The bigwigs at Sony sat down last year after the successful release of The Last of Us on the PS3 and thought, “You know what people haven’t had enough of yet? The Last of Us! Let’s release it again on the PS4 because people will definitely pay 60 dollars to play a previous-generation game again on a next-gen console they bought to play next-gen games on, right?” Do I sound bitter? If I do, it’s because I am. Here is a list of games that actually deserve remasters after years (actual years, like more than 12 months and some change) of relative obscurity.
Admittedly more of a cult-favorite than anything, Rogue Galaxy was a PS2 action-RPG by Level-5, the guys behind games like Dark Cloud and the White Knight Chronicles series. Obviously anime-influenced, the game brought the best of the medium to the table, featuring quirky crew members, impressive visual style, and a jaunty adventure plot that eventually leads into something far more sinister. Despite featuring some so-so hack-and-slash combat, Rogue Galaxy had a lot to offer as an RPG, like a Sphere Grid-like leveling system, weirdly complex minigames and tons of optional side-quests. It would be great to see on PSN, but an HD revision would be more than welcome.
Of all the weird video game spin-offs ever released, few have captured me like Megaman Legends has. Unlike its side-scrolling brethren, Legends pulled the basic concept of “guy with cannon arm” out of the second dimension into a vibrant, open-world third-person RPG that I’m still a little obsessed with almost a decade on. You can say I was a little miffed when Capcom pulled the plug on the Legends sequel for the 3DS. A remastered release of Megaman Legends and its sequel would be an amazing gesture of good faith from Capcom to a jilted fanbase, but considering their recent behavior, this is very unlikely… but one can dream.
A weird series from the sorely missed Clover Studios, Viewtiful Joe was a cel-shaded 2.5D brawler with an intoxicating, high-speed quirkiness inspired by tokusatsu, the Japanese source material for Power Rangers, and kaiju films like Godzilla. The game and its sequels are pure, distilled, over-the-top action, with big, technicolor bosses, boisterous comic-book fonts, and of course, armies of faceless goons to smash into a pulp. The last we saw of the series was a well-received but poor-selling DS game, but imagining a 16:9 HD remaster of the game brings a tear to my eye.
Super Mario Sunshine
By no means an underrated Mario game (do those even exist?), Sunshine was the franchise’s first title on the Gamecube and has earned its place as one of the most memorable 3D Mario games ever due to its bright environments and tight platforming. Considering Nintendo’s success with Wind Waker HD, a Sunshine remake on the Wii U could be very likely – probably the most likely on this list.
Originally a Japan-only N64 title, Custom Robo made its way to the states by way of the Gamecube and was promptly forgotten, aside from a DS sequel that no one bought. This is a shame, because Custom Robo combines two of the coolest things in video games: robot fighting and customizable weaponry. The game’s combat is reminiscent of an isometric Virtual On (which is giant robot fighting and also a favorite of mine), if Virtual On also had a super-cheesy ’90 cartoon excuse plot for their robot fighting. I really just want to see customizable robot fighting make a comeback.
Let’s not beat around the bush; “HD remasters” are most definitely underhanded cashgrabs but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy these games for their nostalgic value. Most games have not aged well, and their consoles have faded into obsolescence, and this is a great way to relive your childhood or introduce new blood to old favorites… but I still haven’t forgotten about how bad of an idea TLOU’s remaster is. It’s not nearly old enough to deserve one, and I sincerely doubt anyone’s scrambling to find vintage copies of a game whose first anniversary of release was literally last week. Sony, I know you’ve got a movie coming up, but up your game.