In my previous entry, I talked a little about how the HD remakes of Resident Evil 4 and Code Veronica peeved me a little bit due to the seemingly minimal effort that went into touching up the graphics and how nothing else new would be added to them. Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to just go for the original version if the HD remake isn't going to offer anything new...well, for the most part.
You see, there are HD re-releases I'm looking forward to seeing come out. I usually cringe at the thought of any gaming company churning out an HD remake of anything, but there are times in which I can see an HD update in a favorable light, such is the case with the following:
No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise
Personally, I'm a big fan of Grasshopper Manufacture's work. They're one of the most promising, creative developers this side of the nuthouse and No More Heroes was a testament to their balls-to-the-walls oddity, at least in terms of graphic violence. Sure, I still consider Killer7 to be their best work in terms of story depth and overall creativity but the misadventures of Travis Touchdown excels in almost all fields as well: an amazing soundtrack, quirky characters and highly varied gameplay mechanics made Suda51's magnum opus a wonder to behold. Now, with the application of motion controls for the Playstation 3, it has been translated over to Sony's console. I took the liberty of downloading and playing the demo (though I don't have a Move) and I must say that...well...the game somehow got even bloodier. While the rest of the graphics get a little choppy every now and then, the blood sprays and dismemberment result in a sea of blood that would give Peter Jackson's Dead Alive a run for it's money. In addition, there is new content including new boss battles and (somehow) skimpier outfits for the female assassins so there has been a degree of effort put into this. I personally look forward to having this in my collection in the near future.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
It's no secret that I'm a massive fan of the Metal Gear Solid series. I've played every game in the franchise (with the exception of Ac!d 2) and have played every single game on this collection to death...but it has been quite some time since I've played the second and third games due to some technical difficulties with my PS2. Thing is, I've played Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater more times than I can count, but I like to play those every now and then to remind myself that the video game industry can produce amazing titles every now and then despite the stagnation that has been going on for quite some time now. Everything about the PS2 releases were astounding: Henry Gregson-Williams's musical score, the tight controls and supremely engaging story all came together to make a couple of the most notable games of the previous generation. I couldn't find any major flaws with them and whatever gripes I had were instantly silence by how sublime the rest of the game was.
In addition, the collection will feature an HD edition of Peace Walker. I've played Kojima's newest addition to the PSP library so much that I'm honestly surprised that I haven't worn out the UMD...but I did find a big flaw in it: multiplayer. While I'm not all that swayed by multiplayer, it was disheartening to have multiplayer be local-only for both cooperative and competitive play. Now, with the PS3 edition, I'm confident that the ability to play alongside your friends on the same system or online will be added since, after all, making a splitscreen feature on a game isn't rocket science. There's also the fact that players will be able to transfer their data from PSP to PS3, meaning that people who have both editions won't be forced to start all over again just to play on another system...and thank goodness for that because I can't imagine going through the tougher optional missions a second time.
Ico/Shadow of the Colossus Collection
There have been quite a few games that have taken the adventure route in the history of the industry but few innovate the genre to the degree that Ico and Shadow of the Colossus have. I'm a major proponent of video games being art, and Team Ico is certainly a good example to cite. What separates Team Ico from the rest of the gaming industry is how psychotically invested they are in providing a gripping tale, to the degree that it makes me wonder why they haven't made films yet. While there are companies out there who like to deliver a good story every now and then, Team Ico head Fumito Ueda looks at video games as a form of expression with the amount of effort he puts into writing and directing his games. Both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus have a degree of minimalism to them while still maintaining a grand atmosphere, with the former sporting a story told through body language yet providing immense emotional investment and the latter having an expansive (yet comfortingly desolate) world marked by intense encounters with towering ancient beings.
But why make and HD re-release? Well, the two games are simply drop-dead gorgeous without the HD update but I'd buy it on the higher principle of rewarding the creative efforts of Team Ico and their enchanting titles...well, that and I seemed to have permanently misplaced my copies of the games but that's beside the point. The bottom line is that, while an HD update would not be necessary for such beautiful games, the potential that either one has to become graphically stunning is very high.
However, there's an HD collection I'm not so pumped about:
Silent Hill HD Collection
You heard me right: I'm not excited for Silent Hill HD Collection. I know that both games are a bit old at this point, but I honestly can't find any justification for it. I guess what irks me the most about this is that it only has two games to it: 2 and 3. While I wasn't a major fan of the fourth game and remastering the original, a PS1 title, would require a complete do-over, I still think that having only two games in the collection is a little half-assed. In fact, why not just throw in Shattered Memories (which did have a PS2 release) to at least include one version of the first game? I personally didn't hate the re-imagining of the first game and wouldn't mind playing it alongside two of the stronger entries in the series.
On top of that, the graphic touch-ups (pictured above) seem a little cheap. Sure, the grainy filter is still present but the graphics for Silent Hill 2 were...well, a bit hard to describe. There were certain areas of the game that looked amazing (the rust-covered Otherworld sections in particular) but the way the game hid its fluctuating quality through a noise filter was a brilliant idea. Now, since the character models have been updated, I'm getting that old PS1-era Resident Evil feeling in which the character models look out-of-place with their environment. I don't know if it's just me, but James looks like he's walking about an inch off the ground from the screenshot I have. I know that the third game already had better graphics but...well, 2 is my favorite of the series and seeing it so strangely remastered is off putting for me.
In the end, though, it's hard to sell an HD collection of the series when you had the ability to include four but didn't want to go through the trouble for whatever reason.
In all, I'm not absolutely crazy about HD remakes but I'm not entirely opposed to them. As said before, I'm looking forward to a few of them but I just end to either get skeptical or ignore most of them.