We’ve talked about it before, but video game remakes are awesome.
In a medium where technology and art go hand-in-hand, video game remakes help us fully enjoy older titles even after their technological shortcomings have made it impossible to enjoy them as they were meant to be enjoyed. Sometimes, these remakes even contribute new content to classic games that feel almost essential to the core experience.
Which video game remakes are the best of them all, though? The answer to that question will obviously vary from person to person, but we’d imagine that anyone’s list of the best remakes would need to include at least one of these incredible games.
Shadow of the Colossus
You could easily make the argument that Shadow of the Colossus is the best video game remake ever.
Bluepoint Games’ Shadow of the Colossus not only expertly updates the original game’s graphics in such a way that retains the 2005 title’s artistic design but helps ensure that it stands as one of the best-looking games of its generation. More importantly, this remake addresses some of the gameplay flaws of the original which prevented many from being able to properly enjoy it.
Resident Evil (GameCube)
It must have been tempting for Capcom to just upgrade the original Resident Evil‘s graphics and call it a remake. Instead, they did something very different.
Not only is Resident Evil for GameCube a technologically mind-blowing game that still looks good to this day, but it’s a remake that retains the spirit of the original experience while fixing nearly every flaw and adding new content that truly completes an already classic game. It’s a masterpiece.
Resident Evil 2
Two Resident Evil games on a shortlist of the best remakes ever? It sounds gratuitous, but Capcom really has set the standard for remakes with releases such as these.
Resident Evil 2 almost entirely reimagines a game that many consider to be the best in series history and does it so effectively that it’s hard to ever go back to the original. What more could you ask for from a remake?
Final Fantasy 7
We know that there are many fans out there who feel that the Final Fantasy 7 remake did too much to distinguish itself from the original. They just wanted the original game with modern visuals and a few improvements.
Yet, it’s impossible to not at least respect what the Final Fantasy 7 remake tries to accomplish. By cleverly utilizing meta elements, Final Fantasy 7 shatters our expectations and honestly comes out all the better for its considerable efforts.
After over a decade of work, this fan remake of Half-Life has finally been completed. Over the years, many suspected that there was no way this remake would ever live up to the hype.
Well, it didn’t. It actually exceeded the hype. Black Mesa is a bold and beautiful reimagining of one of the most important PC games ever made. We’d go so far as to call it the definitive way to play Half-Life in 2020.
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
Nobody really talks about The Twin Snakes these days. We strongly suspect that’s because the game is basically impossible to play (legally) if you don’t own a GameCube.
That’s truly a shame. The Twin Snakes not only incorporates some of Metal Gear Solid 2‘s best gameplay ideas but it features a variety of narrative changes and new story sequences that are absolutely bonkers. This is one of the strangest remakes ever, but it’s also one of the best.
Metroid: Samus Returns
We don’t know if we agree with Nintendo’s decision to shut down that infamous fan remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus that likely partially inspired this remake, but it’s hard to argue with the results.
Metroid: Samus Returns brilliantly combines old and new concepts to form what could very well be the most complete Metroid game ever made. Metroid 2 was always underrated, and we’re thrilled that it got a chance to shine in this remake.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Here again, we have another incredible retro Nintendo title whose handheld limitations made it the perfect remake candidate.
Even though most people expected this game to be good, few predicted that Link’s Awakening would be such a glorious realization of everything that made classic Zelda games…well…classics. This is one of those games that nearly every Switch owner needs to experience.
Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy
Expectations were modest for the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy. After all, most early previews suggested it would basically just be the Crash games with better graphics.
While those better graphics were certainly welcome, this remake’s brilliance is found in the little things. The subtle ways it refines and alters the original games reminded everyone just why they waited so long to play these PlayStation classics again.
Ratchet and Clank
Granted Ratchet and Clank is somewhere between a remake and a re-imagining, but we feel it’s close enough to the former to qualify for this list.
Generally speaking, this 2016 game just didn’t get the love it deserved. It’s possibly the best Ratchet & Clank game ever and one of the most enjoyable exclusives on a console that’s infamous for them.
Article updated. Original publish date Sept. 18, 2020