Remakes aren’t just a trend that hit Hollywood over the past two decades. The video game industry also followed closely behind with plenty of its own remakes from a treasure trove of games released throughout gaming history. With the highly anticipated remake of Resident Evil 4 on the horizon, we’re taking a look at the 10 best video game remakes of all time from Final Fantasy to Demon’s Souls.
The following list is in no particular order as it’s hard to pick a definitive “best” out of the bunch. Each remake delivers an experience that not only enhances their originals but in some cases, outdoes them in key areas. The data is also compiled from message boards, polls, forums and some of our personal opinions thrown into the mix.
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Dead Space (2023)
The first and most recent entry on this list, EA Motive’s outstanding remake of Visceral Games’ iconic survival horror game Dead Space manages to outshine the original where it matters the most: better visuals, expanded levels, a more fleshed out story and tighter gameplay. Running on new tech, the remake is a breathtaking experience that zeroes in on creating a more terrifying atmosphere and giving the original blockbuster levels of quality worthy of its AAA status.
This isn’t the only time that Bluepoint, arguably one of the best developers in the industry for gaming remakes, will be making an appearance on the list. The Demon’s Souls remake launched alongside the PS5 and simply enhanced From Software’s classic action-RPG in fantastic ways. The most notable improvements came in its visuals which, to this day, sit among the top of gaming’s most graphically stunning titles.
Resident Evil (2002)
The GameCube remake of Capcom’s survival horror phenomenon Resident Evil is often cited as one of the best video game remakes of all time so we couldn’t pass it up. What made 2002’s Resident Evil remake so impressive was a combination of keeping the gameplay framework of the original intact while polishing the visuals to meet graphical standards at the time. It leveraged everything at its disposal to make what is easily the definitive way to play the original classic today.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Square Enix rewrote the literal definition of “remake” with 2020’s Final Fantasy VII Remake. Saying how it did it would be going into spoiler territory but there’s a lot to appreciate about this passionate remake effort. Far from being a cash-grab, Final Fantasy VII Remake boldly aimed to make a game that catered to fans of the original while confusing the hell out of newcomers, but it still somehow serves as an excellent entry point. With a planned trilogy of remakes in the making, we hope Square Enix can stick the landing and hit those brutal story beats we’re expecting.
The Yakuza franchise is more than just the internet’s meme punching bag. Beneath the laughs is a series with a terrific, emotional drama at its core. This is best exemplified in Yakuza Kiwami, a stylish remake of the first game that manages to bring out the best elements of Yakuza while giving it a visual facelift for new hardware. I’m gonna cheat here for a second and also include Yakuza Kiwami 2, a remake of the second game, since they go hand-in-hand and both deserve high praise.
Resident Evil 2
Capcom did it again. This time, instead of sticking closely to the gameplay formula of the original Resident Evil 2, the developer completely overhauled it with a fresh third-person perspective, more intense action and survival horror moments and added story content that comfortably fit the game. In 2019, the Resident Evil 2 remake showed the greatest leap any video game remake has ever taken and it’s still absolutely brilliant.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
The Legend of Zelda franchise is no stranger to remakes and remasters (that’s worked out pretty well for Nintendo), but Link’s Awakening is a special example of a remake that was not only requested by fans but absolutely needed. Don’t get me wrong, I have fond memories of the original Game Boy version but playing the 2019 remake just made me appreciate the classic more while also introducing new players to a relic of gaming’s past – now with a shinier (and brighter) coat of paint.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
Discussions around video game remakes don’t have enough of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, a valiant effort from Vicarious Visions to make the IP relevant again and rejuvenate interest in skateboarding games. As the title states, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 are bundled remakes of the first two Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games with overhauled mechanics, visuals and additions that simply turn those classics in modern-day must-plays for all skateboarding enthusiasts.
Metroid: Zero Mission
Metroid: Zero Mission is a Game Boy Advance remake of the original 1986 Metroid that retells the story of galactic bounty hunter Samus Aran. It’s one of the oldest entries on this list, coming out in 2004, but don’t let that stop you from playing a remake that has all but replaced the original thanks to its improved storytelling, better gameplay and faithful retelling of events.
Shadow of the Colossus
Before Demon’s Souls, Bluepoint made a name for itself by remaking Team Ico’s breathtaking masterpiece Shadow of the Colossus for PS4. The original arguably still holds up well today but Bluepoint managed to improve the visuals and controls that honoured the source material without overstepping any boundaries. The result is a faithful, stunning remake that kept the core experience just as thrilling and emotionally devastating.