Nick wishes upon a star for some of his favorite PS1 era games to get a next-gen facelift.
A lot of gamers have really fond memories of the original PlayStation, and with good reason. It had a massive library of classics to choose from that allowed Sony to violently knock Nintendo off of its perch as undisputed king of video game consoles. There’s just no argument about which console kicked the most ass during the mid to late 90’s.
The PS1 featured some of the best games I’ve ever played, but not all of them made it out of that generation intact. Some series were discontinued, some of them kept going using engines that were no longer viable on newer consoles, and some went mobile with unsatisfying results. But I’m here to say that these franchises still have value and represent a void in current gaming libraries that need to be filled. Let’s resurrect these games from the dead and introduce them to current-gen gamers.
When I think intense competitive multiplayer, Bushido Blade comes to mind. This short-lived series represented realistic combat in a way I’ve never seen in any other video game before or since. It was authentic one-on-one weapon combat with no life gauge. If you get chopped or skewered, you get dead. The focus is on defense, maneuverability, anticipating your opponent, and mastering fighting styles. It’s the closest thing to being a real samurai.
The intensity of the fighting mechanic was what really made this one work. One slip-up and you were gushing blood so you really had to think about what you were doing. Different techniques and stances let you go from one attack to another and you could even have secondary weapons like throwable knives to catch your opponent off guard. Glancing blows could cripple your opponent and limit their movement or attack options and give you an advantage and the stages were tone-appropriate and interactive.
My friends and I had some seriously great duels on Bushido Blade 2 and I can’t think of a game better suited for online competitive play. A modern version could feature customization, including the option to build your own warrior from the ground up or even design your own weapon. Authenticity isn’t something people seem to value when it comes to fighting games, but for those who do, this is one that needs revisiting.
This one remains my second favorite Final Fantasy game of all time and it’s been ported and ported and ported again through every generation since it debuted in 1997. It still represents my exact concept of perfection in a turn-based strategic RPG and its combat engine has not been improved upon. In fact, it’s been degraded.
There are two sequels to this game, but they were portable titles that utterly failed to capture the balance and depth that were present in the original and relied on lame mechanics like learning abilities by equipping weapons rather than earning experience through combat to purchase them.
A current gen console reboot of Final Fantasy Tactics could not only give strategy RPG fans something they simply don’t get enough of in a high quality AAA title, but the top-notch visuals that the Final Fantasy series is known for could make this an experience like nothing else out there right now. You got anything better to do, Square? Perhaps another unwanted sequel to a game that alienated your core fanbase?
Yeah, yeah, this one was a Pokemon rip-off. But it was a really, really good one and it wasn’t handheld. Monster Rancher had a lot to recommend it beyond Pokemon fans too. For example, the sheer possibilities of the monsters you could get. For starters, the game featured an extremely interesting mechanic to generate monsters with. You get a music CD or even another game and put it into your console and the game would generate a monster based on the data. It was random as hell, and twice as addicting.
So the bigger your disc collection, the more options for monsters you had. I don’t even want to think about how many hours I spent doing this. But finding that rare monster that was exactly what you wanted was so worth it. Plus, you could breed monsters together to create awesome creatures with various combinations of appearances and abilities. There’s pretty much no way to catch ‘em all when the possibilities are practically infinite. Considering I haven’t even gotten into the actual gameplay mechanics of monster training and the exceptional combat, there’s a lot to love here.
There were Monster Rancher games made into the PS2 era, but the last proper one was nine years ago. It’s time for an update. In the future, they may need to find an alternate monster generation method since physical media is on the way out, but I’m sure most of us have no shortage of discs lying around at present time so now’s the time to go all out and make this the series it could be for the current generation.
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins was like the game of my dreams when it came out. You played as one of two ninjas and you got to actually be ninjas. None of this run around shurikening and slashing at waves of enemies. Ninjas are supposed to be silent shadow killers, gone before anyone knows they were ever there. You had to use various skills and items to accomplish your objectives and the ideal score was only achieved when nobody ever laid eyes on you. It was one of the best stealth games of all time.
This is the only series on the list that is represented in the past gen. In fact, there are two Xbox 360 titles and a Wii game bearing the Tenchu brand, so why am I clamoring for a reboot? Well, basically they haven’t changed anything in the core gameplay since 1998. Yeah. Imagine a Resident Evil game today that used the same control mechanics as the original. It doesn’t really work.
With games like the Splinter Cell and Arkham series perfecting stealth-based gameplay, Tenchu is pretty much garbage by comparison at this point. It needs to be rebuilt from the ground up for current gen consoles. Tenchu Z allowed you to create your own ninja, which was a great idea that should be brought forward, but with glitchy outdated gameplay there was no point. A new, smoother engine is a must. Given proper attention, a new Tenchu game could potentially be as cool today as the original was back in the day. The stealth genre has blossomed in recent years and it just seems wrong that one of its OG’s isn’t leading the way.
I’ve got to be honest, here. I never actually played a Darkstalkers game on the PlayStation. The series came out along with the glut of fighting games after the Street Fighter II era and while I was aware of it and loved the concept of an all-monster fighting game, I was just done with the genre by the time I got my PlayStation, what with Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Soul Caliber, Tekken, King of Fighters, Virtua Fighter, Dead or Alive, and all the rest having dominated gaming for years. And unlike those games, I never found Darkstalkers in arcades. My loss, I know.
The last proper release was ten years ago on the PSP and it’s been a whopping seventeen years since Darkstalkers 3 came out, with all subsequent releases being updates and spin-offs. The original games were given the re-release bundle treatment on XBL and PSN last year, and they still play really, really well.
The Darkstalkers Resurrection re-release was reportedly Capcom testing the waters for a potential new installment. Crossover series like Marvel vs. Capcom have made the series’ characters popular mainstays and given the success of the rebooted Capcom series’ with 3D modeling, Darkstalkers is clearly next in line to get that treatment.
I disagree with Capcom’s assertion that current sales of decades-old games that have been re-packaged over and over are a proper gauge for whether people would buy a new one or not. Fighting game fans want a new AAA Darkstalkers game with all the trimmings, not another damn re-release. Playing Resurrection shows that the series has the fun factor and charm to make a comeback in the now-niche fighting game genre; it just needs a current-gen update. And if it gets one, I’ll be lining up for it.