When I look back at the seventh console generation (PS3, Xbox 360, etc.), I can't help but feel that the creation of HD remasters of great games was one of the best things to come out of it.
The most obvious (and superficial) reason that HD remasters are awesome is simply how pretty they tend to be. They take many of the greatest games of the PS2 generation and make them look better than ever before. Duuuh, you say. Of course they look better—they’re in HD.
But it’s more than that: Since many old PS2 games look far worse on HDTVs than they did on CRT TVs back in the day, the remasters have caused fans of these older games to no longer have to grit their teeth at the decline in visual quality.
And what about convenience? Let’s face it: While many people probably have a PS2 hidden in a box or in a closet somewhere, most don't have it hooked up to their main TV anymore. More than that, many of the must-play games for the PS2 aren't exactly easy to get these days—requiring you to buy online to find a copy. And that's not even mentioning that these games can cost far more than the original retail price if they've become collectibles.
But the PS2 isn't the only console these remasters have come from. The PSP was a far bigger seller than the PS3 was in Japan and thus more than a few big-name titles came out for it accordingly. But as the PSP was a bit of a flop in America, many US gamers never played the PSP's best games. Thanks to HD remasters, however, games like Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and God of War: Chains of Olympus got their days in the sun on the PS3.
There's also one more reason HD Remasters are a great thing to have come out of the seventh console generation: the newest generation of gamers. While it doesn't feel like it, the PlayStation 3 came out seven years ago. This means there is an entire set of gamers now who have grown up on the PS3 and so, obviously, missed out on all the great classics of the PS2 era.
For the most part, however, kids don't (a) want to play “old ugly games” and (b) don't have the discretionary income to buy games that have since become collectibles. But thanks to these HD Remasters, many of these excellent games are easily obtainable for the system they currently own—and look better than ever before.
And while all of this is not to say that there haven't been some pretty lazy HD ports in the last few years, they are a small price to pay to expand the lifespan and accessibility to gaming classics like Shadow of the Colossus and Okami to years far beyond their original releases.
Last-Gen Heroes is Kotaku's look back at the seventh generation of console gaming. In the weeks leading up to the launch of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, we'll be celebrating the Heroes—and the Zeroes—of the last eight years of console video gaming. More details can be found here; follow along with the series here.