The two pieces of media that seem to get remade most often are video games and movies. While movie remakes usually attracts scorn, video game remakes are often celebrated.
Developers can certainly mess up a remake – more often than not good games just need a new coat of paint, some minor tweaks to older or outdated mechanics, and removing a few bugs and the end result is a great game. With that in mind here are the five best remakes/remastered edition/HD Edition/Directors Cut/whatever.
Does Bayonetta for the Wii U (exclusively available with the purchase of Bayonetta 2) count as a remake, or is it simply a port of the original? It’s tough to say, but the Wii U version has a different publisher, a different producer, and came out 4 years after the original, so for this list it still counts.
If you have skipped the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, you unfortunately missed out on this hack and slash, action-filled masterpiece. Bayonetta is the story of an amnesiac witch investigating her unknown past while fighting angels in an extremely engaging manner. The game has a tongue in cheek sense of humor and a sexually provocative heroine, and is filled to the brim with nonstop action and over the top combat. For a company so obsessed with their family-friendly image, it was definitely surprising that Nintendo would be releasing this game along with the sequel on their console.
The Wii U version of the game doesn’t do much more than the original – the action is just as tight and the graphics are good if a bit muddy and dark. The Wii U version has something no other version could, though, Nintendo costumes. While that may not seem like much, getting to play a witch dressed as Samus or Link is worth the price of admission alone. And speaking of price, this game comes free with Bayonetta 2, a game which may be one of the best on the Wii U.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut
The original Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an insanely smart first person stealth shooter that offers a variety of ways to play. If you want to run in guns-a-blazing with awesome mechanical arms and kill as many people as you can, go for it. If you want to be a super stealthy hacker who sneaks their way through the world you can do that too, until the boss battles that is.
Along with the Wii U version of the game featuring the dual screen support (a welcome and oft overlooked benefit of the Wii U) Human Revolution – Director’s Cut features reworked boss battles that allow for a fairer fight if you have spent most of the game focusing on your non-lethal and stealth skills. This edition also features an audio commentary, so if you want to dive deeper into this cyberpunk world, you have all the tools that you need.
Finally, if you missed out on this classic when it originally came out, it is probably the cheapest standalone game on this list, with online prices below $20. At that price there is no reason not to pick it up.
Oddworld: New and Tasty
The cinematic platformer sub-genre does not seem to get a lot of love. While cinematic platformers have been around since the 80s, this sub-genre has fewer games then others and the average fan may not be as familiar with it. If you have stuck with Nintendo consoles going all the way back to the Nintendo 64, you likely missed the Oddworld franchise and its first game Abe’s Oddysee, unless you purchased it on the original Game Boy.
Oddworld: New and Tasty isn’t just a simple visual upgrade, although the visuals look great, the game features new levels, new gameplay mechanics, and new controls compared to the original. The game adds 200 Mudokon slaves for you to find, a new difficulty system (play Hard for the original difficulty), and a switch from static screens to a smoother sidescrolling style.
While the original Abe’s Oddysee plays very slow and methodical, New and Tasty is a quicker game tailored to modern standards. Just know that even though the gameplay has been adjusted and it plays quicker, you will still die . . . a lot.
Life is like a hurricane, here in Duckburg.
Ha good luck getting that out of your head.
DuckTales (woohoo) was an instant classic NES game. It has inspired numerous games the past few years, including this generation’ indie gem, Shovel Knight. Unfortunately, the Capcom classic may not be known to as many newer gamers, being available on the original Nintendo along with its Game Boy port probably not doing it many favors. Thankfully we have WayForward Technologies and their amazing port to thank for reintroducing this gem to the masses.
DuckTales: Remastered looks and sounds like you are playing an episode of the original cartoon. The game features the original cartoon’s voice cast, although some sound forgivably older. The soundtrack is fun and enjoyable, although not nearly as iconic as the original score, and the animation is smooth and colorful. The Wii U controls are thankfully just as tight as the original games, which is good because pogoing on enemies is an easy mechanic to mess up.
Like any good remaster edition, DuckTales: Remastered features plenty of extras. Not only can you unlock artwork from the development process with the in-game treasure you are collecting (giving it an actual use other than a high score), you can also unlock the original music. Granted I wouldn’t have minded the original version included in the game as an unlockable, there is still plenty of happiness to be found in this game.
Legend of Zelda: Windwaker HD / Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
It’s tough to think of two games more on the opposite ends of the Legend of Zelda spectrum than Windwaker and Twilight Princess. One game is dark, realistic, and more story driven and the other is bright, cartoonish, and involves a lot of sailing around. It’s also odd, yet satisfying, to think that both games were originally released on the same console, the Nintendo Gamecube.
Even though it came out first, Windwaker was the game that probably needed the visual upgrade the least of the pair. The cartoonish cel-shaded graphics held up well over the years but the slight upgrade looks gorgeous. The remake features a few gameplay innovations, including the now staple Hero mode where enemies deal more damage and there are no regenerative hearts to be found, some minor tweaks to the Triforce piece quest, and the most important upgrade of all, the Swift Sail. For such a small innovation, the Swift Sail makes the game so much better. Traveling across the huge oceanic overworld is vastly easier and more fun when you don’t have to stop every few minutes and adjust the wind direction.
The Twilight Princess remake was a surprise that most people didn’t see coming. Originally one of the launch titles on the Wii, alongside a Nintendo Gamecube release, Twilight Princess was a darker, more realistic take on the world of Hyrule. The HD remake features the addition of Hero mode, minor changes to the controls, and Amiibo functionality. While standard Zelda amiibo give you in-game effects like more hearts or enemies dealing more damage, the Wolf Link amiibo unlocks the exclusive Cave of Shadows dungeon, which requires the player defeat all enemies as Wolf Link. If you wanted a boost in difficulty in a Zelda game, definitely check out Twilight Princess HD and the Cave of Shadows.
In an extremely unfair move to the other games on this list, we give the dual-honor of being named to the Just Pause ‘Ring of Honor’ as Best Wii U Remake to The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker HD and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD.
Come back next Thursday for the penultimate issue of our weekly series ‘Remembering the Wii U’.
Think we missed a game or you disagree with our choices? Leave a comment below or shoot us a tweet at @justpausegaming.