Game Remakes Make A Comeback

There’s a big difference between a total game remake and a remaster. A remake is just what it says – a video game is rebuilt from scratch from the ground up. A prime example and one of the most successful in recent times, is Black Mesa, a totally new Half-Life game built from scratch by Crowbar Collective, yet staying faithful to the original game.


A remaster or redux on the other hand is usually a mod or several mods that enhance the existing game’s graphics and other features, but are not rebuilt from scratch. A good example would be System Shock 2 which has a cult following and a website entirely dedicated to modding the game.


Remake Or remaster?

I have no particular preference for either, but a remake means you don’t have to fiddle about with installing mods or editing game configuration files. On the other hand, some total remakes even have mods.

Here are some of the most well-known total remakes:

  • Resident Evil 2, 3, and 4
  • Tomb Raider Anniversary – a total remake of the original Tomb Raider
  • Black Mesa – a total remake of the original Half-Life
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Shadow of the Colossus

I’ve never played the last two games in that list, neither have I played the original Resident Evil games. But I can say that Black Mesa and Tomb Raider Anniversary are faithful remakes of the originals, with many improvements, not only to the graphics but also to the game mechanics.



There are many more remasters than remakes and some good examples are:

  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary
  • Crysis 1, 2 and 3 Remastered
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
  • Mass Effect Legendary Edition
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Remastered
  • Resident Evil HD Remaster
  • Skyrim: Special Edition
  • Bioshock Remastered
  • Dead Island: Definitive Edition
  • Alan Wake Remastered
  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered
  • Sniper Elite V2 Remastered
  • Forsaken


It’s fair to say that many remasters are simply a lick of paint over the original games and an opportunity for publishers to cash in. Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered is a good example of that trend, so I still play the original because I can’t see much of a difference between the two. Still, this article has allowed me to revisit some of these games, which is all part of the fun.


Other games which haven’t been given the remaster treatment can be modded and two sources of mods are ModDb and Nexus Mods. There are hundreds of thousands of community-made mods that can dramatically change the games wildly, from putting your character into a new outfit, or indeed no clothes whatsoever up to and including weapon mods.

One outstanding protagonist of the remake genre is Nightdive Studios, a company that specialises in finding abandoned games and reimagining them for modern computer systems. I know for a fact that the company has been chasing the rights to No One Lives Forever for many years, but that’s another story.

Many gamers prefer to mod games rather than buy remasters and that’s entirely understandable bearing in mind the cost of new games. In fact, asking $60 for a remastered game seems insulting if you already own the original. But a total remake is another matter and if it remains true to the original, such as Black Mesa has to Half-Life and the price isn’t outrageous, I would buy it.

What are your preferences? Remake, remaster, or mod?

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