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As Final Fantasy VII Remake finally arrives, we take a look at the long-awaited new title and look back at some of the greatest remakes, re-masters and reboots in gaming history…

By Virgin TV Edit

The oldies are the best, aren’t they? Well, until clunky controls, out-dated graphics and strange narrative leaps you didn’t notice the first-time round confirm that, like former Blue Peter presenters or that haircut you had in 2003, sometimes games just age really, really poorly.


But, where film remakes often entail a completely different experience from the original with an old cast member thrown in for fan-service, games can just be remade from scratch! Old graphics can get a brand-spanking-new overhaul and clunky controls can be banished to the shadow realm… 

In the case of Final Fantasy VII Remake, improving on arguably the best entry in the sprawling action RPG series’ illustrious history was always going to be tough. FFVII put the series on the map, so to speak, and cemented its place as one of the PlayStation’s top-tier franchises and titles.


As the above trailer shows, however, character models, FF’s trademark over-the-top action and captivating story have all been given a thorough, quite breathtaking rebuild. And let’s be honest, Cloud’s massive, slab-like “Buster Sword” – now in glorious 4K – looks siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick! Ahem.


Twenty years in the making, the remake’s team (consisting of the original’s designer Tetsuya Nomura, director Yoshinori Kitase, writer Kazushige Nojima and composer Nobuo Uematsu) rebuilt entire environments and levels from scratch using Epic Games’ stupidly eerily lifelike Unreal Engine 4. As such, it looks (and feels) ridiculously good.


Plus, alongside the classic story (which sees spiky-haired mercenary Cloud Strife take on a corrupt megacorporation draining his home planet of its energy) there’s all-new material, scenes, set-pieces and levels to enjoy.


It’s a good old-fashioned gaming remake, this one, brilliantly revitalising a legendary game for both die-hard fans and those who are dipping their toes into Final Fantasy’s stunningly varied worlds and universes for the first time.


But will it be the best remake of all-time? Time (and incredibly opinionated fans) will tell. As such, we’ve assembled a list of our favourite 20 gaming remakes – listed, we hasten to add, in no particular order. Then, once you’ve dropped back into Midgar and have battled your way through FFVII Remake, come back, check out the below list, and see how you think it compares to these corkers…


1. The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker 

Available on Wii U

The GameCube iteration of The Wind Waker was the first to see a cartoon-like Link. It looked good, sure… but that leap to the Wii U’s HD graphics, superior system and general upgrade in its gameplay, though…! What a game.


2. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection

Available on PS4

The Uncharted series saw developer Naughty Dog consistently one-up everyone else with their stunning graphics and adventurous stories. But, on re-playing them years later, the controls were just off. This collection banished the series’ previous shortcomings and somehow improved the already ahead-of-their-time graphics.


3. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

Available on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

We love a cartoon kart-racing game. Many a social gathering has been transformed into a tense, deafeningly silent cesspit of betrayal with Crash Team Racing’s infamous Bowling Bombs. This stunning 2019 remake brought all those memories back, and allowed us to ruin new friendships all over again. Brilliant.


4. Burnout Paradise Remastered

Available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Burnout pioneered realistic-looking damage in racing games… and then took their fast-paced, all-out vehicular action to an open world and delivered one of the best racing game experiences in the process. A 2018 remastered version only improved things, upgrading the graphics and bringing all the DLC into one handy nostalgia package.


5. Ratchet & Clank

Available on PS4

You could sing this title’s praises because it’s a modern-day masterpiece of platforming and cartoony perfection. But you should solely because you can turn enemies into pixels, fire sheep at them, or even transform the most fearsome foes into drooling, dancing drones that are just ripe for the picking.


6. Metro: Redux

Available on PS4 and Xbox One

The Metro series is far from being criminally underrated but is criminally “under-spoken about”. The first and second games are, though flawed, glittering examples of how dark, suspenseful gameplay can make you wet yourself in the most engrossing, fun-filled way. Redux saw both come together in one handy, HD package for 8th generation consoles, and is well worth a try.


