Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD remix comes out next month and I couldn’t be more excited. Along with all the bells and whistles, it’ll be a completely remastered version of a game I loved playing and haven’t played in a while. The franchise has exploded with all manner of spin-offs, prequels, sequels and the like but replaying the core franchise with some extra content should be a great way to spend time in the coming months as I will find myself having a lot more free time during my transition out of the military.
However, Kingdom Hearts isn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last in a long list of HD remixes that have come out so far. There have been a slew of collections and HD remixes that have come out over just the past year and I’m not ashamed to admit I own quite a few. That doesn’t stop me from being an idiot, I just love me some gaming. The fact is though, I’ve played most of these games before, beaten some of them to death and I still rebought them just because of the shiny new wrapper. That’s really all you get with some of these HD remixes. Sometimes, not often, you’ll get some revolutionary new feature or some additional content and that’s awesome, great, do it more! Really, please do it more? yeah just like that…mmm…what? Anyway, the more likely scenario is that you’ll end up buying an HD remix and end up with the same game you played years ago, with all the “amazing” “innovative” gameplay and controls from an earlier era of gaming and if you’re anything like me you’ll find it cringe worthy.
I’ve so far gotten the Sly Cooper, Ratchet and Clank, Jak and Daxter, Killzone, Devil May Cry, Silent Hill, and the Ico/Shadow of the Colossus HD packs and so far only the latter has impressed me any and that’s just because I had a fancy 3D TV and could slay massive stone constructs by repeatedly smashing them in the head shouting, “O, Happy Dagger, This is thy Sheathe!” in 3D!!! However, out of them all not a single one offers anything in the way of new content so although I can now fully appreciate the terror of Pyramid Head rape in full 1080p, I’ve seen it before and it would’ve been nice to get maybe even a theater mode at least instead of a direct port of the same games. Often times its more or less a reshading with some smoother pixels as well. Ratchet and Clank in HD still looks like an early era playstation 2 game, its just smoothed out and there are many times where you can see the layer of gloss laid over the ancient game design of yesteryear and it can actually look worse than the original in those aspects. The effect is jarring and sometimes makes it hard for me to continue playing a game I loved playing.
Most of the time I can overlook graphical errors and glitches, its all about the gameplay right? The sheer fun of repeatedly thwonking nameless enemies over and over again and collecting little trinkets and spending hours awkwardly thrusting my sword at demons…oh wait thats not fun, thats terrible! The control mechanics for the original Devil May Cry were awesome…until I played the more recent editions and realized that what I’d been doing earlier was more akin to smashing my face into a dinner plate instead of bringing the food up to my mouth with a fork. Games have come a long way in a short time and the same repetitive tasks and fetch quests we used to just accept as a part of gaming, have become almost taboo and can ruin a gaming experience. Stepping back and taking a good hard look at some of our favorite “classics” might cause one to realize, those games sucked! I’m fully expecting the same out of Kingdom Hearts HD remix 1.5, now with extra cheese and jalapenos. There has been so much innovation in the franchise that I can’t imagine trying to replay the first one with my ability to flip kick Heartless into the void they came from while zipping around the screen bouncing from lightpost to lightpost shooting lasers, without feeling some form of buyers regret. I love what they’re doing, and the HD packs have allowed me to go back and pick up classic games I missed out on(silent hill 3) or replay an old favorite I never finished(Ico). The bottom line is you get what you pay for, and the price is manageable, at least they’re not charging the full $50 for a game I played already. Just so long as they don’t intend on just Remaking everything instead of creating something new, otherwise things are going to stagnate for those franchises. And lets be honest sometimes our “Classics” are only classics because we remember them fondly the way they were back then and to drag them back out in the limelight, throw a pretty dress on them and scream “Look everybody remember this one! Look at those polygons now!” can cause us to lose that bit of our childhood nostalgia. All that aside, at least maybe now those games can get exposure and the new generation of gamers can actually see what once was before complaining that the new Devil May Cry is shit and that the old ones were better without completely talking out of their ass. I’m gonna go watch the HD remix trailer again and sigh…9 more days.
(in my best falsetto)SIMPLE AND CLEAN IS THE WAY THAT YOU’RE MAKING ME FEEEEEEEEEL TONIGHT…!