keskiviikko 22. kesäkuuta 2011

TOP 10 - Dream Remakes

I'm feeling very creative, but I'm not nearly done with Mass Effect 2 yet, so I don't really have anything substantial to write about. I found a pile of old lists from a notebook I usually scribble something unnecessary into while I'm on trips longer than usual, and decided to publish one of them in this opportune gap. It's a rather short list; I usually do lists with 20 to 50 entries, but the truth is that I can't think of many good or great games I would like to see a remake of. I'm such a retro guy that I appreciate even the earliest games the way they are. There's something case-specific about these following ten games that calls for a remake, and I'll tell you what that is in each case. Enjoy! ...And of course, if you have your own suggestions, feel free to drop a line!

Yeah, it was decent. But not decent enough.
Fast thinking, much? This is the newest game in the bunch by a long shot, but still an obvious choice for a game that needs a remake. Why? Because the series has come such a long-ass way with the strength of just two sequels. Assassin's Creed was just all right when it came out, it wasn't nearly enough to meet the standards of a third-person action game, and it was just as dull to look at and listen to as it was to play in the long run; the only thing it had going for it was an interesting backstory. Assassin's Creed II, on the other hand, hit jackpot - it didn't just meet the aforementioned standards, it pretty much created some of its own. It was a much more diverse experience as a game, it had more interesting characters and the original plotline's development was just out of this world. I firmly believe Ubisoft has already considered a quick remake of Assassin's Creed, especially since the game's protagonist Altaïr is set to return in the newest installment of this (later) revolutionary franchise, Assassin's Creed: Revelations.

It only needs a graphical makeover and some
gameplay tweaks to be as awesomely scary as
it used to be.
9. SILENT HILL (1999)
Don't be afraid to admit if you soiled your pants on several occasions when you played this game. Silent Hill was by far the scariest game of its generation, and if the gameplay had been smoother, it would've become a lot bigger than it is. Before Silent Hill came out, the foundation of survival horror games was built on cheap b-movie scares, undead mythos and gore. Silent Hill went much deeper. It rattled the human psyche like no game had done before with nightmarish visions that went straight to your head, Akira Yamaoka's haunting soundtrack (including the sound effects) and extreme abnormalities that were placed just right to turn from sketchy to scary as hell. Silent Hill was unceremoniously slaughtered by its sequels. Not only did Konami go a lot further with every element that made Silent Hill great, the first two sequels to the game were more comfortable and fun to play, and graphically phenomenal - they were simply presented better. Of course, Konami already "remade" Silent Hill, as Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, which flopped and even if I haven't played the game myself, I would dare to place a bet that it flopped because it was simply too different from the original and lacked the true spirit of Silent Hill. Please, Konami - remake, round 2. Do it right this time. Would it be too much to ask to reassemble Team Silent for the job?

The only true experience for some. Can't blame
them, but...
8. FALLOUT (1997)
I can already hear the hate mail clogging up my inbox. This is one of the games on the list I personally wouldn't _need_ a remake of, but wouldn't oppose one either. I hear you: Bethesda Softworks destroyed Fallout, yeah yeah. Deal with it. Fallout 3 was the first Fallout game I ever played, and I formed my opinion on the whole franchise based on that game; I think it was great, it IS great. After I had finished the game, my friend berated me for never playing the first two games in the series, which were supposedly masterpieces and I couldn't call myself a true video game fanatic if I didn't at least try them out. Well, I did, and they are great games, but I simply enjoy the modern Fallout gameplay more; I'm not voicing any opinion on how much more atmosphere and originality the old games have. I appreciate the first games as what they are, but to those players younger than me, I think it would be somewhat of a semi-decent idea to bring back the storylines of the first two games in the modern Fallout form; the originals might rub the young ones the wrong and unwanted way. I hadn't even thought about adding this to the list before I met a 19-year old guy who had just beaten Fallout: New Vegas - which is a spin-off of the first two Fallout titles - and then carried on to the first game, which he had never played before due to not being much more than the glint in his father's eye back when it was released. He hated the game, and didn't even bother with Fallout 2, BUT he does like old-school PC RPG's in general. I rest my case, then.

God, how I miss the sunsets in Vice.
I'm pulling your leg on this one, in a certain way. Let's make it clear right away: I NEVER want to see a strict remake of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. The game is much too valuable as what it is for a remake. However, I put it on the list just to make my voice heard: where is the sequel?! Where is the city of Vice itself?! Why Liberty City, over and over again?! Seriously, every time a new Grand Theft Auto game comes along, I'm ecstatic. Of course I am - it is one of the top video game franchises in the world today. However, I miss mayhem in Vice City - only two times we've been given the opportunity to unleash mayhem in this capital of palm trees, sports cars and beautiful women, with the best music of the 80's playing in the background, while the majority of the slim story of Grand Theft Auto takes place in Liberty City in the modern day. Despite Liberty's dominance in quantity of games, Vice City is still by far the most interesting plateau in the whole Grand Theft Auto series. I KNOW I am not alone with this one, and I hope that some day Rockstar will finally listen to the fans and take us on another murderous sight-seeing ride in Vice City.

