Nothing made me happier than re-assuming control of Monsieur Bandicoot one more time after so many years, and with Spyro: Reignited Trilogy bound for a 2018 release, 13 year old me is bouncing for joy. Remasters can offer a nostalgic backdrop for a single generation, but let’s be real for a second. I LOVED Crash: N’Sane trilogy but in all honesty, I played it for about 5 hours and rarely picked it back up. Why is this? Because I have found that the memory of Bandicoot, as me and my brother tried tremendously to get across that icy hog bridge, is always better than the real thing.
Now when a studio like Bluepoint remaster, and quite beautifully, a classic like Shadow of the Colossus, I was expecting more substance to it, rather than just the same base game but a little glossier. Where are the extra colossi that Team Ico were unable to fit in the first iteration? This gets to me so much that I find myself utter an inaudible ‘lazy’ when anyone ever mentions it. So when Assassin’s Creed Rogue Remastered for PS4 was announced, as a self proclaimed fanboy, I had to remain cautiously optimistic, but it did have all the DLC and extras included, lucky me! However, here in lie the problem, I recall Assassins creed: Black Flag to be the pinnacle of the series, with it’s huge open world and innovative game play, but after recently finishing Assassins creed Origins, which graphically sets boundaries I thought not possible, (I mean look at the water for God’s sake!) it starts to dawn on me, I thought this exact thing about AC Black Flag. The way the sails flapped in the wind, the facial animation, the incredible lush colour, the realistically poised heaviness of his movements. Right, so how does this relate to remasters I hear you ask? Remasters can only be as graphically competent as the original release, and that’s my gripe with them. I am not talking about a complete redevelopment of a game, take N.Sane trilogy and Spyro reignited trilogy where a considerable amount of work has gone into them, but we are being shovelled rehashed and sloppy work to try and milk the most of out a single title.
So back to my little anecdote, here I am sat in trepidation, as I finally get to fill an Assassin’s Creed void bestowed upon me as an early PS4 buyer. Imagine my horror, as I loaded up ACR Remastered when suddenly an 8-bit, poorly voiced bloke (I’m sure he isn’t even Irish), comes into shot. Okay, maybe 8-bit is a bit of a stretch, but, it does look considerably less stunning than I remembered. That’s my point, graphics today are improving at such a rate that every AAA game you play is pushing those boundaries tremendously. The problem with that? They look older, faster. You think it looks amazing, and that memory doesn’t fade with time, it only increases. So even with the amazing work done to make it look as best as possible on next gen they will never pack the same punch it would have had upon its original release.
So now we have established that we always think old games look better than they were because of how they made us feel when we played them. Anyone remember how Canis Canem Edit looked? Trust me, worse than you remember. So let me further hammer this proverbial nail in the remaster coffin by saying this; at least put some bloody effort in when you are making a remaster. If I hear the word remaster I want a complete overhaul of what was previously given. Up to date mechanics would be a great place to start because for the most part remasters are the same old game literally ported to next gen and made to look a little brighter.
What I have been trying to get, at in this loosely formatted opinion piece is why is there a need to rehash old games? Live the magic and then let it age like a fine wine, why do we need to keep going backwards and updating. It’s like Hollywood and their reboots, how many more times can we see Batman glide across a gritty Gotham? Maybe it’s my tendency to always want something new, a new story to sink my teeth into. Once I’ve given my 90-100 hours into a game I’m pretty much done with it for good (adventures of Geralt notwithstanding). But for the most part a games novelty wears off within those first 60-80 hours for open world games, and even though you will always have your hard core fan base going back and revisiting those amazing worlds, they usually experience a significant drop in concurrent players.
So why remaster? I can see only one real reason; Developers trying desperately to suck more money out of a single title. With gaming now the largest media industry in the world, let us not be bogged down by an over-saturation of products aimed to make us feel some nostalgia. Instead let us strive to learn from those amazing debuts and push forward in creating fresh new titles that take everything that made those old games great and make them better. The Ezio collection is another prime example of this not happening. Creed 2 was amazing, but it was amazing when it released. Put it up against Origins and Ezio Auditore De Firenze looks like a half-finished potato sculpture created by an 11 year old in an art GCSE his mother forced him to take. I digress, but you get what I’m saying. Remasters are unnecessary and serve only to coax you out of more money on a memory that is better left as golden as your brain remembers, rather than being shattered by the colossal heartbreaking realisation that games, even from as recently as 2 years ago, look as dated as those Fila socks and Dixies t-shirt combinations I keep seeing round the streets of London.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy releases on 21st September 2018 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
By Alex Salfiti