Gaming memory lane is now adorned with 4K trees and plants, photo-realistic skies and 5.1 channel surround sound. It’s just like you remember, but are these remastered retro games really any better?
This week sees the release of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. It’s a PlayStation 4 remake of the original three Crash Bandicoot games released for the PlayStation between 1996 and 1998.
I grew up playing these games, and they’re rightly regarded as classics – all three feature in the top 15 of the best-selling PlayStation 1 games ever. From the gameplay environments to the music, everything about them reminds me of rushing home to play them after school.
But, in comparison to the games that kids are playing now, they’re pretty dated. No one’s going to pick them up and play them in 2017 – and that’s where Vicarious Visions’ remake comes in.
Recreating the past with modern tech is nothing new. We’ve previously discussed on Which? Conversation the HD remasters of popular TV shows and even the digital insertion of deceased actors into the latest films.
But this Crash Bandicoot remake is a little different – it’s not a straight re-release with higher resolution textures and graphical content (known as a ‘port’), but a complete reworking from the ground up – the new game contains none of the original’s code.
As such, this ‘remaster plus’ (as Vicarious is calling it) was a phenomenal amount of work to put together. The team wanted to remain as faithful to the originals as possible while taking advantage of the latest hardware and adding in their own art, animation and audio where they felt it was needed.
Despite this glossy new makeover, can a game like Crash still be as popular now as it was 20 years ago? Games these days bear more resemblance to Hollywood movies than they do to the old platformer games, so it’ll be interesting to see what a new generation makes of a better-looking Crash, but one that stays so true to its roots.
Remaking retro games
So this all makes me think that the initial target market must be a nostalgic one – people with fond memories of the first time round. In other words, me.
So, what did I think? Well, I’ll be getting my hands on the game when it’s released on Friday 30 June, so I’ll let you know my first impressions soon.
Could similar remastering/rebuilding of the past become the norm? Is it right to upgrade entertainment in this way, or would you rather see better preservation, rather than reimagination? With older franchises guaranteeing a certain level of interest and technology improving all the time, it’s a question we’ll find ourselves asking more and more.
So, which retro games would you want to be remastered?