Developers and publishers have shown an increased interest in releasing enhanced ports, remasters, and definitive editions of games.
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Many of them aren’t particularly noteworthy, but there are a few that truly shine by making significant enhancements while remaining true to the source material.
The best video game remakes and remasters from the last decade will be featured on this list, along with the best remakes and remasters of 2022.
In the future, we will add more titles to this list, so check back and let us know if we forgot any of your favorite remade or remastered works!
Trials of Mana
Date of Publication: April 24, 2020
Windows, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch
Our first suggestion is the 2020 Windows PC and console 3D remake of the classic action RPG Trials of Mana by Square Enix.
The player takes control of one of three heroes who must find the Mana Sword and use it to defeat an evil that threatens to destroy the world.
The gameplay is similar to that of many popular Japanese role-playing games in that you command a team of heroes as they engage in real-time combat and explore open 3D environments.
You can customize your attacks in the Trials of Mana by combining the abilities of different character classes.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition
Time of Publication: May 14th, 2021
Systems: PC, PS4, and XB1
The Mass Effect series has a lengthy and, at times, divisive history of releases, spin-offs, and, most recently, rereleases, revered for both its RPG mechanics and third-person combat.
Players assume the role of Commander Shepard and join the fight against the evil machine race known as the Reapers.
An eclectic group of allies with military, medical, and engineering experience join Shepard’s fight and offer their input on crucial strategy.
The best way to experience the original trilogy, which kicked off the series in the early 2000s, is in the remastered form provided by the Mass Effect Legendary Edition.
The date of its unveiling is 11/12/2020.
Demon’s Souls, releasing in 2020 alongside Sony’s PlayStation 5, is a much-needed update to one of FromSoftware’s seminal games.
The original PlayStation 3 version of Demon’s Souls put players on a quest to rid the land of Boletaria of the evil Old One.
Bluepoint Games improved both the performance and visuals for this remake, making it a much more desirable option.
The great thing about this remake is how faithfully it stays to the original in terms of gameplay. From the design of the environments to the difficulty of the fights, everything is just as it was in the original.
Dark Souls Remastered
Date of Publication: May 24, 2018
System requirements: PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch
The second game by FromSoftware to make the cut, Dark Souls Remastered brings the genre-defining classic into the modern era with high-definition visuals and 60 frames-per-second performance.
The number of players that can participate in an online session has also been increased from four to six thanks to the addition of dedicated servers for multiplayer in the remaster.
The game takes place in the foreboding medieval kingdom of Lordran, where you must endure a dangerous pilgrimage full of hideous and lethal monsters.
Fans of the Souls series who aren’t afraid of a challenge will enjoy Dark Souls Remastered, which includes both the original game and the Artorias of the Abyss expansion.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 2
When: September 4, 2020 (Release Date)
Supported Systems: PC, PS4, PS5, XB1, XB2 S, and Switch
The history of the Tony Hawk games is fraught with sequels that failed to impress players.
After a long hiatus, the Pro Skater series will return in 2020 with a new take on the first two games in the series, developed by Vicarious Visions.
Reverts, spine transfers, and wall plants are just a few of the new tricks that make their debut in this remake, along with every level from both games.
With 1 million copies sold in just two weeks, THPS 1 2 is by far the most successful installment in the series’ history.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
Date of Publication: May 29, 2020
Instance Type: Switch
Xenoblade Chronicles is a highly regarded JRPG that benefited from an open world when it was released for the Wii and later ported to the Nintendo 3DS.
You take on the role of Shulk, a young hero who must rally an alliance against an alien robot horde called the Mechon.
The game’s notoriously complicated quest tracking system has been simplified in this definitive edition.
Fans of the series should not miss out on this installment because it includes a new playable epilogue, Xenoblade Chronicles: Future Connected, which takes place one year after the events of the main story.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Date of Publication: April 10, 2020
Windows, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5
Final Fantasy VII Remake’s disjointed design makes it feel like it was created in the dark depths of Square Enix’s basement.
The first installment came out in 2020 and surprised everyone by modernizing a PlayStation staple.
Features such as these include a new battle system that combines elements of real-time action and classic strategy with fully realized environments and reimagined characters.
This remake is so great because it faithfully follows the plot of the original game from 1997 while also expanding its lore and world-building.
When: March 6, 2020 (Release Date)
OSs: Windows and Linux
Black Mesa is a showcase of what can be achieved when a video game developer and its fan base work together.
It all started with Valve’s release of Half-Life: Source, a port of the classic shooter that ran on the company’s then-new Source engine but otherwise was identical to previous releases.
Two separate groups of fans, dissatisfied with the official Half-Life remake, set out to create their own version of the game.
