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It's Hard to Play New Games When There Are So Many Exciting Remakes on the Way

STARTING SCREEN | We'd love to get around to Monster Hunter World, but there's that little matter of Dragon Quest Builders coming to the Switch...

Feature by Nadia Oxford, USgamer Team, .

When I was a youngster, re-playing games I loved from previous generations was a real ordeal. You typically had to haul out old systems, disconnect your current machine and hook up the oldie. Then you had to actually find the game you wanted to play, which was a struggle in itself.

I sheepishly admit I didn't take care of my games as well as I should've. I wrote swear words in my NES instruction booklets. I threw out boxes, except when I cut up my box for Final Fantasy III SNES as part of a school project. I stashed older games in damp places, or set them adrift in my younger brother's toybox. I put PlayStation discs in the wrong cases (I somehow wound up with two copies of Chrono Cross' first disc, and none of the second. I have no idea how that happened).

All that said, I doubt I'm the only old timer who rarely retreated to classic games until the Virtual Console (and, ahem, emulators in general) made it a stupidly easy ordeal. But look at us now; we're drowning in retro goodness. The NES Classic and the SNES Classic provide simple, cost-effective ways to re-visit the very best of each system's library. That's tantalizing enough, but the deluge of remakes and ports of older games is also impossible to ignore.

I liked learning martial arts with wolves the first time around. I wanna do it again.

The Nintendo Switch is ground zero for mouth-watering re-releases, and if the recent Nintendo Direct is anything to go by, there's more where that came from. I vowed 2018 is going to be the year I break out of my gaming comfort zone and try new things. We're two weeks into the year, and I spent the weekend playing the Dragon Quest Builders demo for the Nintendo Switch. When the full game comes out, I'll snatch it up in an instant even though I beat Dragon Quest Builders on the PlayStation 4 back in 2016. I can't even bring myself to feel badly about my life choices, because going back to Builders—a portable version of Builders that's not hamstrung by a PS Vita-sized screen—felt very nice.

And maybe I'm just making excuses at this point, but look at the world around us. When we're indoors, there's noise and fury belching from Twitter and Facebook like plumes of Malboro breath. When we're outdoors, there's impenetrable winter dark and booger-freezing cold. We all need something that makes us feel warm, happy, and welcomed.

The Switch isn't the only machine dishing out huge helpings of game nostalgia, either. Another remake of Okami just hit the PlayStation 4, and Lord knows the trend isn't going to taper off in 2018 or beyond. We can expect remakes, re-releases, and revisions of Shadow of the Colossus, Secret of Mana, The World Ends with You, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and Ys VIII. That's just off the top of my head. I plan to play all these (even though I was terrible at Shadow of the Colossus on PlayStation 2, and I doubt the PlayStation 4 version of the game will show me mercy, either).

There is never any shame in going back to Chrono Trigger.

Obviously, every time a re-release occurs, it's someone's first time playing a classic. Kat got to play through Chrono Trigger for the first time last year thanks to the Nintendo DS remake of the game. Last week, I also pointed out how Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze's arrival on the Nintendo Switch means a lot of people will be playing the game for the first time.

But then you have dumb schmucks like myself who look at a game they've played to death and say "Oh, but it's got a new hat!" and pour their life and soul into an old, safe experience instead of investing that time and effort into striking out for new digital lands.

And what I want to know is, "Should I feel bad about it?"

Do you?

Looking Ahead to the Rest of the Week

We're still a week away from January's biggest releases. But if you look hard enough, there are a bunch of under-the-radar games that may be of interest.

