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  • Breaking News

    The Year of The Remastered

    2014 is the year of the remaster. It is what happens when game makers underestimate the success of new consoles. Sure, it’s a nice way to get a hit of nostalgia, what with souped-up graphics and, in some cases, more content and better controls, but it’s essentially a cash grab until developers come up with something more substantial to show what your console or handheld can do. After all, it is easier to revisit an old, well-received game and make it look shiny instead of creating something new from scratch.

    Like them or loathe them, these re-releases are here to stay, but with a ton of them flooding the market, which ones are worth your time and energy? We sift through everything this year has to bring to tell you just that.


    The Last of Us Remastered
    Ah, The Last of Us, the poster child for all things good with cinematic, narrative gaming. From a solid plot to robust, well-rounded characters, it was a treat to play on the PS3. Given the story-driven nature of the game, you wouldn’t think that it’s worth a second playthrough on the PS4, and that’s where you’d be wrong. The move to 60 fps makes for a fluid gaming experience and the transition to proper high-resolution assets further enhances the element of immersion of the game’s many distinct environments.

    How good does it look? Good enough for the fine folk at Naughty Dog to include a photo mode. Here, you can indulge your inner photographer without having to wait for a social occasion to whip out Instagram. You can control the game’s camera, mess around with settings like focus and filters, and take some great looking snaps. Furthermore, the DualShock 4 is a massive upgrade over the PS3’s DualShock 3 in terms of control and precision, making controlling an over-the-hill smuggler
    a lot easier.

    Also, the PS4 version includes all of the PS3 version’s post-release DLC, namely the Left Behind single-player add-on and multiplayer expansions, Abandoned Territories and Reclaimed Territories, making it solid value. If you own a PS4, there’s no reason to miss out on The Last of Us Remastered. Well, until Sony decides that the superlative Uncharted trilogy is worthy of a second outing on the PS4.

    FinaL fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

    One of 2001’s finest games is brought back in the form of this HD remaster for the PS3 and Vita. First and foremost is the all but obvious graphical upgrade. Everything looks a lot shinier than it did when Final Fantasy X hit the PS2 12 years ago. From upscaled character models to improved environments, a lot has changed for the better. Other modern-day gaming amenities such as Trophy support and cross-save functionality between the PS3 and Vita

    further sweeten the deal. But this isn’t all; all the content from the international versions of the games that never made it out of Japan is here as well. This includes rearranged music, level progression improvements, optional bosses as well as mini-games.

    If all this wasn’t enough, you can now capture monsters and certain NPCs and use them in combat, much like Pokemon. Also, Eternal Calm, a movie that bridges the gap between Final Fantasy X and X-2 is bundled in, as is Final Fantasy X: Will, a 30-minute audio drama that plays out at the end credits. Whether you’re just revisiting the series or a newbie jumping in, you’d be foolish to miss out on this.

    Tomb Raider: definitive edition
    One of last year’s better games was deemed worthy of a graphical update by Square Enix. Then again, the company felt that Sleeping Dogs needed a sprinkling of modern-day pixie dust as well, but we’re not complaining. In case you missed out on Lara Croft’s reboot on the PS3 and Xbox 360, you’d rather catch all the action on next-gen.

    Aside from having the necessary visual touch-ups, it comes with all of the game’s DLC. This isn’t much, given that it just amounts to a few multiplayer maps, a handful of single-player costumes for Lara, and a new tomb to explore; scant pickings if you’re looking for something above and beyond the base game.

    On the bright side, it handles just as well as, if not better, than what high-end PC owners experienced, with improved water effects and grass animations, and Lara’s hair bobbing realistically. Throw in the advantages of the better controllers of the PS4 and Xbox One, and you have a compelling update to what is already a fine game; more so if you’re detail-obsessed.

    Oddworld: new ‘n’tasty
    This is, if you can excuse the pun, an odd addition to the list. It’s the only game that was made from ground up for the PS4, soon to be headed to Wii U, PS Vita, Xbox One, PC, Mac and Linux. The original release, entitled Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, came out in 1997 for the PlayStation 1 and PC. Not only does this platformer sport better graphics, but also easier difficulty, quick save, revamped checkpoints, and of course, Trophy support.

    For the uninitiated, New ‘n’ Tasty has you in the role of a strange looking creature (or
    mudokon as the series calls them) known as Abe. It’s up to you to save your fellow
    mudokons from enslavement at a giant meat processing plant. Quirky story aside,
    it’s replete with puzzles and sports slick platforming that hasn’t aged a day since its
    original release; a testament to how well it was designed the first time around 17 years ago.

    Grand Theft Auto V
    There’s no two ways about it if you’ve played it on the PS3 or Xbox 360, you’d realise that this is one game that’s restricted by the hardware constraints of end-of-life consoles.

    Announced at E3 this year, this remaster will sport enhanced draw distances, finer textures, higher resolutions, improved weather effects, busier traffic, and of course, the ability to transfer your GTA V Online progress to your next-gen console of choice. You’ll be able to record and share your escapades with ease and enjoy everything San Andreas has to offer, minus the slow downs, glitches and the odd crash or two that this rollicking open-world adventure suffered from on the PS3 and Xbox 360.

    Metro Redux
    Metro Redux contains both Metro 2033 and its sequel, Metro: Last Light. They’re fantastic first-person shooters set in post-apocalyptic Russia. Both games are deliciously desolate affairs, with players having to worry about details such as their gun getting jammed in combat, dying due to lack of oxygen in irradiated areas, and of course, psychotic beasts. Metro 2033 is still a game many PC enthusiasts use to test how well new computer hardware performs, and the Redux edition of the
    game features improved gameplay, borrowing stealth mechanics from Last Light, a few new weapons, and an improved HUD.

    Aside from that, a lot of graphical details have been reworked to accommodate next-gen PC and console hardware, making this the definitive edition of this cult shooter series.

    Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition
    This is a peculiar one. Sleeping Dogs went free on PS Plus and Xbox Live Games for Gold a while back for the PS3 and Xbox 360 respectively. The PC version is routinely discounted, along with the oatload of DLC that was released for the game, to the point where you can acquire everything for less than $10 digitally.

    Throw in the fact that the PC version has a free HD pack released by developers United Front Games, and the existence of this Definitive Edition becomes a lot more perplexing. It didn’t help matters that the announcement trailer featured footage from a live-action film made to promote the game when it first came out. Nonetheless, publisher Square-Enix is touting changes to gameplay and graphics as requested by the fans. So until a sequel to undercover cop Wei Shen’s escapades hits, this will have to do.

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