Tue. May 21st, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Official remasters may be rushed and lack new content, leading to disappointing releases.
  • Remasters can hinder modding communities, leading to compatibility issues.
  • You can improve games per your specs for better performance, graphics, and gameplay by installing the right mods.

Sometimes, fans aren’t happy with the officially-sanctioned remasters of favorite games or are waiting eagerly for one that may never exist at all. Luckily, modding communities for PC games make it possible to “remaster” games yourself.

The Limitations of Official Remasters

Official remasters of older games can sometimes feel underwhelming or not as “new” as players might like. For instance, fans maligned 2024’s Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection for its shoddy multiplayer and visual bugs at launch.

While the received the update treatment to bring to up to scratch, Classic Collection‘s launch indicates some larger issues regarding official remasters of older video games. These issues did not exist in the original versions, instead appearing after porting the title to the latest hardware without the proper polish needed to make sure it runs correctly.

Titles like the Battlefront Classic Collection are often rushed out to profit off of a pre-existing player base, which leads to unfinished products releasing to unhappy fans. On top of this, developers are often restricted when adding new content, since the goal is to recreate the experience of the original release. This can make it hard to add anything new to make the experience worthwhile for longtime fans.

Official Remasters Can Make Modding Difficult

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is notorious for its many re-releases, with each release throwing modding communities into a panic as they scramble to update their creations to work with the newest version. The game’s Anniversary update received a lot of flak from fans due to the inclusion of officially-sanctioned paid mods, and required content that made many Special Edition mods stop working entirely.

Skyrim Role Playing DLC
Bethesda Game Studios

While it is hard to recommend that anyone play the original Skyrim over the remaster, the game no longer receives any major updates, which makes it much easier to mod. With the wide array of graphical, texture and weather mods available on Nexus Mods and similar sites, you can customize how the game looks and feels to your heart’s content.

Of course, many mods for Special Edition have since been updated to work with the Anniversary version, so in time, support for mods will often be rectified. While you’re waiting, you can use the official downgrade patcher to change your game’s version number, but this can lead to another set of conflicts if you’re not careful about your installations.

Upgrade According to Your Specs

While most PC games feature graphical and performance options to customize the experience to your system’s specifications, some releases may prove too demanding to play at all. New engines, graphical updates and background features added in an official remaster might make the game difficult to run even if you can play the original with little issue.

Luckily, there are options out there to improve graphics and gameplay individually according to your tastes and needs, rather than an all-in-one package that may not run. The original Star Wars Battlefront II on PC has an unofficial remaster project that includes options to improve the in-game models and textures, user interface and even increase framerate according to how robust your PC is.

The file directory for the Star Wars Battlefront II Classic FPS uncapper mod with multiple options depending on your needs.

With this, you can make Battlefront II look and play far better if you have an older or low-end PC. Now, you won’t have to choose between graphics and performance and can avoid the risk of new updates affecting your mod installations in any major way.

Don’t Wait for Official Remasters of Your Favorite Games

If you know how to mod your games, you can even avoid the wait for an official remaster of a title you love if you just make one yourself. While the Battlefront II remaster project mostly just improves the game’s surface-level visuals and performance, some are full-fledged overhauls that even alter the gameplay in some cases.

The Morrowind Rebirth mod for The Elder Scrolls III rebuilt not just the in-game models and textures, but also updated the combat mechanics and added new enemies, quests and locations. The entire mod is built on top of the pre-existing game, making it a full-on remaster that seeks to create a fresh experience for returning players and is fully customizable.

There is also the route of fan-made remakes such as Skyblivion, a full-on rebuild of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion made as a mod for Skyrim, along with the concurrent Morrowind remake Skywind. Valve famously picked up the rights to Black Mesa as well; a remake of the first game that started as a fan project and later saw release as an officially-sanctioned remake.

In the end, official remasters are not always avoidable, since the original versions may be replaced or unavailable by the time they release. However, remasters do not always end up bad, and many can still be fully customized and modded anyway, so if things do need fixing, you can always do it yourself.

If you’re new to modding and want some help navigating your way around the process, check out some tips on things to do before you get started with modding. For those who prefer gaming on a laptop, make sure to brush up on the specs you need before shopping around.

Many of your favorite games have already received mods to make them perform and play better on modern hardware. Head over to websites like Nexus Mods or use the Steam Workshop to see what’s available. If you’re interested in this make sure you explore the world of source ports too.

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By John P.

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