Gamers are undoubtedly a nostalgic bunch, so it's no surprise reissues have become a sort of genre unto themselves, worthy of their very own Game of the Year category. And with so many old favorites made new, it also makes sense that some remasters outshine the others. That's why we've selected the five finest reissues of 2015 based not only on how much we love the original games but also how well those games were revamped for the modern era. Some of these have been languishing for years, while others released relatively recently. Regardless of when they came out, though, all five delivered polish and value while giving us another excellent reason to indulge our nostalgia.
Perhaps the best example of a remaster total package is the 3DS version of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Though the original found itself in the unenviable position of following Ocarina of Time--an inimitable adventure still regarded by many as one of the greatest games of all time--it still dazzled critics (and a loyal collection of receptive fans) with its inventive gameplay-altering masks and ambitious time management system. Because it first launched 15 years ago on the Nintendo 64, however, the game's graphics and audio did not age gracefully. Thankfully, Majora's Mask 3D salvaged both, and even more impressively, it fully utilized the 3DS's unique functionality by adding touchscreen controls, gyroscopic features, and, of course, optional 3D visuals. But most importantly, Majora's Mask 3D allowed the game to finally step out of Ocarina of Time's sizable shadow and enjoy some of the recognition it's slowly garnered over the past decade and a half.
Cult classic Grim Fandango's digital remaster for PC, PS4, and PS Vita provided a similar second life. While the original release achieved only modest commercial success, gamers gradually grew to appreciate the inventive premise, macabre humor, and endearing characters of developer Tim Schafer's signature creation, and as that appreciation spread, so did the public's appetite for more Fandango. The reissue scratched that itch with style by updating the game's visuals and providing hours of developer commentary. Being an adventure game from 1998, many of the puzzles felt oddly impenetrable by modern standards, but in spite of its shortcomings, Grim Fandango Remastered gave us exactly what we wanted: any excuse to play Grim Fandango.
The same can be said of both Journey's digital release on PS4 and Grand Theft Auto V's PC launch. While Journey received no updates beyond a basic resolution and framerate bump, its arrival on Sony's current console gave everyone another chance to indulge in its brief but utterly engrossing experience, one that earned an exceptionally rare 10 out of 10 review score when it launched again this past July thanks to its stirring soundtrack, haunting atmosphere, and beautifully human approach to online interaction.
And while Grand Theft Auto V's PC release also made only minor changes to the game's core content, it did allow more players to access one of the greatest open world experiences of all time while opening the door for the modding community to create a geyser of homebrewed content. At a time when PC ports seem to routinely fall short of their console counterparts, we have to applaud Rockstar for ensuring GTA V's PC version didn't suffer that same fate (even if it did take longer than we expected).
Finally, DmC: Definitive Edition gave us a slightly different example of what reissues do well by packing a wealth of content--including new costumes, new gameplay mechanics, and all previously released DLC--onto a single disc. DmC already packed plenty of appeal thanks to its nuanced, skill-based combat, but by packaging together every piece of content imaginable, Capcom gave fans one more reason to overlook the widely reviled redesign of lead character Dante.
Thanks to reissues, the past has never looked so good, and with remastered versions of Day of the Tentacle, Heavy Rain, and many more already announced for 2016, we're confident the reissue category will have an equally strong showing at next year's Game of the Year awards.