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Do Game Remasters Make Sense On PC? - Steam Punks

Remasters are all the rage across PC, PS4, Xbox One, and beyond. But are they really worthwhile for PC players who have access to mods and emulators? We discuss the pros and cons on this week's Steam Punks.

Remastered versions of games have been a fairly recent trend, having become so common this generation. They've offered the opportunity to enjoy games of the past on modern hardware along with refined visuals and general quality of life improvements, but are sometimes viewed as "cash-ins" on beloved games. Things gets a bit more dicey when it comes to PC games. There's likely to be conflicts between new operating systems and old games; there might be a workaround to get games running, so there's something nice about having classics seamlessly working on a modern setup. However, that's less likely to be necessary in the 3D era of PC games, especially with graphics options readily available in most situations. So, on this episode of Steam Punks, Jess and Ed explore the question: do remasters make sense on PC?

Sid Meier's Pirates, originally on the Commodore 64 in 1987, received two updated versions in its time: a 1993 release with a visual upgrade and a full remake in 2004. Both versions retained the core elements that made it great. Classic point-and-click adventure games like Grim Fandango and Full Throttle benefited from remasters since they were able to run easily modern systems and obtained legally. In the 3D era however, games that were previously console exclusives have a natural avenue to come to PC by way of a remaster. For example, games like Shenmue, Devil May Cry, Yakuza 0, Valkyria Chronicles are now available to an audience that may not have the original platforms that had those game. These are some cases in which PC remasters have shined.

On the flip side, a PC remaster could end up going slightly wrong, like in the cases of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition and Heroes of Might and Magic III HD Edition. Mod communities have been instrumental in preserving and updating older games as well. Speaking of mods, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Special Edition may not have been entirely necessary on PC given that the highly active mod community that has contributed a slew of visual upgrade packages and extra content.

There are also aspects to consider such as game preservation or gauging interest in particular franchise to see if people want new entry. What are your thoughts on remasters? Which remastered games have you been excited about? And what would you like to see remastered today?

Games discussed:

  • Sid Meier's Pirates
  • Grim Fandango Remastered
  • Full Throttle Remastered
  • Shenmue I & II
  • Devil May Cry
  • Yakuza 0
  • Age of Empires: Definitive Edition
  • Heroes of Might and Magic III HD Edition
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Special Edition

Show Info

Steam Punks
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Avatar image for J_P-

Remasters only make sense with non-recent games, good games which god dated looking.

Avatar image for allroy01

Yessica to Jessica.

Avatar image for tingtong

They would to me if I still gamed on PC for the same reason that they’re always a welcome addition to consoles. However, I got zero interest in ppl’s side hobby or mods.. If it doesn’t come from the developers & how they intended then count me out.

Avatar image for Louis

I'm fine with remasters, especially for older games that could use a graphics update/polish. The other reason is to rework the games so they work on current PC hardware.

Will some work and others not? Sure, it's a hit and miss industry. But that's why we have reviews.

Avatar image for tempertress

@Louis: I agree!

Avatar image for heqteur

I'd say yes and no.

Yes, it's always cool to have a graphically upgraded version of a classic, but they always seem like a cash grab on PC since PCs aren't tied with generations like consoles. In a perfect world, all remasters would be offered for free to PC owners of the original version and it would be possible for someone new to the game to buy it at a decent price and get both the original and remastered version.

Avatar image for tempertress

@heqteur: I really like when the PC edition simply updates like I believe the case was with Divinity.

Avatar image for caj1986

Devil may cry, shenmue, crash bandicoot, etc make sense considering they werent on d pc platform. Else games like bulletstorm, borderlands, bioshock and other remasters are cash graba

Avatar image for deviltaz35

Wasn't Skyrim originally done for 32 bit operating systems and the remaster was 64 bit? If so then just for the sake of it running much better it was worth the remaster on PC

Don't agree with Grim Fandango or Full Throttle as neither was difficult to run on a modern pc.

Avatar image for asnakeneverdies

@deviltaz35: I would characterize the Skyrim Special Edition, as a port.

Avatar image for doorselfin

@deviltaz35: The bigger issue with Grim Fandango and Full Throttle is that they were incredibly hard to get a hold of in the 2000's, until Double Fine bought back the rights around 2014 and remastered it.

Avatar image for asnakeneverdies


Avatar image for Mraou

Well in the case of Dark Souls 1, that's an example of a bad remaster (watch Crowbcat's video). But thankfully on PC we can mod the game to look more like the original release.

So yes, remasters on PC are a good thing, and if they turn out bad, then there's always the hope of mods that will improve upon them.

Avatar image for deviltaz35

@Mraou: I don't understand why they ruined the great atmosphere of the original with the remaster.