Anyone ever notice the shape of this labyrinth?
With over a million different Zelda games already, I'm kind of amazed Nintendo hasn't jumped on this wagon yet. No reimaginings, no reboots, nothing, save for a few handheld ports which are exactly that - ports, and not much more. They remade Super Mario Bros. (a number of times) and Metroid, two of their top 8-bit titles, yet they never touched the literal gold standard: The Legend of Zelda. I have mentioned this a few times, and I'll say it again: I have never been a Zelda fan. I absolutely love The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It's one of my favourite games ever. The only reason I haven't reviewed it is my strict policy: either do all the games you are able to play, or don't do a single one. I have ten Zelda games on THE LIST, and in addition, I could get both Twilight Princess and Link's Crossbow Training under my critical glare with just one snap of my fingers. When I think of all the overrated games I would have to review just for the sake of one title... believe me, though, they're coming. At some point. That's why I have Ganon in the VGMania logo. I'm just not ready yet. Back to the subject: The Legend of Zelda is a very self-explanatory dream remake. It's obsolete, it's always been boring to play - hey, watch it with the hate mail! - BUT if they'd make the necessary audiovisual changes and edited it some, making it more like A Link to the Past... sure, I'd play it, and I'd probably like it. It would be a great idea for a WiiWare game, I think. I'm sure you think differently. Frankly, I don't care. :)

Sure! Krang was ridiculously easy considering
he was the second to last boss!
This is just about as personal as it gets; this game was one of my favourites as a kid. But, it's not just the game - I'm hoping some day, whoever's in charge of TMNT media nowadays, comes to their senses and brings back TMNT as deliciously cheesy as it used to be, the whole franchise. Back to the game, they already remade Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time a while back, due to its notable commercial success back in the 90's. I personally think that out of all TMNT games ever released, II had the best story, the largest and most interesting cast of characters and the most authentic atmosphere. I think a careful remake of this game would show kids how great TMNT used to be before the God-awful reboot in the 21st century. Also, we have to take the modern standards of combat physics into account - if they'd do this correctly, I think it would be the best Foot-up-the-ass-of-the-Clan game we've ever seen. Too bad the IV remake apparently wasn't that good, so I doubt we'll ever see another shot at a good, old-fashioned TMNT remake.

I broke the original world record. TWICE.
4. TRACK & FIELD (1984)
This game gives everyone reason to hate it... but at the same time, be inexplicably addicted to it. You needed ONE action button to prevail in this game. When this game was released on home computers and the NES, parents suddenly spent more money on joysticks and controllers than games. You didn't just press the A button, you needed to murder it. Even after all these years, my fingertips are the hardest parts of my body (I know what you're thinking, spare me from the cheap joke.), thanks in part to guitar playing, but mostly thanks to Track & Field. Button mashing was the best, AND worst part of this game. You couldn't explain it - once you played it, you were addicted. You hated the gameplay, but you were forced to go for the world record in each and every event. It was like some kind of twisted magic. OK, so Konami "resurrected" the series back in 1996, with the extremely lackluster International Track & Field. They tried to diversify the gameplay with prompting you to mash two buttons instead of one, and it simply didn't work. Another sequel arrived in 2000, same thing - didn't work. I sincerely don't know why I would love to see a fine-tuned, graphical update to the original game. The game's basically as generic as a game can be, but on the other hand, it's one of the greatest sports games ever made. Like I said... Track & Field is one strangely addictive son of a bitch.

Its length and dastardly amount of zombies
were its finest qualities.
3. RESIDENT EVIL 2 (1998)
You know, I'm sincerely amazed they haven't done this already. It's almost a crime against fans. Let's go back in time. In 1996, Capcom released Resident Evil. Great game. The next year, they released Resident Evil - Director's Cut, to compensate for the development hell of Resident Evil 2. Well, in 1998 Resident Evil 2 was finally released. Everything was fine in the world as Capcom had just let out perhaps the greatest survival horror game in history. This game went on to be released in a form that was nearly identical to the original game, for the PC, Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast and finally, the Nintendo GameCube. All they could've accomplished by fine-tuning the audiovisuals, they didn't even try it. The GameCube version was released in 2003. A year before, Capcom had COMPLETELY remade the first Resident Evil game for that very same platform. This version of Resident Evil went on to surpass every game in the franchise, it was exactly what Shinji Mikami wanted the game to look like from the beginning and fans loved it without reserve. What gave? Why couldn't Capcom treat Resident Evil 2 the same? It's plain as day: Capcom fucked us over! I don't care too much for Resident Evil 3, so I'll leave that out of the equation, but think about it. The storyline of the first game has been brought up to speed, it's been in total conjunction with the rest of the franchise since the release of the GameCube version. All the while, the best original game in the series stands as a black sheep, totally eradicated from the rest because of Capcom's sudden laziness to capitalize on a fine start. Perhaps it's too late to remake the game now, it's already been almost ten years since they remade Resident Evil, but there's still some faint hope. While I'm at this, I'll also say that they could've easily spent the time they did on Outbreak and the rest of the spin-off bull on re-developing the foundation of the real Resident Evil series.

