Feeling all nostalgic? Well, if you want to dabble in a bit of old-school gaming then there’s no need to go digging the PS1 or Dreamcast out of the attic – so many of those machines’ older games have been lovingly picked up and remastered by developers. No scratched CD nightmares or cartridge-blowing attempts required.
Here, we round up 10 stone-cold classics that have been given a proper update, bringing those early PlayStation, Xbox, SNES, Dreamcast and Saturn crackers into the modern era. If you’re looking for some throwback fun, why not head straight into the past through modern technology, eh?
Demon’s Souls is probably the best-looking launch game for next-gen, making the most of the PS5 with amazing environments and graphics. Its sound design is unrivaled, and there’s a thrill of discovery throughout whether you’re a returning player or a first-time explorer.
It’s also a perfect remake of a classic game, which launched the Souls-like genre and introduced the world to its challenging combat and unforgiving mechanics. If you have a PS5, you owe it to yourself to try this one out.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
It’s hard to believe that the original Link’s Awakening released some 27 years ago on the SNES. Nintendo has really dug deep for the Switch remaster, ramping up the graphics to ultra-cute levels, while maintaining the original game’s isometric viewpoint. The thing that will really take you, though, is just how darn good this game still plays – it’s got the story down to keep you hooked and feels like it could have been made yesterday, rather than decades ago.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Just over a decade ago one of the most controversial first-person shooters to ever arrive on the shelves caused all kinds of outrage due to one specific airport mission. And now it’s back, fully intact, and without quite so much fanfare about its questionable level. The graphics have been dragged kicking and screaming into the modern era, giving what was arguably one of the best COD titles ever a remaster that will make you relive the action all over again.
The Last of Us Remastered
We can think of no other game before it that brought storytelling to Hollywood levels, seamlessly integrated into a wonderfully deep and engrossing action-adventure. The original game appeared on the PlayStation 3 at the very end of its life, so when the PS4 launched soon after this one was a no-brainer to bring back to life (just like a zombie, albeit far more appealing) with all the new hardware could throw at it. Still one of the best games of all time.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
When Halo arrived as an Xbox exclusive almost two decades ago it gave Microsoft the stamp of approval it needed to become a console-selling winner. It was the title to redefine first-person shooters for a new generation, before Call of Duty and the like got their claws in. Throughout the Xbox and Xbox 360’s lifespan we saw Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 – all with awe-inspiring titles, we’re sure you’ll agree – which is what makes up this extensive package, in remastered glory.
Resident Evil 2
We know, we know, the remastered Resident Evil 3 is also out now. But there’s just something about the second title in that series that really gets us; something altogether more classic about it. And after 22 years its debut, the remastered Resi almost feels more applicable than ever. In times of lockdown and social isolation there’s something all the more terrifying about this one.
Uncharted Trilogy: The Nathan Drake Collection
Developed by Naughty Dog, Nathan Drake’s escapades throughout the trio of Uncharted games titillated gamers in a series of releases equally spaced over six years. The action-adventure game brought what Naughty Dog does so well: integrating story into really fun video-gaming. Knowing that Uncharted 4 was coming to PS4, Sony did a clever thing in releasing the original trio for that console back in 2015. Even now these games are a step-by-step masterclass in structure, well worth a revisit.
Shadow of the Colossus
This is an unusual one. The original PS2 went against the grain, delivering an open-world with not a huge amount of direction, places to visit or interaction. Which sounds like a mirror of the lockdown world of today, eh? The goal in Shadow is to take down huge colossi, making it more of a puzzler than many games of the era. And reimagined for PS4 everything looks altogether more, um, colossal in the graphics department.
Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy
The first three Crash Bandicoot games were a breath of fresh air in an era that took platform games into three-dimensions. Even in the 90s these were immense fun, but if you were to look at the originals now your jaw would drop for the lack of fidelity. Thankfully, Sony has brought the trio right back up to date with N Sane Trilogy – you wouldn’t even know these were over two decades old. And if this is up your street, don’t forget about Spyro Reignited too.
Some will love it, some will hate it. We’re very much in the former camp, as this classic was the game to introduce us to next-gen playing as it was back in Sega Saturn era 1995. Sure, the PlayStation stomped all over the 3D rendering capabilities, but as Japan-style shooters went, this one always made us think of Star Fox, Sega style. And now you can pick it up, reworked, for the Nintendo Switch. Lovely.