The Best Game Reissues Of 2019
The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.
Remasters To Remind You Of Gaming's Finest
It's fascinating to see how much remasters and remakes have become popular in games this past generation. Alongside new games, they've become a mainstay of nearly every month's big releases. There's such a fondness for restoring and revisiting old experiences to either freshen up what was already there or completely revitalize it with new ideas. Call it nostalgia or reinvention--this push towards bringing back older games, whether they first released a few years back or over a decade ago, has become a substantial portion of the big games we play each year.
This year brought a combination of reissues of the medium's most celebrated gems from across generations. Some are games you might've missed out on, while others are ones you'll want to experience in their reimagined form whether you've played them before or not. In no particular order, here are the five best reissues of 2019.
If you're curious about what else we've highlighted as the best games in other categories, be sure to check out all our end-of-the-year coverage collected in our Best of 2019 hub. You can also check out our top 10 games of 2019. Over the next few days, we will offer further insight into why we picked them as the best of 2019, with a standalone article going live on-site in order of the games' release dates. Then, on December 17, we will reveal which of the nominees gets to take home the coveted title of GameSpot's Best Game of 2019.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
For nearly three decades, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening has garnered a cult following among the series fanbase. The most ardent swear by this delightful Zelda entry, but still, many haven't experienced this quirky Game Boy-exclusive installment. But that changed this year with the Nintendo Switch remake.
This gateway into Link's Awakening enthusiastically reveals at every turn why it's one of the best games in the series. The visual overhaul alone is enough to entice with its appeal to early years spent taking glossy toys on imaginary quests into sandboxes of the unknown. The orchestrated soundtrack conveys a sense of adventure that underscores the intrigue of its enchanting world. And if you haven't played a classic Zelda game, Link's Awakening instantly captivates in its skillful engineering of established series tenets.
If you've played many Zelda games, there's not much in Link's Awakening that will surprise you, but the warmth and familiarity contained within will undoubtedly charm you. Despite its more archaic blemishes, Link's Awakening on Switch stands as one of the best reissues this year.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition
In 2018, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age won over RPG fans with its faithful adherence to the series' classic roots and conventions. It proudly proclaimed that even the most traditional RPG formula is still captivating as long as it's well-executed. But with the release of the Definitive Edition on Switch this year, that experience is fine-tuned even further.
At first glance, the additions to DQ XI on Switch aren't major, but they impact the game in significant ways. The option for an orchestrated soundtrack elevates the fantastical tone of the journey. Quality-of-life additions, such as the option to increase battle speed and forge equipment at any time, all but remove the original's most persistent frustrations. New story scenarios, sidequests, and the ability to play the game entirely in a 16-bit mode further round out your time spent in the kingdom of Dundrasil, allowing the game's accomplishments to resonate even more.
If you've never played DQ XI, then the Switch version is the one to play. The visual fidelity may have taken a slight hit in the conversion, but it's a splendid adventure that's only made better by a slew of satisfying adjustments and extras.
Catherine: Full Body
In many ways, the production and visual stylings of Atlus' massively popular Persona 5 begins with Catherine. This thrilling sixth-gen psychological puzzler was as aesthetically bold as it was riveting. And thanks to the remastered Full Body edition's fine-tuning adjustments, Catherine's best qualities are that much better.
In a somewhat unusual premise for a game, Catherine has you navigating the repercussions of romantic infidelity. As the 30-something-year-old Vincent, you actively toil away at his personal dilemmas while trying to survive a hellish recurring nightmare that threatens his life each night. Full Body mostly remains faithful to the original game's extraordinary story, but it does throw in an extra love interest into the mix, Qatherine (yes, with a Q), or Rin for short. Admittedly, Rin's story threads don't always benefit the experience, lacking the nuance that other parts have. Still, Rin's a great character and a worthwhile addition for both returning players and newcomers.
There's also the act of playing Catherine, which has you hastily shifting blocks to climb tremendous towers to elude the grasp of pursuing demonic creatures. Some may find it the more frustrating part, but Full Body eases the stress these puzzles once provided and makes them far more enjoyable.
Catherine is essential playing for fans of story-driven adventures, and the Full Body remaster is finally your ticket to do so. You owe it to yourself to try this one out; its story is too intriguing and rarely lets go of your attention.
Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled
Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled reinvigorates the classic kart racer with a passion and exuberance that shouldn't be overlooked. Like the remastered Crash Bandicoot trilogy, it maintains the spirit of the original while modernizing the parts that needed fine-tuning.
With a diverse set of tracks to race through across both its Adventure and Battle modes, it's easy to sink countless hours into Nitro-Fueled. Redone character and track designs recapture memories of days old while giving them a pleasing new coat of paint. But as you'd expect, the star of the show is the racing itself. Compare it to Mario Kart as much as you want, but there's nothing quite like consistently executing CTR's super-charged high-speed drifts across a turn and boosting yourself past the finish line into the bliss of a well-deserved victory. CTR's scrappy sense of speed has always set it apart from the competition, and that remains the same with the remaster.
Nitro-Fueled is a lovingly crafted trip back to arguably one of the best kart racers around. It revives the high octane spirit of the original with elegance and ease, making it well-deserving of praise this year.
Resident Evil 2 Remake
Resident Evil 2 is far more than a remake of the classic PlayStation original. Where recent action-focused games strayed away from what made early entries so unique and terrifying, RE2 remake continues the tone established by Resident Evil 7: Biohazard's return to the series' horror roots. In the process, the game develops Resident Evil's quintessential survival-horror mechanics and puzzle-solving into its most cohesive iteration yet.
As Leon or Claire, a familiar terror awaits as you navigate the labyrinthian hallways of the Raccoon City Police Department. The original game's most memorable moments expectedly line the remake's retelling of that terrifying night in 1998, but they're recontextualized, remixed, and given new life. Simply pointing your gun at a zombie is anxiety-inducing again, as the game removes the empowerment once offered by the freedom to aim, providing you only a semblance of dominance, a much shakier aim, and fewer bullets. And don't even get us started with the Lickers or Mr. X; the remake amplifies the terror of fighting these relentless enemies in a more seamless environment where your chances of survival seem to decrease by the minute.
Somehow RE2 remake's successes far exceed that of the original. The brilliant execution of its risk-reward survival-horror highlights it as one of the best experiences this year. A riveting and harrowing adventure, RE2 Remake is a shining example of the series' best qualities that proves the genre can still evolve, thrill, and delight.