Some games hold the test of time. Have you ever gone back and played Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time? Still holds up, huh? There are masterpieces that fill gaming history that truly still hold up, but there’s a good chance that none of us will ever be able to experience them. Video Game history is something to be coveted and cherished. Each year the gaming industry has grown in great strides and has become one of the biggest (okay, it is legitimately the biggest, weirdly) entertainment industry out there; proving to the world that it can be art, just fun, healthy, challenging, and so much more. Shouldn’t those games that paved the way to the modern masterpieces we have now be allowed to be experienced? Shouldn’t the world be allowed to play games that there has never been anything like? And why can’t they experience those games with a few modern touches to show the full potential? In light of the recent release and glorious reception of the absolutely outstanding Resident Evil 2 remake, here are five remakes of games I’ve never played that I would play the hell out of.
5. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
Tony Hawk Pro Skater showed the world a completely new way of sports gaming with its punk style, exhilarating gameplay, and intensive combo system. But, just like Resident Evil, the second installment was what the series needed to take things to the next level. This took form with new additions such as being able to build your own skate park, create your own character, a bigger and better career mode, bigger maps, and most of all the game-changing manual; letting players string together all of their various gnarly tricks all over the maps. I played the hell out of the first one as a wee lad of four years old and even hopped on for some of the later entries; but if Activision has seen the recent success of bringing beloved series that lost their ways back to their roots they would do well to follow suit and let the world finally get one last good taste in their mouth of that sweet sweet series and let those who never played it realize what all that punk early 2000’s hoopla was all about.
4. Vagrant Story
Final Fantasy absolutely dominated the JRPG and even the RPG scene back in the early 2000s. For them, it was hit after hit, with the industry taking notice, as it put out masterpieces like FF VII, VIII, and IX. The repercussion of this is that it left other JRPG’s in the dust and a few that deserved attention never got any, like our next pick: Vagrant Story. Don’t get me wrong, Vagrant Story was also developed by Square, still sold decently well, and was even reviewed well by critics. But with time, Vagrant Story fell by the wayside thanks to being released near the now regarded Final Fantasy IX and Chrono Cross. Vagrant Story featured a fascinating art style and interesting characterization as it took inspiration from blockbuster films and tidbits of storytelling from other cultures. But one of the things that truly set Vagrant Story apart was a wholly original battle system that required a bit of commitment to master. It’s rare to see a JRPG of this caliber (that isn’t part of a mainline series) anywhere in today’s landscape, making Vagrant Story ripe for a modern redux! I have an itch for a unique JRPG right now that I just can’t seem to reach on my back – Square Enix, you mind scratching that for me?
3. Eternal Darkness
Nintendo loves its family-friendly series with its whole heart and darn is it good at making the.… this isn’t that. Back in the early 2000’s Nintendo did something extremely out-of-character and decided to commission an exclusive horror game. This game eventually turned out the be the cult hit Eternal Darkness. ED (I should probably just type it out fully) is very much a game in the same vein as other third-person horror games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Though it had stiff competition, Eternal Darkness was no slouch and even introduced new ideas that hadn’t been seen in games at that time(and since). Eternal Darkness’s horror focus fell very much on the psychological and borderline Lovecraftian with the player’s sanity even playing a large part in gameplay. Sanity’s effect on gameplay became one of the game’s most unique features, even to this day, with the lower it gets the weirder things actually get for the player. This takes forms of visual trickery, hearing voices and even the game pretending to crash and erase all of your save files (these people knew what true horror was [I still weep about my corrupted 100% run of Wind Waker]). Other than Eternal Darkness, this idea of messing with the actual gamer has been few and far between with really only one other time in the mainstream in the form of the touted Metal Gear Solid Psycho-Mantis boss fight. With the insane success of the Switch and Nintendo appealing to more hardcore crowds through their partnerships with Bethesda and other mature studios, there has never been a better time for Nintendo to invest in their own mature catalog, starting with their fan-favorite horror that fans and newbies (me) alike have been clamoring to play.
