It seems we’re set for yet another wave of nostalgia to hit us in 2018. From remakes to remasters, the gaming world of old is being reborn in our modern age, feeding our contemporary predilection for nostalgia and, in the process, hoping to capture the hearts and imaginations of an entirely new generation.
What follows is a list, compiled through vigorous contemplation, of the six video game remakes you need to watch out for in 2018…
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Age of Empires: Definitive Edition
The original Age of Empires (1997) was one of the most influential and iconic real time strategy (RTS) titles released since the inception of video games. Now, just over two decades later, this iconic title is getting a modern makeover in the form of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition.
This remastered version will get a full 4K graphical makeover, remastered sound and music, visual enhancements such as bloom and anti-aliasing, a totally revamped UI, and will even boast various zoom levels, something that has always been sorely missing from the franchise. The title will also include the Rise of Rome expansion pack, meaning there will be sixteen civilisations to choose from and ten campaigns to indulge in.
For those who poured countless hours of their youth into Age of Empires, I can’t think of a more deserving and nostalgically pertinent title to be born again. For those who have yet to experience the greatness of this title, they can see the humble beginnings of one of the most prominent RTS franchises in glorious high definition.
System Shock, originally released in 1994, is a cyberpunk-inspired first person action game that takes place on board the Citadel Space Station in the year 2072. You take on the role of a nameless hacker who is trying to foil the malevolent plans of a malicious AI, namely SHODAN.
System Shock is one of the most important and influential video games developed before the turn of the century, directly inspiring famous franchises such as the Bioshock and Deus Ex games. In a time when shooters were mostly linear gore simulators, this title offered freedom of exploration, deep customisation systems, and a story you could uncover at your own pace (via audio logs, etc.), rather than it being shoved down your throat.
Now, a little over a decade later, we’re getting a reboot being developed by Nightdive Studios, a game development studio comprised of various game industry veterans that worked on games such
as Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 2, and Planescape: Torment. According to the game’s Kickstarter page, the title is being built from the ground up in the Unity engine.
The enemies, weapons, and locations will be reimagined, Terri Brosius will reprise her role as SHODAN, and a new musical score will be added. The developers also added that most elements,
such as the user interface and game mechanics, will be “updated to reflect modern aesthetics and sensibilities”.
If you played and enjoyed last year’s Prey, then this System Shock reboot will be right up your alley.
Secret of Mana
Secret of Mana is a high fantasy RPG that was originally released for the SNES in 1993. It tells the story of three heroes that need to fend off an evil empire hell bent on conquering the world with their destructive sky fortress.
It was one of the first RPGs to ditch the standard turn-based strategy format, so prevalent at the time, for a real time battle system. Though, you were still able to pause the game, scrutinise your situation, and issue orders accordingly. It also featured an innovative multiplayer system that allowed other players to drop in-and-out of your games.
Following its release, Secret of Mana received critical acclaim for its beautifully vivid colour palette, sprawling narrative, captivating soundtrack, and customisable setting for your AI teammates.
In the 2018 remake, the entire game will be revamped with 3D graphics, as opposed its original 2D JRPG graphics, while the RPG system will be modernised too.
The game will be released for PS4, Vita, and PC, but surprisingly enough we won’t see a Switch release (at least not anytime soon). According to the developers, this is due to its development
starting before the announcement of Nintendo’s console.
Dark Souls Remastered
Later this year, we will see Dark Souls Remastered resurrect the original Dark Souls in 60 fps, 4K glory on PC, PS4 (Pro), Xbox One (X), and even the Nintendo Switch [of course, the base PS4, Xbox One and the Switch won’t deliver 4K – ed].
The original Dark Souls marks the start of one of the most hopelessly unforgiving and brutally difficult action RPG franchises known to humankind. It is the spiritual successor to the award winning Demon’s Souls (2009), a title that shared the same frustratingly difficult gameplay.
You play as a cursed Undead who escapes from an Undead asylum who is then tasked by the ‘Kingseeker Frampt’ to fulfil a certain prophecy. The details beyond this plot are purposefully vague, leaving it up to player interpretation.
Beyond aesthetics, this remaster will receive a few extra touches such as increasing the player count in one online instance to six (from four), will boast dedicated servers instead of peer-to-peer
connections, and will bring in the password matchmaking system from Dark Souls III.
The original Dark Souls received critical acclaim for its combat depth, masterful level design, and extensive lore. With Dark Souls Remastered, this intensely challenging title will give younger players the chance to experience this iconic title and veterans a chance to relive the nightmarish difficulty of the original.
Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus is a third-person action-adventure game that puts you in the shoes of Wanda, a young thrill-seeker who enters the “Forbidden Land” to destroy over a dozen Colossi in order to resurrect the maiden, Mono.
This title is quite different compared to most action-adventure games, in that it does not boast any extra explorable locations, NPCs to talk to, or any enemies other than the monolithic Colossi. Instead, you roam across breathtakingly beautiful landscapes on horseback until it’s time to face one of these massive beings, a task that relies as much on brain matter as it does on dexterity and agility.
Next month we will see this title re-released with a remastered 4K makeover. The game holds true to the original with everything still in the same place, only now each game model has been totally
recreated with modern visuals in mind.
The original was released as a PlayStation exclusive, and it seems the remaster will keep it that way, releasing only on the PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro, the latter which will also have HDR enabled
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Final Fantasy VII takes a special place in the franchise. Not only is it the first in the series to utilise 3D graphics but it also took the franchise from cult classic to global phenomenon. By today’s standards though, the game has aged horribly. The low-poly character models have become hideous and the game mechanics are completely unintuitive compared to today’s standards.
But beyond these issues, the narrative and character progression is still one of the most captivating and ambitious in the series. Personally, no other title in the franchise needs a modern remake more than Final Fantasy VII, an act (if done right) that could rebirth one of the greatest gaming sagas in history.
At the time of writing, there is not much known about the remake but here is some info we’ve managed to gather: the remake will be released for PS4 and Xbox One, it will be released in an episodic format, and it will be released some time in 2018 (at which point in 2018 is still quite debatable).
Other than that, we will have to practice some patience before we get our next Final Fantasy fix.