Remakes are important, but they must change with the times

The upcoming release of the remade Shadow of the Colossus is an important moment for the industry.

On the surface, it may seem just like any other re-release but seeing a game that holds such a beauty and majesty that at the time or the original’s release was a rare thing, means that a whole new generation of players get the opportunity to enjoy this classic from scratch.

I, myself, fall into this category too. Having not been aware of the game’s high praise back when the PS2 was dominating all and sundry, it’s now time for me to jump in and play one of gaming’s forgotten classics.

Shadow of the Colossus is a curious title. It doesn’t hold the weight of a name like Mario or Zelda and it doesn’t have the nostalgic appeal of a Crash or Final Fantasy. Instead, the sheer quality of the title alone allows it to be thought of fondly by those who played it on the PS2.

However, that doesn’t mean to say that that’s how everyone should play a remake. At times, when a game is simply ported from one system to another, it lacks a cutting edge that lets it appeal to a new audience. Sometimes, you need to rework the masterpiece in order to let it shine once more.

For example, greater technology doesn’t just mean great surface-level graphics. The remake of Shadow of the Colossus brings with it a wonderful new cinematic mode focuses on image quality, giving you a smoother 30fps at 4K, while also offering a performance mode for you to play in which can provide you with a smooth 60fps at the expense of the image quality dropping below 4K levels. Both options are only available to those with both a 4K TV and a PlayStation 4 Pro but it provides options to play the game in a way that’s more visually impressive that it was ever intended to do so and more options can only be a good thing.

Small changes to the games UI also make it more manageable for the modern player. Getting rid of its old expanding stamina bar that would intrude into other parts of the UI. Other things like statistics, a new gallery and even filters, allow for a great game to be played in a new way, offering new players the game at its best, while also giving veterans a reason to come back.

A great game is always going to be a great game as long as its transition to another platform is handled in the correct manner. Nintendo has also seen the worth of this recently, allowing the Switch’s portability to offer new life to Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2 and the upcoming Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze. All of which found life on the Wii U but never really hit the ground running due to the issues that Nintendo had with that console. Porting them to another system means that a new set of players can enjoy the experience without needs to go down the route of purchasing old consoles and the more accessible all games are for everyone then the better it is.

while the Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze release on the Switch is more of a port rather than a remaster like Shadow of the Colossus, it lets one of the best 2D platformers ever made find a new audience and new life. We want to get as many people playing great games, even if they’re old. It’s part of what keeps this industry alive. So, as long as they’re reproduced in the right way, I’m all for remakes and remasters if it’s allowing great games of yesteryear to let new people enjoy them for the first time.

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