Thread of HD Remakes/Remasters, official emulation & BC.

I’ve been thinking about making a thread like this for a while now. It occurred to me that many of us here are hardware purists. I am to an extent but once we got into the 6th Generation (128-bit gen) I feel like all bets were off for me. Even to the point where I might say playing certain games might be better via emulation on a PC. But that isn’t what this thread is about.

It occurred to me that most of the games from the 6th gen had controls that were just awful for me. The most unforgivable was the camera. The era of up is down and left is right just drove me up the wall. This stupid camera system hamstrung me early on with FPS games where I couldn’t play them on a console because my muscle memory kept taking over (eventually I learned to correct this and now up is up etc).

Its funny to admit, but for me the awful camera and some of the QoL changes we have made over the past couple generations of games have made HD remasters or even official emulation the superior choice in a lot of cases. I could not play Shadow of the Colossus and once the remake dropped a month or so ago I fell in love with a game that I struggled with thanks to the awful camera and wonky controls. I wish the controls were even better now but I think the game’s intent is to make you struggle with the controls a bit for the sake of challenge.

I put 40+ hours into Final Fantasy 12 on the PS2/3 (bc) with no ability to change the camera controls. I hated even minute of walking around yet loved the game. At some point I got sick of controlling the game and quit. Now that the HD Remaster is out I can finally enjoy that game and as a bonus I get much improved visuals.

I also bought Rogue Galaxy, Mark of Kri & it’s sequel for PS4 and they fixed the camera controls and they did this with the Rachet & Clank games to boot. I still prefer the R&C series on PS3 as they actually did more than upscale it via emulation (but the main thing is, they fixed the camera controls and the wide screen support was excellent).

I also bought an XBOX One X and revisiting some of those early original XBOX games have been a lot of fun. Now I can play these games in 4K. I had so much fun playing Grabbed by the Ghoulies and I thought the visuals (except for the pre-rendered cut scenes) really looked great in 4K.

Speaking of 4K, I bought the Burnout Paradise Remaster on XBOX One and I am having such a blast and the game looks really good. I still think they could have tweaked the 360 code to update the visuals to 4K and had a similar result. Not all 360 games are getting the enhanced treatment but I really can’t wait for the Metal Gear Solid collection on XBOX 360 to come to XBOX One bc. I tried going back to it on PS2 a few months ago and I just couldn’t bring myself to want to play it too much.

Now some of you are ok with playing games from the 6th gen via the OSSC & Framemeister. I think its pretty good. The addition of the 2X to 480p and 4x to 480i does help. But I think in many cases, I am finding that I prefer playing these games on modern hardware. It really depends if the game camera is controlled by the player and if so, it lacks camera control options.

/end rant

Now all that said. I hope this will be a place we can discuss the benefits and the short comings of these various ports. I didn’t go into the negatives but there are plenty to discuss but for the most part there are many games that are having a second life for me thanks to official emulation or remasters.

I’ve always loved the N64 Zelda 3DS remasters - even the changes in Majora’s Mask, which is my favourite Zelda game.

Now that the Citra Canary core in Retroarch can play them full speed with flawless sound and gamepad support (I use a Switch Pro Controller via bluetooth), I’m stunned by just how incredible they look in native 1080p. The textures in Majora’s Mask especially are really good for a 3DS title:

The touch screen isn’t an issue = you can set the screen like this, and the right stick on the gamepad controls a pointer in that area, and you press the stick to activate:

I finished Ocarina of Time the other day and I don’t think I experienced a single slowdown. Works beautifully and definitely my favourite way to play these two classics. Just need gyro support now!

Here’s a video of majora’s mask I took if anyone’s interested:

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I love the 3DS Zelda games. I know this thread isn’t about emulation but I think this passes the sniff test.

Shout outs to the X360 Treasures Games–Ikraruga, Radiant Silvergun, Guardian Heroes. These games are very expensive in their original forms, but rather inexpensive on the 360, they’re also BC with the XB1.

