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10 Classic Games That Deserve Modern Makeovers

by Connor Trinske on Apr 20, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Remakes and reboots are all the rage these days, and it seems like a new one is always around the corner. Publishers are more eager than ever to bring their classic titles to a modern audience while tugging at the nostalgia of old fans at the same time. The recent Ratchet & Clank reboot is a great example of this, as well as the upcoming Doom reboot and the Final Fantasy VII remake. But there are plenty of other games that deserve to shine again, and we’ve compiled a list of some of the most deserving ones.

There are countless games we’d love to see return to the spotlight, but we’ve tried to keep this list fairly realistic. If you’re desperately craving a remake of The Adventures of Bayou Billy, don’t expect to find it here. These are 10 titles that could make at least some business sense today, and might stand a chance of actually happening at some point.

Crash Bandicoot
Every time the topic of “PlayStation mascots” comes up, people lament the disappearance of Crash. Spyro rocketed back to popularity with Skylanders, the Jak and Daxter reboot morphed into The Last of Us, and Ratchet & Clank are even getting their own movie. The bandicoot, who was first out of the gate, is the one who’s been left in the dust. Activision owns the IP nowadays, but has never truly taken advantage of it. A large demographic of underserviced fans can’t be wrong – as one of the biggest publishers in the industry, Activision has everything to gain by hiring a good developer to bring back the beloved marsupial.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Bethesda’s RPGs are a whole lot more prevalent now than they were when The Elder Scrolls III came out, so many contemporary fans have never visited the realm of Morrowind. It would definitely make sense to update and up-res the game for a new generation of Elder Scrolls players who are clearly interested in its universe. It wouldn’t hurt for those of us who have played it, either; Morrowind still retains its deep role-playing, free-form world and unique skill development that made it enjoyable in the first place. Just add a new coat of paint and the newer conveniences of the Elder Scrolls formula, and this one is a no-brainer.

Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
Factor 5 and LucasArts may be no more, but their development legacy lives on in the quality of the Rogue Squadron games. Rogue Leader was the greatest of them, and it could come back to life to take advantage of the latest boom in Star Wars popularity. The game included playable versions of many iconic space battles from the films, not unlike what DICE’s Battlefront reboot is doing with its ground skirmishes. DICE has already proven it can recreate Star Wars dogfights in an empowering, authentic way, and a remade Rogue Squadron game seems right up its alley.

The Witcher
The Witcher is a household name in gaming these days, mainly due to the distinction of The Witcher 3. But judging by the sales of that game compared to the first entry, most players don’t have a clue about Geralt’s origins – especially console players. An ill-fated console remaster of the first game, entitled The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf, was cancelled due to problems between CD Projekt Red and the studio it hired to convert the game. However, the Enhanced Edition of The Witcher 2 was extremely well received, and there’s good reason to do the same for the original game after the wild popularity of The Witcher 3.

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
Long before Assassin's Creed was implementing grappling hooks into its stealth/assassination formula, Tenchu had been doing it for years. With people constantly wanting an Assassin's Creed game set in feudal Japan, a rebooted Tenchu could be the ideal scratch for that itch. There is a much more satisfying focus on stealth in the Tenchu games: your ninja can't get caught in a battle with multiple guards and survive by simply chaining kills together. Planning ahead and using the crucial items at your disposal really makes the difference between accomplishing and failing a mission. A modern reimagining with streamlined controls would be a good way to give Tenchu the rebirth it deserves while appealing to the desires of today's market.

Click the next page to see five more beloved games that involve steampunk, cyberpunk, and a whole lot of water.

Deus Ex
Eidos Montreal rekindled the flame of Deus Ex with Human Revolution in 2011, which was both an outstanding addition to the series and a breakout hit amongst new players. With Mankind Divided arriving in fall of this year, Eidos Montreal could supplement the story with a remastered version of JC Denton’s engaging tale as he makes his choices to combat terrorism and conspiracy. The “Deus Ex Universe” would be able to keep its momentum going with a restoration like that, and modern players would get to see where the involving gameplay and branching narrative of the series originated.

Final Fantasy VI
If there was ever a true candidate for a remake in the Final Fantasy series, it is Final Fantasy VI. It’s all well and good that the most popular game in the franchise is getting a remake, but what about the best game in the franchise? Square Enix has done a good job and made plenty of money with its previous Final Fantasy remakes (which now span half the series), but it has inexplicably skipped over both V and VI. V was responsible for the most complete job system in the series, but VI is simply the prime achievement. Everything from story to gameplay to characters to setting was excellent in VI, and a full remake would reintroduce its importance to fans both new and old.

Super Mario Sunshine
Nintendo has realized the value of modern remakes after the rousing success of the HD and 3D remakes in the Zelda series. Now it’s time for another fan favorite to get the high-def treatment: Super Mario Sunshine. There have certainly been some rumblings about this one – the internet has been speculating about a 3DS version for a while, and there’s even a fan-made version being developed in Unreal Engine 4. An HD remake of this colorful, challenging adventure would satiate fans and provide a chance to iron out some of the rougher parts of the original (like the nightmarish Yoshi platforming, the locking camera, and more than a few glitches).

King's Field
King’s Field was From Software’s successful first game, and it was a strong inspiration in the design of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. The hands-off approach to exploration and gameplay, the enticing discovery and reward system, and something waiting to kill you around every corner all started in King's Field. As Dark Souls III concludes the series, From Soft has a wealth of different IPs that they can return to with their newfound prominence in the industry. With some updated controls, improved first-person combat, and a renewed focus on the game's mysterious world, King's Field could be the perfect combination of old and new if it was remade or rebooted.

Chrono Cross
If Square Enix is really serious about revitalizing its business in the JRPG market going forward, then Chrono Cross is the best place to start. The critically acclaimed sequel to Chrono Trigger has been languishing on Square's back burner for years, leaving many to wonder if the Chrono series will ever return in some form. Chrono Trigger is still played and talked about today, but Chrono Cross merits a complete remake to reestablish its significance, revive public interest in the franchise, and potentially pave the way for the long-awaited sequel.

My Honorable Mentions: Wario Land, Phantasy Star, Ape Escape, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Syphon Filter, Golden Axe, Secret of Mana, Super Mario RPG, F-Zero, Power Stone, Advance Wars, Condemned, Splinter Cell, Far Cry 2, Burnout Paradise 

Cutting this list down to 10 entries was a difficult job, but as much as we would like to include games like Comix Zone, Bushido Blade and Snatcher, we had to keep things within reason. That's why we'd love to hear your personal picks for games that should get modern updates, realistic or not! Tell us what your nostalgic heart desires in the comments section below. We've also got a list of the best HD remakes, along with our evolving list of current-generation remasters.