  • Street Fighter V Arcade Edition [January 16]: Street Fighter V gets a boost with codes for all the Season 1 and 2 DLC characters, new interface grpahics, two new gameplay modes, and additional V-Triggers. It will be available either as a standalone retail game or as a free update for owners of the existing game.
  • Darkest Dungeon [January 18]: The acclaimed dungeon crawler makes its way to the Nintendo Switch on January 18. It should be a great fit for the platform thanks to its touchscreen; and even better, it will include the Crimson Court DLC (unlike the iPad version). Darkest Dungeon comes strongly recommended if you like your RPGs with a side of pain.
  • Kirby Battle Royale [January 19]: While it's not likely to garner much attention given that most people have moved onto the Switch, Kirby is getting another spinoff on the 3DS. This one is a top-down brawler featuring the various Kirby cast members and power-ups. It wasn't well-received when it launched in Europe last year, but Kirby fans may find a home for it in their hearts.

Nadia's Note Block Beat Box: Shadow of the Lowlands (Day) from Xenoblade Chronicles 2

As I noted above, it sure is winter out there, isn't it? We enjoyed a brief thaw, but it was right back to the screaming northerly winds and the bits of snow that slash at your face. Winter is beautiful when you don't have to endure it for months at a time.

But winter isn't forever … unless you live in the country of Tantal from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The people of this closed-off kingdom are forced to deal with endless cold, snow, darkness, and hunger. On the rare occasion the snow eases up, an icy fog envelopes the land and deep-sea horrors invade, looking for victims. Tantal is truly the Disneyland of Alrest.

The people of Tantal are fully aware their lot sucks, but they're a strong and proud people. That much is conveyed through the song that plays when you visit the kingdom, "Shadow of the Lowlands." This melancholy piece was born of some very interesting cultural cross-pollination: It's written by Chrono Trigger composer Yasunori Mitsuda, and the vocals are provided by the Irish choir ANÚNA. There's a version for the city's daytime hours (posted here), and a version for nighttime hours that Nintendo published an accompanying music video for.

So we have a song for a JRPG that's written by a Japanese composer and performed by an Irish choir. These are cool times we live in. Not all the time, but sometimes.

Mike's Media Minute

Jumanji continues to make absurd money. With a total of $27 million for the calendar weekend and an estimated $34 million for the four-day, Jumanji is seeing a 24 percent drop weekend to weekend. Those are frankly great numbers and puts the film at $291 million.

As I said before, Sony has only released five films that have done over $300 million domestic. Four of them are Spider-Man films and the last one is a James Bond film, Skyfall. Jumanji could conceivably knock Spider-Man: Homecoming from the #5 slot on the 2017 domestic chart: Homecoming made $334 million, meaning Jumanji has $43 million to go.

That doesn't seem out of the question as Jumanji has absolutely no competition until Black Panther drops on February 16.

Speaking of Black Panther, the analysts at Box Office Pro were originally calling for a conservative opening weekend of $90 million, with a domestic take of $275 million. They updated those estimates recently in response to the brisk ticket sales, pushing those numbers to $120 million and $335 million. Yeah, Black Panther could land ahead of Spider-Man. And like Jumanji, the road after Black Panther is pretty open.

This Week's News and Notes

  • Kat: Before the Vikings' game against the Saints on Sunday, I likened the NFL playoffs to a video game that takes four months to beat and only offers you one life. As the second ticked away, I thought to myself, "They blew it again." But somehow the Vikings managed to pull it off. I'm truthfully still in shock. This is why you watch the games.
  • News that Quantic Dream is fostering a toxic workplace exploded in the French media over the weekend, with some 15 current and former employees coming forward about Photoshopped images showing employees in "degrading" positions. The reports come as another blow to the prestige of David Cage, whose latest project has been criticized for its portrayal of domestic abuse, among other issues. Game studios have long struggled with inhospitable workplaces, but the allegations against Quantic Dream would seem to take it to a new level.
  • Reports have also emerged that Le Monde journalist William Audureau has been blacklisted by Sony for his report. While these reports fall firmly under the category of "hearsay," they would be deeply unfortunate if true.
  • Caty had a pretty interesting perspective on how Assassin's Creed Origins sheds the usual rooftop jumping in favor of something a little more grounded, and how it connects the protagonist with the people. Worth a read for sure.
  • Despite being less than a year old, Gravity Rush 2's online servers are on the verge of being taken down. Just goes to show how transitory online gaming can be in this day and age.
  • That Nintendo Direct wasn't quite as everyone hoped, but it did bring with it plenty of welcome announcements: The World Ends With You, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, Dark Souls Remastered are all making their way to the dynamic little platform, and more ports look to be on the way. This is what success looks like, folks.
  • In case you missed it, freelancer Piotr Bajda has a pretty neat look at the rise and fall of EA Sports BIG as told by the creator of SSX. If you have any kind of love for EA's classic sports games (we do), then you should check it out.
  • And finally, we're still a week from the first big releases of 2018, which means there's plenty of time dive into our backlog. We've been revisiting a bunch of the biggest games from 2017, with articles on Persona 5 and Super Mario Odyssey due later this week, and a Witcher 3 article on the way for good measure. How's your backlog coming along? We'd love to know!