Agreed. I own Ikaruga on Dreamcast but I bought it again on Xbox 360 and that Silvergun port was an awesome thing. I could’ve bought the import new long ago but waited like too many other Saturn imports.

I’ve played through guardian Heroes on Xbox One and I played it on Saturn. I have to say, I prefer it on Xbox. I miss the scanlines but I feel it actually plays better mechanically on Xbox.

Those treasure games are a steal on Xbox.

If you are a fan of Jet Grind/Set Radio I think the PS3 has a great port of it. Still controls like hell. I might actually prefer this game on DC but the port is solid as far as I can tell.

I’ve repurchased FFX (Meg Ryan Edition) & FFXII (bummer no pro support) on PS4. FF7 PC port to PS4 is the only PS1 era port so far worth playing. I’m not a fan of what they did with 6 and 9 so I’m not holding my breath for anything decent from Square Enix.

I am really digging the way the new Spyro game turned out. I wish Square Enix just decided to do this for FF7 instead of that abomination they are working on (taking out turn based, menu driven combat for the ADHD generation). Makes me wish that Nintendo would do this for Mario 64 on the switch. I know a lot of us are fans of the originals but when we got to the 3D generation, cameras and controls often ruin a perfectly good/great game just because it feels so archaic (unlike 2D games that seem to be timeless).

I still need to get Spyro, those are probably my most-played PS1 games. As lame as Activision usually is, they are killing it with these remakes.

I am much more excited for this that the original Crash games.

I just bought the Spyro Remake as well planning to pick up CTR day 1 in hopes of seeing more support for the franchises. Playing through Spyro Reignited I thought I’d throw up a mini-review as I play through the games (take this with a grain of nostalgia salt).

So far I have only played about 50% of Spyro 1.

The visuals here are very well done. Those that worked on these games should feel very proud. Overall the art directions is a bit “Blizzard-esque” in that it feels polished yet a little clunky and generic. This is really just a personal preference, but I just don’t feel the charm or artistic ingenuity compared to the originals. Also, while overall the art is excellent, as a huge fan of the originals, there have been some changes made that I do not agree with. Some issues are personal, (art direction changes such as the stonework in the Artisan’s Homeworld being changed from carvings along smoothly carved curves to roughed-out blocks) some that are more general (the gems being obscured by the 3D grass, removal of animation on some enemies). I could go on here but in general great lengths are taken to enhance the world’s feel and atmosphere, such as with the addition of an art gallery in the world “Toasty,” so it is really not that big of a deal.

The controls are very good for the most part and while they are different take just a little bit of time to adjust to. If pressed, I would say movement feels less fluid, with some portions feeling more weighty (turning while charging) and others spastic (jumping, spinning while flame attacking). I have seen some having issues with the controls in the flying stages, but I find them very responsive and I have never had an issue with the controls impacting gameplay (unlike in Crash).

The new music is nice, and despite my preference for the original OST, the dynamic changes made to the tracks if you stat still or charge forward are very interesting.

So far, I am having a blast. Reading over my review so far I may seem harsh, but that is just because I am such a big fan of the originals, it is hard to accept change. This is a great version of a great game. At best, it enhances what the original could only hint at, at worst, it trips up old hats like me with altered control ‘feel’ and a generic version of the original charming art.

I am currently playing Return to Arkham on Xbox One, the remaster of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.

Gee, that is a BAD remaster. They gutted the artistic presentation of the original devs, in favor of a very flat image just to show that they implemented “better” texture. And it doesn’t run at 60fps and it doesn’t have the advanced physics present in the PC version of the originak games.

Not recommended at all.

