Regardless of medium, remakes are almost always a bad idea. Movie remakes turn out bad, TV show remakes turn out bad, and video games remakes turn out especially bad. Unlike with film and television, though, fans are a bit more forgiving of video game remakes for whatever reason.
As the medium is still rather young, quite a number of people prioritize quality of life over originality or clever game design. In turn, it’s not unusual for big studios to push big remakes for games that, frankly, would have done well enough with just a modern graphical update. Most video game remakes are bad, but these are easily the worst of the bunch.
10 Super Mario 64 DS
Super Mario 64 as it originally released on the Nintendo 64 was one of the tightest games to ever be developed control wise. Even today, it’s incredibly easy to pick up the original SM64 and immediately understand how it reinvented gaming in a 3D plane. That same praise cannot be extended to the DS remake.
While it adds quite a lot of new content, it does so at the expense of the game. Without an analog stick, SM64DS feels painfully stiff. Worse yet, much of the charm has been gutted as the graphical overhaul replaces the original’s quirks with a rather soulless, uniform aesthetic.
9 Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire
Considering just how good FireRed, LeafGreen, Heart Gold, and Soul Silver all were, fans were naturally expecting Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire to blow them away. After all, this was the first remake in the series to release after the franchise’s shift to 3D models. Unfortunately, ORAS focused far too much on remaking Ruby and Sapphire over Emerald.
Where previous remakes focused on remaking third version content, ORAS was a cheap, understated remake devoid of content fans actually wanted. It was better off simply being its own game, but even that wouldn’t have saved the title from its poor balance, bad story, and bland art style.
8 The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D is not a bad game, but it is a bad remake in every sense of the word. Should someone pick up the game today without having played the original, they’ll have a fine enough time, but any genuine fan of the N64 classic will immediately realize what’s wrong with the 3DS remake.
Beyond gutting the atmosphere with an overly bright art style, Majora’s Mask 3D makes several pointless design changes. All of which for the worse. Deku hopping is stiffer, Zora swimming is less fluid, and boss fights are re-designed to feature weak points, ruining combat variety as a result. It’s still a good game for newcomers, but an inferior remake in every respect.
7 Secret Of Mana (2018)
On the other side of the bad remake spectrum is the 2018 remake of Secret of Mana which is both a bad remake and a bad game! Absolutely bastardizing everything that made the original Secret of Mana unique, this 2018 remake is an utter disaster that only hurts more after realizing that Adventures of Mana, the first game’s remake, was actually incredible.
Secret of Mana removes the charm, kills the soundtrack with an incohesive replacement score, and doesn’t even have the decency to update the gameplay’s kinks. It’s inferior in every single way with none of the charisma. The only thing it brings to the table is fleshing out a rather bland main cast, but that’s hardly enough.
6 Ape Escape: On The Loose
Ape Escape: On The Loose is to the original Ape Escape what Super Mario 64 DS was to the original Super Mario 64: a mess. The first Ape Escape was very deliberately designed with two analog sticks in mind, something the PSP very much lacks. As a result, the game didn’t control nearly as well.
Which is a shame since it’s the controls that allow Ape Escape to shine as a franchise. It’s always unfortunate when a remake fails to capture the spirit of the original, but it’s even worse when said remake fails to understand the mechanics and controls at play.
5 Dark Souls: Remastered
The “Remastered” moniker might suggest that Dark Souls: Remastered isn’t a remake, but it very much is, the PS4 and Xbox One versions in particular. In using Dark Souls III’s engine, the original Dark Souls loses something in the transition. Better online doesn’t make up for the worse aesthetic and gameplay changes.
That said, this is perhaps the least offensive “worst” remake much like Majora’s Mask 3D. This shouldn’t be an excuse to absolve the remaster of its sins, however, as it very much is inferior to the original release. Fans are better off simply playing a modded version of the PC original.
4 Diddy Kong Racing DS
The DS is home to some pretty bad remakes all things considered. While Super Mario 64 DS is worse than its source game, it’s at least playable and doesn’t outright remove important content (caps aside). Diddy Kong Racing DS, on the other hand, messes up the controls while removing playable characters!
This should have been the revival of the Diddy Kong Racing brand, but it very well may have permanently killed it instead. Why would anyone want to play a racing game with touch controls? The fact the game reviewed as well as it did is a testament to the nostalgia fans have for the original.
3 GoldenEye 007: Reloaded
Speaking of shoddy remakes of classic Nintendo 64 games, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is a remake in name only considering the developers actually couldn’t get the rights to the original GoldenEye. At that point, it isn’t even worth “remaking” the game and the devs would have been better off making their own Bond game.
Even then, however, a renaming likely wouldn’t have saved the game. GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is a fundamentally bad game with uninspired level design, basic gunplay, and a neutered multiplayer mode compared to the original. This is not the same GoldenEye so many fans grew up with and it shows.
2 Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut
Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut should by all accounts be a good remake. Not only does it add a bunch of new content, it straight up adds new, playable games to the mix. It’s an action packed remake that fleshes out the game considerably. So where does it go wrong? Well, for starters, it’s horrifically optimized.
When it comes down to it, Sonic Adventure DX looks, plays, and sounds bad. The graphics are disgustingly glossy, the controls are far too slippery, and the audio quality leaves a lot to be desired. This was a game built for DreamCast hardware and it shockingly shows.
1 Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop
It’s easy to forget nowadays, but the Wii was a very weak console. It was barely an upgrade over the GameCube, keeping it perpetually in last place when it came to hardware last generation. As a result, most third-party studios just stopped porting games to Wii. The few that did met with some disastrous results.A remake of the 360 classic Dead Rising, Chop Till You Drop was actually built on the RE4 engine. That did make for some decent gunplay, but at the expense of literally everything else that made Dead Rising an interesting game. It’s basically a shadow of its former self that brings nothing meaningful to the table.