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Comments 20

  • Avatar for otenko #1 otenko 6 months ago
    It's even worse for me that didn't play a lot of games from the last two generations.
    It looks like I want to recover some lost time.
    Now playing FF XII and loving it.
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #2 riderkicker 6 months ago
    Maybe my New Year's resolution will be to buy less games. I have not gotten rid of most of my games, especially games I will never finish, and if I do buy a new game, it should be something different, like Nadia says. But not some FPS.

    ...Nah, I always end up getting games on sale and they pile up.Edited January 2018 by riderkicker
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  • Avatar for LunarFlame17 #3 LunarFlame17 6 months ago
    Me, skipping over the byline and jumping to the article: I wonder who wrote this article.

    Me, reading the line “I wrote swear words in my NES instruction booklets.”: Oh, must have been Nadia.

    To the point, as a common fan of video games, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with just replaying games I know I like over and over again. But that might not be such a wise idea for a video game critic. Still, life is short, and you might as well spend the little time you have doing things you enjoy.
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  • Avatar for shurn #4 shurn 6 months ago
    I stopped after reading the first paragraph
    For shame Nadia! JK
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #5 NiceGuyNeon 6 months ago
    That first paragraph... if Nadia and I were siblings there would be civil war in the home. I took such immaculate care of my games it was ridiculous. I even made sure you were careful with how you handled the disc and if I thought you put it in sloppily I'd correct you on how to do it right. Games were $50 a pop and I was a child, you were not messing with my treasures.

    But yeah, I'm finding that I don't play the remasters quite as much as new stuff Wind Waker HD was a thing I definitely adored playing, but I have other remasters in my collection: Twilight Princess, Bayonetta 1 on Wii U, DMC Collection, and a few others, and I haven't touched them, not because I don't want to, but because I'd rather play new stuff. I think once the urge hits to go to these games again I'll do it. Wind Waker I got a hankering for because it was the first Zelda game I ever completed and hadn't played it since I was a child and let me tell you, it's better than I remember it being.

    But I'm usually new games over remasters, unless it's a remaster I haven't played. At that point that's just a new game to me and I'll happily play it.
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  • Avatar for Pandalulz #6 Pandalulz 6 months ago
    So the bad part is that I skipped a lot of the PS3 era to instead dick around in World of Warcraft for a decade. So I eventually bought a PS3 and bought a backlog of games to play on it that I haven't finished nearly as fast as I would have liked. And then I bought a PS4. So worse than playing remakes I've played before is that I'm buying PS4 remakes of games that I bought and still haven't got around to playing. My PS3 backlog gets shorter as my PS4 backlog gets longer instead.
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  • Avatar for moochan #7 moochan 6 months ago
    As someone that played Dragon Quest Builders on my Vita the game is great on a portable device. And feel Switch is a great system for it.

