Nintendo is no stranger to re-releasing classic games; in fact they strive on that. In most cases it’s a straight port, with some exceptions. This week we see the digital release of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, a remaster of the Gamecube classic with full 1080p HD visuals. The physical release is not until October 4th.
During this current generation we saw Sony go back and re-release numerous PS2 classics, such as the Ratchet & Clank trilogy, the Jak trilogy, two God of War combination remasters, and an Ico / Shadow of the Colossus bundle, amongst others. Third party publishers, like Ubisoft, followed the trend with remasters of their own, like the original Splinter Cell Trilogy and the Prince of Persia trilogy.
Each had remastered HD visuals, bug fixes, and some even included bonus content never before seen in the original release. The main incentive, however, was that each of these remasters included trophies. Now when you go back, and re-play these games in their new HD glory, you will get rewarded with a shiny, virtual gold, silver, or bronze trophy.
As much as we may say that trophies, or achievements, don’t matter – they do. I’ll admit, I love the trophy / achievement system. It gives me a reason to continue to play a game after beating it, to attempt to fully complete all the goals to earn that Platinum, or that 1000 Gamerscore. I picked up the Sly Cooper Trilogy because I missed out on it on the PS2, but now had an even bigger push to play the games, outside my original desire, because I got rewarded. I’ve played the original R&C trilogy games dozens of times. I love them all. I picked up the trilogy remasters because of being rewarded for beating the game for the tenth or so time.
I wanted to get prepped up for Splinter Cell: Blacklist this year by going back and playing the first five console games. On the PS2 and Xbox, the Splinter Cell games were clearly superior on Microsoft’s console. Better visuals, framerate, and more organized online, so, they were the obvious choice for multiplatform gamers back in the day. I still own the Xbox originals, and all three are backwards compatible on the Xbox 360. I decided to pick up the PS3 trilogy instead. Why? Trophies. Three potential platinums, none of which I have yet to earn.
I didn’t own Double Agent, or Conviction, but picked both up to complete the playthrough. Conviction I had to get for 360, because of its exclusivity. It also had Gamerscore, which finally got me over the long awaited 30,000 GS hump. Yeah 30,000 – I’m badass. That was perhaps worth bragging about back in 2007. Double Agent was available for both the PS3 and 360. You would think since I was used to the PS3 controller for the trilogy, I’d go DA on that. I didn’t. Instead I chose the 360 version for two reasons – it was considered the “better” of the two, but more importantly, it featured Achievements. The PS3 version came out before Trophies existed, and never got patched to add them in. If it had Trophies, I would have likely stuck with the PS3.
The Wii U doesn’t have an achievement system in place, and left it up to the publishers to add in their own reward system – kind of like what Sony did with the PS3 early on. I ask, what’s the incentive of picking up a HD remaster or Zelda: Wind Waker?
You can say because it looks pretty. It does indeed. You can also say that it gives people who never played the Gamecube original to give it a go, as Gamecube copies go anywhere from $60-120 these days; the Wii U version retails for $49.99. It also gives those who have played it before another reason to back and re-explore the game, with it being in HD. It adds in GamePad elements, and fixes some know glitches and bugs. It hurts the speedrunning community as the popular “storage” glitch has been patched.
Would it have been more appealing for fans if it had some sort of reward system? What would Nintendo even call their achievement system? How many of you have bought HD remasters, whether digital or physical media, for the sole purpose of earning trophies or achievements?
Would Wii U software be selling a bit better than it is now if games came with achievements? I currently own just two games for the Wii U, outside of Nintendo Land, since buying my Wii U last November. They are Super Mario Bros. U, and Lego City Undercover. I defeated Lego City in about a week, reaching approximately 35% completion of the entire game. I do plan to go back eventually and beat it 100%, just as did with any Lego game I played before it, but currently have no drive to. There’s lots of games out there I haven’t touched, or want to give more time to, most of which have trophies or achievements.
I re-upped with GameFly of the purpose of going back and playing forgotten Xbox 360 games to not only (A) play them, but also (B) to get my pathetic Gamerscore up. Since 2007-08, I barely have touched my Xbox 360 outside of the latest Halo game, and some occasional spurts of Forza. I want to change that, even with the Xbox One approaching.
Does the Wii U need achievements to succeed? No. Would it give us an incentive to actually dust off our systems and play games we might not have played before? If we’re motivated enough, sure. The lack of a rewards system is certainly not Nintendo’s biggest concern right now. In fact it should be placed on the back burner until they can figure out an actual strategy to help increase demand for their struggling system.
It’s also sad to point out that Nintendo is hoping a game released two generations ago will help move their next generation system. Are you that desperate to move systems, or that much out of ideas, that you have to rely on a popular classic to move units?
It’s worth noting that today is the day that Nintendo dropped the price of the Wii U Deluxe unit from $349 to $299. For that same $300 you can grab the Wind Waker HD bundle, that comes with a digital copy of the game. The standard 32GB bundle comes with Nintendo Land, a piece of a shit that isn’t worth your time, even if your a non-Zelda fan.
The 8GB unit is still at a MSRP of $299, same price as the premium units, though retailers like Amazon have their own discount for it (as of post time it’s $269.99). For $30 more you get 4x the storage (you’ll need it), and a copy of what is considered to be the second best Zelda game of all-time.
Or if you just wait until November 15 – 22, you can grab a PlayStation 4 and/or Xbox One. Both will have a bigger catalogue of software in three months time, will have actual marketing campaigns, and will at least give you re-assurance that the companies behind the hardware give a shit.
Here’s looking at you Super Mario Bros. 3 HD. (I’d buy that, in all honesty)