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The best video game remakes of all time

There are so many classic games from the past that have become difficult for new players to experience. The farther away in time we get from these games’ releases, the more difficult it can get to not only get the game itself but also the extra hardware needed to play them. That alone is a major barrier that turns people away from playing games many consider to be some of the greatest of all time. And that’s not even taking into account dated graphics, controls, and mechanics.

Remakes offer a new generation a chance to experience some of the most influential games of the past, as well as give fans of the originals a brand new way to play them all over again. The best remakes take what made a game so great before and modernize it for the current audience without losing that magical spark. It isn’t an easy process, but here are the games that managed to pull it off.

As a small side note, we will only be including one game from each series rather than have, for example, three Resident Evil titles crowd the list.

Remake vs. remaster

Before getting to the good stuff, we thought it would be worth it to quickly clarify the difference between a remake and a remaster so you don’t get mad that your favorite game isn’t on this list. A remake is a game built either completely or nearly entirely from the ground up based on the original game. At a minimum, the graphics and game engine must be completely different from the original to qualify. The best remakes take it a step further and either change how the game plays in some way, add new content or features, or combine the two.

Remasters are more like ports. If the game is unchanged except for higher resolution — not to be confused with new graphics, better frame rates, or other technical boosts — but is in every other way identical, it is a remaster. Think of collections like the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection or The Nathan Drake Collection. These are the same games, only given a little bump by being put on new hardware. These are still great and do a lot for keeping older titles relevant and accessible, but they are not considered remakes.

The best video game remakes of all time

Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4
4.5/5
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre
Shooter, Puzzle, Adventure
Developer
Capcom Development Division 1, Capcom
Publisher
Capcom
Release
March 24, 2023
The Resident Evil 4 remake, along with our next entry, were two of the riskiest games to remake we’ve seen to date. Both original games were seen as pioneers for their genre, as well as the industry at large. In Resident Evil 4 remake’s case, it was survival horror. Thankfully, Capcom has been on a roll with both new and remakes of the Resident Evil titles, with Resident Evil 4 remake probably being the pinnacle. This game is stunning visually but plays just as well as you would want. Leon is a little heavy, but can now move and shoot. Everything from the tone, environments, enemies, and even a few new pieces here and there all fit perfectly. As often as you may have played the original, you’ll probably want to play the remake even more.
Resident Evil 4 - Announcement Trailer

Dead Space

Dead Space
84%
4/5
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre
Shooter, Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
Motive Studios
Publisher
Electronic Arts
Release
January 27, 2023

Coming out just a few months prior to Resident Evil 4 remake, Dead Space Remake continued the trend of remaking classic survival horror titles. Unlike the RE remakes (outside the first one), Dead Space didn’t take many liberties in changing the formula. In truth, not much needed to be changed outside of a graphical update. You do get new side quests here, and some slight layout changes, but most noticeable is that Isaac has a voice this time around. Fans were hesitant upon hearing the news that the previously silent protagonist would speak, but Motive made it make sense without altering the core tone or direction of the plot. This game completely invalidates any reason to play the original.

Dead Space Official Teaser Trailer – EA Play Live 2021

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake
88%
3/5
T
Platforms
PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
Square Enix
Publisher
Square Enix
Release
April 10, 2020
The only other contender that can match RE4 remake’s level, or even exceed it, is the long-awaited Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Just like RE4, this remake completely flipped how the game played from the original. No longer a turn-based, fixed-camera RPG, FF7 R is a fully-3D action RPG with a few unique twists that harken back to its traditional roots. This was a major risk for Square-Enix to take, but it paid off in a massive way. Even giving these beloved characters voices with more personality, especially the lead character, Cloud, was handled about as flawlessly as possible. On a narrative level, Final Fantasy 7 Remake has major benefits and drawbacks. Without spoiling anything, the story of the original game isn’t followed exactly as it was told before. Not only are many concepts and characters expanded and fleshed out, but some events are new or even altered from the original. This game only tells part of the story, not going beyond the city of Midgar, where the world really opens up. How the following parts, however, many more there end up being, handle the rest of the remake may retroactively color how we feel about this first entry, but for now, it stands worthy of the legendary Final Fantasy 7 name.
Final Fantasy VII - E3 Trailer (Official)

