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Video Game Remasters That Are Better Than The Originals

Video game remasters and remakes are growing more and more popular. With the release of next-gen consoles, it's customary for publishers to make a quick buck by re-releasing an older game. It's a lucrative part of the industry, but unfortunately there are many cases in which little-to-no effort is visible in these rehashes. Some, however, go the extra mile and can be considered better games than their original counterparts.

Of course, there's a clear difference between a remake and a remaster. Full video game remakes can involve animating new graphics, totally overhauling gameplay, or re-recording music and dialogue. That means no "Final Fantasy 7 Remake," "Yakuza Kiwami," or 2020's "Demon's Souls" on this list. Comparatively, remasters utilize the base game as-is and mainly seek to improve upon an already fun experience. Of course, this tactic doesn't always produce the best results, as seen in the disappointing reviews for "Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy."

There are plenty of bad ports and re-releases to sift through, but this list is comprised of only the best. Their value can stem from quality of life improvements to graphical enhancements and more. Sure, they're built off the backs of already-developed projects, but nevertheless, these are arguably the superior versions to play.   

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD

It's difficult to believe that the cel-shaded art style of "Wind Waker" was so controversial in 2001. Fans have learned to love it over time, and the game as a whole has become regarded as one of the best in the series. A large part of this is due to the game's rock solid HD remaster on the Wii U. Smoothing out the textures, fixing the UI, and streamlining the whole adventure made "Wind Waker" feel like a brand new game back in 2013.

A blue filter and increased resolution does wonders, to the point that the game looks like a full-on remake. But rather than having to actually redo the graphics, the remaster simply brings out the best of the original's appearance.

One miracle that "Wind Waker HD" performs is by making the odd set-up of the Wii U feel important. Rather than having to pause the game to access inventory, the gamepad can be utilized to easily select items or rearrange equipment. The quality of life fixes don't end there, though, as the most annoying parts of Toon Link's journey have been alleviated. Sailing is a blast with the added quicksail feature, and the Triforce Quest has been revamped to mitigate tedious gameplay (per Zelda Dungeon). 

  • Release Date: September 20, 2013
  • Available On: Wii U
  • Genre: Action-Adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 90 (Wii U)

Katamari Damacy REROLL

"Katamari Damacy REROLL" lets much of the original title speak for itself rather than needlessly changing things up. Still, some notable improvements were made to heighten enjoyment of this masterpiece. An underrated aspect of remasters is their ability to make older games more accessible. Prior to "REROLL," the original "Katamari Damacy" was only playable on the PlayStation 2. Now it's available on Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and Steam.

"Katamari Damacy" is unlike any game. The objective is to roll objects into a giant ball that will then be turned into a star — a premise that is as weird today as it was in 2004. The main game remains largely unchanged, which is a plus. The original already had a unique gameplay loop and memorable soundtrack, so it's best that they were untouched (as noted by NME). What is new this time around is the massive facelift.

On PlayStation 2, "Katamari Damacy" featured a distinct visual style that was restricted by technical limitations and its fullscreen format. Now the game is in glorious widescreen with updated textures, making the game feel even more vibrant and whimsical. "Katamari Damacy REROLL" is the total package with engaging gameplay, a timeless soundtrack, and graphical enhancements. "REROLL" begs new players to try out one of the most unique gaming experiences ever.

  • Release Date: December 7, 2018
  • Available On: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
  • Genre: Puzzle, Action-Adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic: 87 (Switch), 81 (PC), 82 (PS4), 73 (Xbox One)

Persona 4 Golden

"Persona 4 Golden" offers a graphical facelift and adds more to love in almost every part of the original PS2 game. Though "Golden" went under the radar when it was released on the failed PS Vita, "Golden" has seen bigger success on Steam (via VG247). Greater availability to players is a huge plus, as "Golden" is arguably one of the best JRPGs of all time.

Turn-based combat and confidant interactions are the real meat of the game. Engaging in the slice of life activities nets more advantages when completing dungeons and leveling up Personas. "Golden" doubles down on these features, adding a unique dungeon, additional songs, two extra confidants, and more Personas in one enormous upgrade.

In terms of gameplay alterations, "Golden" vastly improves leveling mechanics, as defeating Golden Hand enemies offer more XP and money (per Twinfinite). Therefore, the traditional and troublesome JRPG grind isn't as common as in vanilla "Persona 4," and "Golden" is a more well-rounded game that respects the player's time.

This remaster has so much extra going for it that it makes the 2008 release of "Persona 4" look small in comparison. There really aren't many reasons to go back to the PS2 classic, which is a testament to the quality of "Golden."

