PS4 Backwards Compatibility Vs HD Remakes: The Pros And Cons Of Sony’s Choice

PS4 backwards compatibility has been discounted in favor of HD remakes of older games. There are good and bad things about Sony’s decision to not give us PlayStation 3 or older titles directly on the latest console.

On the positive side, HD remakes done right will not only bring back the nostalgic feel of those games, but give them a graphical boost. Some, such as the recent re-releases of Prototype and Prototype 2, appear to stay faithful to the source while it appears they added some things in higher detail that weren’t in the original games. Other little touches include more defined virus appendages, greater draw distance (so there is less sudden pop-up as you close in on something), and reflections in windows.

Original (top) vs Remake (bottom) of Prototype

Some gamers feel it would be nice if Sony would consider even older games such as Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and Ape Escape for the HD revamp. Those games were fun to play, even if they look like they took place in a blurry world with next to no detail in the age of the 1080p 60fps benchmark.

As long as these remakes are done right, PS4 backwards compatibility won’t be such a pressing problem. Other games such as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD didn’t work so well on the previous consoles. For some reason they made a basic move you needed to beat the game next to impossible to pull off. Wall-riding used to be easy, but in that HD remake it felt like a chore requiring trial and error, and probably easier to perform on an actual skateboard.

If Sony is going to insist on PS4 HD remakes to get older games on the PlayStation 4, they need to get at least two things right. The controls need to stay the same so older games don’t feel like something completely different, and the graphics need to show actual improvement. Gamers these days are much more demanding than they were a decade ago, expecting realism and possibly a little something extra.

Despite the words of Sony head Shuhei Yoshida, PS4 backwards compatibility might have eliminated the need to get it right the second time. If developers can get it right though, HD remakes should be fine. Perhaps one day we’ll see collections of HD remakes on actual discs for those of us who would like to pay less for a game we’ve finished before?

That probably won’t happen with download-only HD remakes, which only Xbox Live ever offers at a discount without a paid subscription.

What are your thoughts on the PS4 backwards compatibility vs HD remake debate?

[Image via Gamespot, MCVUK]