Super Mario RPG

Super Mario RPG
70%
3.5/5
E
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
ArtePiazza
Publisher
Nintendo
Release
November 17, 2023
Nintendo has brought back many of its beloved games through remakes across various franchises, but one that no one thought would happen was Super Mario RPG. This is a Mario game, but one developed by Square Enix (Squaresoft at the time), which made the idea of bringing it back tricky. However it was done, we’re so glad it happened. This remake keeps the playful, easy-going, and expressive feel of the original with a fresh art style. The combat was so inspired and revolutionary at the time that almost nothing about it had to be changed for the remake, and what was added is just more options and flashy moves not possible before. This was many people’s first RPG, and the remake is just as perfect an entry point to the genre as the original was decades ago.
Super Mario RPG - Nintendo Direct 6.21.2023

Star Ocean: The Second Story R

Star Ocean: The Second Story R
T
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5
Genre
Role-playing (RPG)
Developer
Square Enix, Gemdrops
Publisher
Square Enix
Release
November 02, 2023
The Star Ocean franchise can feel a little intimidating for those who haven’t followed it closely. Star Ocean: The Second Story R doesn’t have a name that conveys how good of a point it is to start with. Unlike many JRPGs, especially those released when the original came out, this series sets itself in a sci-fi world rather than that of pure fantasy. Following two protagonists, the remake blends amazing pixel art with 3D environments and bright visual effects. It may sound like it should clash, but somehow it works masterfully here. This isn’t a game for newcomers to JRPGs, though, because even veterans will find the depth of its systems overwhelming at first. If you missed out on this franchise, jump in with R.
STAR OCEAN THE SECOND STORY R - Announce Trailer

Persona 4 Golden

Persona 4 Golden
95%
M
Platforms
PlayStation Vita
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure, Visual Novel
Developer
Atlus
Publisher
NIS America, Atlus USA, Atlus
Release
June 15, 2012
The series may have caught the public eye in a major way with 5, but those who haven’t looked back at Persona 4 Golden are robbing themselves of a game some might say rivals or suppresses its successor. Golden is the Royale of Persona 4, meaning it adds more social links, mechanics, time, locations, endgame, and more. It may not have the same quality of art as 5, but nothing else can be considered weaker. The mystery storyline is gripping, the characters engrossing and compelling, and the combat addicting, tactical, and challenging. While we wait for whatever comes next in the franchise, don’t sleep on the one that came before!
Persona 4 Golden: E3 Trailer

The Last of Us Part I

The Last of Us Part I
100%
4.5/5
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 5
Genre
Shooter, Adventure
Developer
Naughty Dog
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release
September 01, 2022
Whether or not you think a game from 2013 deserved to be fully remade in 2022, no one can argue The Last of Us Part 1 wasn’t given full attention and effort by Naughty Dog. While some changes to things like character faces could be subjective as to whether or not they improve the experience, the core gameplay and story are exactly as you remember — only now frighteningly more realized. As is expected from Sony’s star studio, The Last of Us Part 1 might be one of the best-looking games on the console, especially in the fine details that the team is so good at. If you’ve never played the original or remaster and want to start this saga off on the right foot, The Last of Us Part 1 is the obvious choice.
The Last of Us Part I - Announce Trailer

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2
83%
T
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre
Simulator, Sport
Developer
Vicarious Visions
Publisher
Activision
Release
September 04, 2020
Swinging wildly in terms of tone, the Tony Hawk 1 + 2 remake is like an injection of pure nostalgia straight into your veins. This series seriously fell off after the THUG series for most fans, so skepticism was high for this bundled remake. The biggest concern was with the licensed music, which was as much a part of the experience as all the flips and grinds. Thankfully, the team pulled off a near miracle and got nearly every song from the originals back. Every level, trick, and pro skater is back, plus a few modern tweaks that are more than welcome additions. Arcade skating never stopped being fun, and Tony Hawk 1 + 2 proves it.
Tony Hawk’s™ Pro Skater™ 1 and 2 Announcement Trailer

