Sony seems to be on something of an HD remake kick lately. This week finally brought us long-awaited confirmation that the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection will head our way sometime next year; with last year’s God of War Collection and the upcoming Sly Collection, that brings to three the number of classic PS2 series Sony’s retrofitting with 1080p visuals and Trophies, before re-releasing as budget-priced PS3 games.
This is a trend we can really get behind; as much as we love our old PS2 games, we can barely stand to look at them anymore. Give them a makeover so they don’t look crap on our new TVs, though, and we’re all over them. With that in mind, here are a few other series from the last generation we’d love to see resurrected for the modern age of HD consoles.
Square Enix has plainly stated that creating a PS2-style Final Fantasy game (i.e., not an ongoing tunnel like XIII) is both challenging and expensive. We could be facing a sad reality in which a full-blown Final Fantasy VII remake is technically improbable, so while we all sit here waiting to see what happens with FFXV, Square might as well gussy up the PS2 offerings and give us a slight taste of how beautiful and engrossing a ‘90s and ‘00s FF could be.
Above: Like every other box in this article, this is a mockup we made. Don't go reposting it elsewhere and talking about how it's "confirmed"
FFX was stunning back in 2001, and while it’s aged fairly well, a new coat of 1080p sheen would make it a bit more bearable. The same goes for series outcast X-2, which was, in all honesty, a pretty fun departure from the usual “so serious” Final Fantasy fare. Then there’s XII, which should have just waited a year and helped launch the PS3 in the first place. But, if you missed XII due to PS3/Wii launch hype, getting it as part of a new bundle would bring you up to speed. And no, we don’t want FFXI in there. Not even for free.
Grand Theft Auto III/Vice City/San Andreas
Out of all the awesome games that debuted on the PS2, it’s hard to think of any we’d like to revisit more than Grand Theft Auto III and its two sequels – especially if it means they no longer look like blocky ass (and also that we can pick up a few Trophies along the way). These games practically invented sandbox gameplay as we know it today, and while GTA IV is fun enough, sometimes we miss the simple joys of jumping motorbikes over rooftops while listening to Flock of Seagulls, or of fighting rival street gangs from the safety of a Vortex fighter jet.
True, the three PS2-era GTA titles have technically already had multiple “HD remakes.” The Xbox version of the original Trilogy set was 720p-enabled, the PC versions have always looked considerably sharper than anything a console could pump out, and a Mac version – unusually late to the party, even by the historically sluggish standards of Mac ports – has finally been confirmed for release later this year. If anything, though, that only means an HD remake for PS3 (and 360, sure) is long overdue. And if Rockstar could maybe modernize the aiming to be more like GTA IV’s, or at least bring III and Vice City up to par with San Andreas, that’d practically make the set a must-buy on its own.
Ratchet & Clank
That Sly Cooper would get an HD collection before Sony’s other mascot games is a surprise; much as we loved the gentleman-thief raccoon and his acrobatic stealth adventures, he was always sort of a C-list character, lagging behind Sony’s other, more recognizable mascots. Like Ratchet & Clank, for example. The Lombax-and-little-robot duo were, and continue to be, one of Sony’s flagship franchises. Combining wildly enjoyable platforming with a real flair for weird, original weaponry, the first three games in the series are still regarded as must-haves for anyone who’s serious about games.
While their cartoony graphics have aged better than most of the titles on this list, though, they don’t look so hot next to the more recent Ratchet sequels. Smoothing them out for HD wouldn’t put them on par, of course, but it’d certainly make them easier to look at. Any sort of high-profile re-release would also inject tons of new blood into Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal’s multiplayer, which – believe it or not – appears to still be online, kept alive by hardcore fans who haven’t yet moved on. Clearly, they could use some company.
Jak and Daxter
The other series that probably should have gotten the HD treatment before Sly, Jak and Daxter started off as a bright, relatively innocent action-platformer, and then took a turn for the weirdly gritty when the sequels rocketed the heroes into the future for a cyberpunk GTA clone with hovercars and a strange wasteland-barbarian adventure. While the shift in tone turned some players off, the games themselves remained a lot of fun, incorporating free roaming and shooting into what had previously been a relatively straightforward platformer.
Now that developer Naughty Dog has apparently abandoned Jak and moved on to Uncharted, however, the Jak entries that are freshest in our memories are the combat-racer Jak X and the so-so platformer/air-combat game Lost Frontier. Clearly, we’re due for a reminder of why we liked the series so much in the first place, and if we’re not going to get a Naughty Dog-developed sequel, an HD collection would be a great excuse to delve back in.