Got a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? Hey, there’s no shortage of awesome new stuff to play on both consoles. Seriously, go crazy. That’s what you bought one of those pricey boxes for, right?
However, some of the most amazing games on both consoles are years old, and weren’t even designed for current hardware. Come again? It’s true: “remastered” games remain a popular draw, as titles from the last generation of consoles or even earlier have been given glossier renditions. And there are great full-series bundles, too, as well as ultimate editions of games with all of the DLC added in.
Ready to revisit a few classics? Here are 12 of the most essential remastered games available on PlayStation 4 and/or Xbox One right now, all of which get the Stuff stamp of approval.
CRASH BANDICOOT N. SANE TRILOGY (PS4)
It’s been almost 20 years since the last great Crash Bandicoot adventure, so we had almost forgotten how great the first three were back in the PSone’s day. Luckily, the N. Sane Trilogy is here to remind us – and it proves that the ol’ orange guy still can entertain today.
The N. Sane Trilogy packs in Naughty Dog’s classic trio of 3D platformers, but instead of just giving them the usual widescreen and HD support, these games have been visually rebuilt from the original code – so they play the same, but they look like lush cartoons. Games from that era don’t always hold up this well, but this is a remaster done incredibly right.
CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE REMASTERED (PS4/XB1)
Even after a decade of increasingly grandiose Call of Duty games, 2007’s Modern Warfare remains the best of the pack – so it’s a good thing you can play it on current consoles with all of the modern bells and whistles attached (pun intended, of course).
Modern Warfare brings back the tense campaign mode, which still delights even if it doesn’t surprise on repeat plays, plus the seminal boots-on-the-ground multiplayer action serves as a welcome respite from the futuristic shenanigans of Infinite Warfare. This remaster comes bundled with Infinite Warfare‘s deluxe editions and was just released as a standalone game for PS4, with a standalone Xbox One version to follow.
GRAND THEFT AUTO V (PS4/XB1)
Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most spectacular games ever created, and it’s even better on new-gen consoles.
The Xbox One and PS4 versions amplify the open-world classic with greatly improved visuals, and make the violence more visceral and disturbing via the addition of an optional first-person perspective. Even the radio stations add another 100+ songs to the mix. That’s all just icing atop a spectacular core experience, but it makes the game well worth playing through again.
THE LAST OF US REMASTERED (PS4)
We once picked The Last of Us as the greatest PlayStation game of all time, across six platforms and 20 years worth of amazing experiences. Seriously. Need we say more here? OK, we will. Naughty Dog proved itself a master of cinematic action with Uncharted, but The Last of Us takes it to the next level with an incredible world and mature, brilliantly acted storytelling.
Remastered refines the PS3 visuals and improves the frame rate – very welcome improvements – and bundles in the heartbreaking Left Behind add-on campaign.
HALO: THE MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION (XB1)
Before Halo 5: Guardians rolled around, Microsoft decided to bring not one, not two, not three, but all four earlier series entries to Xbox One with sharpened graphics.
It’s an almost hilarious amount of content in one package, considering four full games and every bit of DLC from over the years – we’re talking 100+ multiplayer maps, all of which can be played online. If you’ve enjoyed the series in the slightest, you’d be nuts to pass up The Master Chief Collection. That’s especially true since Halo 5 wasn’t all that memorable.
BIOSHOCK: THE COLLECTION (PS4/XB1)
BioShock is an absolute legend in gaming, and the sequels are almost as strong – and now you can experience all three of them on your current console with BioShock: The Collection.
The original is still the essential game in the batch as you’re introduced to Rapture, a grim underwater city filed with genetically-modified freaks and armoured beasts alike. BioShock 2‘s main game isn’t as brilliant, but the included Minerva’s Den add-on is a fabulous gut-punch of a mini-campaign – and then BioShock Infinite, with its dazzling sky city of Columbia, is a fine finale. No shooter series matches BioShock for atmosphere, and that’s especially true with the extra HD bump.
WIPEOUT OMEGA COLLECTION (PS4/XB1)
WipEout has always looked amazing, even back on the PSone, due to incredible art direction, but it’s only improved with each new hardware advance – so we’re stoked to be able to play the Omega Collection on PS4 Pro in 4K with HDR support.
Of course, the game’s a stunner and incredibly fun even on the standard PS4, as this collection bundles together the excellent Wipeout HD and Fury from PS3 alongside Wipeout 2048 from Vita, giving you a massive compilation of anti-gravity raving to savour. Let’s keep fingers crossed that we don’t have to wait ’til PlayStation 5 to get a brand new one.
METRO REDUX (PS4/XB1)
Finding its niche in the space between typical first-person shooters and stealth-action affairs, the Metro series is quietly powerful – plus it’s based on a Russian novel, and primarily takes place within post-apocalyptic Moscow’s subway system.
Metro 2033 and sequel Metro: Last Light are different-feeling games, but this remastered bundle offers a very cool perk: the ability to play each game with the other’s gameplay approach, if desired. That shakes up the original experiences, and everything is much nicer-looking too, of course. And with Metro Exodus on the horizon, now’s the time to dig in.
UNCHARTED: THE NATHAN DRAKE COLLECTION (PS4)
Yes, the brilliant Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is on PS4, but that’s doesn’t dampen how fantastic of a package this is. The Nathan Drake Collection compiles all three of the PS3’s Uncharted games’ campaigns in a single bundle, delivering hours and hours of high-intensity action.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves remains the high point of the last-gen games and easily one of the greatest PlayStation exclusives of all time, while Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is almost as strong and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is… well, it’s pretty good, but not quite as polished or memorable. In any case, you can find this one for less than R470 now, which is a deal almost as spectacular as one of the games’ famous set pieces.
RESIDENT EVIL (PS4/XB1)
Capcom’s been pretty aggressive over the years with re-releasing Resident Evil games, but a remaster of a remake? That’s just funny. But seriously, this is by far the best way to experience the iconic original game.
It glosses up the great GameCube remake from years back by improving the environments and adding 1080p, 16:9 widescreen, and 60fps support. Perhaps best of all the tweaks is the option to ditch the old “tank controls” and use a more responsive, modernised scheme.
THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM – SPECIAL EDITION (PS4/XB1)
Although we can make a strong argument for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim remains the completely essential, totally enormous, absolutely epic role-playing odyssey of choice – and yes, it’s even better on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Skyrim looks a lot better than the earlier console editions, even if it’s still a bit rugged in a lot of ways, plus it bundles in the various add-ons and allows for an array of approved fan mods, giving you a massive amount of fantasy excellence to dig into.
TOMB RAIDER: DEFINITIVE EDITION (PS4/XB1)
Lara Croft’s reign atop the gaming world ended in ruin – but 2013’s Tomb Raider restored the iconic heroine to greatness. It’s a lot like Uncharted, sure, but that’s not a knock against a supremely exciting adventure that satisfies with wild action and dazzling exploration sequences, but also reboots Croft’s origin story with success.
The Definitive Edition makes the console versions look as amazing as the PC release did on a high-end rig, plus bundles in previously paid multiplayer add-ons. It’s certainly the best way to play.