10 Video Game Remakes and Remasters that Nobody Asked For
There are a number of video games out there that were fantastic at the time they were released, but that hold up today about as well as a wet paper napkin in a blender. Thankfully, there are plenty of studios that are on hand to give the video games of yesteryear a good spruce so that new generations of players can enjoy them. Alas, those same studios sometimes don’t know when to stop, and wind up remaking or remastering games that are already perfectly serviceable, and it’s those that we’re taking a look at today. Now, when we say that “nobody asked for these remakes and remasters”, we are being flippant; of course, somebody asked for them, otherwise they wouldn’t exist. The point is that the original games are perfectly fine, so these re-hashings seem like nothing more than cheap attempts to further milk the most bountiful cash cows. Additionally, we’re not saying that all of these games are bad (though some of them are certainly worse than most), just that they are totally unnecessary.
Is that nice and clear? Good. I’m Peter from TripleJump, and here are 10 Video Game Remakes and Remasters that Nobody Asked For.
10. Batman: Return to Arkham
We’re kicking off our list with a game, or rather, a pair of games, that prove that when it comes to remasters, you can be both good and unnecessary. I don’t think anyone, our jaded, cynical writer included, would argue that Batman: Return to Arkhamis a bad remaster, but it is one that nobody really needed. Released in 2016, Return to Arkham is a collection that features remastered versions of 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylumand 2011’s Batman: Arkham City. Both games, in which players take up the mantle of the eponymous caped crusader, were, and still are,excellent, and earned average review scores in the 90s. Asylum was revolutionary at the time of its release, pushing the limits of what a superhero game could do, and City took everything that its predecessor did well and improved upon it.
As previously stated, Return to Arkham isn’t a bad remaster by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s barely an improvement on the originals. The graphics, admittedly, look a bit nicer, though the framerate is capped at 30FPS, and fans get the base games and all of their DLC, but that’s basically all that’s on offer. When the originals still look and play fantastically, you’ve got to wonder why Return to Arkham exists.
9. Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered
We’re sticking with superfluous superhero remasters for the time being as we turn our attention to Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, which was released for the PS5 in 2020. The original Marvel’s Spider-Manlanded on the PS4 in 2018, and sees the titular arachnid-loving, masked vigilante swinging his way around New York City and attempting to put a stop to super-human crime lord, Mister Negative.
The game went down well with critics, and was likened to Batman: Arkham Asylum due to the fact that it raised the bar for superhero titles. It wound up on many publications’ Best Games of 2018 lists, and within just three days of its release, had sold over 3 million copies.
A mere two years later THOUGH, Marvel’s Spider-Man was ported to PS5, receiving a remaster in the process. This was obviously very nice for PS5 owners, though we do have to wonder if the slight graphical upgrades and performance improvements were worth the trouble, as the game both looks and plays wonderfully already on the PS4. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Peter, a lot of games were rereleased on PS5. Why are you picking on Spider-Man?!” Well first off, a lot of the early PS5 rereleases you’re talking about were free upgrades but the most galling thing about the Spider-Man remaster is that players could only get their hands on it by purchasing the Ultimate Edition of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Moralesor by paying an uplift to upgrade their existing copy. And when you look at how minor the differences were in some places, it does feel like a bit of a rip-off.
8. Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection
At this point, I think we should probably just unfurl a big banner on the side of TripleJump Towers that reads “IF A GAME IS LESS THAN TEN YEARS OLD, IT DOESN’T NEED A REMAKE OR REMASTER” because it would seem that the studios just don’t get it. Another group of games to get the unnecessary remaster treatment was The Ezio Collection; the three Assassin’s Creed games that focus on the exploits of protagonist, Ezio Auditore. The first, Assassin’s Creed II, was originally released in 2009, with the sequels, Brotherhoodand Revelations, following in the two subsequent years. This means that at the time of The Ezio Collection’srelease in 2016, Revelations was just five years old, and all three of the games held up well enough, so the remaster was totally unwarranted.
Don’t get us wrong, the collection is absolutely fine, and if modern players are looking to play the Ezio titles, then it’s a good way of doing so as the bundle comes with three games, all previously released DLC, and a pair of short films. What we are saying though, is that if you already own II, Brotherhood, and Revelations, the slight graphical enhancements aren’t worth the price of admission.
7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
Altogether now, everyone: “If a game is less than ten years old it doesn’t need a remake or remaster.” That was pretty sloppy, guys, get it together. Indeed, another title that was barely out of the gate before it got a remaster is 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Considered by many to be amongst the greatest games of all time, Modern Warfare marked a departure for the series from its World War II roots, instead placing players into a modern-day conflict. It was a fantastic experience for players when it was released the better part of two decades ago, and it’s still a fantastic experience today. Gamers replaying older titles doesn’t make studios any money though, does it? This is presumably why Activision drafted in Raven Software to give the title a shiny remaster. Modern Warfare Remastered was bundled with Infinite Warfare(though later became standalone), and offered little more than slight improvements to the graphics and sound.
There were some players who petitioned for a remaster of Modern Warfare, so strictly speaking, someone did ask for this. As such, we’ll revise the title of this list slightly, so henceforth it’ll be known as “10 Video Game Remakes and Remasters that Only People with More Money than Sense Asked For.”
6. Dark Souls Remastered
FromSoftware’s infuriatingly difficult action RPG, Dark Souls, was originally released in 2011, and from the moment it hit consoles, the industry recognised that it was something truly special. In the years since, there have been sequels, ports, imitators, and, of course, a remaster that no one needed. Even over a decade afterDark Souls was first unleashed upon the unsuspecting gaming public, the game still looks and plays perfectly well, or at least, so we think. Clearly, our opinion isn’t shared by FromSoftware though, who felt the need to remaster Dark Souls in 2018, just seven years after it originally came out.