I’ve been playing a lot of Wild Guns recently after its addition to the Switch Online App. Great ‘shooting gallery’ game, wish I picked it up sooner given how much I like Ninja Warriors from the same team. Because of this I decided to pick up Wild Guns Reloaded, but I came away a bit disappointed after a few hours with it:

I think the addition of widescreen and 4 player support unbalances the game in single player, at least if you want to play ‘risky’ and cancel bullets for combo instead of jump-dodging out of the way. The behaviour of enemy bullets scales to the screen width, so the further away you are the faster bullets move in, and from stricter angles. Staying at the edge of the screen is a recipe for disaster, there’s just a lot more to keep an eye on and any bullets approaching you will travel faster toward you. I feel like it makes the difficulty more of a game of trial-and-error than one that tests your reactions and aiming skills. Bosses now fill more of the screen, too, due to the wider play field, even though your character remains the same size.

The visuals are generally pretty great, some of the sprite and background work has been entirely redone, and even the 16:9 presentation is based off a wider 4:3 image. You can even switch it to be a wider 8:7 image if you like.

However, some of the effects work from the original game has been downgraded from the SNES:

Have a look at the first sub-boss exploding on the left hand side, then the original game following it on the right hand side. The heat haze is missing on the remaster, presumably because the game is now on Unity engine and the developers didn’t find a way to faithfully recreate that effect on that engine. I noticed its omission immediately going between the two versions myself. The game, on Switch at least, also struggles to hold 60fps all the time - my aiming reticle would sometimes stutter about, implying the game is skipping frames. I understand this is the reality of porting an old bespoke game to run on the Unity engine, but it’s disappointing all the same given the original game’s age and the hardware it ran on. It makes the remaster feel less authentic.

Overall, I think it’s a perfectly serviceable revival. A lot of effort has gone into expanding the original game’s levels and characters, and the online leaderboards are a perfect fit for it.

But I can’t help but be disappointed that it also doesn’t really play all that faithfully to the original due to the expanded play field and four player support. I definitely can’t play it the same way I decided to play the SNES version anymore, I’m going to have to either play with more players or dodge more often. Simply put, the expanded content and mechanics don’t keep the game as authentic as it could have been.

Now that both versions of the game are available on the Switch for modern audiences, that’s actually fine, the new game now becomes a director’s cut of sorts.

As posted in its own thread, I’m impressed with Namco’s new port of Mr Driller: Drill Land to Switch.

They’ve either dug out the original art assets to generate higher resolution versions of backgrounds or sprites, or they’ve completely re-made the visuals for HD and widescreen (though I’m sure they could also be reusing some assets from the HD XBLA game) and the end result is very pleasing.

The lazy route would have been to ‘zoom’ in the cutscene graphics, but instead you actually see more to the left and right sides:

It’s also still on its own engine with minimal input latency - a must after Katamari Reroll introduced a lot of latency via its Unity engine implementation.

Confession - I’ve never played a Mr. Driller game. Is this the one to get?

Yeah, easily the best one of the Mr Driller games I’ve played. Presentation is fantastic (particularly the soundtrack) and each theme park attraction offers a good spin on the core gameplay. The Tower of Druaga one is basically a better version of Mr Driller Ace on GBA.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered has some visual effects removed entirely - mostly relating to lighting. As a result while it looks sharper than the original game (due to HD and digital output) it also looks flatter, sources (like the crystals!) that used to give off light no longer do, shiny/reflective surfaces are now faked in their texture design, that sort of thing. Game is on Unity engine and across many platforms (eventually including phones) which might explain this?

Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne Remastered is also a Unity port - will be interesting to see the game’s visual makeup compared with the PS2 version. That it didn’t hold a stable 30fps in its trailers doesn’t fill me with much confidence however…

Saw this pop up this morning… interesting!

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Sadly, it’s only going to be for a limited time for Super Mario 3D All Stars as they said this on their site:

Please note: Super Mario 3D All-Stars will be available as a limited-run retail edition and a digital edition that is available for a limited time until the end of March 2021.

Why would they do that?=O

It’s baffling and I hope they get grilled on it by the press. I don’t even own a Switch and I’m annoyed by it lol.

[edit] So…maybe produce more?

Limited production is the reason for the finite availability, according to Nintendo, but it’s still a bit of an unusual thing.

They’ll just sell them separately on the eshop afterward is my guess.

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