Some old games never age.
There is never a bad time to take an existing, beloved classic and revamp it for a modern age—which is exactly what remasters do. Taking older games and cleaning them up fo modern sensibilities, these often introduce new players to the wonders of some of the best games of all time. This year had some great remasters—here are our nominees for the best of them (this list also includes remakes and ports).
Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy:
Naughty Dog’s bandicoot returned in a big way with this lovingly rendered remaster of the original three Crash Bandicoot games. As quality of remasters go, this one is probably indisputably at the top of the pack, taking as it did three PS1 era games, and making them look remarkable to behold in 2017. Oh, and it helps that the games are great to play through, too.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Switch):
Skyrim is one of the greatest and most beloved games ever- and now you can play it on the go on the Nintendo Switch. In and of itself, that is a revelation- Skyrim in bed? On the bus? In the bathroom? But Bethesda went the whole nine yards, and also decided to take full advantage of other features the Switch offers, including motion controls, some fantastic implementation of HD rumble, and for some reason, even Amiibos.
DOOM For (Switch):
The fact that DOOM runs on the Switch at all is a revelation—it is the full 2016 game, as is, ported to a 6.2 inch tablet. Yes, there are concessions that have been made—the resolution and frame rate are dramatically reduced for example. But the revelation that is playing DOOM on the bus or in bed more than makes up for those cutbacks.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age:
One of the best and most underrated Final Fantasy games of all time was reborn this year with The Zodiac Age, and we got to see just how far ahead of its time it was when it first came out in 2006. With its hugely satisfying gameplay, and a politically charged story that is unlike any other in the series, as well as its great soundtrack and beautiful world, The Zodiac Age is an incredible remaster of an incredible game.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe:
If Mario kart 8 Deluxe had been how Mario Kart 8 had released to begin with, it would have been a 10/10 game. Taking the original title, and all its updates and DLC, and adding new items, new characters, and a staggering five new Battle Modes, with six new Battle Maps to boot, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the definitive version of the best Mario Kart game of all time, and one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch.
Metroid: Samus Returns:
To call Samus Returns a remaster or even a remake feels like a disservice to it- it is almost an entirely new game made within the framework of Metroid 2. And that’s what makes it so great- a brand new traditional Metroid with just the right mix of structure and predicability with something new around the corner.
LA Noire was a flawed game, but a good one that deserved more success than it got- and it got the chance for that success with the remaster this year, that lets you experience it either in 4K (on PS4 and Xbox One), or VR (on HTC Vive) or on the go (on Nintendo Switch). Rockstar went all out with each individual new version of this game- they deserve mad credit for it.
Okami is one of the all time classics, so the chance to play it again, on the PS4 an Xbox One, with remastered and cleaned up graphics that make its gorgeous art pop, isn’t one we are willing to pass up on. Throw in its incredible take on the Zelsa formula, and Okami HD is another great rendition of a fantastic game.
Full Throttle Remastered:
Taking the classic LucasArts adventure game, and remastering it for a new age, Double Fine’s Full Throttle Remastered brings one of the all time cult classics of the graphic adventure with all its charm and wit, and pixel hunting gameplay, intact to a new age.
Starcraft is one of the best and most influential games ever—and now, you can play it, exactly as it was, with modernized graphics and servers. Engage with the heyday of the RTS genre and the game that was an eSport before eSports were a thing, and weep at the fact that we are likely never to get as ground breaking a big budget RTS as Starcraft ever again- there is no longer any market for it. At least we will always have Starcraft Remastered.
And the winner is
Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy
Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is actually a technical achievement. It is, functionally, a 1:1 remake of the original games with modern assets and modern code. In terms of sheer effort, this one should take the cake- but the fact that it gives you three beloved games, for less than the price of one brand new one, really seals the deal. Whether or not you are a fan of Crash, you owe it to yourself to give N.Sane Trilogy a try.
Note: GamingBolt’s Game of the Year categories, nominations and awards are selected via an internal nomination, voting and debate process. You can check the rest of categories and the respective winners here.