The remaster boasts vastly improved level and puzzle design, more difficult enemy AI, and a plethora of brand-new dialogue and story elements on par with Valve’s excellent work.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
September 20th, 2019 — Date of Release
Instance Type: Switch
Link’s Awakening is unusual among Zelda games in that it does not include Hyrule, the Triforce, or even Princess Zelda.
It was the first Zelda game for the Game Boy, and later for the Game Boy Color as Link’s Awakening DX, the first handheld versions of the series.
In the remake, Link is still on a quest to awaken the legendary Wind Fish by collecting eight magical instruments, and the perspective is still from above.
The visual style has been altered in this remake to be more toy-like, with new music and a dungeon-building minigame.
Resident Evil 2
Date of Publication: January 25th, 2019
Systems: PC, PS4, and XB1
Capcom’s remaster of the survival horror classic Resident Evil 2 is a triumph, updating the 20-year-old game with improved visuals and streamlined gameplay.
In it, you play as Leon Kennedy, a rookie cop, and Claire Redfield, a college student, who are both trapped in Raccoon City during a zombie outbreak.
Our favorite thing about the remake is how the plot was altered to highlight minor characters even though the central experience remained largely unchanged.
After Monster Hunter: World, Capcom’s RE2 remake is the second biggest Steam launch ever, with over 5.8 million copies sold.
Resident Evil 3
Date of Publication: April 3, 2020
Supported Operating Systems: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox 360, Xbox X, and Xbox XS
Capcom, riding high on the success of its remake of Resident Evil 2, attempted to recapture the spirit of the third installment in the series.
Play as Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliveira as they try to outrun the highly advanced bioweapon Nemesis and a horde of zombies in this sequel to the original game.
The urgency with which Nemesis pursues you is what makes the RE3 remake such a good action game; it compels you to keep moving forward and find new ways to temporarily distract or stun him.
The majority of the game revolves around this central concept, which results in some of the most tense moments in gaming history.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
The official date of release is 11/13/2018.
Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch
With a series as beloved as Spyro’s, it’s great to see multiple games from the series remastered and released together.
Inventor’s Playthings for Bob did an excellent job of remaking the original trilogy of games about a sarcastic purple dragon who travels to different worlds to save his people and fight monsters.
To do this, they used a custom emulation tool dubbed “Spyro-scope” to recreate the game’s original level geometry and character models.
The result is one of the best remastered video game collections of all time, and it’s the Spyro Reignited Trilogy.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Date of Publication: June 30th, 2017
System requirements: PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch
The genetically enhanced PlayStation mascot had been in the shadows for years prior to the announcement of the N. Sane Trilogy.
Fans of the original Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: Warped games were pleased with this return to form.
Rather than being simple remasters like Spyro: Reignited, these games were redone from the ground up with brand new assets, animations, and cutscenes.
Crash’s sister Coco is now playable in new levels, and the collection also features unified checkpoints, pause menus, a save system, time trials, and more.
Shadow of the Colossus
Date of Publication: February 6, 2018
PS4 System Specs
Remaking a video game allows the creators to update the game’s controls, user interface, and other aspects that may have become dated since the original release.
Shadow of the Colossus, a one-of-a-kind open world game originally released for PS2 in 2005 and later remastered for PS3 as part of The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection, is a fine illustration of this.
Bluepoint Games, who worked on the PS3 remaster, also developed the 2018 remake, which features significant graphical and performance upgrades.
While the game’s core mechanics and story were preserved, a modernized control scheme helped bring Shadow of the Colossus into the 21st century.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
Date of Publication: November 4, 2016
Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
Fans requested a remaster of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare online, so Activision worked with Raven Software to create a new version of the game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
While the core gameplay remained unchanged, Modern Warfare Remastered featured updated animations, sound effects, and multiplayer content in addition to a plethora of graphical upgrades.
The fact that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered was initially only included in special edition bundles of Infinite Warfare caused a lot of controversy.
After a year, a standalone version was released, and it received high marks for the many improvements it introduced and the integrity of its original campaign and multiplayer modes.
Ratchet & Clank
To Be Made Available on: April 12, 2016
PS4 System Specs
2016’s Ratchet & Clank for PlayStation 4 is both a reboot of the series and a reimagining of the game that started it all, but it keeps the name of the PS2 classic.
New dialogue and improved visuals were added to the nearly 20-year-old shooter-platformer for its release to coincide with the release of the Ratchet & Clank movie.
The Ratchet & Clank remake was praised by critics and returning players alike for striking the right chord between action and puzzle-solving.