  • Release Date: June 14, 2012
  • Available On: PS Vita, PC
  • Genre: JRPG
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 93 (PS Vita), 87 (PC)

Yakuza Remastered Collection

Few series can say they've gotten a resurgence as big as "Yakuza." With "Yakuza 0," the SEGA RPG franchise saw a burst of popularity in the west — more than 14 million units in sales (per PC Gamer). The successful prequel, sequels, spinoffs, and subsequent remakes of the first two games have satiated veterans while bringing in newcomers. In turn, the "Yakuza Remastered" collection brings the rest of Kazuma Kiryu's story to PC and consoles.

The third, fourth, and fifth games in the series were notoriously to come by (outside of hunting down a PS3 copy), so the remastered collection was a welcome release. Even more importantly, these games look better than ever due to 1080p resolution and silky smooth 60 frames per second. 

That's where the updates end, however. These three games are unaltered, for better and for worse. Gamers will be excited to play through three solid stories in their original form, but their age shows in some spots. The pair of "Yakuza Kiwami" rekeases were examples of how remakes can truly breathe new life into old games. Because these exist, it can be a tad jarring to play through "Yakuza 3," for example, which fans regard as having a rough combat system.

Regardless, the remastered collection does its job of making these beloved classic accessible once again, and the technical enhancements are enough to justify a purchase and complete the rest of the adventure.

  • Release Date: August 18, 2019
  • Available On: PS4, PC, Xbox One
  • Genre: Beat 'em up
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 83 (PS4), 87 (PC), 81 (Xbox One)

Street Fighter 3: Third Strike Online Edition

Fighting game remasters and ports can be a mixed bag. The "Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection" feeatures an expansive library, but the games themselves were poor emulations (per Eurogamer) with frustrating online connection issues. Enter "Online Edition," an older port of "Street Fighter 3" that is the definitive way to play. 

The name says it all, developer Iron Galaxy sought to establish a functioning online mode for "Third Strike," and it more than delivered. The game's GGPO rollback netcode is the reason why matches feel so good and responsive, and many other online titles have since followed suit.

Even without online matchmaking, though, this remaster is a great version of the landmark Capcom title. Option widescreen formatting and an elaborate training mode help players refine their game plans while taking in every part of the screen. And although fighting games can sometimes lead to a series of quick losses, the inclusion of specific challenges gives the impression that you're always winning something and working towards an achievement.

"Online Edition" is what fighting game remasters should aim to be, as it gives players the extra features they need to improve in competition.

  • Release Date: August 23, 2011
  • Available On: PS3, Xbox 360
  • Genre: Fighting game
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic: 86 (PS3), 86 (Xbox 360)

No More Heroes 1&2

"No More Heroes" entries was a fan favorite on the Wii, so it's only fitting that it received a remarkable port on the Nintendo Switch. This isn't the the first port, however, as a flawed "No More Heroes" port previously came out on the PS3 and Xbox 360, both of which had glaring technical issues (per Playstation Lifestyle). Luckily, this Switch game is a different story.

While the Switch port doesn't reinvent the wheel, it is one of the more solid remasters in recent memory. The original game on the Wii was reliant on the Wii Remote's motion controls, and the Switch's Joy-Cons do a good job keeping up. Optional pro controller support is available those who want to opt out of Joy-Cons.

The framerate and resolution in this remaster is what you want out of the hack-and-slash legend, which struggled with the Wii's lackluster power. No matter if it's in the open world or combat encounters, the Switch version is quite stable.

Most importantly, the game is fully intact. Travis Touchdown and his exploits have had a history with being censored in certain regions of the world, and the original "NMH" game was hit hard in Europe and Japan. The Switch port does not have this issue, as it is fully uncensored worldwide (per Nintendo Life). Just try to avoid the PC port, as its control scheme was well and truly butchered from the original release.

  • Release Date: October 28, 2020
  • Available On: Switch, PC
  • Genre: Hack-and-Slash
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 82 (Switch), 65 (PC)

Bully: Scholarship Edition

Remasters are a great opportunity to make games more accessible for those who want to play. "Bully: Scholarship Edition" accomplishes this by putting Rockstar's quirky open-world game on platforms that missed out on it: the Xbox 360, Wii, and PC. While it contains some bugs, the extra missions and content in "Scholarship Edition" make it a worthy remaster.

"Bully" is all about managing your day; whether it's going to class, skipping school altogether, taking on a part time job, or completing missions. This is a smaller world than many Rockstar games, but it's still full of things to do. This is especially true with "Scholarship Edition," which features 4 new classes and 8 new missions.

Criticism has been leveled at the new content, as the new missions are "fairly short" (per IGN). The game looks good, with better graphics than the original, but an occasionally low frame rate can hamper the experience.

