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The 5 Best Reissued Games Of 2017

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Given the multitude of fantastic games that come out every year, we often miss out on a wealth of experiences, whether because they were on a console we didn't have or because they were simply not on our radar. 2017 was packed with re-releases, remasters, and remakes of top-quality games from the recent to far past. The best of the bunch provided not only an opportunity for both veterans and newcomers to jump into an iconic game, but went above and beyond expectations by offering an embarrassment of new content. In no particular order, here are our picks for the best reissued games of 2017.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

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Thanks to a series of substantial updates, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the definitive version of Mario Kart to get. It plays beautifully on Switch in both handheld and docked mode, and its core racing is as exciting as ever. And, most notably, it revamps the original's lackluster Battle Mode, rounding out an already great racing game.

In the original version of Mario Kart 8, the balloon-popping Battle Mode repurposed tracks designed for regular racing. All of those tracks have been replaced in Deluxe, and the new Battle maps have choke points great for face-offs, built around central areas where you can mercilessly toss items at your friends.

But even if you’re not a big Battle Mode fan, the racing in Deluxe is enhanced by small updates. The ability to carry two items at once is back from Double Dash, adding another layer of things to worry about on the track, and the Joy-Cons’ HD rumble gives a stronger sense of acceleration from boosts. Your driving ability matters more in Mario Kart 8 than in previous Mario Kart games, and racing in Deluxe is as enjoyable and rewarding for skilled players as it was originally.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

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The best mainline Final Fantasy games are the ones that distinguish themselves as epic RPGs that can be appreciated on their own, apart from other installments in the series. Final Fantasy XII ranks high because of this distinction. Set in the Ivalice universe, it builds off the medieval European aesthetics and worlds previously conceived in Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story, with new desert settings that add a complementary Middle Eastern flair.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age not only represents some of the best aspects of Ivalice, it also underscores the timelessness of the game's groundbreaking Gambit battle system. Its semi-automated design gives the impression that it takes away control from you; the reality is the complete opposite. By giving each character up to 12 if/then behaviors, you can tailor an active party into an efficient and organized trio. You feel a sense of accomplishment, because you know it was due to your efficient strategies and battle orders.

Along with remastered visuals, The Zodiac Age has all the key aspects from the International Zodiac Job System edition of FFXII, previously an Asia-only exclusive. The Trials mode is a challenging test of strength and wits. Yet this 100-level enemy rush is only a minor perk when compared the reissue's two standout features: The 2x/4x fast-forward is incredibly well-suited to the fluidity of the Gambit System, cutting what is normally a 100-hour playthrough by half, without dampening the overall experience. And the overhauled Job System affords you more specialized skill paths for your rebellious party of six. While this class customization change comes at the expense of the more expansive license board from the original game, being able to mold Ashe, Vaan, and the rest of their gang into a diverse squad of experts in various fields creates a greater sense of ownership.

Mario + Luigi Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions

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Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga could have simply been ported from the Game Boy Advance to the 3DS and nobody would have complained. It's a game that still looks, plays, and sounds great today in its original form. Yet, when Nintendo decided to release the game on 3DS, it saw fit to go the extra mile and revamp it in small ways from top to bottom. Thankfully, the game's original charm remains intact, and it's been improved in the process.

Graphics are the most obvious place to look for upgrades, and people familiar with the original game will notice enhanced animations and redrawn sprites, which add a dash of new personality to the already energetic game. Likewise, the soundtrack has been expanded, with tracks running a bit longer thanks to new material from legendary composer Yoko Shimomura.

Nintendo also saw fit to add a new move in combat, adopting a mechanic from more recent games in the Mario and Luigi RPG series. Traditionally, you could opt to press a button right at the moment of impact to add a little extra damage to your attacks, but you now also have the option of pressing X before an enemy hits you to help soften the blow and save a few HP. It's a small change, but one that makes the turn-based combat feel more active. And when you add all of these tweaks and improvements up, Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga is the best it's ever been--another win for 3DS.

Wipeout Omega Collection

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Wipeout Omega Collection is the kind of compilation that underscores the brilliance of the original versions of the games that make up this 3-in-1 set. Experiencing this enhancement of Wipeout HD shows how visually superb the original game was nine years ago. Indeed, you would have to position both games side by side to truly appreciate the improvements, because frankly, there really wasn't a lot to improve upon. Same goes for the wholly substantial Wipeout HD Fury expansion. Whereas the tracks in Wipeout HD were taken from the Wipeout PSP games, Fury's courses are brand new, offering some of the best raceways in the series. One last notable highlight to this collection is the inclusion of Wipeout 2048. Even after racing one lap, it's hard to believe that this game originated as a PS Vita launch title.

Like practically every Wipeout sequel since the groundbreaking Wipeout XL, each has its own design spin--however minor--that gives each installment its own identity. So not only does this collection give you three distinct flavors of Wipeout, it also serves as a time capsule, representing the series' late 2000s return to form, delivering the best anti-gravity competition that this subgenre has to offer. Even if you take away the much appreciated remastered visuals, this reissue is deserving of the attention of any racing fan, even in 2017.

Yakuza Kiwami

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This year's Yakuza 0 was a fantastic entry point into Sega's long-running action game franchise. But 2017 also introduced its successor, Yakuza Kiwami. Not only is Kiwami a brilliant game in its own right, it's an impressive and well-rounded remake of the pivotal entry that started it all. The game offers the series' signature complex storytelling, while masterfully balancing its gangster drama with offbeat, absurdist comedy. It also inherits all the improvements to combat and presentation from Yakuza 0.

In a landscape populated by big-budget, open-world adventures, Kiwami is particularly refreshing in how it revels in the charm of its setting and story. Its repetitive combat sequences and backtracking may be slightly disappointing holdovers from the original game, but if you stick with it, Kiwami pulls you into the engrossing melodrama of its characters and surprises you with its unexpected shifts in tone.

There's nothing quite like Yakuza, and Kiwami doesn't hesitate to show why the series has gained such a cult following. If you haven't tried a Yakuza game before, Kiwami is a perfect a place to start, even if you missed Yakuza 0 earlier this year. Though, please do yourself a favor and play Yakuza 0 too. Afterall, it's never too late to jump on the Yakuza train.

GameSpot will be unveiling its picks for the best games of the year throughout all of December. Check out our Best of 2017 hub for even more.

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