The reboot was described by developer Insomniac Games as a “new beginning” for the series, and we have to agree, especially since a new installment, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, is planned for the PS5.
Command & Conquer Remastered Collection
Due out on June 5th, 2020.
Windows Is The Platform
The Command & Conquer series is well-liked among PC gamers, and for some, it was even their first taste of real-time strategy.
Fortunately, EA has not forgotten the series’ legacy and will release a Command & Conquer Remastered Collection in 2020.
The collection features remastered versions of the first two games, developed in tandem with Petroglyph Games and Lemon Sky Studios, complete with updated visuals, reworked audio, and new bonus content.
The fresh new graphics, sprite animations, and user interface elements in these remasters are particularly impressive.
Kingdoms of Amalur Re-reckoning
When: September 8, 2020, for release
PC, PS4, XB1, and Switch are the supported platforms.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a fantastic fantasy game that will appeal to fans of classic role-playing games.
After being resurrected, you play the Fateless One and are dropped into a world on the verge of collapse.
The game allows for extensive personalization of your character, boasts a vast open world ripe for exploration, has an interesting story, and offers immersive combat that places a premium on player agency.
You can play the original if you like, but a remastered version called Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is also available for PC and current-gen consoles.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
November 15th, 2011 – Date of Publication
Available on Windows, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One
To mark the franchise’s 10-year anniversary, Microsoft and 343 teamed up with Saber Interactive and Certain Affinity to re-release Halo: Combat Evolved in 2011.
In order to recreate the look and feel of the original game, Saber’s proprietary game engine was used, and assets from Halo 3 and Halo: Reach were also incorporated.
The Anniversary Edition added high-definition graphics, Xbox Live multi-player and co-op play, remastered audio, in-game achievements and collectibles, and Kinect support, among other things.
There are also six multiplayer maps remade from Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Halo: Reach, and a feature that lets players switch between the original and new visuals.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Published on: November 11th, 2014
Available on Windows PCs, Xbox Ones, and Xbox X/S consoles.
Upon its initial release in 2014, The Master Chief Collection was widely panned for being a buggy, unfinished mess that did a disservice to the franchise’s esteemed legacy.
343 were able to get back on track and make sure each title looked and played exactly how fans had envisioned them years ago thanks to their collaborations with other studios.
There are currently five games in the collection: Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4.
Similar to Combat Evolved Anniversary, all games have been upgraded with better online matchmaking and local multiplayer.
Demon’s Souls (2020)
The Dark Souls series, developed by FromSoftware, is renowned for its insanely challenging gameplay, as well as its fantastic world design and boss fights. The commercial success of the 2005 prequel Demon’s Souls is largely responsible for the continued existence of the Dark Souls series.
The recent remake, unquestionably one of 2020’s best remakes, keeps the gameplay that defines the series and its grim atmosphere while providing much more visually enjoyable graphics. It was a PlayStation 5 launch title.
Mafia: Definitive Edition (2020)
The original Mafia game is a legendary classic, but it has been out for nearly two decades, making it dated and irrelevant. Mafia: Definitive Edition is a reimagining of the original 2002 game. The 1930s-era American city of Lost Heaven serves as the backdrop for the game’s exploration of the city’s seedy underbelly. Although the plot and general atmosphere are similar, the gameplay has been updated to better suit modern tastes. This is especially true of the driving and shooting sections. The game is included in the highly acclaimed Mafia: Trilogy compilation, which also features remastered versions of the first two games in the series.
Yakuza Kiwami (2016)
The Yakuza series began in 2005 on the PS2, but it wasn’t until much later that it became a global phenomenon. The Yakuza franchise is not for everyone, but it has a dedicated following because it combines elements of action-fighting with crime drama in a culturally rich Asian setting. Yakuza Kiwami, released in 2016, is a reimagining of the original 2005 Yakuza game, with new content and improved gameplay.
One of the game’s central features, combat, has been updated to feel more modern, making this the best Yakuza game to start with.
What Is a Video Game Port?
Video games can be “ported” from one platform to another by essentially copying the original code over.
A game that was originally released on a console and then ported to the PC, or vice versa, is called a port. For instance, Horizon: Zero Dawn was initially a PlayStation 4 exclusive before making its way to PC in August of 2020. The only real difference between these versions is the improved visual fidelity that playing on PC can provide.
There is also the practice of porting games between console generations. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Bayonetta 2 are just two examples of the exclusive Wii U titles that Nintendo has ported to the Switch. These are sometimes referred to as “enhanced ports,” as they improve upon the original by including extra content that was previously unavailable, such as the ability to control Funky Kong in Tropical Freeze. However, they share the same core gameplay elements.