    Like with Kat I actually started Witcher 3 just a little while ago when GOG had Witcher 3 Game Of The Year edition for $20. It's crazy good so far outside of the not completely bad (unlike Witcher 1 and 2) but still not good combat.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #8 MetManMas 6 months ago
    I'm not ashamed to admit that a number of games I want in 2018 are remakes or remasters. Shadow of the Colossus and Dark Souls are priority buys; Secret of Mana and the DMC trilogy I can wait on but I'm also interested in. Hyrule Warriors, Tropical Freeze, and Bayonetta 1+2 on Switch will be awesome. Hoping it won't be long 'til we hear more about the MediEvil remaster Sony's got in the works or the rumors of Xenoblade X on Switch become reality or more info on Romancing SaGa 3 and REm2ke.

    As for things that don't exist yet but I hope do by the end of the year (whether via release or announcement), I'd love to see PS4 remasters of Tokyo Jungle, Soul Sacrifice Delta, and Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines. Xenoblade Chronicles HD for Switch would also interest me.

    Also if Square-Enix is gonna keep porting their SFC and PSone games to phones and then back to consoles, I'd love to see Live-a-Live, SaGa Frontier, Legend of Mana, and a bundle with Chrono Cross and Radical Dreamers.Edited January 2018 by MetManMas
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  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #9 LBD_Nytetrayn 6 months ago
    Two of my favorite games of 2017 are Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Jiwami.

    One is a brand new game that serves as a prequel and ideal jumping-on point for people such as myself who have never played the series before. The other is a remake of the original 10+ year old PS2 game for modern hardware.

    So, best of both worlds, I guess?

    I'm not sure where I'm going with this, it just seemed like it fit.
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  • Avatar for EpsylonSilver #10 EpsylonSilver 6 months ago
    I guess it comes down to personal preference. I have the opposite problem. Would I love to replay FF7 before the Remake? Yes! Do I want to go back to Persona 3, 4, and 5 to complete all social links? Triple yes! However, there are so many new games that I probably won't do it, as I end up prioritizing new experiences over safe old ones. Having said that, I think the portability of the Switch might change that in the future, if/when FF and Persona 5 come to the Switch (please please please), I doubt I will be able to stop myself from revisiting them.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #11 VotesForCows 6 months ago
    I have a lot of go-to games - Souls, Metal Gear, more recently Shovel Knight and Shantae. But I always try new stuff in between trips back to the old. The trouble is, I only rarely like new stuff...

    Living across the Atlantic, I wasn't massively invested in the playoffs, but I was rather hoping that New Orleans would beat Minnesota. C'est la vie.
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #12 Fourfoldroot 6 months ago
    I must admit, as I've gotten older and I feel my mortality ever more distinctly, I've lost the enthusiasm to redo stuff. Playing the same game again, reading the same book, watching the same movie etc, just feels like a waste of life. This would be different if there were no great new experiences of course, but life is too short and opportunities too varied to ever reach the end of that line. I admit I still have my NES set up, but I've played it maybe for a few hours cumulatively over the last year.

    Which is all to say that I certainly don't have the "problem" addressed in this article and am somewhat bemused by the concept...

    Edit: I still appreciate remasters for games I never got around to playing originally. Currently playing through Dark Cloud and FF XIIEdited January 2018 by Fourfoldroot
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  • Avatar for Gamer-Law #13 Gamer-Law 6 months ago
    The jury is still out for me regarding the Secret of Mana remake. The original remains my favorite game of all time (and I enjoyed revisiting it on the SNES Classic in recent months). A large part of me wants to remember the game as it has been and not as this half-hearted remake.

