You take a big risk when you set out to remake something. Have you stayed true to the original? Have you made any worthwhile contributions of your own? Did you make sure that all the characters are wearing the right color hats? It’s a tricky thing to get right, and sometimes, it goes horribly wrong, hence the following list.
These are the worst video game remakes of all time.
Warcraft Iii: Reforged
Let’s kick things off with a textbook example of how not to remake a game. Billed as a “reimagining” of one of the most influential real-time strategy games ever made, Warcraft Reforged did not go down well.
I think the best way to sum up how fans felt about this game would be to point you in the direction of www.warcraft3refunded.com, a website launched by fans that details all the promises Blizzard broke, as well as all the other mistakes they made, regarding the remaster.
It was the chasm between what was shown off at Blizzcon 2018, and what was finally released, that really made people angry. Blizzard had promised a full campaign overhaul, with four hours of new cutscenes. Neither of these things was present on release.
They had also claimed that players would be able to switch between the old and new campaigns, cinematics, and UI. Guess what else wasn’t in the Reforged edition.
There were, of course, also all manner of bugs and technical issues. However, the real kick in the pants was Blizzard removing the original version of the game from Battlenet. Even if you owned the original Warcraft III, once the Reforged edition showed up, you just didn’t. Sorry. The original client simply no longer exists, so the remake is your only option. All in all, Reforged was a bad look for Blizzard and one of the worst video game remakes to ever exist.
Silent Hill HD Collection
Some might consider this more of a remaster than a remake, but I think the changes made were significant (and stupid) enough that they deserve mention here. Baffling is the word foremost in my mind when considering Silent Hill HD.
The collection almost feels like a deliberate effort on Konami’s behalf to piss off their fanbase. What should have been an easy win, ended up as a big, big loss.
The problems begin the moment you get your hands on a copy and realize that, despite what the name suggests, this is not a complete Silent Hill Collection. Only two games are included, Silent Hill 2, and Silent Hill 3.
People felt misled, and with good reason. Things only got worse when you actually started playing. The framerate chugged, the upscaled cinematics were clumsy and slapdash, and there was an obvious lack of anti-aliasing.
The way Silent Hill 2’s fog was handled was perhaps the biggest letdown. In the original game, it was thick and close, adding to the air of mystery and dread. Somehow, Konami (and Hijinx Studios) missed this point entirely and decided to thin out the fog and increase the distance between it and the player, which not only looks worse but even reveals unfinished environments on occasion.
It’s a real shame to see such a venerable franchise in such a state. I’d like to hope that the future holds better things for Silent Hill, but it’s been in limbo for a long time now. We almost had something with PT, but we all know how that ended.
If Steam user ratings are anything to go by, this might be the worst game on this entire list. These things are of course subject to change but at the time of writing the XIII remake is sitting at a pathetic 13% positive reviews. The Ubisoft cult classic has fallen a long, long way.
In case you’ve never played the original, XIII is an FPS from 2003. It was based on a Belgian graphic novel and concerned the President of the United States being assassinated and of course, the number thirteen. While unremarkable in many ways, the unique “comic book” art style provided enough charm to carry the experience. Honestly, all that most people remember about the game is the way it looked.
Which is why the visuals in the remake were met with such hostility. They didn’t necessarily look bad, but all the personality of the original was gone. Topping it all off, however, were the bugs. We’re talking Cyberpunk levels of broken here. Cutscenes wouldn’t play, the audio dropped out, and the animations were a joke. The remake did little more than kill off any remaining fondness there may have been for XIII.
I should also mention that the game was utterly broken on release. The developers did their best to try and fix it in the following weeks but then gave up entirely. The degree of jank was inexcusable, with audio syncing issues, low framerates, and animation problems. At least the voice acting was passable though.
Modern Warfare Remastered
To be clear, there is nothing particularly wrong with Modern Warfare as a game, whichever version you happen to be playing. There were a few performance issues on the PC edition, but nothing that would earn the game a place on this list. Modern Warfare Remastered is here for entirely different reasons. This was the moment Activision reached new depths of corporate bullshit.
To say there were unsavoury business tactics on display doesn’t come close to doing it justice. Activision was apparently taking its cues from the golden age of piracy on this one.
First, we have their decision to exclusively bundle the remaster with a special edition of the latest game in the series at the time, Infinite Warfare. It felt like the remake had been taken hostage by its inferior descendant in a shameless ploy to wring just a little more money from whoever was willing to pay up.
