Over the weekend at the Tales of Festival in Japan, series producer finally confirmed the rumors surrounding a possible HD remake of Tales of Symphonia. Scheduled to release for the PlayStation 3, the tentatively titled Tales of Symphonia Chronicles will include HD remakes of the PS2 cut of the original Tales of Symphonia as well as an HD version of the sequel, Dawn of the New World. Symphonia is not only my favorite entries in the Namco produced franchise, but is also one of my favorite games of all time. Getting to revisit the story of Lloyd, Collette and Kratos has me giddy with excitement, especially since I neglected to play the sequel, which launched to lukewarm reception.
It seems that HD remakes are becoming a simple way for studios to both cater to their fans and make a bit of money by giving their successful franchises a fresh coat of paint. Already we’ve seen HD renditions of God of War, Metal Gear Solid, Jak and Daxter, Shadow of the Colossus, Halo: Combat Evolved and even downloadable fare in Prince of Persia, Rez and Beyond Good and Evil to name a few. The trend will continue with HD collections of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy X on the horizon, as well as remakes of Duck Tales and Mickey’s Castle of Illusion.
I love the idea that seminal classics can be resurrected and brought up to speed, so long as the production is given the proper care. Its a given that HD remakes show a bit of age as the mechanics of gameplay have evolved (camera control in Beyond Good and Evil and Zone of the Enders is frustratingly archaic) and cop out HD remakes like the slew of Capcom’s fighters are clearly a cash grab made with little to no effort (Darkstalkers Resurrection, Marvel vs Capcom Origins). But there are a ton of franchises that deserve the 1080p treatment. Hell, some even deserve a full fledged sequel (or a conclusion!).
Oni is kind of the oddity of Bungie’s gaming library because it was an anime inspired action game that featured some good gunplay as well as some fantastic brawling. The soundtrack was stellar and Konoko was a character that I revered in the early 2000s. The downsides of the game were the bland, purple-hued backgrounds with very little detail. Just imagining the fantastic sound design, characters and Bungie storytelling getting an HD treatment is exciting.
9. Bushido Blade
Back in the PSOne days, Square took a few more chances by making some decent fighting games. Bushido Blade was the best of these efforts because it was a gamble in that it didn’t follow the traditional life-bar fighting mechanics. As a Japanese warrior you would enter into some spectacular one on one combat where strikes could damage, maim and ultimately kill you. It was a blurry PSOne game back then, but both Bushido Blades would still stand apart today just on sheer originality alone.
8. Kingdom Hearts 2 & Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep
I have this lower on the list because in my gut I know that Square Enix is ready to announce this, but not until Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMix sells a few hundred thousand units. The fact that they chose to up the production for Re: Chain of Memories and add cutscenes from 358 1/2 Days just screams that they held back on purpose. To be fair, I would buy a separate HD remake of KH2 and Birth By Sleep (which I never played) because both titles are considered the pinnacle of the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
7. PaRappa the Rapper
Just imagine PaRappa and Chop Chop Master Onion in HD, riffing about cutting veggies. The art style is perfect for an upgrade. A collection could even be made with both PaRappas and UmJammer Lammy.
6. Mega Man X
They are so close to making this a reality. All Capcom really needs to do is take their PSP remake, Mega Man X: Maverick Hunter, polish it up to 1080p and my wallet would catch on fire. Mega Man X is a game that I consider to be absolutely perfect.
Remember when I mentioned conclusions? Deep in my heart I am resigned to the fact that Shenmue will never have a conclusion, but that doesn’t make me want it any less. Ryo Hazuki can look for sailors, buy capsule toys, learn new martial arts moves and race forklifts all day in HD.
4. Star Wars: X-Wing vs TIE Fighter
I’ll take anything from this franchise with a modern coat of paint. Sequel. Remake. Digital release of the old game. The world yearns for a good space combat simulator, especially one trenched in the Star Wars universe.
3. Metroid Prime
Metroid Prime was a game that blew me away the first time I played it for the GameCube. Little subtle effects like water running down Samus’ visor and the little pings from her heads up display were incredibly immersive. Taking all three games, including the optional motion control from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and ramping up the HD would give me a serious reason to own a Wii U.
2. Grand Theft Auto III / Grand Theft Auto: Vice City / Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
I think Rockstar could be close to making this happen, but not with GTAV right on the horizon. My best guess is that they will do it sometime after V’s launch to give it a clear window. They’ve been hard at work pushing the games on mobile platforms which perform surprisingly well. It is only a matter of time before Claude, Tommy and CJ step out of those grainy PS2 graphics.
1. Final Fantasy VII
How could this not be here? Square has been teasing Cloud in HD for years, from the tech demo featuring the opening cinematic of FF7 ending with a gorgeous rendition of Cloud jumping off the train to begin the bombing mission to the equally stunning film Advent Children. If Square were to remake FF7, I expect them to go beyond adding more pixels and fine tuning the graphics. For FF7 they would absolutely need to revamp the entire engine so that fans will be floored by visuals that could put FF13 to shame.