In 2010, the PlayStation 3 saw “The God of War Collection” and “The Sly Collection,” two Blu-ray discs anthologizing and prettifying classic titles from the PlayStation 2’s library. Next year, PS3 owners will be getting an “Ico/Shadow of the Colossus” combo disc as well as a collection of last-generation “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell” games from Ubisoft.
While Nintendo has always been good about making its legacy titles available for purchase on new systems, other game publishers have had mixed results. Here are a few games or franchises I’d like to see get the “Sly Collection” treatment of prettier graphics, trophies or achievements and optional add-ons.
“Halo”: While it’s true that your Xbox 360 will play Master Chief’s first two epic adventures via software emulation, why not spiff the games up a bit, add online play to “Halo: Combat Evolved” and achievements to the sequel, then sell the two games in a $40 or $50 bundle with all “Halo 2’s” map packs? Now that “Halo 2” is no longer playable online, fans of the series would flip.
“Final Fantasy”: Considering how much gamers ridicule Square Enix for endlessly repackaging its legacy titles, it feels a bit funny to list “Final Fantasy” on a list of games that could do with a polishing and a reissue. My beef with the latest crop of Squeenix reissues is this: They’re all for handhelds. Downloadable versions of old “FF” games would thrive on Xbox Live Arcade, considering how they’ve never before been released on a Microsoft console. And while you can buy “Final Fantasy VII,” “VIII” and “IX” on the PlayStation Network, they’re little more than a code-dump from the PlayStation era. “Final Fantasy VII” doesn’t even support the analog stick as a controller.
“Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic”: LucasArts’ two, epic “Star Wars” role-playing games are still readily available for PC and Xbox 360 gamers willing to play them through the console’s backward compatibility. But some sort of deluxe packaging and a PS3 release would be a great way to introduce a new generation of gamers to the best “Star Wars” story since “The Empire Strikes Back.” And while they’re at it, LucasArts can actually finish the second game, which was famously rushed to market before Christmas in an obviously unfinished state.
“Chrono Trigger”: This Square Enix RPG is considered by some fans of the genre to be the greatest game ever made. Yet it hasn’t been reissued on anything other than the DS.
“Fatal Frame”: What happened to this classic survival horror series from Japan? The first three games, from PS2 and Xbox, have become scarce. A fourth game was made for the Wii, but it was only released in Japan and Nintendo, who owns the publishing rights to the game, seems to have no interest in releasing it here. How about somebody get their act together and remake these games for us horror nuts to play after we finish “Dead Space 2” this January?
“Silent Hill”: Another terrifying series. Last year’s “Silent Hill: Shattered Memories” on the Wii took a lot of cues from the PlayStation original, but it wasn’t a straight remake, more of an homage. “Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams” is a classic of the genre, and the third game in the series only ever came out on PS2.
“Castlevania”: The series’ most-beloved game, “Symphony of the Night” is widely available as a downloadable game. Assuming Konami doesn’t have any licensing issues with Nintendo, the series’ earliest games, particularly “Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest,” ought to make their way to more platforms.
“Metal Gear Solid”: Another tricky one. The recently released “Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection” gathered director’s cut versions of the first three games in the series, but they were still PlayStation and PS2 discs. It’d be nice to see these classics upgraded to play on the PS3 and Xbox 360 with trophy and achievement support. While you’re at it, Konami, get “MGS4” over to the Xbox 360, too.
“System Shock”: It’s well-known that Ken Levine’s excellent “BioShock” is a so-called “spiritual successor” to “System Shock 2,” a PC-only critics’ darling from the 1990s. Not only have the two “System Shock” games never been released on consoles, PC gamers will have a heck of a time getting them to run on current hardware and operating systems.
“Panzer Dragoon”: The classic Sega Saturn role-playing game “Panzer Dragoon Saga” sells for hundreds of dollars, so there’s clearly an audience there. Why not package it with the excellent, though totally different, “Panzer Dragoon Orta” and other games from the series in a retrospective?
“Shenmue”: Few incomplete trilogies inspire the handwringing of Sega’s classic “Shenmue,” which only ever got two games, the beloved original on the Dreamcast and a less beloved sequel on the Xbox. Maybe it’s time to finally finish the story and package it with a bonus disc reissue of the first two games.