Ask any gamer what their favorite video game is, and the chance of it already having received an HD re-release is typically high. Whether it’s a classic side-scroller, or a beloved first person shooter, gamers are rarely bothered to pay for the newest version of a game over and over again. However, there is notable concern that video game publishers and developers are looking to fill the void of the lack of new titles on the current gaming consoles with graphically improved versions of recently released games.
This year alone has seen the re-release of games like Diablo III, Metro Redux, The Last of Us, Guacemelee and Halo: Spartan Assault. The problem is that many of these games are barely a few years old. While re-releases give gamers a chance to play titles they might have missed, they don’t exactly spur the creation of new content.
Video game publishers see that there is a demand for HD re-releases, and they recognize that they can make more than enough money selling the same game again. Now, people could say that if a developer provides enough new content, or makes enough graphical improvements to a game, that a purchase is warranted. Still, what can be viewed as “new” content and “improved graphics” can be different to many different people.
The Last of Us Remastered has been one of the best-selling games of August on the PS4. It’s not at all surprising that the critically acclaimed and commercially successful third-person action game from Naughty Dog, the studio behind The Uncharted Trilogy, is selling so well. However, questions have been raised about The Last of Us Remastered, and whether the game, which came out in 2013 on the PS3, deserves to be remade for another platform so quickly. Looking at side-by-side comparisons of screenshots and gameplay, it’s hard to notice any real discernible differences between the two versions of the games. Yes, Joel’s beard is looking a little more grey and scruffy, and the lighting effects look slightly better, but is that enough for someone to buy the game all over again on a next generation console? Now, it should be said that the game does include all of the previously released DLC on disc and is $10 cheaper. Whether the game is worth buying is up to customer, but with The Last of Us barely being two years old, is anything lost playing the game on an older console?
Having had the opportunity to sit down and play the game for several hours on a PS4, I can say with confidence that I was unable to see any major differences between The Last of Us Remastered and its last generation version. Now, I’m not saying The Last of Us Remastered is a bad game. If you were to ask me last year what I thought the best game of 2013 was, I would have said The Last of Us a thousand times over. My only concern is that companies will take advantage of a game’s popularity to sell a supposedly superior version.
The Xbox One will also see a high profile HD re-release of its own in October. The Master Chief Collection, which includes four games featuring the adventures of John-117, is being sold as a true next generation experience. Shipping with Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4, the Master Chief Collection is promising gamers not only a mind boggling amount of content, but a HD remastered version of Halo 2. With completely new cutscenes and HD graphics, the decade old game is receiving one hell of face-lift for the next generation. In the case of Halo 2, there are obvious differences between this HD version and the original game that came out in 2004.
In the case of the Master Chief Collection, this particular re-release seems warranted. Yes, I have yet to play Halo 2 Anniversary and the other titles included in the box-set, so perhaps I’m quick to say this is a good example of an HD re-release. Even with all that in mind, it’s hard not to admit that obvious effort went into the development of this collection.
As many gamers know, there will be a number of new titles released this year. With games like Destiny, Shadow of Mordor, FarCry 4 and Dragon Age Inquisition on the horizon, the newest consoles will hopefully live up to their potential. Even with all these exciting new games, HD re-releases of Sleeping Dogs, Saints Row: IV, Dead or Alive 5, Resident Evil, Journey and Unfinished Swan have already been confirmed for 2014 and 2015. With every new game, there just seems to be another HD re-release right behind it.