If you’re an owner of Sony’s latest console – itself now four years old – chances are you played your way through games on the PS3, PS2, and if you’re old enough, the original grey box itself. With the release of the PlayStation Classic this month, we’re getting a chance to revisit gems from Sony’s entry in the fifth generation of consoles. But what about the sixth and seventh generation?
Well, the idea of giving games from the previous generation an HD upgrade was introduced on the PS3, and the trend has carried on to the Playstation 4. This is handy, because although we no longer have backwards capability, we’ll always have an urge to replay our favorite games. Much like the switch from video to DVD, and DVD to Blu-ray, games also need to be kept and preserved through technological advances. The following list comprises of ten remasters for the PS4 that you can’t afford to miss.
10. God of War III: Remastered
First released for the PS3 in 2010, this game’s story begins right where God of War II finished. Kratos ascends Mt Olympus, along with Gaia and the other titans, for his final showdown with Zeus and the Olympian gods. While it looks better than ever on the PS4, the main reason to get your hands on this remaster is due to what came next. The critically acclaimed reboot God of War, released this year, took the franchise into deeper and more mature territory – in terms of both story and gameplay. To have a glimpse into Kratos’ past, and experience God of War’s ridiculous yet brilliantly fun hack ’n’ slash platformer origins, it’s worth giving this a look.
9. DMC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition
Thanks to developers Ninja Theory, Capcom’s stand-alone, reimagined, Devil May Cry – set in an alternate reality to the central series – is a remarkable game in its own right. You don’t need to have played the previous four games to know what’s going on here; this tale, with a reenvisaged Dante and Vergil, is a concise but fun experiment that also stands apart visually from the other entries. Each stage is like an intensely colorful acid trip, as you weave Dante in and out of “Limbo” – a neon-lit satanic dimension – to take down demonic TV networks, nightclub owners and soft-drink manufacturers. Reality crumbles in a hallucinatory Dr Strange kind of way – the series always was zany, but this took it even further. It’s also worth mentioning that the story is more moving, and the characters more believable, than any of the other games. And in this “definitive edition” includes Vergil’s Downfall, originally DLC, which not only gives you control of Vergil, but tells a new story, with hand-drawn cutscenes worthy of a graphic novel. It’s a shame that next year’s Devil May Cry 5 will pretend this game never existed. So, on that subject…
8. Devil May Cry: HD Collection
While it’s true that the original PS2 trilogy received the HD treatment on the PS3, and a re-re-release does seem a bit desperate, these games are so good it’s hard to care. Unlike rival PS2 hack ‘n’ slashes God of War 1&2, these three games each have an entirely different engine. Not to mention a new voice actor for Dante in each game, and with the chronology all over the place – the ordering is 3, 1, 2 – there is a lack of continuity. But you could look at it another way; each game is fresh and original, with its own aesthetic style. The first is set in a dark and claustrophobia-inducing gothic mansion, the second in an open and urban environment, and the third setting merges the two – setting the standard for future releases. You’re getting three unique games for the price of one here.
7. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
The first three installments of Naughty Dog’s cinematic series were re-released together for the PS4 back in 2015, and the package was named after their wisecracking protagonist: Nathan Drake. He’s a stock “loveable rogue” character, but his dialogue’s so well-written, and acted (by Nolan North) that he’s now a video game icon. Come to think of it, the entire series didn’t do anything new; it was a simple action-adventure shooter platformer, in the vein of Tomb Raider. But it was done so well that critics and audiences couldn’t help but fall in love with it. Not only the story, but the polished graphics, the smooth combination of puzzle solving, climbing and shooting, and the awe-inspiring set pieces that put most action films to shame (think shooting down a chopper with a mini-gun from a burning train in the mountains of Nepal).
6. The Last of Us: Remastered
Branching out into survival horror, with The Last of Us, Naughty Dog accomplished what Konami did with Silent Hill back in 1999 – it redefined a genre. With the cinematics and intricate storytelling perfected with the Uncharted series, it was time to move onto darker stuff. Taking inspiration from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Game of Thrones creator David Benioff’s historical novel City of Thieves, directors Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann veered into more ambitious territory. It’s a brutal post-apocalyptic world, ravaged with a zombie-like disease (the creators came up with it after watching Planet Earth, funnily enough), and the story offers no easy answers to difficult questions. In this remastered edition, they’ve included the DLC Left Behind, which acts as a prequel to the main story - telling the backstory of Ellie (and revealing information key to The Last of Us Part II). The game shows how far Naughty Dog has come since their early days. Speaking of which…
5. Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy
These wacky platformers for the PS1 catapulted Naughty Dog into the big league, and made a household name of an anthropomorphic bandicoot named Crash. It’s a fitting tribute, then, to see these three games completely rejigged with current generation graphics. Crash has kept his characteristic cheekiness, the mapping is just the same, and timing those jumps is as infuriating as ever. It just looks a helluva lot smoother now. Developers Vicarious Visions made this game for the old school fans and newcomers alike, and it’s safe to say they pleased both. Just don’t get so distracted by the upgraded visuals that you fall down that crevice.
4. Shadow of the Colossus
The original Shadow of the Colossus is one of the most visually stunning games on the PS2; it wowed the gaming community in 2005 with its vast world and detailed scenery. The remaster for the PS4 looks even better – just look at a side-by-side video on YouTube, comparing the remaster and original, to see how much effort has gone into this release. Players take control of Wander, as he explores this striking world in search of sixteen unique creatures. With challenging puzzles, terrifying bosses and an emotionally powerful soundtrack to boot, this is an unmissable remaster, for fans of the original and newcomers alike.
3. Grand Theft Auto V
The critically acclaimed follow up to GTAIV was re-released for the PS4 and XBox One in 2014. The first in the series to feature more than one protagonist, it was ground-breaking for other reasons too: an optional first-person mode draws the player even closer to the chaos and anarchy. Each player of the three available characters have their own set of skills – such as a driver and a marksman – yet you can improve their stats with experience. So the much-loved RPG elements of PS2’s San Andreas are back, and in the same city.
2. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
Speaking of chaos and anarchy, the Borderlands series makes Grand Theft Auto look like Mini Mario and Friends. This unique RPG shooter takes place on a planet called Pandora. The premise is four fortune seekers taking on the galaxy’s sinister corporations in a race to find a fabled alien vault. You take on the corporations’ minions, and numerous other creatures and bandits, in the main story and, if you choose, countless side quests. Don’t be deceived by the cartoony cel shaded graphics – it’s brutal as hell. The Handsome Collection rerelease, named after antagonist Handsome Jack, contains Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
1. Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far
Cast your mind back to 2002, and you might remember one of the oddest announcements in gaming history; Square and The Walt Disney Company were collaborating. They were working together on an action role-playing game, that would feature characters from Final Fantasy and a plethora of Disney films – Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy would be sharing screen time with Cloud and Sephiroth. It sounded like a fever dream of a gamer who grew up on Disney, but turned out to be one of the most surprising crowd-and-critic-pleasers of the decade. While you’re waiting for Kingdom Hearts 3 to finally drop, why not replay the whole thing so far in HD?