Halo Anniversary - The HD Remake Worth Caring About
It's been the year of the HD remake: God of War Collection, Team ICO Collection, Resident Evil HD Collection, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, just to name a few.
There is no shortage of remade classics from last generation, a seemingly obvious attempt by publishers to cash in on popular games. The unique IP proves too risky at this current stage in the generation, so gamers are being fed compilations of popular games from the PS2 era.
No one is really complaining, as many of the games are arguably some of the best of all time.
However, the transition is not always good, and it seems like a new HD collection is being announced every month, and I personally fear that the trend will dominate the later years of the PS3 and Xbox 360, as publishers and platform holders look to a new generation that is yet to be revealed.
Should gamers care all that much about two PSP God of War games coming to PS3? The added Trophy support and improved visuals definitely prove to be attractive incentive for a purchase, but the games were optimized for handhelds and simply don't share the same level of scope and detail as their console counterparts.
The Resident Evil HD Collection has been met with criticism from gamers and reviewers alike, with visuals replicating upscaled standard definition graphics as opposed to an actual high definition presentation.
I do feel that a lot of these collections have plenty of worth, but only sparingly: it's quite clear why we're seeing such a barrage of remakes on the PlayStation 3, as developers start looking to the next generation, while most PS3 owners don't own a console that is backwards compatible with PS2 discs (I guess now we know why).
There has been only one remake I've been particularly interested in, and it's because it truly seems to be a genuine "upgrade" on its original. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is a game that, although not especially unique on the gameplay front, sports an improved presentation that competing HD remakes can only dream about.
I recently had a look at Ico & Shadow of Colossus Collection, a compilation of two of my favourite games of all time. Two fantastic gems from the PS2 era, it was definitely great to replay these classics on my PS3.
That said, I don't actually see the need to rush out and buy this Collection, because it doesn't actually improve on the experiences offered in the originals. Sure, the textures have been given a do-over, but both still quite clearly look like PS2 games. With no multiplayer option in both games, I'd really just be buying a Collection I don't really need, seeing as though I already have both for my PS2. For me personally, forking out cash just to get the Trophes isn't enough incentive, and I truly feel that Sony is taking advantage of a market that it knows has PS3 consoles without PS2 backwards compatibility.
When it comes to Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, the changes are immense. Not only is this game getting the HD treatment, but it's getting a complete do-over on the visuals front.
Environments will have new life, more detail and added depth, while the game's overall presentation has been given an overhaul to truly feel like a new game.
There's also the ability to play this classic game online, something Halo 2 gamers have been calling for ever since their beloved game was released, introducing the Halo world to competitive online gaming.
While the hoard of HD Collections of 2011 are by no means bad buys, I personally don't see the need to purchase them unless they in some capacity actually enhance the experience over the original. Some Collections do that to a certain degree, while others simply offer upscaled visuals and no added gameplay features.
Meanwhile, new Halo developer 343 Industries has been working to bring a classic shooter into the present day, adding an enhanced presentation and online experience that will help define Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary as the definitive HD remake.
By Gaetano Prestia
Are you looking forward to Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary? What other Xbox classics would you like to see remade?