games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Original Xbox Games Needing a Remaster

October 18, 2016 | Posted by Marc Morrison

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. Last week I mentioned the topic was going to be licensed games need a reboot and while I’ll do that for next week, another topic came up. Recently it was announced that Voodoo Vince, an original Xbox 3D platformer, was going to get a HD upgrade/re-release. The first few questions that came to me was “DEAR GOD, WHY?! Who in their right goddamned mind thought this was a good idea?!”. That’s not to say that Voodoo Vince is a bad game, it’s just a very generic and slightly mediocre one. However, I then thought of some of the original Xbox games that should be remade, and here we are. This isn’t a list of the best original Xbox games, I did that one already. Mainly, this is a list of games that have aged pretty well and younger fans would enjoy the games to this day. Also, Shenmue 2 doesn’t make this list because it is only for crazy people. Also, some of these games have been on PC, but I’m primarily talking about Xbox console exclusive or at least was better on Xbox than PS2. With that said, let’s begin:

#8: Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction

The first Mercenaries game is still a shockingly good and freeform open-world game. You had generally free reign to tackle the deck of 52, although some of the higher up bosses were story dependent. You could attempt to be stealthy, or drive a tank up to take them out, or just use an air strike or bunker bomb to take the people out. They could easily do the work to improve the visuals, and maybe the physics of the game, for modern consoles. So long as they keep the Han Solo skin for the game.

#7: Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge

I never had a great love for Crimson Skies but I know a lot of people who are. Frankly the genre of arcade-style air combat game is virtually dead, so bringing back Crimson Skies, even just for a quick port would probably go over well. It did have really good controls that were easy to understand for new players and weren’t too complicated, which is where a lot of other shooters get hung up on. They could just release the multiplayer as an online game and that would still be worth it.

#6: Deathrow

I always harp on this game for these original Xbox columns, so here it is again. If you like Rocket League, this is essentially that game, only with dudes instead of cars and a whole lot of fighting taking place. I deeply enjoy that you can either win from shooting the disk into the goal, or just by beating the other team senseless. Really, all sports game need this mechanic for me to care about them at all. Doing a HD re-release would I imagine be pretty simple, even if they used the original art assets. Just give me Xbox Live or PS+ online multiplayer and I would be happy.

#5: Panzer Dragoon Orta

I really only have vague memories of this game but I remember it being a fun on-rails experience. Now…what recent tech thing has come out that is all about on-rails experiences? That’s right, virtual reality, specifically the PSVR. It says a lot that the standout game for the PSVR is Rez Infinite, an upscaled port of a Dreamcast game, with a new level. Orta could fit this bill nicely, as the visuals were great (at the time) and the gameplay could easily be adapted for a VR headset.

#4: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

I imagine a lot of people would kill for a modern, high-resolution, completely rebuilt port of KOTOR, and I’m include in that group. While the original game actually holds up fairly well, the graphics and certain elements of the gameplay (the racing and turret sequences). The gameplay certainly holds up though, being a mix of turn-based and action combat that was refined further in Mass Effect. Considering the popularity of Star Wars and the universal acclaim this game (and its sequel) has, KOTOR should be re-released at once, along with KOTOR 2 and the appropriate restored content mods.

#3: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

Morrowind is still the best game Bethesda has ever made, followed closely by Fallout 3. There is just so much visual design in the game, from the guard patrolling Vivec, to Vivec’s architecture itself, to the giant insects that act as taxi cabs around the world, to how each big town has its own distinct visual theme. I know everyone is all excited about Skyrim coming back in a crisp new package, but doing that work for Morrowind would be far more rewarding, from a critical and financial perspective. This would be a massive undertaking, much more than the Skyrim job, but would be worth it to fans of the franchise.

#2: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer

For a licensed game, Buff the Vampire Slayer hit it out of the park on its first try. Arguably, the second game was worse because it diluted itself by not being focused like the first game was. Buffy was just a great action/brawler where you used the Slayer abilities against various vampires and demons in Sunnydale. I wouldn’t need Uncharted 4 levels of visual polish, but the graphics could be upgraded hugely and it would help with the game. Also, getting Sarah Michelle Gellar to actually voice Buffy (she didn’t in the original game) would be required. The game industry needs more mid-to-high tier games, and Buffy fits rather nicely.

#1: Blinx: The Time Sweeper


#1: Jet Set Radio Future

It literally boggles my mind that some people prefer the original Jet Grind Radio to its vastly improved sequel, Jet Set Radio Future. Locomotion was the biggest improvement in JSRF, as it didn’t take you a minute to get up to speed, you could use a turbo boost to really get going. It has a better camera system, easier graffiti and the levels were bigger. So what game did Sega choose to do a HD port of? Jet Grind Radio. Great move Sega! I want JSRF on modern consoles and on PC, just because it’s the superior game and everyone should be playing it.

For comments, list which original Xbox games you’d like to see get a remaster treatment.

Next Issue

Top 8 Licensed Games Needing a Reboot

article topics :

The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison