The Very Best Video Game Remakes, Remasters And Re-Releases Of 2018
New games are great and everything, but the current console generation seems to have brought with it more remakes, remasters and re-releases than we've previously seen. Impressions can be deceptive, of course - it's not like we've actually counted PS4 reissues versus those that came out for the PS3. But: we've had a lot, a lot of them in 2018, and a lot of them have been good.
Starting with the real old-school delights, it was a treat to see The Bitmap Brothers' Amiga classic GODS return for modern systems. The action-platformer remains a stiff challenge, and gamers of a certain vintage will appreciate how it can be played both with new graphics and the 16-bit originals. Old School Runescape's leap from computers to mobiles - for both iOS and Android - saw the game downloaded over a million times in a week.
Pokémon: Let's Go (Eevee and Pikachu) also updated a favourite of the past, bringing the Game Boy's Pokémon Yellow into the 21st century with beautiful visuals and Pokémon Go-style monster-capture mechanics. Playing Let's Go single-handed, using the Poké Ball Plus controller, is one of the most chilled-out gaming experiences 2018 had to offer.
Perhaps prettier still was Spyro Reignited Trilogy, which brought the purple fire-belcher back to consoles in a three-for-one package to delight retro-gamers and newcomers alike. Collecting shiny new versions of the original Spyro the Dragon of 1998, Ripto's Rage and Year of the Dragon, it lit up the charts and critics alike on its November release.
Not quite such a stunner in the looks department, the HD'ed Shenmue I & II nevertheless brought those late-1990s memories flooding back for Dreamcast owners of old. SEGA's pioneering adventure games might feel stiff by today's standards, but the richness of their worlds still shined through - and those sailors were right where we'd left them.
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The Nintendo Switch has become something of a platform of choice for re-releases of recent gaming gems, be they indie-by-design or rather more AAA-shaped. The past 12 months saw way too many games to really go into make the leap to the hybrid console, but some of our favourites include Hollow Knight, Transistor, Hyper Light Drifter, Night in the Woods, Bayonetta and its equally excellent sequel, a fully loaded port of Sid Meier's Civilization VI, the evergreen loot 'em up Diablo III: Eternal Collection, and Nintendo's own wonderful puzzler Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.
Caught your breath after all that? (Basically, any of the above Switch titles are very much worth your time - so spend some of that Christmas money in the eShop, yeah?) Good, good. Another game to come the way of the Switch in 2018 was the DLC-complete Dark Souls Remastered - and a brilliant port it was, too, albeit naturally lacking some of the visual wallop of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions. (But can you play those ones on the loo? Not easily.)
In the remake stakes, perhaps the most brilliant of all in 2018 was Shadow of the Colossus, with the atmospheric PS2 essential revived like brand-new on the PS4. Epic landscapes, impossible creatures, and an unexpectedly affecting story, all delivered with minimal language - if you never played SotC before, this was your chance to do so with the best-ever version of Fumito Ueda's masterpiece.
Deserved fresh coats of paint were also applied to EA's breathless racer Burnout Paradise Remastered and the colour-splashing puzzle-platformer De Blob Remastered - rather different titles, there, but both previous-gen delights well worthy of (re)discovering. Katamari Damacy Reroll's arrival at the very end of the year brought one of the weirder entries in the PS2 library bang up to date for PC and Switch at a mid-budget price. Thanks, oh mighty King of All Cosmos (you drunk buffon). If you've never played Katamari Damacy before, strap in for one of the biggest grins you'll ever experience with a video game.
Following SotC's lead, a good handful of other titles received what we might well consider definitive versions in 2018. Larian Studios' widely acclaimed PC RPG Divinity: Original Sin II literally got itself a Definitive Edition in the summer, and crossed over to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Street Fighter V Arcade Edition fleshed out the 2016 fighter and finally added a proper single-player mode akin to the game's famous predecessors. BioWare's 2002 role-player Neverwinter Nights - which uses Dungeons & Dragons rules to drive its mechanics - was repackaged in an Enhanced Edition in March, to a generally positive reception.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 - a modern-gen remake of Yakuza 2 - came to the West in August, and went down as well as previous PS4 entries in SEGA's cult series - which is to say, very well indeed. And finally, a shout-out to Tetsuya Mizuguchi's PSP musical puzzler Lumines which - in the same year that the designer reinvented Tetris in fascinating fashion - received a Remastered edition making *great* use of the Switch's Joy-Cons' HD Rumble functionality. Strap a bunch of Nintendo's little controllers to your body, turn on the game and... Well, where you choose to place them is up to you, but suffice to say that some people will be having another level of fun with this one.
Featured Image Credit: Sony