As tiresome as the constant conveyor of remakes and remasters is, we gamers are nothing if not suckers for nostalgia, right? We don’t want to see gaming go the way of film, with very little if anything truly coming out anymore. Yet, we cannot help but eat it up when our childhood favorites come back in updated form. I’m no exception to this, and so as part of our ongoing Listmas celebration, I’ve prepared my list of remakes that I most want to see (even though they’ll likely never be made.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons
Nintendo has very seldomly lent out their major IP to outside studios, and for good reason. The first time they did it, we got those awful Phillips CDI Zelda and Mario games! Yet, the company has taken chances here and there over the years, and thankfully the results have been mostly good. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons has long been one of my favorite Nintendo collaborations.
These games are everything good about Zelda, but with an even greater helping of story mixed in. Further, they both feature a very clever mechanic that makes their worlds seem bigger than they actually are: seasons in Seasons, and the past/future worlds in Ages. More than that, fans get some of the most creative items ever made for Zelda and get to use them in worlds that have little to nothing to do with Hyrule for a change. It’s all just fantastic!
There were a couple things that held them back though, and a remake would be the perfect chance to address that. Chief among these is the split nature of the games. They’re supposed to be treated as one complete package, yet they are necessarily separated into two games tied together by a password system. If Nintendo were to do a remake, they could finally unify the adventures and fully integrate the extra things added via the password system. I don’t know about you, but I’m wondering why they aren’t already on it.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Considering the already troubled state of the KotOR 1 remake, I’m pretty sure this one will only ever be a personal pipe-dream. KotOR II has been a personal favorite of mine for well over 10 years now, and I think it’s largely because of the characters and ideas at play in it. KotOR II is a Star Wars story that properly subverts fans expectations for Star Wars. See, it’s not doing things solely for the sake of doing it and being “subversive” (like the recent movies made by a certain baby-faced, wanna-be edgelord), but rather it comes about naturally as part of the story they’re seeking to tell.
With this sole exception, every Star Wars story has been a nice, clean tale of good vs. evil. The light is always good, the dark is always bad, and they must always fight in order to keep the dark from winning. In other words, all the fighting and warring is good because it’s in the name of peace and justice and all that. KotOR II though, it takes aim squarely at that notion and asks a simple question: “is all this really good?”
KotOR II forces the player to take a step back and really look at what the eternal struggle between the light and dark sides of the Force has done to the galaxy and asks if all its inhabitants would simply be better-off without it. There’s still a Jedi vs Sith thing going on, but it’s used to further this examination of not just the two factions, but also the Force itself. It’s a story with a certain kind of subtlety that I’m not so sure modern writers are capable of anymore. I’d want a remake for the improved visuals and gameplay refinements, but I wonder if any studio would be able to resist the temptation to meddle with the story and characters. In other words, I’d love a modern update for KotOR II, but only under conditions that I just don’t think are possible these days.
This one on the other hand, would be a nice and straight-forward affair. Just update Super Metroid (arguably still the best 2D Metroid ever made) with the visuals seen in Metroid Dread. Mayyyybee tweak some of the physics and smooth-out some of the movement frustrations, but otherwise just leave the core of it alone. I also wouldn’t mind seeing a handful of moments transformed into those awesome in-engine cutscenes we saw in Metroid Dread. Beyond that, nothing more is needed. Just take the old game and make it look awesome!
Donkey Kong 64
DK64 is a fun but flawed game that would benefit greatly from a remake, I think. Yes, updated visuals would be the first order of business, but there are a number of things that could be changed that would take it from a pseudo-classic and turn it into the genuinely great game it always had the potential to be.
Here’s what would be good: get rid of the Change Barrel. It’s always been annoying having to go back and forth to change Kongs; just do as Video Game Dunkey suggested and make that a button-press. Next, get rid of the colored bananas and banana coins. With all the Kongs a button-press away, there’s no need for that much color-coding.
Each Kong can still have their 5 Golden Bananas, but make more of those bananas simple pick-ups rather than hiding them behind annoying minigames. Finally, reduce the mini-games by about 60%. That is, reduce the “Bonus Stage” mini-games. They’re fun to do every so often, but they get old fast! Replace them with interesting in-world challenges instead. Of those left, iron them out really well in order to get rid of the jank that plagues the worst of them. Do all that, and we’ve got a much more fun, streamlined game to enjoy.
These are just my picks of course, what remakes/remasters do you dream about? What would you change? Let us know and stick around for more Listmas in the coming weeks!
Image is the DK64 title art