One of the greatest NES quotes ever.
2. METAL GEAR (1987)
The fourth Konami game already...? This might evoke some strange feelings, 'cause I've said in the past that Konami are one of my favourite companies in the business; why would they have to remake games that were already good? Well, if you've experienced the Metal Gear Solid series, you know exactly all the million reasons why you would like to see Metal Gear, and its sequel Solid Snake remade. I won't list all those million reasons, but I'll list a few. First and foremost, the incredible spheres the story has reached up to in the last 13 years, and the importance of it, which was of course very close to zero in the early games. Another reason is that Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake always remained a mystery to the Western Nintendo audience; all we got was Snake's Revenge, which was a good game but aesthetically, blasphemy against the whole franchise. Because of the enigmatic Solid Snake, the storyline of the first Metal Gear Solid game (C-L-A-S-S-I-C), as incredible as it was, had gaps because a large part of its script pretty much picked up where Solid Snake left off. Last, the NES version of Metal Gear pretty much sucked donkey balls - even Hideo Kojima himself has asked people to forget about his name ever being linked to that project, and consider the original MSX version as the one true version of Metal Gear. For me, the Metal Gear series ended with the impending death of Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Snake was always the prime motor of the series - even everything that seemed NOT to revolve around him, did revolve around him. Then he supposedly passed on, luckily off-screen, and Kojima said the series was done. Was it? NO. We got Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Metal Gear Solid Rising. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection - the so called cherry on the top of the cake: HD remakes of Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and Peace Walker. What the hell, man?! What's the big idea in remaking perfect games, when you could give David Hayter his old job back and nail roles that are completely new (and probably extremely interesting!) to him? Argh... I could go on all day about this subject, let's leave it and move on to number one, which is - surprise, surprise...

Estuans interius, ira vehementi - SEPHIROTH!
Come the fuck on, you bloody wankers, you brought this upon yourselves! "We don't have time to remake Final Fantasy VII. I don't understand why people keep asking us for a remake." Yada-yada-yada! ...Need a moment to calm down here... it's been 14 years since Square put out the greatest game ever made. During those 14 years, they have constantly degraded. Final Fantasy XIII sucked. Final Fantasy XIV totally flopped on the PC, and the console version has been delayed time and time again, they've made "final tweaks" to it for months now, and when the game finally does come out (if it comes out), I'm betting it will drag Square through the bottom of the deepest swamp they've ever been stuck in. Ever since Sakaguchi left, everything's gone to hell at Square except for a glint of hope that was the very different, and refreshing Final Fantasy XII. Now, everywhere I look, and everyone I listen to, I keep hearing: "Final Fantasy VII. Man, that was a great game. What happened?" On its heels, came Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy X - masterpieces, but it was Final Fantasy VII that created the phenomenon of the 3D J-RPG, and it was Final Fantasy VII that had the best and most captivating gameplay of the whole series. It also had the best story, which was perhaps not translated too well in its original localized form, but it still lives on... in the Compilation. The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII is living proof that everyone wants a Final Fantasy VII remake. Hell, even everyone wants to MAKE a Final Fantasy VII remake, the guys at Square just won't admit it. "Square is a company that constantly pushes forward. We're not living in the past." Hey. Hey! Fuck you. Do the remake, everyone's happy. You've teased us for years, the Compilation is one huge teaser. It started with Kingdom Hearts, the plague got worse with the animated movie Advent Children, and as a huge freakin' exclamation point to the hype, Crisis Core on the PSP ended with a faithful CGI rendition of the original game's opening cutscene, and the ominous words "To be continued in Final Fantasy VII". If that's not bringing the plague upon yourselves, Square, I don't know what is. Final Fantasy VII is still the closest to perfect as a video game can get in my books, but I would gladly relive this part of my past with modern audiovisuals - including full voiceover work - and better localization. Since I'm so confident that those stubborn assholes at Square will bend to the fans' will sooner or later (preferrably sooner), I'll just say one more thing: when you do finally remake the game, retain the old combat system, don't even think about modernizing it (we've seen what can happen). It's one of the most important things to remember.

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