In terms of the major changes, Dark Souls: Remastered runs at a native 60 frames per second (except on the Switch), supports a 4K resolution on PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, and PC, and brings several multiplayer changes to the table, such as dedicated servers, an increased limit of six online players, and a password matchmaking system. Do these updates warrant the remaster’s existence? Well, judging by critics’ reaction, we’d say probably not. The improved visuals and performance did garner some praise, but many felt that these weren’t enough to justify the game’s price. As much as we love Dark Souls, here at Team TripleJump, I’m afraid we’d be inclined to agree.
5. GoldenEye 007 (2010)
GoldenEye 007is one of those games that often gets mentioned alongside the likes of Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, and Quakewhenever anyone talks about games that defined the first-person shooter genre. Based upon the similarly titled 1995 film, GoldenEye 007 sees players taking control of Pierce Brosnan’s iteration of secret agent, James Bond, and across a number of levels, it’s up to the suave spy to put a stop to a criminal syndicate’s plans to utilise a satellite weapon. At the time of its original release, the game was a marvel as it proved to the world that the FPS genre could work perfectly well on home consoles. These days, it’s looking a bit rough around the edges, but it’s still perfectly playable, and so there’s absolutely no excuse for what Eurocom and Activision did in 2010. GoldenEye 007 (2010) served as both a remake of the 1997 title and a reimagining of the movie. Multiple changes were made to the script, Pierce Brosnan was switched out for Daniel Craig, and the levels were completely rebuilt, leaving players with a game that bore no resemblance to the original.
As video games go, GoldenEye 007 (2010)isn’t awful, but it would have probably been better had it not been badged as a remake of a classic.
4. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD
Upon their respective releases, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Pro Skater 2, and Pro Skater 3, were lauded by both players and critics, and are widely considered to be amongst the greatest games of all time. The premises for all three were basically the same: players were placed in control of a little digital skater, and were tasked with performing tricks and completing the objectives in each level. These days, the original trio of games is starting to show its age, and 2020’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2successfully updated the series’ first two titles for the modern gamer. At the time of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD’srelease though, the OG offerings were little over a decade old, and weren’t exactly crying out for an overhaul. Still, necessary or not, levels from Pro Skater 1, 2, and 3 all got the HD treatment, and fans’ reactions were not great. Pro Skater HD aimed to offer the same experience as the original games, but with updated visuals, though whilst the graphics were modernized, several features such as the park creator and split-screen multiplayer were missing. Unless up-to-the moment visuals were a deal breaker for you, you’d have been much better sticking with the earlier titles.
3. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition
We’re taking a detour into Rubbish Remaster City now, as we turn our attention to Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, a compilation of titles that was not only unnecessary, but was also an affront to the games it was trying to modernise. The collection comprised 2001’s GTA III, 2002’s Vice City, and 2004’s San Andreas, all of which were well-received by critics and players upon their respective releases. Admittedly, none of the original titles hold up particularly well visually, but in fairness to them, they are all two decades old, and whilst they may be lacking in the graphics department, they’re still alright, gameplay-wise.
The same cannot be said of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, which is not only janky as heck but sounds like it was named by the same people who list products for sale on Wish. The Definitive Edition did receive some praise from critics for adding in features such as mission checkpoints, a weapon wheel, and map navigation, as well as for improving the controls, but overall, the reaction was pretty negative. The updated character models look bloody awful, the charm is lost, and the whole thing is littered with bugs and glitches. We doubt many people were even looking for a remaster of these iconic games, and even if they were, they certainly didn’t want it to look like this.
2. Warcraft III: Reforged
It’s one thing for a remaster to be unnecessary and rubbish – after all, if you don’t like it then you can always go back to the original – but it’s quite another thing for it to be unnecessary and rubbish and overwrite the OG game, rendering it inaccessible to players.
Alas, this is now the reality for fans of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. This real-time strategy title was released in 2002 and was celebrated by fans of Blizzard’s Warcraft series. Players took command of one of four factions, and it was up to them to collect resources, train units, and build bases in order to achieve the various goals set by the game. Critics at the time praised Warcraft III for its balanced gameplay, multiplayer, graphics, and overall atmosphere.
However, Blizzard, for reasons best known to themselves, decided that they didn’t like this, and so remastered the game, removing several features in the process, whilst implementing unwanted changes to the UI and tonnes of technical issues.
Upon its release, fans were, quite rightly, fuming, especially as Reforged runs on the same client as Reign of Chaos, meaning that players have been forced to update to the new, inferior version. Still, of all of the mighty cock-ups that Blizzard has made recently, this is probably the least troubling.
1. The Last of Us: Part I
Oh, come on, what did you think was going to be at number one besides this, the most blatant of video game cash grabs? There are some out there who would argue that even the 2014 remaster of 2013’s The Last of Us was completely superfluous, and those people are… not entirely wrong. Not only was the 2022 remake of The Last of Us approximately as necessary as lifejackets for ducks, but Sony had the audacity to peddle it for full price. That’s right, this remake of a nine-year-old game cost PS5 players a whopping $70, and those who owned the remaster didn’t even get a free upgrade.
So, what mind-boggling improvements did Naughty Dog bring to the table? Aside from some graphical updates and additional accessibility options, not an awful lot. Don’t get us wrong, The Last of Us: Part I looks very nice, and more accessibility options are always a win, but the graphics in both the original and the remaster are absolutely fine, and it seems like the accessibility options could have been added in a patch. With all of that said though, we do look forward to the inevitableThe Last of Us: Part I Remastered which will presumably finally give us the chance to see Joel’s bum hair in 4K.