Sep 22, 2011

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Five HD Collections I’d Love to See

Five HD Collections I’d Love to See

While there are more great games to look forward to than ever before on current consoles, there are times when nothing goes down smoother than a pint of nostalgia. Many publishers are beginning to see this and, in the ever-dogged pursuit of our gaming dollar, are digging back in their catalogs to find classics worthy of a second release. These helpings run the gamut from updated legends like Ocarina of Time 3D to remastered HD collections of much-beloved franchises like Metal Gear Solid. For gamers, such a release is often a wonderful thing. Fans of the original get to experience their favorite moments in new ways, while newcomers have a reason to see what all the fuss was about. At the same time, publishers can gauge sales and use the re-release as both a stepping stone for a franchise reboot and a way of generating hype for the next installment.

There are numerous examples of such successes. Last year’s release of The Sly Collection, which featured all three Sly Cooper platformers from the PlayStation 2, was the first outlet by which Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time was teased. When news broke on the collection’s hidden teaser trailer, the Internet was ablaze and anticipation for the fourth Sly installment was pushed to its peak. Meanwhile, the Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection will soon give gamers a taste of what JAPAN Studio accomplished last generation, while teasing upcoming exclusive The Last Guardian with never-before-seen content.

Before long, I believe fans of almost any classic game will be able to drink that sweet nostalgia. Until then, gamers need to show support for the games and franchises they want to see given a fresh coat of paint and new features. Without further ado, here is my personal list of the five HD collections I would most love to see.

 

Kingdom Hearts

You can’t really blame skeptics for believing that an action RPG with Disney characters and Final Fantasy influences would never work, but boy, were they wrong. Still, the very idea of Kingdom Hearts seemed like a shot in the dark. Main character Sora’s quest to find his friends and rid the universe of darkness brought him into contact with worlds based on popular Disney movies, and the player was often tasked with resolving familiar conflicts between classic heroes and villains. The game not only featured a powerful story with complex themes, but also exhibited classic Disney charm, likeable characters, and an incredibly fun battle system. With such polish and care from the talented development team, it’s no wonder Kingdom Hearts would go on to become Square’s next big franchise and receive a full-fledged sequel three years later. Kingdom Hearts 2 was a huge step forward for the franchise, developing the series mythology and introducing a bevy of new characters and events that still fuel spin-offs today. Fans have had to endure a very long wait for Kingdom Hearts 3, and a proper remastering of the first two installments would be a perfect way to satiate the Kingdom Hearts faithful while attracting new fans to the series. The cartoony visuals of Kingdom Hearts still hold up well today; with some texture work and a resolution bump to 1080p, we’d have two fantastic-looking games on our hands. An HD collection would also be the perfect opportunity for Square to localize the Final Mix versions of KH 1 & 2, bringing new items, boss battles, and story events to North American fans who have never experienced these Japan exclusives. An eager fanbase is waiting hungrily, and the games lend themselves to a re-release very well. Come on, Square Enix, don’t leave us hanging.

 

Jak and Daxter

Naughty Dog has never made a game I didn’t like. Frankly, their three franchises are among the most well regarded in all of gaming. While Uncharted may be the current fan favorite and a pioneer in cinematic gaming, it’s hard to deny that their PlayStation 2 Jak trilogy had a big influence on the movie-like quality of Nathan Drake’s adventures. What began as a charming platformer with plenty of collectibles became an epic sandbox journey to save the world and unravel the secrets of Jak’s past. Each game dealt with progressively darker themes and gave more focus to the relationships and internal conflicts of the characters. Between this excellent cast, the cinematic cutscenes, and a story that was truly epic in scope, the Jak trilogy offers one of the PS2′s most memorable experiences. It certainly didn’t hurt that the gameplay was a rock-solid mix of platforming and combat finely-tuned to give players a serious challenge. Just like Kingdom Hearts, the cartoon visuals and vivid colors of Jak and Daxter would look great simply being up-ressed. What a great way to remind gamers that, yes, Naughty Dog is that awesome.