In recent years, remakes have become a staple in the industry, allowing players the chance to relive classics with updated technology or experience missed titles for the first time. This trend has kept those games that are truly impactful in the spotlight time and time again. With the Shadow of the Colossus remake arriving next week and already receiving high praise as an excellent remake in its own right, 2018 looks to continue this tradition with a mix of beloved, series-defining entries as well as older games whose value is still felt today.
Final Fantasy VII
While the Final Fantasy series has always had a stock of passionate fans, arguably the most popular title within the franchise is the seventh entry. Beloved for its rich story, depth, and roster of characters led by Cloud and Sephiroth, players have been eager for a chance to re-experience this classic title with the vast technological improvements that have come about since the 1997 release. While details remain scant, this remake will have an episodic structure (rumored to be released as three games) and a blend of real-time and paused gameplay. Screenshots also reveal a gorgeous visual upgrade akin to the beauty of 2016’s Final Fantasy XV. While the title is only confirmed on the PlayStation 4 for now, more likely than not the game could make its way to the PC and Xbox One, especially given the most recent title in the series’s availability on those platforms.
Resident Evil 2
Though the Resident Evil series began to change the core tone and atmosphere in the titles following Resident Evil 2, last year’s VII showed Capcom’s willingness to return to the horror at the root of the undead blockbuster. RE2 holds a similar place in the Resident Evil community’s heart that FFVII does for Final Fantasy, as the title captures a balance between the challenging gameplay of the first game in the series and a strong protagonist in Leon Kennedy—so much so that players were able to see him again in RE4 (arguably the series’s best work) and RE6. RE2 created the dread of a city besieged by undead monsters in a way that showcased just how strong a desire existed in the industry for a survival-horror game done right. While little is known about this remake for now, expect a gorgeous makeover and rumored over-the-shoulder third-person gameplay a la RE4, and perhaps an even more terrifying experience this time around.
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue
Rogue was a victim of the timing of its release. Coming out exclusively on last-generation consoles in 2014 hurt the game, as the newly-released Xbox One and PlayStation 4 were taking the spotlight. Fans of the series more likely skipped this title due to this awkward release window, but not because of its quality. At its core, this entry preserves the superb naval combat introduced in Assassin’s Creed 3 and perfected in Black Flag. Rogue is an enjoyable adventure, firmly putting players in control of a Templar in a reversal of the series’s traditional structure, and making a shorter, but ultimately rewarding, experience for fans of the historical-fiction franchise. With updated graphics and a setting distinct from the recently-released Origins, Ubisoft seems poised to allow players the chance to experience a title they may have missed and fill in a small, yet exciting, gap in the series’s lore for those invested in the eternal battle between Assassin and Templar.
Yakuza Kiwami 2
Having released in Japan this past December, Sega’s remake of Yakuza 2 offers an upgraded experience to the series prior to the next title’s release in April. With the release of the first Yakuza remake in late 2017, and Yakuza 0 at the beginning of that same year, fans have plenty to enjoy in addition to this latest offering. Bringing improved gameplay and visuals, as well as fixing some plot holes existing in the original 2006 release, Sega seems to be working to make the series as narratively whole and complete as it can. Exploring the world of crime that the title implies, players can experience a unique third-person action-adventure that offers an open world like no other. Look for the worldwide release of this one sometime this year.
Devil May Cry
Capcom’s portfolio encompasses many genres and experiences. Devil May Cry is one of the most unique of these, however: a zany, hectic hack-and-slash that is unapologetic in its camp. While the series was rebooted in the well-received, yet ultimately standalone DmC in 2013 this collection looks to bring together the classic trilogy and introduce players both new and old to Dante and his demon hunting ways. For all that can be criticized about the quality of the story, the characters and gameplay are undeniably fun, and, if nothing else, the cult following these games have earned comes from that pure enjoyment. Though the omission of Devil May Cry 4 and the 2013 reboot (both of which were separately remade in 2015 for the PS4 and Xbox One) prevents this collection from being complete, this March release will reintroduce players to one of Capcom’s most compelling creations. Perhaps the compilation even lays the groundwork of reintroducing Dante in a new title sometime in the future, as rumors of Devil May Cry 5 continue to swirl.
Before BioShock, System Shock owned the title of most shocking shooter. Ken Levine helmed the latter’s sequel, a title that did much to inspire the former when he began work on it. However, the original 1994 RPG also offered an experience that is ripe for revisiting given what studios are capable of now. Night Dive is looking for a simultaneous release on all major platforms in Q2 of this year, offering a complete reconstruction of the puzzles and gameplay of the classic title. Built with Unity, this remake looks to retell the same story while shoring up plot holes and adapting it in a more accessible way for today’s audience. Contemporary gamers have certainly experienced the legacy left by the original, and soon will be able to play for themselves one of the most important titles in shaping how games are designed today. This remake also gives a taste of what the series is all about as OtherSide Entertainment continues to work on System Shock 3.
While cel-shaded graphics are now a common development choice, Fear Effect was one of the first titles to use them back in 2000. Kronos Digital Entertainment’s action title followed a band of mercenaries looking for their boss’s daughter and made for a truly memorable experience. Developed by Sushee, which is concurrently working on the more tactical-minded, Kickstarter-funded Fear Effect: Sedna, this remake looks to preserve the unique visual style of the original title while hopefully improving the cumbersome gameplay controls. This fine line between balancing the original experience with improving the core mechanics is prevalent through this list, and seeing just how much will change is sure to be interesting. Regardless, players will experience a series that never really got farther than a sole sequel, yet had a clear vision reflected in both its graphics and gameplay.
With all the other titles releasing this year, 2018 looks to be packed with a nice blend of new and old, and these remakes are sure to please. Be sure to stay tuned to OSP for the latest news on the titles listed here, and for the new remakes that will surely be announced as the year goes on.