As gamers, we’ve all seen our fair share of remastered titles, ranging from the benign to the absolutely stellar. While playing Gears of War Ultimate Edition, I had to ponder, is this a good remaster? What defines the quality of the remaster? The answer to these questions was a surprisingly difficult conclusion for me to come by.
So let’s dive into it, how do we define a good remaster? Does a graphical update with sixty frames per second and all of the DLC like we’ve seen in The Last of Us qualify? Should it be an all encompassing solution with upped graphics and plenty of extra content like Halo: The Master Chief Collection was for Halo 2? How about the price? Is it fair to charge full price?
I personally believe that while graphics, and frame rate matter, content is key, and games that are being re-mastered should come with as many bonuses as possible included. A very fine example of this is actually found in Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, which includes all of the games multiplayer DLC, the cut Brumak section found only on the PC edition of the game, and other additional bonuses such as Gears of War comics. Without bonus content the game must rely on it’s own merits, which is fine, but some people may say why don’t I just replay the original, and that’s a very fair point to make.
The price point is the next piece in the puzzle that I believe makes for the best re-master possible. We’ve seen re-masters launch for full price many times in the past, sometimes to consumer distaste. Is it fair for a developer to expect you to purchase a game you may have already owned for $60? In some cases, maybe, there’s a handful of good reasons to charge that much. Maybe it includes more than one game, maybe it includes DLC, or maybe the remaster is such a drastic change that it justifies it. In any case I think it’s safe to say that a lower price point for a remaster goes a long way amongst your fans. Gears of War Ultimate edition once again hits the mark for me in these respect. At a price point of $40 it just feels right. Would I have bought Gears if War Ultimate Edition if it were $60? Well maybe eventually, but at $40 it feels like a steal for a solid remaster.
So with content and price narrowed down, we’re set to look at the final piece of what makes a good remaster in my eyes, is the game even worth remastering? There’s a crazy trend in the industry to pump out re-masters for anything that might sell. A majority of these remastered titles are pushed out to easily supplement cashflow and unfortunately launch with a plethora of bugs and issues. It’s almost gotten to the point where I think many of us have come to associate remasters with a certain amount of caution after launches like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, or Prototype. In theory there’s a market for remasters, but much of the current trend is off-putting. If you’re going to release a remaster it better be a game people have fond memories of. A game that has aged itself out of regular play amongst gamers. A game that you will launch not for a quick dollar, but because you know people want it and are excited to be able to once again play in what should feel like a refreshing setting.
Ultimately, you can see half the battle won in a game like Halo, which hit all my points, but was too ambitious of a project to launch without glitches. It’s a game that did not work well at launch, and that’s not fair to the consumers who were excited for it. On the other hand, titles like the often referenced Gears of War Ultimate Edition just seem to hit all the marks of what I consider to be a good remaster. Between content, price, buggy-ness and of course my opinion on if it deserves to be re-released, it hits all the marks. Do I think you should go out and buy Gears of War Ultimate Edition, yes, I do, but like any smart gamer, educate yourself as to what you’re getting into. Check out reviews like Greenskull’s and form an opinion of the game.