But the money-grubbing didn’t stop there, oh goodness me no. The bundle stunt alone would have been enough (in my eyes) for the game to go down as one of the worst video game remakes ever, but Activision didn’t stop there. They doubled down and introduced microtransactions and paid map packs. How they thought they would get away with this is beyond me. Just like with Silent Hill HD, this should have been so simple. Shame on Activision.
Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop
No list of the worst video game remakes of all time would be complete without a Wii-make or two if you’ll pardon the pun. Given the gap in hardware between the Wii and other consoles of the same generation, a lot of games had to be reworked for release on it. The original Dead Rising was one of the more unfortunate victims of this process.
Released for a second time on the Wii, Chop Till You Drop (hurrah for puns) was a pale imitation of the original game. The addition of zombie poodles did little to offset the fact that the Chop Till You Drop was smaller and uglier than its Xbox 360 counterpart, with a number of key features removed. Jumping was out of the game completely, as was the ability to take photographs. There were also fewer weapons overall.
We are talking about a Wii game here, so we can make some concessions for the underpowered hardware, but C till You D was subpar even by those standards. There were plenty of other games on the system that looked and played better. Some of the motion controls actually worked quite well, but they were nowhere near enough to save this trainwreck.
Dungeon Keeper Mobile
Another truly heinous example of corporate greed running rampant. The original Dungeon Keeper is a landmark title. Stylish, inventive, and deep, it was everything Dungeon Keeper Mobile absolutely wasn’t. EA’s remake was a cut-down cash grab that even the original game’s creator, Peter Molyneux, called “ridiculous”. That’s about as damning a testimony as you can possibly get.
If you know anything about “freemium” mobile games, you’ll know all about the ways they make you wait. Most in-game actions are on a timer, which you can spend real money to speed up. It’s a bore at the best of times, and at its worst, it can completely ruin a game. That’s exactly what happened to Dungeon Keeper Mobile.
It was painfully obvious that very little thought had gone into anything other than the monetization scheme, enraging fans and critics alike.
It was almost impossible to make any real progress without spending real money, which turned the game into a miserable slog. For a game that had once had such wit and humor to it, the cynical new look was difficult to get past. Purely for the motivation behind it, Dungeon Keeper Mobile has to go down as one of the worst video game remakes of all time.
Goldeneye 007: Reloaded (PS3 & Xbox 360 Version)
When you set out to remake a game that is itself a bland and obvious remake of something much much better, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people aren’t that impressed. This one is a bit of a long story. Goldeneye 007, a remake of the classic Goldeneye N64 was released on the Wii and DS in 2010. The game we’re talking about GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, was released in 2011 for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
The game on the newer Nintendo systems was just ok. An utterly bog-standard FPS which bizarrely featured Daniel Craig as Bond, not Pierce Brosnan.
The version on the other consoles wasn’t actually that different, but somehow the mediocrity came full circle. What had been a novel reimagining was now a thoroughly uninspired Call of Duty knockoff.
The game was ugly, controlled clumsily, and had weirdly little to do with the N64 original. If you changed a few of the names around, large stretches wouldn’t feel like they had anything to do with James Bond. The game is all but forgotten today, and that’s probably a good thing.
If you want some 00′ action, I recommend you dig out an N64 (or try the Source version). The remake just isn’t worth it.
Of all the worst video game remakes on this list, this one might be the least terrible. It’s still not great, but it at least feels like an honest attempt to resurrect a series that has often been overlooked. Unfortunately, not enough was done to update a game that hasn’t aged particularly well.
The original, Abe’s Exodus, was released in 1998. Games have come a long way since then and Oddworld Soulstorm appears to have done little more than burying its head in the sand. Sometimes things change for a good reason.
A meaty challenge is one thing, a challenge that feels unfair and tedious is quite another. I should feel like I lost because I made a mistake, not because the game is conspiring against me. The unresponsiveness of the controls makes herding your fellow Mudokons an absolute nightmare. It’s like trying to herd a group of stubborn, overweight cats through a hedge maze.
As if that wasn’t bad enough there are also a number of technical issues. Abe, the game’s protagonist seems to find no end of fun in getting stuck inside objects, and the enemy AI can be a little absent-minded, to say the least. I will say that despite all its flaws if you like the Oddworld universe, the way it’s presented might be enough for you. It’s just a shame the gameplay is so awful.
And that concludes our round-up of the worst video game remakes of all time. It’s been a little negative I know, but rest assured there are plenty of good remakes out there too.
If you can think of any more games that belong on this list, or have a game you think deserves an update, let us know about it in the comments!