"Bully: Scholarship Edition" is a double-edged sword, but the positives ultimately balance out the negatives, so choosing a version to play can be tough. If more content and cleaner graphics are most desired, then "Scholarship Edition" is the way to go. In some ways it's more flawed than its predecessor, but it conquers in other aspects.

  • Release Date: March 4, 2008
  • Available On: iOS, Wii, Xbox 360, PC
  • Genre: Sandbox, Open-world
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic: 83 (Wii), 80 (Xbox 360), 72 (PC)

The Last of Us Remastered

A "Last of Us" HBO show is in the works and rumors abound surrounding a remake of the first game. But it's hard to imagine how a remake could improve upon "The Last of Us Remastered."

"The Last of Us" was released at the very end of the PlayStation 3 life cycle, so it's only natural that PlayStation and Naughty Dog would want to put the game on PlayStation 4. But beyond that, the title's performance upgrades and inclusion of bonus content makes it well worth the revisit. The game's main story, "Factions" multiplayer mode, and "Left Behind" story DLC are all fabulous parts of the whole "Last of Us" experience, so having them in one place is a huge plus for the remaster. Though "Factions" has since shut down its servers, "The Last of Us Remastered" is still worth the buy, especially considering the content players will still get for the current price.

The first iteration of Naughty Dog's instant classic pushed the PS3 to its very limits. It still looks great on the obsolete hardware, but it occasionally chugs during intense moments. The original ran at a fluctuating 20-30 frames per second, whereas the remaster is at a constant 60 frames per second (via Digital Foundry). Resolution gets a bump, too, which is a nice bonus.

There's not much to complain about with "The Last of Us Remastered." It's a perfect way to digest a perfect game.

  • Release Date: July 29, 2014
  • Available On: PS4
  • Genre: Third-person, Action-adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic: 95 (PS4)

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

The title says it all. "Xenoblade Chronicles" on Switch is the definitive way to take in this JRPG classic. On the Wii, "Xenoblade Chronicles" was difficult to come by in parts of the world, and its limited run led to some retailers charging an arm and a leg for it (per Kotaku). Rather than shell out an exorbitant amount of cash, the improved Nintendo Switch port is the way to go.

A common point of contention with the original release were the character faces and lack of details (per Destructoid). The Wii's lack of detail and limited resolution didn't help the flawed designs. This time around, faces are much more well-defined and embrace the anime aesthetic of more recent Monolith projects (including "Xenoblade 2"). Environments and UI are greatly improved as well, so "Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition" definitely succeeds from a visual standpoint.

If that's not enough, the Switch game adds "Future Connected," a standalone chapter that features the characters of Shulk and Melia. It functions as an epilogue to the main game and is made up of cut content that didn't make the original release. This is another example of developers going the extra mile to bring about a greatly enhanced game. "Definitive Edition" certainly lives up to its name.

  • Release Date: May 29, 2020
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Japanese role-playing game
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 89 (Switch)

Mass Effect Legendary Edition

The "Mass Effect" IP had a rough couple of years, especially with the failure of "Andromeda" in 2017. "Mass Effect: Legendary Edition" rights this wrong by bringing the quality of the original "Mass Effect" trilogy back into the spotlight. 

The first three games are included in this compilation and each have their own upgrades and tweaks, with the first game getting the most improvements. That's not too surprising, since it is the oldest and required some changes to stand alongside the others. Updated lighting, textures, and models are just a few things that improved in all three games. When it comes to resolution and frame rate, the PS5 and Xbox Series X both handle the remasters' high pixel count and 60fps

 gameplay (per The Gamer). Other systems are stable as well, so no matter the console you have, it'll be a solid time.

On top of this are the tweaks in the leveling system and character customization mode. For character customization, players can import their previous model to use in all three games. Almost all of the DLC from the trilogy is present as well, making this a pretty definitive package.

"Legendary Edition" is perfect for those hankering for a revisit, but it's also a great way to jump into the series for the first time.

  • Release Date: May 14, 2021
  • Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Genre: Role-playing game
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 87 (PS4), 90 (Xbox One), 86 (PC)

Burnout Paradise Remastered

Unfortunately for fans, this is a series that seems to be getting the cold shoulder from EA. Fan outcry has been loud and clear in wanting a new "Burnout." And while that hasn't come to fruition, a well-made re-release of a previous "Burnout" is the next best thing. It definitely helps that the game to receive a long-awaited port is one of the series' best iterations: "Burnout Paradise."

"Burnout Paradise Remastered" is a fairly typical remaster, but that's by no means a bad thing. The usual items are all here: all downloadable content, an enhanced presentation, and a very low price point. It's a predictable release in a lot of ways, but the high octane arcade fun distracts from any desire for wanting too much more out of the game.

