This year, we have seen quite a number of remakes landing back to back. Not just any remakes however, but three in particular that are quite ambitious in their design and follow very different road maps to what they were trying to pull off.
On one hand, we have REmake 3. A game that retells the story of Resident Evil 3 Nemesis with similar gameplay mechanics to REmake 2. The game is more linear and action oriented, but the core design for combat and exploration is the same. This is not a 1:1 remake however, though it does stay true to the original plot wise and only expands where expansion fits. My problem with this one has more to do with length and the fact that not only did they take away the multiple paths (damaging replay value), but there were a few instances of awkward time skips that could have easily been more gameplay segments. While a great experience, it felt rushed in certain parts IMO.
Then we have Final Fantasy VII, which took things to an even greater extreme. Only covering the first area of the original game, it is hard to tell just how many parts this episodic game will have. The combat felt like a natural blend of turn based and action mechanics, and was a joy to play for me. Also I feel the characters were accurately portrayed how I imagined them when I played the game the first time (aside from Aerith, who I felt was much more likeable and useful this time around). However, the game itself felt more like a reboot with its own canon than a true remake of a classic game. There were not only changes to the plot to expand the original story, but certain events take things in a new direction entirely. In order to fully appreciate what they were trying to do, you almost have to disconnect yourself from the original for the most part. A big negative here was the side content too. It felt tacked on and as generic as they come. It really kills the pacing of the game IMO, even if the rewards were actually quite nice. Even certain main mission felt like filler, offering no real importance impact to the plot. Even though I enjoyed the game overall, there were several things I would have liked to see done differently.
And that brings us to our most recent remake, Trials of Mana. This game is probably the most accurate use of the term "remake" out of the three. They took a game from a 2D era, put it in 3D space, and stayed faithful to the original game. It follows the original very closely, but changes how you explore the world and experience the story entirely. The combat felt like a natural progression and was very fun overall, despite seeming very simple in the early hours of the game. You will find yourself using all of your items, abilities, and combos to make the most out of the fight and the challenge level feels just right (on hard mode). And in the spirit of staying true to the original, most of the extra content comes in the post game, expanding on what the original game offered but not altering the experience overall. With three different story routes and six different character arcs for who you can choose as your main, this game has a ton of replay value as well. The only downsides to this game IMO is the english voice acting and lack of co op (which was present in the original). You get used to the voices though and they did not bother me much, but if you can't stand it there is an option for the Japanese voices with subtitles as well (which seems to have been done much better).
So for me, the best remake so far this year has been Trials of Mana. REmake 3 just did not offer me as much as I would have liked, but what was there was good deapite feeling rushed in a few spots. FFVIIR was fun and a decent game overall, but having reflected on what it really has to offer leaves me questioning if square made the right decision. I don't mind the reimagined plot but the filler content really killed the pacing and hampered my enjoyment a bit. Not to mention the whole episodic release thing, which is not my preference. Had the filler been replaced with more meaningful content and the story felt like it had a natural conclusion leading into the next game, maybe I would feel differently.
Trials of Mana however not only feels like a complete experience, but it was overall more fun to play IMO. While FFVIIR left me needing a break when the pacing felt off, ToM flowed at a much more steady pace and left me wanting to push forward at all times. It is truly a joy to play, and my preference between the three. For other remake projects, I personally hope SE follows what they did with ToM rather than their plans for FFVIIR, albiet with better english voice actors and a little higher budget. Despite being much lower budget however, it was by a good margin the better game for me.
So which remake this year is your favorite so far and why?
With three very different approaches we are likely to see some very polarizing answers in this discussion!Last edited by Shiken - on 03 May 2020