Black Mesa

Black Mesa
90%
Platforms
Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows)
Genre
Shooter, Platform, Adventure, Indie
Developer
Crowbar Collective
Publisher
Crowbar Collective
Release
March 06, 2020
It’s hard to understate just how influential Half-Life was on gaming when it came out in 1998. It helped modernize modern FPS design, narrative, artificial intelligence (A.I.), and puzzles like no other game had done before. Heck, it even spawned a ton of amazing mods that turned into their own franchises, like Team Fortress and Counter-Strike. It was the game that put Valve on the map, leading to the even more popular sequel and the invention of the biggest PC marketplace of all time in Steam. Black Mesa is a fan project that began in 2012, looking to remake the original release on the Source engine. After getting approval from Valve to make it a full product, the game was released in early access in 2015 and finally finished in 2020. Beyond a much-needed facelift, Black Mesa included new puzzles, better A.I., more story elements, and a complete rework of the original Half-Life‘s final chapters. The Xen levels in the original were considered to be the only downright bad parts of that game. It was ugly, boring, and just not fun to play. Black Mesa completely remakes the ending of the game into something worthy of a game of that level.
Black Mesa Official Teaser Trailer

Metroid Prime Remastered

Metroid Prime Remastered
95%
T
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Genre
Shooter, Platform, Adventure
Developer
Retro Studios
Publisher
Nintendo
Release
February 08, 2023
Whether you agree or not with Nintendo that it’s a proper FPS, Metroid Prime Remastered is the best shooter you play from a first-person perspective on the Switch. This remake remains very true to the original and just shows how solid Retro’s game design was back then. The improved controls are the real star here, considering the original didn’t even support dual analog. They call this a remaster, but it goes beyond that into full remake territory in our opinion in the same way Shadow of the Colossus does. You won’t find new content or new levels, but environments that look like they were made today, and running at an incredibly smooth frame rate. Not only is this a great primer (get it?) for the series, but it makes us more excited for whenever we get Metroid Prime 4.
Metroid Prime Remastered - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch

Demon's Souls

Demon's Souls
86%
M
Platforms
PlayStation 5
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
Bluepoint Games
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release
November 12, 2020
When Dark Souls hit cult-classic status and evolved into a mainstream hit, the series had already gone multiplatform, so anyone who wanted to could go back and experience this new style of game. Demon’s Souls, the true origin of the formula that Dark Souls would iterate on, was not so fortunate. This game was locked on the PlayStation 3, severely limiting the number of people who could go back to see where the Souls formula began. Fast forward three Dark Souls games and one Bloodborne and Sekrio, and the hunger for anything and everything made by FromSoftware remains at an all-time high. It was the perfect opportunity for Sony, who owns the Demon’s Souls IP, to have the talented team at Bluepoint games remake the game for the launch of the PlayStation 5. And boy, does this game take full advantage of that new hardware. Aside from looking stunning, minor quality-of-life improvements were made, a new fractured mode was added, and even a few new secrets were tucked away for players to discover. Bluepoint knew not to mess with what made that game special, though, and didn’t touch anything related to timing, difficulty, AI, or story.
Demon's Souls - Announcement Trailer | PS5

