Best Video Game Remakes and Remasters 2021

Game remakes and remasters can be good. Some are even epic. Here is a list of all the best video game remakes and remakes to date.

As we transition from the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One generation to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, there’s one important takeaway: PC gamers have nothing to worry about.

Jokes aside, it’s clear that video game preservation isn’t where it needs to be, with many great games trapped on old hardware.

For better or worse, game developers and publishers have taken notice, resulting in more remakes, remasters, definitive editions, deluxe editions, and enhanced ports than ever before.

In this list, we’ll be recommending the best video game remakes and remasters to play in 2021 in order of release date.

We’ll be narrowing our focus to the top video game remakes and remasters released within the last decade. 

If we forgot to mention your favorite game, feel free to sound off in the comments and let us know. And lastly, make sure to check back as we continue to update this list in the future.

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Launching alongside Sony’s PlayStation 5, 2020’s Demon’s Souls provides a much-needed update to one of FromSoftware’s most pivotal titles.

Originally released for the PS3, Demon’s Souls sees you on a heroic quest to save the kingdom of Boletaria from an evil being known as the Old One.

The remake was developed by Bluepoint Games and introduces quality of life improvements such as better performance and graphics.

What’s so great about this remake is that it plays nearly identically to the original, from the layout of environments to the challenging combat, it’s exactly how fans remember.

The Tony Hawk games have a rocky history littered with lackluster sequels that didn’t exactly resonate with fans.

For a long time, the series was put on hiatus before making a comeback in 2020 with a remake of Pro Skater 1 and 2 developed by Vicarious Visions.

The remake includes every level from both games, all stunningly recreated from the ground up, along with tricks like reverts, spine transfers, and wall plants, which appeared in later titles.

 THPS 1+2 currently stands as the fastest-selling entry in the franchise, selling 1 million copies within the first two weeks.

Initially released for the Wii and later ported to the Nintendo 3DS, Xenoblade Chronicles is a universally-acclaimed JRPG that benefits from having an open-world design.

You play as a young hero named Shulk who bands with other characters to defeat an army of alien robots known as the Mechon.

The Definitive Edition features updated graphics, remastered music tracks, and improvements to the game’s notoriously obtuse quest tracking system.

It also adds a new playable epilogue, Xenoblade Chronicles: Future Connected, set one year after the events of the main story, making it an absolute must-have for fans of the series.

Split into multiple parts, Final Fantasy VII Remake feels like some weird science project cooked up in the basement of Square Enix’s offices.

The first part was released in 2020 and blew pretty much everyone away with its approach to updating the PlayStation classic.

This includes fully-realized environments, reimagined characters, and an updated battle system that mixes real-time action with traditional strategy mechanics. 

What makes this remake awesome is the fact that it stays true to the story of the 1997 game while at the same time expanding upon its lore through world-building.

Black Mesa stands as a shining example of what’s possible when a game company and its community come together.

It all started when Valve decided to release Half-Life: Source, a port of the iconic shooter that utilized Valve’s (at the time) new Source engine without any other unique features or improvements.

Left dissatisfied, two groups of fans set out to create their own remake of Half-Life, eventually combining their efforts under a new moniker, the Crowbar Collective.  

With Valve’s blessing, Black Mesa became available on Steam Early Access, and development continued until the game’s full release in March 2020.

The remake features better level and puzzle design, more challenging enemy AI, and a host of new dialogue and story elements on par with Valve’s quality writing.

Link’s Awakening is one of the few Zelda games to not feature Hyrule, the Triforce, or even Princess Zelda for that matter.

It was the first Zelda game to release on a handheld, the Game Boy and later the Game Boy Color as Link’s Awakening DX.

The original’s top-down perspective, as well as its gameplay and story, remain the same in the remake, with Link on a quest to wake the legendary Wind Fish by gathering eight magical instruments.

The remake also includes a switch in art style, with more toy-like character and world designs, an updated soundtrack, and a new dungeon creator mini-game.

Capcom’s remake of Resident Evil 2 is a survival horror masterpiece that benefits from better-looking graphics and quality of life improvements that help bring the 20-year-old game up to modern standards.

In it, you reprise your roles as rookie cop Leon Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield as the pair find themselves trapped in Raccoon City amidst a zombie plague.

Our favorite aspect of the remake is that while the core experience is mostly the same, parts of the story have been reworked to give supporting characters a bigger spotlight.

RE2 remake currently ranks as Capcom’s second-biggest launch on Steam after Monster Hunter: World and has outsold the original with over 5.8 million copies worldwide.

We love when multiple games in the same series get remastered and bundled together in a single release, especially for a franchise as nostalgic as Spyro.

Developer Toys for Bob did a fantastic job at recreating the original trilogy of games centered on a wisecracking purple dragon that travels to different worlds rescuing his kind and defeating monsters.

They achieved this by emulating the original level geometry and character models using a proprietary emulation tool aptly named “Spyro-scope.”

Somehow it all came together, resulting in Spyro Reignited Trilogy being one of the best remastered video game collections of all time.

The second FromSoftware title to appear on this list, Dark Souls Remastered updates the genre-defining classic with high-definition graphics and 60 FPS performance.

In addition, the remaster introduces dedicated servers for online multiplayer and raises the player cap from four to six during online sessions.

