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Final Fantasy VII Remake PS5

7 Best Video Game Remakes of All Time

Video Game Remakes That are as Good (or Better) Than the Originals

What’s old is new again.

Developing a remake can be a tricky process. A developer has to make sure that the spirit of the original game remains intact to not alienate fans of the classic entries, whilst updating them enough to draw in a new generation of players.

So what defines a remake versus a remaster? Arguably, remasters tend to update the engine and art assets and leave it at that; the original game still makes up the bones of the game. Remakes take it a big step further, being built from the ground-up using more modern techniques and gameplay elements. Sometimes, remakes even rework playing areas altogether, creating something altogether unique from the original.

It’s the latter we’ll be looking at, and we’ve picked seven of the best video game remakes of all time – in our opinion, anyway. These are the ones that stand out, either staying true to the source material while creating something new, or taking such an original approach to the remake process that it’s perhaps even better than the original.

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Resident Evil 2 (2019)

Resident Evil 2 Remake-min

Resident Evil 2 was ground-breaking when it hit the original PlayStation way back in 1998. It’s still a perfectly playable game now, but after the first game received a stellar makeover in 2002 (we’ll get to that), as well as outcry from fans who tried to produce their own remake, it was about time Capcom gave Resident Evil 2 the official remake treatment.

Capcom’s RE Engine is front-and-centre here, with the remake looking absolutely stunning and as a result much more terrifying. Light and shadow are used much more effectively, making the whole experience feel more immersive; and environments have been reworked to ensure players aren’t simply re-treading old ground. While it’s a shame the game didn’t stick with the varied camera angles of the original nor keep the interlocking A and B scenarios (low-key one of the best features of the original game), what remains is still an impressive and incredibly tense experience. And who could forget the constant presence of Mr. X?

Lights off, headphones on, and try to make it out alive. Without a doubt, Resident Evil 2 is one of the best video game remakes we’ve ever played.

Read our review of Resident Evil 2

Buy Resident Evil 2 on Amazon

Final Fantasy VII Remake (2020)

Final Fantasy VII Remake 2 (1)

This one was a long time coming. The announcement of a Final Fantasy VII remake was made back in the PlayStation 2 era, with development being dropped when Square Enix realised the scope of what they were trying to achieve and the limitations of the technology available. Rumours floated once more for PlayStation 3, when Square dropped a tech demo at E3 2005 showcasing how the opening sequence might look on that system.

It wasn’t until 2020 that the game was finally released for PlayStation 4. Thankfully, it was worth the wait. While some changes – such as those to notable story beats – have divided fans, for the large part this is everything we could expect from a remake of Final Fantasy VII. It looks fantastic, it has a great story and a fresh battle system; and perhaps best of all, it features characters with stronger arcs, making them arguably more relatable.

This is also the only current video game remake to actually feature the word “Remake” in its title. While this might seem odd or superfluous it’s actually a testament to Square Enix’s confidence; it informs players immediately that this isn’t Final Fantasy VII, this is Final Fantasy VII Remake – so be prepared for something a little bit different. A different game from the original this may be, but it’s one of the best video game remakes of all time.

Read our review of Final Fantasy VII Remake

Buy Final Fantasy VII Remake on Amazon

Metroid: Zero Mission (2004)

Metroid Zero Mission

The original Metroid was always something of an odd duck. Arguably one of Nintendo’s B-tier IPs, the franchise didn’t really find its feet until the sequels. Playing the original today, it’s apparent how difficult and obtuse it really is. It’s a good thing, then, that Nintendo decided to remake Metroid for the Game Boy Advance in 2004. Enter Metroid: Zero Mission.

Zero Mission updates the visuals and reworks entire sections of the game. The planet Zebes is now easier to navigate, with areas being more clearly discernible from each other. Samus now moves at a clip, making the game incredibly fun to control; and power-ups from later games are re-introduced, changing the canon slightly but making for a much more well-rounded experience.

There’s an argument that, if anything, this remake is a little too easy and a little too short. Even the extra epilogue sequence, while giving the game a bit more length, feels a little bit “fan-fiction”. Regardless, it’s still one of the best video game remakes, breathing life back into a frankly stupefying original. Getting a fully powered-up suit after a tense stealth sequence, as the Brinstar theme kicks in, is pure power fantasy and shouldn’t be missed.

Unfortunately, it’s really only available on the 3DS and Wii U eShop via Virtual Console these days; a travesty of an omission on the Nintendo Switch Online service.

Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (2004)

Metal Gear Solid Twin Snakes

The first of two GameCube entries on this list, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes takes the 1999 PlayStation original and keeps the core story intact while updating everything around it. Developed by Silicon Knights in tandem with Konami, franchise stalwart Hideo Kojima didn’t work directly on the remake but did oversee its general development in a producer capacity. The general thesis behind this remake was “Metal Gear Solid, but with the bells and whistles of Metal Gear Solid 2”. To that end, it works extraordinarily well, earning it a well-deserved place on this list of best video game remakes.

Levels and environments remain extremely faithful to the original game. The added ability to hold-up guards and hide in lockers prove to be fun twists on the stealth-action gameplay. The voice work has been completely re-recorded, largely by the entire same cast; it sounds as fantastic as you’d might expect from the likes of David Hayter and Cam Clarke. There’s an entirely new musical score to boot, too.

While The Twin Snakes has received some criticism for its interesting reinterpretation of the original cutscenes (think Metal Gear meets John Woo) and for making certain scenarios too easy, it is still Metal Gear Solid – and Metal Gear Solid is excellent. The Twin Snakes offered Nintendo owners a chance to enjoy Metal Gear action the same year rival consoles owners were enjoying Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and it deserves some sort of HD re-release. But since it’s a Konami game, it seems highly unlikely.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (2019)

The original Link’s Awakening was the Zelda franchise’s first foray on to the Game Boy back in 1993. Technically, it already found itself subject to a “remaster” of sorts in Link’s Awakening DX for the Game Boy Color; it’s the same game but in colour, with a whole new dungeon and some extra features. But for the Switch release, Nintendo decided to task developers Grezzo – who had previously worked on the 3DS ports for Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask – to fully remake the game.

There was always something dreamlike (naturally) and ethereal about Link’s Awakening. As such, the decision to employ a toyetic, tilt-shift art style to the remake serves the atmosphere of the title incredibly well. It’s a novel change in style for Zelda, being neither “classic” Link nor “toon” Link, and while it looks great in pictures, it looks absolutely sublime in motion. However, it’s not just the visual style that makes this one of the best video game remakes of all time, it’s the entire production design. The redone music tracks provide a real highlight, too; the new take on Marin singing “Ballad of the Wind Fish” is a thing of beauty.

Junichi Yamamoto’s anime cutscenes alone are worth the price of admission. (Nintendo, take note – now’s the time to make that Zelda anime we’ve always wanted.)

Read our review of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

Buy Link’s Awakening on Amazon

Demon’s Souls (2020)

Demon's Souls (2)

While FromSoftware’s Dark Souls franchise is hugely popular – the first game already received a remaster in 2018 – the series really began with the PlayStation 3-exclusive Demon’s Souls. Being the owners of the Demon’s Souls IP and with a new console on the way, Sony decided it was time for a new generation of players to experience the classic title.

BluePoint Games, which cut its teeth working on HD remasters for the God of War and Metal Gear Solid franchises, were entrusted by Sony to entirely remake Demon’s Souls from the ground up. A launch title for PlayStation 5, the results are truly staggering. Arguably still one of the best reasons to own a PS5, Demon’s Souls is stunning to look at. It packs in a fantastic atmosphere that captures the spirit of the original while also maintaining the same level of challenge.

Sure, you’ll die. You’ll die, a lot. But you’ll keep coming back, a lot. Demon’s Souls is not just one of the best video game remakes of all time, but a fantastic game in its own right.

Buy Demon’s Souls on Amazon

Resident Evil (2002)

As important a game as it is, the original Resident Evil always needed updating. It’s actually had a few re-releases in its day, but none so ground-breaking as the 2002 GameCube remake. This is, quite simply, one of the best video game remakes ever. Being released before Resident Evil 4 changed the general presentation of the series, this remake stays more faithful to the original than other remakes in the series. It keeps many of the same Hitchcockian camera angles, allowing for similar levels of cinematic dread. But redone voice work, updated music and modernised graphics really brought the game into the modern age.

The updated lighting here is a real highlight; particularly in outside areas where lamps flicker and shadows permeate every crevice. While every environment was recreated in a near-photo realistic style, Capcom wisely chose to also expand the Spencer Mansion itself. New areas, a new sub-plot and an additional boss encounter make it feel creepier than ever. It’s a slightly tougher ride, too, with the player now having to deal with zombies that don’t always stay dead. There are also increasingly challenging difficulty levels for those who really want to be tested.

While the re-written script is still a little clunky, it stays faithful to the game and to the franchise as a whole. This is possibly an even better remake than the much more modern Resident Evil 2, dare we say it. With an HD remaster of this remake being playable on every modern gaming platform available, there is absolutely no excuse to not give this one a go.

Read more about Resident Evil

Buy Resident Evil Origins Collection on Amazon

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