Video game remakes have to walk a careful line. Games that get remakes are usually those beloved and have a lot of nostalgia attached to them. However, great remakes like Resident Evil 4 have shown developers how it’s done, changing just enough to avoid making a retread or alienating the title’s diehard fans.
Good remakes are a unique challenge in gaming. They have to push all the right buttons for old fans while still attracting a new fanbase. FromSoftware has arguably mastered this art by remaking their original Demon’s Souls many times, inspiring an entire subgenre in the process. This is very much to their credit, since there’s arguably nothing better than a great remake of a fantastic game.
10 Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 marks one of the franchise’s most significant turning points. The original 2005 game helped the franchise become more modern and action-oriented in contrast to the slower-paced older games. However, it’s also held up as a much better game than its own sequels, Resident Evil 5 and 6. Many consider it perfectly balanced and the best game in the franchise.
Despite this, 2023’s Resident Evil 4 remake manages to live up to the legend. It follows a recent string of well-liked Resident Evil remakes, beginning with Resident Evil 2. Resident Evil 4 perfectly carries across the original’s feel, story, and gameplay. At the same time, it modernizes its controls and removes contentious aspects like rampant quick-time events.
9 Demon’s Souls
Demon’s Souls is the title responsible for creating FromSoftware’s acclaimed Soulslike formula. Without it, beloved games like Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Elden Ring would never have been made. However, the original Demon’s Souls was relatively underappreciated within its lifetime, struggling with dated graphics and clunky gameplay as well.
The PS5 Demon’s Souls remake is one of the first killer apps for the console. It maintains most of Demon’s Souls gameplay, even down to its contentious enemy AI. At the same time, it overhauls its graphics, music, and sound. The game is beloved for its sharp, cutting-edge visuals and audio. The few gameplay tweaks, like how characters respond to weight, have been well-received.
8 Dead Space
Resident Evil 4 isn’t the only beloved horror game to be remade in 2023. The original Dead Space is one of the standout titles of the 2000s. Its sci-fi horror has left its mark on the industry despite the franchise’s low sales. The 2023 Dead Space remake reimagines a lot of the game without copying it as a shot-for-shot remake
Dead Space has several notable differences from the original. As it’s a ground-up remake, things like level and quest design are subtly different. Advanced technology allows ISG Ishimura to be seamless without obvious loading screens. In addition, Isaac Clarke talks and shows his face more, replacing the nearly-silent protagonist in the original. All of these enhance Dead Space without undermining any of its original appeal.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown was a loose remake of XCOM: UFO Defense, drawing on its European title of UFO: Enemy Unknown. The game shares the original’s core genre and premise. It’s a strategy game that blends long-term planning with small, tactical firefights. The player controls the multinational XCOM as it fights back against an alien invasion.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown retains much of the original game in broad ways, such as Terror Missions, its technological progression, and many types of aliens. However, it changes the story and heavily modernizes the gameplay. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is much more balanced, accessible, and straightforward than the original XCOM: UFO Defense.
6 Final Fantasy VII Remake
Most remakes try and retain some elements of the original. Final Fantasy VII Remake, however, avoids this approach. It split the difference between remake, reboot, and outright sequel to the original. Final Fantasy VII remake follows a similar plot to the original for quite a while until Sephiroth changes events to avert his original defeat.
Final Fantasy VII then begins to explore an alternate storyline that hinges on the audience’s familiarity with the original Final Fantasy VII. It also boasts different gameplay, moving to a more real-time action-RPG approach than the original’s active turn-based combat. It’s an ambitious approach for a remake that has won over many fans.
5 Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy splits the difference between remake and remaster. It’s very faithful and mostly updates the graphics of the original three Crash Bandicoot games. However, it also makes several changes to all three that unify their gameplay, such as including time trials and the ability to play as Coco Bandicoot in completed missions.
Overall, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy has been very well-received. Its faithfulness to the original three games satisfied critics and fans. In fact, much of its criticism focuses on pitfalls from the original games that haven’t been addressed. Overall, the recreation of classic Crash Bandicoot gameplay and its few new elements received a lot of praise.
4 Advance Wars 1 + 2 ReBoot Camp
Advance Wars 1 + 2 ReBoot Camp is the first Advance Wars title in fifteen years, coming long after Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. It’s a comprehensive remake of the first two Advance Wars games, coming with their campaigns, challenge modes, and multiplayer. Everything from the first two games is included.
Most fans’ only complaint about Advance Wars 1 + 2 ReBoot Camp is that it also doesn’t include the fan-favorite title Advance Wars: Dual Strike. Other than that, it’s considered a faithful and rewarding remake of one of strategy gaming’s most popular franchises. This version of Advance Wars is every bit as challenging and charming as the games were the first time around.
3 Shadow Of The Colossus
2018’s Shadow of the Colossus remake is actually the third version of the game, after the 2005 original and its 2011 remaster. Remaster developers Bluepoint Games are also behind the remake. In this version, however, they remade the game from the ground up. Despite the complete overhaul, the only gameplay change is a new control scheme.
Shadow of the Colossus‘ remake’s main strength is its presentation. It adapted the original game’s breathtaking art style to modern graphics to create an unforgettable visual experience. It’s received acclaim for preserving everything fans love about the original Shadow of the Colossus and modernizing it at the same time.
2 Yakuza Kiwami
The Yakuza franchise, particularly its first installment, has always been well-regarded for its story and characters. However, the first Yakuza games suffer from contentious and repetitive gameplay. Yakuza Kiwami takes the beloved first Yakuza game and replaces its gameplay with more responsive, entertaining mechanics lifted from Yakuza 0.
Yakuza Kimwai is a fan-favorite remake of Yakuza, satisfying the franchise’s fans on several levels. At the same time, many critics consider it one of the best titles for new players to start the franchise with. One of its new additions, the ‘Majima Everywhere’ system, has received universal praise for its comic effect and for letting fans spend more time with fan favorite Goro Majima.
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is a remake of the classic video game Metal Gear Solid. It retains much of the story and base gameplay of the original game. However, it includes new mechanics from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, significant graphic upgrades, and new cutscenes that flesh out the story.
Some of Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes‘ changes are contentious since new cutscenes alter the original’s tone, making it more action-packed and less realistic. However, the game’s improvements have been met with near-universal praise, and most fans think its actual story is on-par with the original.
NEXT: 10 PlayStation 2 Games That Deserve A Remake
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