Set in the dark medieval kingdom of Lordran, the game sees you embarking on a harrowing pilgrimage littered with grotesque and deadly monsters.

Dark Souls Remastered includes the base game along with the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, making it perfect for Souls fans that are up for the challenge.

One of the benefits of remaking a video game is that it gives developers an opportunity to address things like outdated controls, user-interface, and the like.

A great example of this is Shadow of the Colossus, a unique open-world game initially released for PS2 in 2005 and later remastered for PS3 as part of The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection.

The 2018 remake was developed by Bluepoint Games, who previously worked on the PS3 remaster, and introduces a host of graphical and performance-based improvements.

While the gameplay and story were kept the same, Shadow of the Colossus greatly benefited from the addition of a new control scheme designed to bring the classic up to today’s standards.

Samus Returns is one of two remakes in the Metroid series and reimagines the events of Metroid II: Return of Samus with a host of modern improvements.

In it, players reprise their role as the spacefaring bounty hunter after she’s sent to planet SR-338 to wipe out the Metroid population.

The story and structure remain largely the same but are accompanied by new controls, updated graphics, and new abilities based on later games.

Samus Returns received tons of praise for its visual and gameplay improvements, with many considering it a return to form for the franchise.

In 2017, fans of Blizzard’s long-running RTS were treated to an updated version of the original StarCraft released in 1998.

While it retains the gameplay of the original, StarCraft: Remastered features upgraded high-definition quality graphics and rerecorded audio.

Additionally, a host of new online features were made available via Blizzard’s Battle.net launcher application.

It was a great decision on Blizzard’s part that was celebrated by both critics and fans and made even better by the company’s decision to offer the original StarCraft and its expansion for free.

Before the announcement of N. Sane Trilogy, we hadn’t heard anything regarding the genetically enhanced PlayStation mascot in years.

It was a satisfying comeback for nostalgic fans that were eager to revisit the original trilogy of games, which included Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: Warped.

Unlike Spyro: Reignited, these weren’t merely remasters but full-blown remakes built from the ground up using new assets, animations, and cutscenes.

The collection also added unified checkpoints, pause menus, a save system, time trials, and made Crash’s sister Coco a playable character in additional levels.

Following an online petition from fans requesting a remaster of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Activision enlisted Raven Software to develop an updated version for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Modern Warfare Remastered kept the core gameplay experience the same but added numerous graphical enhancements along with updated animations, sound effects, and multiplayer content.

One of the most controversial aspects of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered’s release was that it was initially only available via special edition bundles of Infinite Warfare.

A standalone version was eventually released a year later, at which point critics praised the number of enhancements included as well as the quality of the original campaign and multiplayer modes.

Maintaining the title of the PS2 classic, 2016’s Ratchet & Clank for PlayStation 4 serves as both a reboot for the series and a reimagining of the game that started it all.

Its launch coincided with the release of the Ratchet & Clank movie and added upgraded graphics and new lines of dialogue to the almost 20-year-old shooter-platformer.

The Ratchet & Clank remake was well-received by critics and longtime fans, with many citing its perfect balance between combat, platforming, and puzzle sections.

Developer Insomniac Games referred to the reboot as a “new beginning” for the series, and we’d have to agree considering a new entry, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, is currently slated for the PS5.

Much like the 3DS remake of Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask 3D is an enhanced remaster of the original N64 title with various graphical and gameplay changes.

Centered on its titular hero Link, the game sees you trying to save the land of Termina from being destroyed by its moon in a span of three days.

The most notable change was the time mechanic, which was modified to grant players more time to explore new activities such as fishing.

The remaster also utilized the 3DS’ stereoscopic 3D graphics, touchscreen controls, and gyroscopic capabilities, all of which were well-received by fans and critics alike.

When the Master Chief Collection debuted in 2014, it was a hot mess littered with game-breaking bugs and glitches.

In partnership with other studios, 343 Industries spent the next six years ensuring every game ran as smoothly as possible, culminating in the release of an enhanced version in November 2020.

The collection is considered a living anthology of Halo games and consists of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4, which all originally released on Xbox platforms.

Each title included now supports high-resolution displays, improved online matchmaking, and local LAN multiplayer, making MCC the definitive way to experience both classic and contemporary Halo.

Released in 2014, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is a comprehensive remake of the first game in the series, Abe’s Oddysee, and was developed by Just Add Water.

It features wholly remade assets, including fully-3D graphics, several gameplay refinements, and a new difficulty option.

Additionally, the remake features more secrets to discover, new puzzle designs, and minor adjustments to Abe’s appearance.

New ‘n’ Tasty was well-received, with many considering it one of the best remakes of all time, securing it a spot on this list.

Originally released in 2006, Okami was praised for its distinct art style, Legend of Zelda-inspired gameplay, and narrative revolving around a sun goddess who takes the form of a white wolf.

Despite having the unfortunate luck of coming out at the tail end of the PS2’s lifespan, Okami was granted a second chance at life thanks to a high-definition remaster for newer consoles.

As a result, more players have been able to experience the original’s story, and marvel at the enhancements included.

If we had to guess, Okami HD will continue to stand the test of time and captivate players with satisfying gameplay and beautiful visuals.

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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