As my chief editor has noted, very unsubtly I might add, that my column has been very negative and that my cubicle has become more Cheeto dust than desktop at this point. So I decided to write this column to cover a more positive topic and get him back to his office so I can Shop-Vac the cheese wasteland that is my office space. This week I want to address some of the great measures certain companies have taken with their remakes and remasters. The two specific cases I would like to focus on are the remastering of The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt and Mass Effect.
Editor’s Note: Check out our full review of Mass Effect Legendary Edition!
It seems these days we see a lot of low quality ports of beloved games. I am dealing with this right now with the port of Star Wars: Republic Commando for the Switch. This game has already glitched so I can’t turn right and handles a lot sloppier than I remember. This is also true with Star Wars: Rogue Squadron for Steam which has just been a nightmare to map to a controller. It also responds like my A Wing controls replaced with two chubby butt cheeks. This is enough to make any retro gamer scream and eat their computer mouse…or so I’m told and have no experience eating computer peripherals.
But, like a beautiful light at the end of the tunnel, two games have provided examples of how to make remasters relevant for current consoles. The first game to look at is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for Switch. My boss, may he reign forever and not ban Cheetos from the office again, sent it to me as a housewarming gift and it was one of the first games I played on my new 55 inch TV. This game had fixed a lot of bugs that happened at launch and provided two full length DLC in the game for no additional charge. Could they have made me purchase all of the DLC again? Sure. Could they have hidden it behind subscription walls or corny events? Absolutely.
But they didn’t.
Instead they allowed the player to have access to all of the features and additional story lines without any contrived games or wringing money out of the players. This would be great to see other RPG’s do going forward. They could also take a page from Mass Effect’s book and fix the things that annoyed gamers for decades when making the Legendary Edition of this beloved series. Better aiming, better controls and lots of little fixes round out the improved graphics for a complete package.
When Mass Effect’s original trilogy was remastered into the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, they went back and fixed the A Wing/ Butt Cheek-like driving controls for the M35 Mako vehicle. The same driving controls that have been criticized and memed ad nauseum have been corrected to controls that didn’t suck a golf ball through a garden hose. That said, you have the option of turning the old controls back on and by doing so win a free mental health evaluation. At the very least it allows people to enjoy the older games with the option to play a tighter version of the game and have an even better playthrough than they did the first time.
Before the army of commenters begin their march on the comment box, I realize that not every game can be remastered this way. Especially games from the N64 and PS1 era. That said, it has been done as Final Fantasy VIII’s Switch port had a fast forward button so you didn’t have to watch Eden’s feature length attack over and over and over again. However, game companies seem to be more willing to rehash and remaster and reboot as many games as they can. If they are going to give us the gaming equivalent of a swirly until we cough up our lunch money, at least they can make it worth our time and suffering.
Now I hear the chief editor’s footsteps so I am going to toss this review out of my cubicle and hope it distracts him long enough for me to unclog the Shop-Vac and survive the orange monster of my own creation. If I don’t make it out of this battle, tell my family I love them and my boss that I am indeed aware that orange lung will not qualify for workers comp. Remember, with mask mandates lifting that you still need to stay six feet away from bad games and I look forward to seeing you all next time.