In contrast to ports, games that appear on multiple platforms at once are developed and published by a single studio. A Call of Duty game, for instance, would not be referred to as “the PlayStation 5 port” or “the Xbox 360 port” because it was developed with support for multiple platforms in mind. The word “version” is more commonly used in this context.
Depending on the game, porting may be simple. However, there may be difficulties in porting the game’s mechanics from the previous platform to the new one. Developers have to adapt games for new systems if they feature features exclusive to older platforms, such as the PS Vita’s rear touchpad.
These and other issues make certain game ports infamous.
Video Game Remasters Explained
When an older video game is “remastered,” it is updated so that it can compete with newer releases. In order to take advantage of more powerful hardware, remasters typically launch at least one console generation after the original.
One such game is Burnout Paradise Remastered. The original version of Burnout Paradise came out in 2008, while the remaster was released in 2018. All downloadable content from the original release is included in the remaster, and the game now runs at a smooth 60 frames per second with improved visuals. Simply put, it improves upon the original game’s technical aspects.
Also fitting this bill is The Last of Us Remastered, albeit with a much more timely re-release than the original. The original PS3 release occurred in June 2013, and the remaster went live in July 2014. To take advantage of the PS4’s features, it bundled the DLC and made a few tweaks, such as having the controller’s light bar change colors to indicate your health and being able to hear some audio through the controller’s speaker.
Remasters are a fantastic way to give gamers the chance to experience some of the best games from previous generations. They often bundle multiple games into one (like Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection), and include all previously released DLC. However, since the 2010s, remasters have become increasingly common, leaving some players exhausted.
Examining Video Game Remakes
A video game remake is a new version of an existing game that features updated graphics, gameplay, and other elements compared to the original. In addition to updated visuals, remakes allow for the possibility of addressing systemic problems with the original game.
You may not be able to tell a port or remaster from the original game at first glance, but a remake will be obvious. The gameplay of a remake is identical to that of the original, but the two games do not share any other resources. Because of this, even if you’ve seen the original before, it’s probably worth seeing again.
As an illustration, consider the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Developers updated the look and feel of the three classic Crash games while keeping the core gameplay intact. Improvements to the games’ playability include a unified save system and the addition of time trials to the first two.
There have been many remakes of Nintendo series. Many previous generations have been remade, including the Game Boy Advance games Ruby and Sapphire, which were remade as Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire for the Nintendo 3DS. Most of these include the perks of later games as well as the standard visual upgrades.
While remasters are a crucial part of video game preservation and are frequently the only authentic way to experience a game, they are not always an improvement. Some of them alter the game too drastically, ruining the fun for everyone. The 2018 remake of Secret of Mana, which failed to address problems with the original and featured uglier visuals and a different soundtrack, was widely panned.
What Are Video Game Reboots?
When a new installment is released in an ongoing series, it is said to “reboot” the series. Reboots are great for newcomers because they don’t make any oblique references to previous games in the series beyond the name.
The 2016 film Doom is a perfect illustration of this. Doom 3 in 2004 was the previous mainline Doom game before its release. The 2016 release gave fans a chance to rethink what a modern take on Doom might be like, and it was successful enough to inspire 2020’s Doom Eternal. Doom 2016 is not a port, remaster, or remake because it was developed from the ground up. The only similarities it has to previous games are in name and concept.
You can also find examples of reboots in games like Tomb Raider (2013) and God of War (2018). Both give fans a new perspective on the series’ main characters and introduce some minor changes to the formula.
The term “reboot,” which describes a completely new game, is not directly related to the others listed above, but it is nonetheless useful to know.
Is It a Port, Remaster, or Remake?
You should be able to identify the type of re-release a game falls into now that you have read this. If you are still unsure, a brief summary is provided below:
- Is this a port where the game has been released on another system but no changes have been made? In that case, you’ve found a port.
- Is this a port of an older system game that has been updated so that it functions and looks slightly better on a newer system? In this instance, we’re dealing with a remaster.
- Has it been remade from the ground up, with a fresh visual style and perhaps major gameplay alterations? We’re talking about remade versions here.
The titles of some games (like Final Fantasy VII Remake) explicitly reveal this information. These, however, aren’t always reliable. Considering that it is fundamentally different from the original NES game, DuckTales: Remastered qualifies as a remake.
Enjoy Your Favorite Games Anew
Re-releases of video games are common because they allow publishers to reach a larger audience and, thus, more customers. Remakes and remasters breathe new life into older titles that may not have held up well over time, while ports allow you to play the game on the platform of your choice.
However, there are exceptions to this rule, and sometimes older versions of games are preferable. Always check out what other players have to say about a new release to determine if it’s the definitive version or if it deviates too much from the original experience.