10 best game remasters and remakes on PC

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10 best game remasters and remakes on PC

Classic games with polished looks - here's our top 10 remakes and remasters.

In recent years we were blessed not only with new, original titles, but also with numerous game remasters and remakes. Nearly all major game companies have already refreshed or are in the process of refreshing their iconic titles. Unfortunately, in many cases the remasters turn out to be a bland pursuit of easy money. Loyal fans, intrigued by announcement and big promises, pay the full price, but in return get nothing but slightly enhanced resolution. The situation looks a bit better in the case of full remasters, but even here you can find some rotten fruit. A good example is the remake of the game XIII, which turned out to be a huge flop, gaining (at the time of writing) a staggering 9% of positive reviews on Steam. Ouch! 🙁

But we’ve gathered here to talk about good games. So here’s our list of the best remasters and remakes available on PC. 

What is a remaster and how is it different from a remake?

The words remaster and remake are often confused with each other. It is true that now the boundaries between the two are already blurred to such an extent that even the creators themselves are not sure how to define the game they are renewing. That is why you should get acquainted with the meaning of both of these words.

What is a remaster - definition

A game remaster usually includes only the improvement of the audio-visual setting of the aged game. The creators raise the resolution, replace the textures with more detailed ones, and sometimes they also improve the animations. Developers usually do not put much work into remasters, which affects the average final result. However, remasters do have their hidden gems, such as Quake II RTX, a game from 1997, which gained a lot, thanks to the implementation of ray tracing technology.

What is a remake - definition

A game remake is a completely new production, created from scratch, using the story, characters and locations known from the original. It is often created on a new engine and offers some minor changes in the gameplay mechanics in order to adapt them to current standards.  However, the basis of the gameplay remains the same as in the original. A remake also allows enriching and making the gameplay more attractive in the form of, for example, map enlargement or implementation of a cooperative mode.

Black Mesa

Release Date: 5 March 2020
Platforms: PC

The first part of Half Life saw the light of day in 1998. The debut project of the Valve Software team (which included the well-known Gabe Newell) quickly gained recognition among players. No wonder! The game not only offered great mechanics and shooting, but also kept you in suspense with an excellent plot, which does not happen too often in FPS games. 

The full version of Black Mesa, which is a remake of Half Life, appeared on Steam last year. It would not have been surprising, if not for the fact that it is a fan project that was in production for nearly 15 years. The modders of Crowbar Collective did all the work from scratch, not a single piece of the original HL code was used in the game files. The end result is incredible and deserves your attention, whether you played the original Half Life or not.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered

Release Date: 4 November 2016
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is remembered by players primarily with the very atmospheric mission in Chernobyl. Sneaking through the devastated, enemy-controlled areas near the former nuclear reactor in Ukraine was still fresh in fan’s memories long after the game ended. 

The remastered version of the game was originally intended to be added only to the special editions of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. However, due to player requests, it was eventually released as an independent production. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered features higher-resolution textures, new animations, and improved lighting, shadows, and audio track. The gameplay mechanics remained unchanged.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

Release Date: 30 June 2017
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Don’t be deceived by the appearance. Despite the cartoon graphics and the cute face of the main character, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is not a good choice for children. All thanks to the rather high difficulty level, which can infuriate even the most hardcore fans of platformers. 

However, if you’re up for the real challenge, it’s worth trying. Especially that Vicarious Vision did a great job at renovating the game, because they haven’t just improved the graphics, but actually created it from scratch, along with new animations and special effects.

Halo: Master Chief Collection

Release Date: 11 November 2014
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series

The Halo: Master Chief Collection includes five remasters of Halo games. As a nice bonus, PC players also got access to the prequel of the whole series - Halo: Reach. The main protagonist for the majority of the cult game series Master Chief takes part in the war between humans and the Alliance, which includes other races living in space.

The exception is Halo 4, which starts a completely new storyline. All games included in Halo: Master Chief Collection have been completely refreshed, and the players have also been given a full multiplayer mode with maps known from the original productions.

Mafia: Definitive Edition

Release Date: 25th September 2020
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Hanger 13 studio took charge of the remake for the first, iconic gangster game Mafia, which is universally considered to be the best in series. Despite concerns and fears, Mafia: Definitive Edition turned out to be a great success, which will please those, who played the original 18 years ago, as well as those who never did, but heard that it’s amazing.

The developers managed to maintain the signature atmosphere of the original game by presenting the familiar suspenseful plot and enriching it with a greater number of cutscenes and dialogues. There were also no major changes to already splendid gameplay. But where you can really see the difference is the graphic design, which was elevated and adapted to modern standards. 

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2

Release Date: 4 September 2020
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 remake is a great example of how games should be remade. Vicarious Visions has given veteran players a beautiful return to the past by faithfully recreating the first two titles of the cult skateboarding simulators game series.

All familiar skaters from the original titles appear in the games, as well as a full list of well-known and adored skateparks. What's more, the range of tricks to perform has been expanded as well as the list of new tasks. And, as a cherry on the top, the players got the skatepark editor with new functions, allowing you to unleash the creative side.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Release Date: 13 November 2018
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

While the aforementioned Crash is not the best gift idea for a child, the situation is completely different with Spyro Reignited Trilogy remake. The three-game set tells about the adventures of a small but brave Spyro dragon, who fights against dangerous opponents to save his friends. 

The titles included in the package are typical platformers, such as in the heyday of this genre. However, the developers designed them from scratch, using a new engine, textures and models, while the basics, mechanics and level designs remain the same, like it usually happens in iconic titles. 

Resident Evil 2

Release Date: 24 January 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

It’s so hard to accept the fact that the original Resident Evil 2 came out on PlayStation in 1998! Since then, CAPCOM acquired a massive baggage of experience to guide them. Taking everything good Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 7 and avoiding mistakes and weaknesses of other parts, the developer rolled out splendid third-person action-adventure.

The original was a perfect candidate for a remake, because at its core it had a great gameplay, but on the outside had imperfections such as wonky design, poor voice acting and a rather flat plot. Resident Evil 2 handles all these aspects, while maintaining the old school charm. 

Yakuza Kiwami

Release Date: 21 January 2016
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3

The fact that Yakuza games were not available outside of Japan for several years is a great loss for Western game culture. So we’re blessed to get our hands on the remake of the iconic beat ‘em up action RPG. Yakuza Kiwami is the first game of the legendary series, in which you join Kiryu Kazuma’s life full of brutal action, criminal drama and signature Yakuza games humour. 

This kitsch masterpiece quickly charms its players with its dynamic and varied gameplay. Apart from giving a PlayStation 2 exclusive its much needed graphic enhancement and adjustable camera control, SEGA got rid of extremely long loading screens between the battles, re-recorded voice acting and expanded some of the cut-scenes. 

Command & Conquer Remastered

Release Date: 5 June 2020
Platforms: PC

Command & Conquer is a legendary RTS, which pathed the way for the future strategy games. At the same time, it remains the model of great, if not the best strategy game ever. And how amazing it is that the remastered version runs smoothly, uses mechanics of classical, looks polished without wasting the visual retro appeal. Now even the pickiest players can familiarise themselves with the classic.

Command & Conquer Remastered Collection is a true blessing for its old fans or RTS enthusiasts that plan on diving deep into classics. In addition to remastered Command & Conquer and Red Alert in 4K, all of three DLCs, rebuilt multiplayer, a modernized UI, Map Editor, bonus footage gallery, and over 7 hours of remastered game soundtrack, which were and still remain amazing. A great bargain!

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