2. Silent Hill 2
The Silent Hill series has a strange history of games with many being decently bland horror outings… But it hasn’t always been that way. Silent Hill made its debut back in 1999 and shocked the world with a truly atmospheric horror game, but (like in two other series on this list) the creators were even more confident for their second iteration and broke new ground for the horror genre. It seems to me that there hasn’t been a game more coveted by an online community as much as Silent Hill 2. I can see why! The game rocked thick atmosphere, demented monster design, actual scares, horror with an actual meaning behind it, and it even introduced the world to Pyramid Head. Silent Hill 2 has, of course, seen a remaster before (one that was sloppily handled by Konami, mind you), but Silent Hill 2 is exactly the kind of masterpiece that should be experienced by a new crowd with a full modern remake (with fog intact, mind you once more). Seeing the horrors with all new graphical fidelity and tank controls stripped away for a more modern 3rd person camera, like the Resident Evil 2 remake, and the world would be weeping with nostalgia and new horror all around. For some reason, I just keep thinking of the fog with modern particle effects and it’s giving me the willies. Please let me experience this Konami! Free all of your games from their pachinko prisons!
1. God Hand
With the emergence of a new revitalized love for punishing gameplay, a la Dark Souls, it is time for God Hand to kick ass back onto the scene. God Hand was an incredibly inventive over-the-shoulder beat-em-up with a complex combo system, irreverent and strange Japanese style, and absolutely brutal gameplay, developed by some of the minds and hands that went on to become Platinum Games (the beautiful people who created Bayonetta and Neir Automata). But, when God Hand released back in 2006, it released to little fanfare and brutal reviews due to a community that then criticized gameplay that forced the player to come to terms with a new style of control. Just like Dark Souls, God Hand (ironically) did not hold your hand and would purposefully pit the player in situations that seemed frustrating if not insurmountable. BUT ALL OF THESE ARE EXACTLY WHY I WANT TO GET MY HANDS ON THIS GAME. With a modern remake to smooth out some of those rough edges the 2000s came with, God Hand is more than ready to live a second life. I have a soft spot for strange and tongue-in-cheek Japanese outings and that compiled with my masochistic gaming style, I have never wanted to play a game like God Hand more in my life; being in God Hand’s nature – there’s nothing else like it out there.
There is a reason that each one of these games would deserve a faithful remake rather than full-fledged sequels and some of you knowledgeable readers out there probably noticed; not a single one of these studios still exist. Neversoft, the creators of the Pro Skater series, was dissolved by activation into Infinity Ward in 2014 and a statue of their skewered eyeball logo was burned. Square, who developed Vagrant Story, was merged to become Square Enix and the team that developed it was dispersed into a team to create more Final Fantasy games(they actually developed the underrated Final Fantasy XII). The minds behind Eternal Darkness, Silicon Knights, went down in infamy with the disastrous development and reception to their game Too Human and only got to develop one last game (a terrible licensed X-men game) before going under. Team Silent, you know what they made, is especially sad since Konami started outsourcing development to Western Studios and the games latest touted revival, Silent Hills, was tragically canceled. Lastly, Clover studio was disbanded, luckily with many members jumping ship to create Platinum Games. I tell you things not because it is truly a tragedy, I didn’t even think about that fact they all weren’t studios and teams anymore until it was all put together, these things happen in such a fast-paced and competitive market like the video game industry. I’m telling you this because video game History is something that needs to be preserved. I commend these developers creating classic games from the ground up and the engineers working on backwards compatibility because they are working against the grain. Unlike movies, once a game is gone, there’s a chance you’ll never have the chance to play that bit of history. These are games that I have never played, games that I would love to play, and also games that I would have to jump through a crazy amount of hoops to ever get a chance to ever play – there’s no efficient way, as of yet, for our future gamers to experience things that they know they would have loved… and that’s a shame. History is not only to be learned from but to be relished.