty obvious choice, but that's for so many reasons. FF7 is one of the games that really got me into gaming and I have so many good memories tied to this game. I'm not the only one, tons of people love this game for its great story and awesome characters (except Yuffie, I still hate her for stealing my materia). The music is superb and personally I think the replay
value is really high.


Nice eh... hands?
But there is no denying that this game is really, really ugly. I mean, I can look at it and think it looks kind of good out of nostalgic reasons. The fact that the characters hands are made up of one big square looking block and that they don't really even have faces in game is kind of charming, in a way. It does require you to fill in a lot with imagination, and I don't mind doing that. But seriously, I'd chop off my pinky toe for a ff7 that has the graphics of Advent Children.

Square Enix knows this! And it makes me wring my hands in furious agony knowing they're probably sitting on that gold mine to save them on a rainy day, the same way Nintendo is probably releasing Pokemon X&Y soon to beat the crap out of Sonys handheld (when they've probably had the game for ages). And they really wouldn't have to change anything about the game except the graphics, everything else is perfect!


Oh look, fingers.
I heard somewhere at some point that the reason they hadn't released a remake was simply because the data used for ff7 was outdated somehow, so that they would have to redo it all from scratch. That might be true, but Capcom did it with RE! And if Capcom didn't have to go through the work of redoing all the graphics from scratch, somehow, I am sure Square Enix will find that it is worth their time and effort, as it will surely end up selling better than their latest installment of FF. So Square Enix, look at these puppy eyes - > ._.

Hear my begging: Puh-puh-puh-puhleeaaaaaaase do a remake on ff7!

Yeah, that should do it.

Like I said though, I have a couple of other games that could fit on this list, but I needed to have some sort of limitation to it, or I would sit here writing a book about it. I'll save them for a potential second list! What other games do you think should get the remake-loving?

3 comments:

  1. I absolutely LOVED Koei's "Uncharted Waters" games. Pirates, exploration, naval battles, mercantile ventures...

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    Replies
    1. Don't think I've heard of that game :O Just goes to show how many potentially awesome games that float around out there, and most people don't even know of them

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