Recently, Square Enix (hereafter referred to as Squeenix) announced and released (in Japan) remade versions of Final Fantasy 1 and 2 for PSP. Unlike their previous remakes of the two games for PSX and GBA, these games would be sold separately at $35 apiece, but with still more features and extras. Although it remains yet to be seen whether they will fix the atrocious leveling system in Final Fantasy 2 that carried over to the “Origins” remake, I have some doubts as to whether these remakes will be good enough on their own to merit buying the same game for the third (fourth?) time, even for the hardcore fan.
The question now is whether Squeenix is stepping over a line in remaking the same two games for the third time in two console generations. Sure, remakes can be great if they have some significant improvement in quality from the previous version… but it certainly seems like Squeenix could be milking its backlog of games to try and make money with little effort (especially considering they remade the early games for the Wonderswan in Japan as well!).
When I played Origins, I was impressed by the extra work they put into some of the artwork and music, but I was also impressed that I actually enjoyed a game that was as unforgiving as the original Final Fantasy. I heard such bad things about the leveling system in FF2, present even in the origins remake, that I stayed away from it entirely. Origins as a whole was fun for a while, but as a remake it seemed like all it really did was update the game to SNES-era graphics and fix a couple holes in the battle/shop system. The difficulty settings were nice, but I would’ve liked even more customizability.
I’d love a remake if it was truly beautiful, either in full 3-d or carefully crafted 2-d artwork, and had significantly changed (or at least refined) mechanics and plot. These remakes look good, but I’m sure they could do better. I also like the idea of the GBA remakes of the SNES games for GBA, since the GBA is just capable of the same graphics. But when Squeenix seems to be pushing out more remakes than original games, it seems like they’re setting aside creativity in order to make money on nostalgia. And since I’m not a libertarian, I don’t like that idea.
If the motivation behind this is to give the original a makeover it deserves, Squeenix should give some thought to making a full-budget current-gen console title instead of rehashing the series on various console platforms.