From 'Diablo 2' to 'Super Mario 64', remakes aren't always better

By Steven T. Wright

Let's face it: the video games of your youth just don't look as good as you remember. Luckily, the creaking monolith known as the gaming industry is more than willing to sell you prettified versions of all the Certified Gaming Classics™ from the idyllic days of childhood, as long as you're willing to fork over $60 (or even $70!) for the privilege. However, while these editions of these classic games are ostensibly the latest and greatest the industry has to offer, that doesn't mean that they're necessarily the best experience, especially around the margins.

For one thing, the steady march of technology can introduce some strange issues to the mix. Recently, Blizzard announced that the much-heralded Diablo 2 Resurrected will not include true support for ultra-wide monitors because the extreme 21:9 aspect ratio basically breaks the game. It would give certain players the ability to see enemies that would register as off-screen for other players, as well as giving them the opportunity to attack those enemies before their AI can wake up and target them. Such players will have to settle for a 19:9 aspect ratio, which certainly constitutes undue suffering.

Wrong button —

Some of these changes are more subtle than others. For example, if you picked up the PS4 remake of the '90s Crash Bandicoot trilogy and found yourself falling into pits a lot more than you remember, no, it's not just your fumbling fingers at fault here. One Redditor conducted a lengthy (if informal) analysis of the game's physics and concluded that the developer's decision to unify Crash's jump physics in all three games made Crash 1 feel a lot harder than the original. The game's hit boxes are also round instead of square, meaning that it's a little easier to slip off a platform or wander into a roaming turtle too.

Backlash —

Not every change can be measured by an objective standard. In recent years, the high-profile PlayStation remakes of Shadow of the Colossus and Demon's Souls resulted in minor backlash from fans who felt that the "improved" visuals of each game strayed too far from the art direction of the originals. Though Demon's Souls is undoubtedly one of the most impressive games on the PS5 on a purely technical level, there's also quite a bit of difference between the two versions of the game, and it's understandable that some might favor the murky brilliance of the PS3 game.

Effort counts —

Then again, let's not forget that there are some truly excellent video game remakes that have come out in the past few years, such as the totally reimagined Resident Evil 2. And even when a remake drops the ball in one way or another, it certainly beats the alternative offered by companies like Nintendo, which is more than happy to re-release games with the absolute minimum amount of updating possible for the maximum amount of money. The Super Mario 64 port in last year's Super Mario 3D All-Stars (which is no longer available for sale because, you know, Nintendo) didn't even feature a modern 16:9 aspect ratio. Come on, guys. That's just embarrassing.


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