Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What PS2 up-ports would you like?

Word is, Sony are planning more PS2->PS3 up-ports. HD versions of classics Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are rumored for a Q1 2011 release, and in a recent survey regarding God of War, they reportedly threw in this question:
What titles would you like to see in a future collection (2 or more PS2 titles upgraded with similar features to God of War Collection)?
At the top of everyone's list, of course, is Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. This answer is such a no-brainer, it makes the rumor of that Q1 collection sound very reasonable - mostly because, when the God of War Collection was announced (in the comments section of every article and blog post that mentioned it), every fifth comment demanded similar treatment for Team Ico's classics.

Still, it's a tempting proposition. What titles would I like to see in a future collection (ignoring Team Ico, of course)? Easy.

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
Sly 2: Band of Thieves

If I have a single favorite platformer franchise on the PS2, it is Sly Cooper. Not the Sands of Time trilogy? No, you read right. While the latter is an excellent platformer, the overall experience of the Sands trilogy is muddied with tedious combat - and Sly suffers no such fat. It's just a delicious, elegant, comfortable platformer that occasionally mixes things up with mini-games (to varying degrees of success).

Still, their wonderful gameplay, liquid-smooth animation and stellar art direction make them sound candidates for an up-port. I'd be all over Sly and Sly 2 on a Blu-ray. Sly 3 I'm largely indifferent to - though it does wrap the series' narrative up nicely.

Likelihood: Decent. Sony owns the IP and published the Sly trilogy, so it would be no hard task for them to get it done. Whether or not they'd find it fiscally responsible to up-port what are, ostensibly, kids' games is another matter.

Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven
Tenchu: Fatal Shadows

My affection for the Tenchu titles on PS2 is well-documented, and it distresses me greatly that while the Wii and 360 have enjoyed respective Tenchu games, the PS3 has been left wanting.

So give us some Tenchu! I don't care if I've played these games into the ground, give me trophy support and I'd love to play them again. There are stealth titles with better atmosphere (Thief) and better graphics (Metal Gear Solid series), but in my heavy favoring of the genre, I have never played a stealth title with such sublime gameplay.

An experienced Tenchu player can blitz through levels at a flat-out run - no stealth franchise feels as smooth, as gamey as Tenchu.

Likelihood: Low. The Tenchu games have always been cult hits, but rarely mainstream successes. Plus, Sony does not own the rights, and never published a Tenchu title.

Hitman 2: Silent Assassin,
Hitman: Contracts
Hitman: Blood Money

In terms of flat-out gameplay, Blood Money is the best Hitman game - but I have far too much affection for all the PS2 titles to ignore them as a whole. Why IO Interactive have wasted years making Kane & Lynch and Mini Ninjas is beyond me, when the Hitman series has so many fans, and no one else approaches the stealth genre in the same way.

These games have their flaws, to be sure, but they're also unique. Combined with the fantastic art direction, music (thank you, Jesper Kyd) and animation, these titles would make excellent up-ports, hiccups in the mechanics be damned!

Likelihood: Slim. Eidos is now owned by Square Enix, and like Tenchu, the Hitman series has only niche appeal. It'll be a cold day in hell before we see Blood Money running on the PS3.

Odin Sphere

An incredibly gorgeous, forty-hour Wagnerian epic side-scrolling action RPG. Odin Sphere is easily one of my favorite PS2 titles of all time, and fully deserving of an up-port. Better yet, give us 1080p versions of Odin Sphere and Muramasa: The Demon Blade on one disc, and I will be your personal slave for a week.

That is not an empty threat.

Will it happen? No.

Could it happen? No. If Muramasa is anything to go on, the original assets for Odin Sphere were specifically designed for an SDTV. The best we can do is wait, and hope Vanillaware isn't finished giving us incredible, unique, 2D, beautifully animated action-RPGs.

Still, it's nice to dream, isn't it?

Likelihood: Practically impossible. The original assets would have to be re-made from scratch, and Sony has no claim to publishing rights.


Is Ōkami is right up there with Odin Sphere, Persona 4 and Shadow of Colossus in the hallowed halls of my all-time favorite PS2 games? No. It is, I have to say, my single favorite PS2 title of all - which is probably why I spent sixteen paragraphs gushing over it in the review last year.

An HD version of Ōkami would be like Christmas, New Year's and my birthday all rolled into one incredible purchase. Heck, I'd pay $70 for that. Y'know what? I'd pay $100.

Of course, it'll never happen. After Ōkami bombed on the PS2 (commercially speaking) it bombed on the Wii (commercially speaking). Critically, it was a smash hit - but that didn't translate to sales.

There is no chance of this thing getting an HD port.

Likelihood: Between the commercial failure of previous versions and the fact that Capcom owns and published the IP, this ain't gonna' happen.

But, for a moment, it's very pleasant to hope.


  1. I would like an up-port of Kingdom Hearts I and II. They're popular, make money and come in a pair. Seems like a possibility. An awesome one.

  2. That's true, the games are wildly popular, their art design is excellent and they were some of the best-looking PS2 games ever made. An up-port would totally hold up.