7. The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D

Available on Nintendo 3DS

Arguably the greatest game of all-time when released in 1998, age and advances in technology and design magnified the few flaws this game had. The Nintendo 3DS remake, however, ironed out those creases and improved one of the industry’s most acclaimed titles.


8. God Of War 

Available on PS4

What’s that, this isn’t technically a remake? But it leant a dormant franchise a new lease of life, shifting it to a new setting and vastly improving the storytelling, graphics, and gameplay (psst, you can throw a lightening-dappled axe through someone’s chest and whip it back into your hand like a boomerang). Plus, why didn’t they just call it God Of War 4, huh? HUH? It’s a remake. Case closed.


9. Pokémon: Let’s Go…

Available on Nintendo Switch

What’s better than a remake of the legendary Game Boy title, Pokémon Yellow? Correct, two remakes of that one game. Whether it’s playing Let’s Go, Pikachu! or its companion title Let’s Go, Eevee!, you’re in for a good time with these two.


10. Black Mesa

Available on PC

Half-Life is pretty good, right? Revolutionised first-person shooter storytelling and game engines for good, right? Also incredibly clunky and dated, right? Mhmm, which is why initially just a group of fans and, later, a team of fans-turned-developers given Valve’s blessing remade the game from scratch using modern-day game engines, improving it exponentially. A-ma-zing.


11. Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Available on PC and Xbox One

If you finished 2001’s Halo Combat Evolved or its 2011 remake Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and thought, “if only I could see every hair follicle on the characters’ faces during cut-scenes,” then this uber-HD remake of the first game’s remake and remake of the second and third entries in the series is a must-play.


12. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes

Available on GameCube

“!” This remake of the original Metal Gear Solid is a great example of how retrospectively reshaping a game’s controls to those of its sequel can be a great way of unlocking the untold amounts of potential the otherwise clunky-ish original possesses.


13. L.A Noire Remastered

Available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Better-known for the GTA franchise, Rockstar Games delivered a cracker of a crime drama with this atmospheric, incredibly detailed game back in 2011. Now, remastered for the 8th generation, scouring crime scenes for clues and interrogating wrong’uns has never looked more lifelike.


14. Shadow Of The Colossus

Available on PS4

Part puzzle game, part action adventure and all-round amazing experience, Shadow Of The Colossus has earnt its place in the pantheon of ridiculously good games, as you scour a gorgeous landscape hunting ma-hoo-sive creatures. So good, it really does have to be played to be believed.


15. Resident Evil 2

Available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Where the original Resident Evil 2 features its now infamous fixed camera position and a multitude of other “quirks” that made it an infuriatingly captivating experience, this 2019 remake ditched them in favour of a far more intuitive third-person perspective. It has all the charm and brilliance of the original, with none of the shortcomings.


16. Spyro The Dragon Reignited Trilogy

Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

A whopping three games in one, this lot, with the original three titles in the series (namely Spyro The Dragon, Ripto’s Rage and Year Of The Dragon) all now featuring crisp new graphics and tighter, more responsive controls. A blast from the past it most certainly is.


17. MediEvil

Available on PS4

Speaking of old-school PS1 titles, MediEvil is one that flies under the radar when it comes to great remakes. But, in 2019, it too got a stunning reimagining of its own with this corker of a title that saw everyone’s favourite skeletal, Tim Burton-esque hero Sir Daniel Fortesque once again battle to save his home, Gallowmere.


18. The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

Available on Nintendo Switch

Sure, the goal of this amazing top-down adventure remake is to find a way off the strange, colourful island Link finds himself on, but with that many colourful characters and eye-popping scenery, why would you want to?


19. BioShock: The Collection

Available on Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

This is a series that slowly entices you into its shadowy, underwater or too-good-to-be-true cloud-based cityscapes and then hits you with mind-bending stories. With this cracking collection, they’re all now available to enjoy with sumptuous, next-gen graphics. 


20. Resident Evil HD Remaster

Available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One

This, bizarrely, is a remaster of a remake, but it’s ridiculously good, all the same. Like the aforementioned remake of Resident Evil 2, this sees many of the bumps in the original get ironed to make for an all-new but brilliantly familiar trawl through Raccoon City’s eery, nerve-janglingly quiet streets, waiting for something to leap out and slap you silly. So good.

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