    That said, I will definitely be picking up the Radiant Historia remake in mid-February. The original was an amazing experience and this game deserves to be played by any fan of the genre. Long live the 3DS when we are still getting games like RH and Alliance Alive.
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  • Avatar for discohospital #14 discohospital 6 months ago
    In retrospect, the transition between the 16-bit era and the emulation of those platforms and earlier ones that followed it was kind of a seamless one for me. I’d taken a break from new games for a couple of years in the mid-nineties, and found myself catching up with some late SNES titles (getting properly into RPGs by way of Chrono Trigger, for example - on actual hardware, with a rental cartridge) around the time I got a PlayStation in late ’97. Discovering emulation happened less than a year later, and it was a rush - going back to catch up on a lot of games I didn’t have access to or couldn’t afford as a child (“ahem” indeed) as well as discovering a vast new frontier in games and platforms I’d never been aware of (X68000, anyone?) and ones I’d thought distant dreams just a few years before (Neo Geo!) So, excepting periods of being on extended holiday from gaming in general, most of the history of the medium has been a persistent presence for me. I haven’t really had the opportunity to draw lines in that regard, I suppose. As a result of all of that, several of these re-releases and remasters will be totally new to me.

    In fact, when a new game comes out, generally speaking, it’s only going to be played immediately if I simply can’t keep myself away from it, and that doesn’t happen all that often - although 2017 was difficult in that regard, and had me uncharacteristically engaged with the current for a good part of it. I’m actually not sure how it would even be possible to play everything that I’m interested in as it comes out, and not keep a significant backlog, or notional world map with arrows pointing vaguely to points I haven't visited.

    I’ve actually yet to explore firsthand what indie games (in the generally accepted sense) have to offer (please don’t throw things), so this year will be an opportunity for me in that regard. For my introduction, I picked up Axiom Verge recently, which I’m looking forward to (especially after reading the review here) - and then there’s Iconoclasts, which I found out about by way of the recent article here as well. Wait, that’s new!

    But even if there’s no chance I’ll ever get through it all, I never deny myself the pleasure of revisiting an old favorite. I’m currently going back through Persona 3 FES, and I think I’m enjoying it even more this time. As with the theme of choices made in spending one’s time as presented in that game and the mechanics that drive that, it’s not so much about doing as much as possible, but the significance of what one chooses for oneself and what meaning or direction can be found through that process (in other words, a utilitarian approach!)Edited 5 times. Last edited January 2018 by discohospital
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  • Avatar for Iambiz #15 Iambiz 6 months ago
    @nadiaoxford

    If the reports on Sony blacklisting Le Monde are true, this could have a potentially chilling effect on legitimate video games journalism. There are definitely parallels between this and the Disney films blacklisting of the L.A. Times late last year.

    If the reports are proven accurate, do you think USgamer and other sites will join Le Monde in solidarity by refusing to use pre-release review codes until Sony relents?
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #16 Fourfoldroot 6 months ago
    @Iambiz

    The journalist in question very quickly verified that he has not been blacklisted by Sony, and recieved confirmation from them to that effect.
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  • Avatar for TheWildCard #17 TheWildCard 6 months ago
    I'm still processing that Saints-Vikings game. Usually the Vikes are on the receiving end of fluky game-ending plays.

    If anything I have of opposite problem of buying remasters/remakes that I'm not really going to make time for.

    @MetManMas It'll never happen but I'd be all over a PS4 remaster of Oreshika.
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  • Avatar for Jeremiah-Jones #18 Jeremiah-Jones 6 months ago
    I understand what you guys are saying. I'm having fun playing Lufia II rise of the sinstrals. Good stuff. Especially for a SNES game.

    Nadia, you are right. Booger Freezing cold sucks... Also, Go Vikings. I'm rooting for them after swallowing Redskins disappointment...Again.
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  • Avatar for Iambiz #19 Iambiz 6 months ago
    @Fourfoldroot Thanks for the update, that's good to hear.
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  • Avatar for nimzy #20 nimzy 6 months ago
    Last year I bought exactly three games. My backlog is finally shrinking for the first time in years. Next stop: Pokemon X. I loaded up my save and it was an exercise in The Hangover trying to figure out what was going on, who I was trying to grind up to level, why my pokemon were arranged that way in the PC, why I had hundreds of berries, etc. Then I noticed I only had one gym badge. I have a long way to go.
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