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Saturday, February 24, 2024

I don’t care if a videogame remake is good or bad as long as I can still get the original

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We’ve been graced with some stellar remakes in the first couple months of 2023: Resident Evil 4, Dead Space, and Metroid Prime have all risen from their graves to wreak their terrible aughts revenge on this fallen world. But one of these three is not like the others.

No, I’m not talking about how Dead Space wasn’t on the GameCube like the others (though I forgive it for that). I’m talking about Metroid Prime. If you want to experience the original Metroid Prime, your only options are turning to piracy or braving the truly piratical waters of retro videogame collecting, where everyone’s locking their games up in clear plastic sarcophagi to trade them like financial instruments instead of actually playing them. Meanwhile, Dead Space ’08 is still on Steam and Resident Evil 4 is probably the most well-preserved videogame ever (this is the fourth time I’ve personally bought it). 

I think we really dodged a bullet with the Prime remake being such an essential revitalization of the original game, but the same can’t be said for a crucial piece of gaming history: Demon’s Souls. I have to out myself as an avowed hater of 2020’s Demon’s Souls Remake⁠—I find it to be too drastic of a departure from the original’s desolate, washed out dark fantasy, and while its quality of life changes are often welcome, it just goes down too smooth for my tastes. I demand some kick from my soulsbornes.

I wouldn’t have such a problem with Demon’s Souls Remake⁠ if it were just a reinterpretation of the original that lived alongside it, but instead it effectively replaced the original Demon’s Souls, which remains trapped on the old PS3, stripped of all online functionality. I like to imagine it huddled in a cold and abandoned PlayStation Home lobby, burning copies of Haze to keep warm and feasting on the scurrying LittleBigPlanet Sackboys that infest the ruins. If Demon’s Souls ever graces the PC after all these years (as was implied by that old Nvidia gigaleak), it will almost assuredly be in the form of Bluepoint’s remaster, and I have a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach that a similar fate awaits Bloodborne, should Sony ever remember that it owns the property.

Remaking a classic is a gamble, and sometimes it pays off big with games like Resident Evil 4 or Metroid Prime, but however good a remake is, it’s not the original game, and shouldn’t replace it on storefronts. Nightdive’s System Shock remake has been a blast in demo form, but however it turns out, the studio’s separate, light touch System Shock: Enhanced Edition remaster will always be there for us. That’s the best of both worlds, and what our hobby deserves.

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