The video game industry is alive and well with new titles being developed every year. Players often see their favorite developers exploring new areas and trying to exceed expectations, though some may fall short. As technology advances and ideas swell, video games do as well. However, the market has also seen its fair share of reboots and remasters added to the noise of modern titles. While reboots and remasters are great ways to keep titles from the previous generations of consoles somewhat fresh, some games deserve an even greater effort to bring them back to life, especially some of those from the days of the Xbox, PlayStation 2, or even earlier.
In an effort to highlight some older games that deserve a chance to shine in the contemporary market, the following is a list of ten games that would likely appeal to the hearts of many.
Note: A remake can never replace the original version of a game that many players hold dear to them. Additionally, a remake in terms of this article’s focus means that the game is completely remade from the ground up and is considered different from a remaster or a reboot.
1) Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction
Released in 2005 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction is an open-world action-adventure title that may have been a little ahead of its time. Players performed tasks to increase their reputation with different factions while using an adrenaline-filled combat system to gun down enemies and cause explosive mayhem. The game is set during a fictitious war between different nations in North Korea, including China, Russia (in the form of the mafia), South Korea, and the United States. The protagonist can pick up different tasks anytime they choose and cause wanton destruction along the way.
2) Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
While any remake of the pre-Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 Grand Theft Autos would be welcomed, 2002’s Vice City would be the most profoundly accepted. The combination of a Scarface atmosphere and the Grand Theft Auto absurdity many gamers know and love made Vice City stand out in a series where each new addition drowns out most of the noise created by previous installments.
3) The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Having a list of remakes without including 2002’s Morrowind would be nothing short of blasphemous. The most iconic game in the Elder Scrolls franchise, Morrowind is the harbinger of the series’s enrapturing stories and fantastical immersion in the open-world environment. The game’s popularity even overshadows many of today’s epics and is often the point of comparison for modern Elder Scrolls titles. While the game is currently undergoing a fan-made remake that uses Skyrim’s Creation Engine and modern graphics, an official remake by Bethesda would be a much more well-received product (and probably faster).
4) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
One of the highest-selling RPGs on Xbox and PC after its release in 2003, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) is currently backwards compatible on the Xbox One and also has many fan-made mods available for download on PC. Similarly to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, KOTOR is currently the focus of a fan-made remake that will only be available on PC versions of the game. However, unofficial remakes are subject to be shut down by whoever owns the license for the content (Disney, BioWare, Electronic Arts, etc.), and are much slower than official developments due to production of the project taking place on a voluntary basis.
5) Army Men: Sarge’s Heroes
1999’s Sarge’s Heroes is a personal choice. Originally released on Nintendo 64 before making its way to Dreamcast, PC, and PlayStation in 2000, Sarge’s Heroes is an action-shooter that brings the war between green and tan toy soldiers to life. The game was not well-received by critics, but it is an endearing title nonetheless, and would be interesting to see remade using modern technology and maybe even updated combat. A Call of Duty featuring toy soldiers? The kids do not need to go to school tomorrow…
6) Assassin’s Creed
The first Assassin’s Creed debuted on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 in 2007. As the herald of a franchise that is over ten games strong, ten years later, the first title holds a special place in this author’s heart. Most fans of the series love Ezio from Assassin’s Creed II, Brotherhood, and Revelations, while others sing the praises of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag for its impressive ship battles. However, the main character in the first game, Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, is by far the most genuine Assassin of them all. Altaïr’s personality, while a bit arrogant, develops into that of a wise, stoic master who observes more than he speaks, unlike Ezio, who talks too much. The Ezio Collection, featuring remastered versions of every AC involving Ezio, was released in 2016. Now, Altaïr deserves an entire remake to ensure his saga shines.
7) Empire Earth
At the time of Empire Earth’s release in 2001, Age of Empires II was the comparable real-time strategy game. Similar to the game’s predecessor, Empire Earth has players research technologies to advance their civilization’s era (known as epochs in Empire Earth), construct buildings to recruit soldiers and citizens, and gather resources to fuel the aforementioned gameplay mechanics. However, Empire Earth was one of the first RTS games to utilize 3D graphics and offered more in-depth customization options during skirmish battles than Age of Empires II, as well as nore sophisticated map editing modes. As one of the more obscure PC games, Empire Earth would be a graphically phenomenal title if it were to be remade.
8) True Crime: Streets of LA
Similar to the Grand Theft Auto series, 2003’s True Crime: Streets of LA allowed players to roam the city freely, hijack cars, and gun down anyone in their path. However, unlike GTA’s criminal main characters, True Crime focused on a Los Angeles detective in the fictional Elite Operations Division. Due to being one of the first open-world RPGs that was not Grand Theft Auto, True Crime was often labeled as a GTA clone and received mixed reviews. Nevertheless, with the rise in popularity among open-world RPGs, a True Crime remake would be an interesting experience.
9) Bushido Blade
Released in 1997 for the Sony PlayStation, Light Weight’s Bushido Blade was regarded as an innovative one-on-one fighting game that pays homage to the Japanese warrior code of honor, Bushidō. As one of the earliest fighting games to have a reactive environment, Bushido Blade was quite possibly the comparison point for modern titles, such as For Honor. This third-person, 3D work would look phenomenal in modern graphics and slightly enhanced mechanics to reduce the choppiness from the original game. With reactive environments having come so far in the last ten years, Bushido Blade could easily shine bright with a modern remake.
As one of the most memorable video games of all-time, 1986’s Castlevania won the hearts of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s users. An action-platformer, Castlevania has players take control of Simon Belmont, who must scale Dracula’s castle and defeat the ancient vampire with his magic whip. A remake of this classic title in the form of scaling the graphics from 2D to something like 2.5D and enhancing the sound quality would both remind returning fans of why the game was so beloved and show new players what they missed in the late 1980s.