We are in the age of remasters and remakes. Just look at some of the movies and shows released in the past few months, or those slated for release later this year: Mean Girls, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Road House, and both the Ghostbusters and Planet of the Apes franchises all received or are receiving new remakes or reboots in just the first half of 2024, and the list goes on. Disney continues their mission of CGI-ing their way to a live-action version of every film they’ve ever made, and the game industry continues to see buzz from remakes in franchises like Final Fantasy, Dead Space, Metroid, and Resident Evil. Later this year, the Last of Us franchise will reach the incredible point of having more remakes and remasters than original games.

The Zelda team is, of course, not new to this trend. Starting with Ocarina of Time 3D in 2011, Nintendo has remade or remastered a handful of mainline Zelda games, with every 3D release prior to Breath of the Wild now having a dedicated HD remake or remaster. Generally, these remakes have stayed incredibly faithful to the originals, with remakes of more recent games focusing primarily on HD textures, improved framerates, and some quality-of-life upgrades. The Wind Waker HD cut down on slow sailing and repetitive elements of the Wind Waker mechanic with the Fast Sail. Ocarina of Time 3D’s motion controls made the bow mechanics more enjoyable. Skyward Sword HD addressed the pacing criticism in the original game by streamlining both Fi and the tutorial, and by adding skippable cutscenes. However, there’s an argument that Nintendo has shown too much restraint, refraining from introducing features that would completely refresh even the oldest titles.

It seems like this remake fever is here to stay, which begs the question: what makes a great remake? Personally, I can’t wait for an eventual Breath of the Wild remake that allows me to cook multiples of the same dish at once, or one that has a built-in Korok sensor eliminating the need for the Korok Mask. When I envision one day playing Tears of the Kingdom in 60 fps, Four Swords with online multiplayer, or A Link to the Past in the style of the recent Link’s Awakening remaster, it almost makes living in the remake age worth it… almost. (I mean, there’s another creepy CGI Lion King coming later this year.)

Are you happy that Nintendo’s Zelda remakes have stayed so faithful to the originals, or do you wish they’d gone further in introducing new material or mechanics? Do you find yourself preferring any original to its remake? What elements would you want to see introduced in future remasters? Let us know in the comments below!

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