by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
We are living in the era of the HD Remake/Remasters. So many games from my youth are coming back, and quite a lot of them are beautiful. Final Fantasy VII Remake looks like it’s going to be a banger. I’m not even an FFVII fan and I’m excited for it! That’s how you can tell it’s going to be brilliant. For every Final Fantasy X HD Remaster, you have a Mega Man Legacy Collection, filled with input lag, bugs, and other bits of rubbish that make it absolutely unplayable. A prime example of a rubbish remake was most of the SNES ports of classic Squaresoft RPGs (Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy VI). Not every remake/remaster is equal though. Some are more rubbish than others, and some crimes are greater than others. Some I simply haven’t played (like Okami on the Wii, for example). These are my least-favorites, mind, so you might not agree.
Grandia II (PC): Oh, Grandia II, this is a game I enjoy popping in now and again. Not so much the PC iteration though. The main crime for the PC iteration of this RPG is game-breaking bugs. Some of the damn music tracks are corrupt and can crash the game! It wouldn’t be so bad if it were only one rare track, but nine! At least this one’s an easy fix. There were fights that were bugged, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. It’s such a good game, marred by rubbish work on the port. Grandia II can also corrupt its own config file, every time it’s run on a modern version of Windows. What?!
Secret of Mana (PS4): I believe by now, most of the Secret of Mana bugs have been fixed, but man, was it ever a doozy when it went live. I wanted badly to like it because I love Secret of Mana, but it was just about impossible. Game crashes, characters changing colors, enemies stopping their attack string, and possibly my favorite: A character dies and is stuck on the old screen they died on, so you can’t proceed, or they can’t be resurrected because they’re back where you left them. This one was just disappointing. It was fixed eventually, but it was heartbreaking. Ultimately, Secret of Mana on PS4 was released before it was ready, and before it could be thoroughly tested, perhaps.
Final Fantasy VI (Steam/PC): Final Fantasy VI is easily one of the greatest RPGs of all time. That’s not an argument, that’s an absolute fact. I’m sorry, but it is. Unless your first experience with the game is on Steam. The Steam release just visually is rubbish. What this felt like to me, was just taking the already visually hideous mobile port, and just slapping it on Steam. It had the same UI from the mobile port, and the graphics looked. . . well, they were awful. The gameplay was still good, because it’s Final Fantasy VI, it’s hard to botch that. But it was sure easy to ruin the visuals, wasn’t it!? The only complaint I had about the GBA edition was the bad music track, but at least it looked good. The Steam version has no redeeming qualities, other than it still being Final Fantasy VI.
Chrono Trigger (PSX): Wow, Square-Enix/Squaresoft has a long tradition of bad remakes, huh? Sad thing, this isn’t even all of them! With them, it’s a 50/50 crapshoot. This particular remake confuses me the most though. The SNES, while a technological marvel, is not rocket science. When the Squaresoft collections were revealed for the Playstation, I was blown away. I could play my favorite RPGs on the Playstation, including the unreleased Final Fantasy V?! Are you serious? So, I was sitting in the living room with my roommates, and starting up Chrono Trigger for the first time. I went to Guardia Forest to do some leveling right at the start. “Herschel, did Chrono Trigger have a near minute loading time on the SNES? Am I remembering it wrong?” and he shook his head. Both of us were disappointed. How do you port a SNES game to a more powerful console and ruin it? But one crime is greater.
Lufia 2 (DS): The Lufia 2 Action RPG remake isn’t even a bad game! The actual gameplay was fine, the music was brilliant (maybe even better than the original, but that’s up for debate). What’s my beef here then? They took a perfectly great RPG, one of the best of all time, in my personal opinion, and changed it from a turn-based RPG and shifted it into a single-player RPG! You still control Maxim, it has more of a future-tech style. One of the treasured moments from my youth was bastardized. Had it not been called Lufia, or even if it had been a remake of one of the weaker games (so any of the Lufia games not 1 or 2), I might not have minded so much. Ugh, Lufia 2 on the DS made me sad, it made me angry. No matter what other remakes I’ve played, nothing upset me more than Lufia 2 on the DS.