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The Best Remake/Remaster of 2017


The Best Remake/Remaster of 2017

We don’t mind playing these games again.

It’s award season here at Twinfinite! Let’s look back at the best remakes and remasters from 2017. Voted on by our editors, these games stood out as prime examples of how remasters and remakes of popular games should be handled. Let’s start our top vote-getting honorable mentions, runner-ups, and finally, of course, our overall winner!

Honorable Mention: Yakuza Kiwami

The Best Remake/Remaster of 2017

The Yakuza series has exploded into popularity in the west in recent years, with 2017 being a particular high point after the release of Yakuza 0. Later in the year, however, we also got a remake of the very first game in the series with Kiwami. While it is a retelling of the events from the first game, Kiwami honestly feels like an extension of Yakuza 0, implementing both its gameplay and visual style.

New scenes added onto the story flesh out Nishiki’s role in the story, outside of him just being the villain. The visual upgrade is stunning this time around, and Kiwami stays faithful to the original by recreating cutscenes and camera angles accurately within the new engine. Gameplay sticks close to what Yakuza 0 did with a few improvements, but the big talking point is the new Majima Everywhere system. This revolves around everyone’s favorite villain/antihero, Goro Majima, as he stalks Kazuma Kiryu around the street of Kamurocho. Majima can appear at any time, anywhere, and there’s some really crazy situations that pop up, like him jumping out of a giant traffic cone to attack you.

Yakuza Kiwami takes everything the series has learned since the first game, and applies that into the original experience. What results is a stellar remake that feels right at home next to Yakuza 0.

Honorable Mention: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

The Best Remake/Remaster of 2017

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Final Fantasy XII is one of the more divisive entries of the series partially because of its narrative focus on politics as well as its complex, slower-paced combat system. The Zodiac Age is a remake that fixes or addresses nearly every issue that the original game had, making for a much smoother and more engaging experience in the end.

The simplest additions to the game come with a fast forward button and the ability to bring up a transparent map while exploring. These are small changes, of course, but they drastically help the flow of the game, with fast forward being a special boon during the slower parts of the game. On top of this, the game has been essentially reworked by re-balancing enemy difficulty, redoing drops from treasure chests, and implementing the license board system from the International Zodiac Job System version.

With everything from its visual upgrades to its reworked systems, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is easily the best version of the game you can find. XII has certainly aged well, and you can clearly see the influence it has left on future games like Xenoblade Chronicles.

Honorable Mention: StarCraft Remastered

The Best Remake/Remaster of 2017

StarCraft Remastered

StarCraft has and will continue to be the premiere RTS franchise until proven otherwise. While MOBA and FPS games have surpassed RTS games and StarCraft as the most popular esports, StarCraft 1 and 2 are still beloved. That said, the original with its Brood War expansion, is different enough with its own quirks that it feels like an entirely different game from its sequel. It also has its own set of fans that prefer its style of play over StarCraft 2 (this is especially true in Korea). So much so, that Blizzard decided to remaster the original this year.

The original gameplay is left virtually untouched, and StarCraft: Remastered instead receives a much needed visual update to both its multiplayer competitive modes, and its story campaign. Everything is just as you remember, but a lot easier on the eyes. Also, Blizzard’s classic games team streamlined StarCraft multiplayer functions to be way less confusing and archaic, and also added a skill-based matchmaking system and a meaningful ranked ladder. Trust me, even if you think you remember it being easy to get into games ’98, you’re wrong. I popped in recently myself, and I’m not sure how I even played the game online before the Remastered changes.

StarCraft: Remastered is a blueprint for enhancing a game without messing up what made it so popular to begin with that should be followed by any developer that needs to walk a similar tightrope.

Second Runner-Up: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

The Best Remake/Remaster of 2017

mario kart 8 deluxe

Let’s face it, the Wii U was a disaster. As a result, the wide majority of active gamers did not get to play some of the great games the Wii U had exclusively to it. So, ports over to the seemingly much more successful Nintendo Switch platform is much appreciated. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a very simple, but effective port. It adds new characters, new karts, and made tweaks to the gameplay to make it more fun, and fast-paced.

Also, it takes advantage of the Switch’s increased horsepower and unique hardware. It looks better, runs faster, and can be played on the go. Mario Kart is the perfect Switch game to have in your back pocket when going somewhere where the mobile home console would be welcome. It may not be something that you play every day, but it’s a crowd pleasing game that appeals to both hardcore fans, and casual gamers alike. It’s fun, easy to play, and is a perfect port for the Switch.

First Runner-Up: Metroid: Samus Returns

Fans finally received a proper 2D Metroid entry after years of waiting, and although Samus Returns is a remake of Metroid II, it’s a drastically different experience. The game uses a 2.5D graphical style, and incorporates gameplay improvements from across the Metroid series, like free aiming and the ability to grab ledges.

Samus Returns contains the same structure and story of Metroid II, having Samus hunt down the various Metroid lifeforms inhabiting SR388. These each take the form of a pitched boss battle, and the various forms of Metroids can be intense to take down, especially later on. The game also features some new story elements and bosses, however, expanding on what the original did. Metroid: Samus Returns succeeds on two different fronts, one being a stellar remake of an often overlooked Metroid title, and the other managing to be one of the very best games available on the Nintendo 3DS.

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