By Mike Mahardy
TFW Contributing Writer
Often times when gamers describe their favorite games of all time, they can barely explain what exactly it is that they love about it. Perhaps the cutting-edge graphics at the time, or the engaging story or the exciting new twist on gameplay are the facets that still resonate with them today. However, with all of the new games that have been released since, there is one factor that keeps that retro game at the top of the list: nostalgia.
With all of the new games that have come out in 2011, it has been almost impossible for gamers to retreat and play their favorite “old-fashioned” games that made them smile or stay glued to their TV for hours on end. However, this year there have been dozens of HD remakes of these old games, allowing gamers to simultaneously play what is both new and nostalgic at the same time. How do all of these titles compare to each other?
1. ‘Team Ico HD Collection’
Originally released on the PlayStation 2, “Ico” and “Shadow of the Colossus” are both titles that still impact many gamers’ conversations when deliberating over the best games ever made. “Ico,” a boy-meets-girl story, takes place in a lonesome castle where the main character Yorda has been locked away — He’s believed to be a bad omen because he has horns — meets the Queen of this castle and must help her escape. The horned hero relies on his agility to defeat the shadow monsters that lurk in the dark regions of the castle.
“Shadow of the Colossus” features a single, castaway archetype character named Wander and his horse Aggro as they venture across a distant land in search for their enemies. The twist? The landscape is devoid of any enemies aside from sixteen massive, lumbering colossi that Wander must slay in order to save the girl who lays in a coma at the exposition. With each new colossus comes a new strategy for defeating them. Finding each beast’s weak spots will baffle and elude players until the very end, including the last colossus, who is arguably the most massive boss in any game to date.
The Edge: Seeing as how the Team Ico Collection is a PlayStation 3 exclusive, gamers with 360s or Wiis are out of luck on this re-release of two amazing games. The games are best played on high resolution HD TVs in order to appreciate updated environments with enhanced textures and animations.
2. ‘Ocarina of Time 3D’
Arguably the best game ever made, Ocarina is still astounding to play considering the time it was released. Now, with higher resolution and 3D visuals to support the legendary tale of Link as he travels across the land of Hyrule and through time, the game has never looked so good. Compared to the old Nintendo 64, the 3D visuals also enhance the experience (or at least until your eyes hurt). For a portable system, the 3DS controls of this game are crisp and easy to reacquaint yourself with, especially if you still have the 64 version’s controls burned into your mind.
The Edge: Once again, this game is exclusive to one system (Nintendo 3DS) and considering it is handheld, many gamers will miss out on this remake. However, if you have extra money or still have to compile your wish list for the holiday season, add a Nintendo 3DS to it so you can experience this game. Whether you missed Ocarina back when it was originally released or you want to experience it a whole new way, this title is a great excuse to pick up a 3DS as soon as you can.
3. ‘Resident Evil 4’
For survival/horror fans, “Resident Evil 4” holds the crown as the title that captures the genre best. The ominous rural Spanish village, the chainsaw wielding psycho, and the foreboding music create a chilling and stunning adventure. Fighting as Leon Kennedy, one mishap leads to another, and players must find the president’s missing daughter and make it out of the village alive — all the while eluding and slaying the zombie horde of an insane cultist. The new HD graphics of the game give it an even more realistic quality and successfully heighten the suspense of this classic.
The Edge: This title can be downloaded on either PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Arcade, so an Internet connection is required to buy the game. The controls are slightly more tailored to the 360 version, although the HD graphics will run more smoothly on a PS3, adding the complete HD experience to an already stellar title.