The improvements that were made shouldn't go unnoticed, though. Yes, frame rate and resolution are of course better this time around but more technical aspects heighten things further. Weather, lighting, and shading all combine to bring out the best qualities of "Burnout Paradise's" style. It's a similar result to "Wind Waker HD;" these games just hold up so well and these remasters want you to notice.

It's questionable whether EA will dip back into the pot when it comes to "Burnout," but "Burnout Paradise Remastered" is a step in the right direction.

  • Release Date: March 16, 2018
  • Available On: Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Genre: Racing game
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic: 78 (Switch), 82 (PS4), 79 (Xbox One)

Nier Replicant Ver. 1.22474487139...

Two versions of "Nier" came out in 2010, with the U.S. and Japan getting very different products (per Game Rant). At last, after more than a decade, "Nier Replicant Ver. 1.22474487139..." arrives as a reintroduction to the game the States never quite saw. Aside from finally bringing a "lost" game back to the forefront, the new "Nier Replicant" made changes that benefited focal points of the series: combat and movement.

In many ways, this is a bit of a cross between a remaster and a remake. Reworked voices, added songs, and touched-up graphics have been named as high points in overviews of "Ver. 1.22474487139..." Rounding out these additions are the new story elements and endings. New content in remasters can end up being half-baked at times, but "Nier Replicant" set out to rise above its 2010 iteration.

Now is the best time to get into Square Enix's masterful IP. Just as "Yakuza Kiwami" and its follow-up capitalized on the popularity of "Yakuza 0," 2017's "Nier Automata" was a global hit and acted as many gamers' first foray into the world. Now, "Nier Replicant Ver. 1.22474487139..." is the perfect next step for those who loved "Automata."

"Nier Replicant Ver. 1.22474487139..." is a remaster that fully justifies its existence. Many North American players missed out on a hidden gem back in 201. Now there's no excuse not to play.

  • Release Date: April 22, 2021
  • Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Genre: Hack and slash
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 83 (PS4), 83 (Xbox One), 80 (PC)

Dark Souls Remastered

It's not quite the same caliber as the PS5's "Demon's Souls" remake, but "Dark Souls Remastered" is still a massive step up in terms of quality of life fixes, visuals, and platform accessibility. "Dark Souls" could definitely use a large-scale reimagining in the same vein of Bluepoint's work on "Demon's Souls." Until then, it's pretty easy to suggest the remastered form of "Dark Souls" when choosing how to play.

For one, inventory and fast travel have a few variations this time around. Consuming items is also a breeze, as the game now lets players strategize and select how much of a particular item to use (via IGN). Further streamlining playthroughs is the added blacksmith bonfire. "Dark Souls" was unlike newer FromSoftware games, in that there are fewer bonfires/checkpoints and players couldn't fast travel between every one instantly. Addressing this limitation is a nice bonus that may cut down on rage quits.

The graphical facelift makes the game much easier to navigate, as well especially in heavily obscured areas like Blighttown. Plus, the ability to fight through enemies and bosses on the go with the Switch port is a whole new "Souls" experience. 

  • Release Date: May 23, 2018
  • Available On: PS4, Switch Xbox One, PC
  • Genre: Role-playing game
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic: 84 (PS4), 83 (Switch), 86 (Xbox One), 84 (PC)

Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection

"Uncharted" is one of the most critically acclaimed and recognizable franchises of all time, boasting four mainline games (three on the PS3 and one on the PS4) and a blockbuster film. Because of this, it's a given that the near-flawless PS3 trilogy was ported to the PlayStation 4.

For a low price, players get three immaculate action-adventure games. Adding to the prestige is the fact that this collection was overseen by Bluepoint Games, the same studio that remade "Demon's Souls" and "Shadow of the Colossus." Though these are not remakes, the "Uncharted" remasters are still worthy of your time.

Naughty Dog is infamous for its attention to graphical fidelity. Other games might see minimal benefit from increased performance due to obsolete visuals, but this isn't the case with "Uncharted." The 1080p resolution and 60fps work wonders and display how well these games still hold up. Lighting and textures have also been slightly reworked and a much-appreciated photo mode has been included so that fans can show off the effort put into this compilation.

Other additions that might be more relevant to hardcore audiences are the two added difficulty modes and speed run mode. Otherwise, "Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection" is pretty sparse in the extra content side of things. That isn't too big an issue, though, as the updated games themselves are the real stars.

  • Release Date: October 9, 2015
  • Available On: PS4
  • Genre: Third-person shooter, Action-adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 86 (PS4)