2014 was definitely a year for re-releases, re-makes and re-masters of some of our favorite video games. Sometimes it’s just good to get a game from the previous generation onto a new console to clear off some shelf space. Maybe the system you played the game on simply doesn’t work anymore, or the game is no longer anywhere to be found in your home. Here are some of our favorite games that made it onto a new platform and got a fresh injection of life as a result.
Grand Theft Auto V
It’s pretty hard to justify a game from last year getting a re-release a year later, but when you do it like Rockstar Games, it’s worth the time. Rockstar adds a whole new first-person mode that changes the way the game looks and feels, in addition to adding in tons of new detail to the overall game that helps make it feel more alive than ever. Grand Theft Auto V was an instant classic, and the new re-release is a great way to check it out.
Valkyria Chronicles was unquestionably one of my favorite PlayStation 3 games. Sega hasn’t put out anything quite like it since (at least, not on consoles).
You’re the leader of a team of soldiers in an alternate history version of World War II. There aren’t any Nazis here, but the parallels are impossible to miss. For each mission, you’ll put together a team appropriate to the situation you’re about to come up against, including hardy soldiers, pinpoint-accurate snipers, engineers, scouts and lancers. A diverse collection of characters ensures you’ll be able to get a line-up you like with a few favorites on your team.
The cel-shaded art is some of the best I’ve seen to date, and the game’s re-release to Steam gives me another chance to prove myself on the battlefield.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
There’s no use pretending that Halo hasn’t had its share of problems getting online this fall. The problems are so bad, in fact, that the developer is giving early adopters an entire game for free in the form of Halo’s ODST side story game. The problems are being resolved, one by one, though, and people are getting online. In the meantime you have four complete games in the Xbox’s signature franchise to playthrough, two of which have gotten thorough remaster treatment. The first two games were original Xbox titles, while Halo 3 and 4 were Xbox 360 titles. Halo: Combat Evolved was the first game to get a remaster a couple years ago, but instead of releasing Halo 2 as its own game, 343 Industries decided to get the whole band together. The amount of content in Halo: The Master Chief Collection is worth checking out even if you don’t plan on going online.
Sony’s Shawn Layden confused and frustrated PlayStation fans this summer when he included a shot of Vib-Ribbon in a sizzle reel at E3 and then followed it up by not even mentioning the game. It turns out that Layden was with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) during the game’s release window. He remembered the creative game, but didn’t remember that American gamers never got to check it out.
As an apology, Sony brought out – just in time for the PlayStation’s 20th anniversary – a PlayStation 3 and PS Vita version of the game. If you play it on PlayStation 3, you can even pull off the trick PlayStation fans of the game remember so well. The game loaded entirely into RAM and never read from the disc, so you could swap in your own music disc and enjoy levels generated dynamically off your favorite songs. You can see how one of the PlayStation’s most unique titles fares in an age of dubstep or throw in a ‘Best of the 90s’ disc and pretend you’re 15 years younger.
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – New ‘n’ Tasty!
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee got perhaps the most thorough reworking of any of the games above, even if it wasn’t the most ambitious of them. Gameplay remains mostly intact, but the art has been completely redone. It’s more than a simple coat of paint, but not a completely new game. The visual style of the original – which still holds up surprisingly well, nearly two decades later – is intact. The game still has frustrations inherent to the original, but it’s a classic for a reason, and the overhaul helps put it in front of a whole new audience as well as giving original fans a new way to play it. It looks like I remember it looking, not as it actually looks when I go back and look at screenshots.
There are sure to be more of these in 2015, with games like Grim Fandango and Resident Evil already on the way in January. What was your favorite re-release from 2014?