What Makes a Re-release Worth the Cash?

You've already bought it once, why buy again?

So you’ve already beat your favorite game a few times. You have tried others, but you keep finding yourself back in that familiar world on that old console. You know every inch of that map, know exactly how the story unfolds, all of the secrets, and yet you cannot get enough. Then one day out of nowhere, you hear the news – they are re-releasing that game! But what must the re-release have to encourage you to spend that hard-earned money?

For me, there are a handful of games that I would buy the re-release no matter what. That’s how special a few of the games I have played are to me. Mainly Zelda games, I would re-purchase Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask until the end of time (same with A Link to the Past, but A Link Between Worlds was mostly a remake). However, a key thing with re-makes that I expect is obviously the graphics. Graphics enhancement must be to what the current system is, or it will be a hard sell to me because the game looks exactly the same as it did years ago. I want to see the familiar characters and environment with new eyes and be in awe of everything like it’s the first time I am seeing it. One of the cooler things I have seen in a re-release is in the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. You can go back and forth between the updated graphics and the original. It lets you appreciate how far technology has come and is just a sick feature altogether.

Graphics don’t always need improvement, as is the case with Nintendo releasing the NES and SNES Classics versions. These are unique in that they feature several iconic games on each system, all played like they did when originally released. The look of the classic consoles and using the classic controls takes you back to a simpler time, and it is awesome to play all of these old retro games the way they were intended. Something cool that the SNES Classic does is allows the user to play Star Fox 2, which was never released. That is a power move that many die-hard fans cannot pass up.

Adding some sort of online mode is always a solid option as well. There doesn’t necessarily have to an online multiplayer mode where you compete with other players, but some sort of leaderboard where you can compare yourself to other players could be a nice touch. There’s nothing like the spirit of competition, and having a leaderboard where you can judge how quickly you beat a game, if you found every unlockable, etc. will entice players to keep coming back to that game to try to improve their virtual status. Even something as simple as adding achievements or trophies to re-releases that never had them in the past is a solid idea. It gives the player something extra to strive for.

Another crucial element is improving the gameplay and controls. Often times, especially in the older games that get re-released, there is some type of control or gameplay issue that needs to be resolved. What immediately comes to my mind is the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time. This temple was extremely frustrating and many consider it the toughest dungeon in any Zelda game. The dungeon revolves around changing the water levels, which can be challenging to say the least. In the remaster for the 3DS, the temple indicates how the water level will change in each area, which is a huge assist to the player. Listening to feedback and improving upon what didn’t work well is crucial in any re-release.

Something very crucial to a re-release is giving the fans what they expect. When I first heard the rumors that Modern Warfare 2 was being remastered I was ecstatic. Not only was the story mode great, with so many fun levels and twists and turns, but I would also finally get the chance to take on random people online again and talk crap without a care in the world. I was 10th Prestige Level 70 legit in the original, and I was ready to work my way up the ranks yet again. Only that wouldn’t be the case.

For some reason, the Modern Warfare 2 remake was announced that it would only be the story mode. Cue immediate rage. Then, a remake never ended up happening. Instead, MW2 ended up only being “backward compatible” on the Xbox one… talk about a slap in the face. Sorry if you are a PlayStation user, because you didn’t even get that! Modern Warfare 2 is a game that had an insane online following, and so many people would buy a remake if they tweaked and nerfed some of the online gameplay. Who knows if the community will ever get what they want.

A re-release should keep the original game intact and only improve upon it. It must preserve what made that game so special in the first place and fix certain aspects to make it an even better game than it was before. If a re-release neglects to do this, then it won’t be worth the money, and you’ll be better off spending time and money elsewhere.

Grant Pfost, your gamer bro, enjoys long binges on the couch when he's not binge drinking like he's still in college. A connoisseur of tv and film, Grant hopes his articles will make you laugh, cry, and appreciate the little things in life.

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