Winner: LIVE A LIVE
It takes a lot to take a nearly 30-year-old game and make it feel fresh, but LIVE A LIVE pulls it off. Maybe it’s the foundational game that feels unique even in 2022. Maybe it’s the visuals that have been upgraded in gorgeous HD-2D fashion. Maybe it’s a killer arranged soundtrack and full voice acting. But for my money, what really makes LIVE A LIVE an amazing remake is the quality of life changes. Action bars make it easier to gauge how long attacks will take. Enemies display their weaknesses, resistances, and HP. A mini-map helps guide you to the next objective. All of these add up to a game that’s just plain easier to play than the original, leaving more energy for the player to focus on the unique story presentation and varied gameplay styles. There’s truly no better way to play a game that most folks have never had a chance to experience.
by Wes Iliff
Runner-Up: Tactics Ogre: Reborn
In a year of stellar SRPG releases, it’s appropriate that one of the original heavy hitters of the genre received some love. Despite being a remaster of a remaster, there were no corners cut for the release of Tactics Ogre: Reborn. In fact, as far as a “things I’d like to see in a remaster” list goes, Reborn far exceeded my expectations. Many aspects of the game have been overhauled from the ground up, with a particular highlight being how your units level up. Yet the developers obviously took great care not to eradicate what made Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together such a beloved game in the first place. Please retain this level of care in future re-releases, Square Enix!
by Sam-James Gordon