Remakes have always been a big part of video game history and culture. Ever since the medium first started taking shape in the 70’s and 80’s, there have been remakes of classic adventures that otherwise would be unplayable on modern devices. This console generation has been absolutely dominated by remakes though, as developers take the best games of old and update them from the ground up. This has led to a ton of solid remakes, which prompted us to ask what the best video game remakes of all time were.
Before we get to the list, here’s some ground rules first. This is the Top 5 Best Video Game Remakes of All Time, not the best remasters or HD upgrades. There needs to be work done beyond just upping the resolution or popping the game onto a different platform. I’ve also fudged a little bit by combining remakes within the same series. This led to the same entry for multiple games, but it’s more inclusive than exclusive. These series would be represented here either way, this just lets me talk about their other remakes as well. So, with that said, here are Top 5 Best Video Game Remakes of All Time.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Starting off with what could be a controversial entry here. Halo: The Master Chief Collection had one of the rockiest launches of any major game. Hitting the Xbox One as what would have been a system selling exclusive, network problems and overall glitchiness led to the game being synonymous with a bad launch. However, even during this time it was clear how amazing the remakes contained within were. The only original content is the Halo 2 anniversary release, giving the game an amazing new coat of paint, which can be flipped to the original at any time. This alone would have been a worthy entry on this list, but tossing in the Xbox 360 remake of Halo: CE, while also improving that experience, and its two other sequels. By the end we also had Halo 3: ODST, along with the two remakes and two improved versions of other great Halo experiences, making for one of the best remakes of all time, even with the issues.
Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver
The Pokemon series is practically built on the concept of remakes. While every other new entry is brand new, ever since the Game Boy Advance, the franchise has offered up remakes of older entries. Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen may have been the first, and the recent Let’s GO releases on Switch are remakes of sorts, the real masterpieces are Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver on the Nintendo DS. Still viewed as some of, if not the very best the series has to offer, these DS entries are amazing remakes of already fantastic games. While you can’t go wrong with any of Pokemon’s many remakes, these two are the cream of the crop according to most fans.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask 3D
The Zelda series has had a ton of remakes and remasters over the last few years. As gamers anxiously awaited the arrival of Breath of the Wild, they were treated to a re-release of almost every major game in the series. While Wind Waker and Twilight Princess HD were fantastic remasters, the remake award goes to the two 3DS entries. Ocarina of Time is already heralded as one of the greatest games of all time, so a remake that actually alters the formula is a daunting task. Nintendo used their typical deft hand here though, improving the visuals and inventory management, without messing with what already worked. Majora’s Mask 3D followed suit, creating an even bigger and better improvement on what many feel is the pinnacle of 3D Zelda gaming.
Metroid: Zero Mission and Samus Returns
Continuing with Nintendo handheld remakes, the Metroid series has sustained itself off the back of a couple of truly great remakes. While newer entries have either been a part of the Prime series or troublesome attempts to regain that Metroid magic, the handheld remakes have featured traditional Metroid action, refined. It started with Metroid: Zero Mission on the GBA, which updated the very first Metroid game in great fashion. With additional game content and totally remade visuals and controls, Zero Mission still represents some of the best fun you can have with this series. This tradition continued with the 3DS remake of Metroid II, titled Metroid: Samus Returns. It alone isn’t worthy of this list, but combine it with Zero Mission and you have some of the best remakes of all time.
Resident Evil REmake & Resident Evil 2 Remake
And then you have the true masters of the remake with Resident Evil. The Gamecube release of the Resident Evil remake, dubbed REmake by fans, was a master class in how to update a game. Released over fifteen years ago, the REmake still features visuals that work today, as seen in the recent HD remaster. The game is still a blast to play, with some of the best survival-horror around, while still retaining its fixed-camera and tank-control roots. This is in contrast to the recently released Resident Evil 2 Remake, which forgoes those antiquated elements for a more modern third-person view. And yet it is still an amazing remake that captures the spirit of the original, while updating it for more contemporary tastes. It’s a formula that worked perfectly, and will likely continue to produce amazing remakes for a few years to come.