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Spyro Reignited Trilogy
85%
E10
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Platform, Adventure
Developer
Toys for Bob
Publisher
Activision
Release
November 13, 2018
We could’ve put both this and the Crash remakes on the list, but we decided to give this spot to the Spyro Reignited Trilogy instead. Both remade three classic PS1 platformers, but Spyro just holds up much better. For one thing, the new graphics and animations are top-notch. Every world from the originals feels more alive and fun to just be in than ever before. Coming from the flat, warped textures of the early 3D era, this remake feels like technology finally caught up to what Spyro was always supposed to look like. It is a testament to the gameplay that not much, if anything, had to be changed for this platformer to feel satisfying to play three console generations later. Running, breathing fire, and gliding all hold up great. Compared to Crash, where the whole running toward the camera thing never really felt great, Spyro’s entire trilogy is just a more satisfying package from start to finish. Hopefully, this remaster will lead to a revival of the series in the same way we got the great Crash 4. 
All Scaled Up Reveal Trailer | Spyro™ Reignited Trilogy | Spyro the Dragon

Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus
84%
T
Platforms
PlayStation 4
Genre
Platform, Puzzle, Adventure
Developer
Bluepoint Games
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release
February 06, 2018
Back again are the masters of the remake, Bluepoint Games, with their first remaster of a beloved and highly-regarded game. Shadow of the Colossus was clearly pushing up against the limits of the PS2 back in the day. The game world was massive and lonely by design but suffered from repetitive and low-quality textures. Each of the Colossi essentially had bosses, levels, and puzzles all wrapped up into some of the most massive creatures ever seen up until that point. Fighting them was a thrill unlike anything else, even when the frame rate chugged to keep up with the action. Wander, the main character, also had a few odd choices when it came to controls. After remastering the game on PS3, Bluepoint was given the opportunity to present this powerful title the way we all remembered it in our minds. Graphically, there’s nothing else to say except that the forbidden land has never looked so beautiful. A minority of people think the new graphics lose the atmosphere of the original, but in our minds, it only enhances the emotions we originally felt riding our horse across the vast plains. A new control scheme was added, and all technical hiccups smoothed over, making this remake the definitive way to revisit one of the most artistic games of all time.
Shadow of the Colossus - E3 2017 Trailer (Official 4K)

Ratchet & Clank

Ratchet & Clank
80%
E10
Platforms
PlayStation 4
Genre
Shooter, Platform, Adventure
Developer
Insomniac Games
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release
April 12, 2016
Of all the major mascot platformers Sony had on the PS2, including Sly Cooper and Jak and Daxter, none were as successful as Ratchet and Clank. This duo had a successful string of games all the way through the PS3’s life cycle and then … nothing. The series went silent from 2013’s Into the Nexus all the way until Insomniac remade the first game for the PS4 in 2016, the longest time between games in the history of the series. With so many sequels and spinoffs under the name, and an attempt to push the characters into the mainstream with a movie tie-in, it only made sense to go back to the beginning and remake the original for new fans who might want to jump in. Just like SpyroRatchet and Clank were always meant to be something of cartoon characters. The PS4 hardware not only gave the guns, weapons, and environments more life to them with more fluid animation and effects, but every character and enemy looked and moved as well as they did in the feature film. The only real fault with the game is that some parts of the plot rely on the player having seen the film, leaving it a little disjointed in certain places for anyone who only wanted to play the game.
Ratchet & Clank - E3 2015 Trailer (Official)

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
82%
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre
Shooter
Developer
343 Industries
Publisher
Microsoft Studios
Release
November 15, 2011
This game is one of the most unique on the list because it is actually both a remake and a remaster. The original Halo was a flagship game for the Xbox but also ushered in a new age of first-person shooters on home consoles. It is hard to properly articulate just how massive this game was when it was first released. Even decades later, that original game is still solid. 343 Industries knew this but also recognized that a launch title from 2001 couldn’t visually hold up and lacked some modern additions players expected. Instead of just remaking the game, Halo was made in such a way that players could toggle, on the fly, between the remade graphics and classic visuals. The classic style was still improved to be in HD and widescreen, but no other remake had ever even attempted to let players swap back and forth between the remake and remastered originals before. The only new additions, aside from the graphics, were some new terminals and skulls to find, achievements, and the ability to play co-op online instead of just in local split-screen. Halo 2 would get the same treatment when The Master Chief Collection launched later, but it all started with the original.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Trailer (E3 2011)
Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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