This is kind of a weird subject that struck me when I was watching a playthrough of Super Mario 64 DS, but when I lingered on the thought and processed it more thoroughly, I realized that--at least as far as I’m aware--there isn’t exactly a prime differentiation between what constitutes a ramade game and a remastered game.
So, I spent some time the other night trying to really think about how you would define “remade” and “remastered” in terms of video games. I’d already been musing about something like this on a similar level, but watching that playthrough is what sparked a catalyst.
With the launch of the current-gen consoles, we’re starting to see a remastered versions of games become a trend, with full blown remakes cropping up every now and then.
So, how exactly do you define the difference between a remastered game and a remade game? It’s all down to semantics in the end, as well as one’s own application of the words in question, but I believe a remastered game is a game that is re-released with some minor improvements and enhancements, whereas a remade game is a game that’s made a comeback after several years with major improvements and enhancements.
An example of a remastered game versus a remade game would be The Last of Us: Remastered versus Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.
The Last of Us: Remastered is essentially an improved version of the base game, with native 1080p and 60 frames per second, with improved audio and the inclusion of the Left Behind singleplayer DLC. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is a vastly improved version of the base game, which initially released back in 2001. It launched with a significantly improved graphical engine, improved audio, extra goodies regarding the Halo lore, stereoscopic 3D for compatible TVs, the option to switch between the original graphics and the improved graphics; basically, it was an entire overhaul of the original game.
See, a remade game is typically an overhauled improvement of an original game that was released several years ago, while a remastered game is just a visually enhanced version of an original game that was recently released, specifically catered towards the current-gen consoles.
So, if you come to me and ask if, say, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMix is a remade game, as it is an improved version of the original 2005 game, I’d have to say nope, because it’s only a visually enhanced version of the base game (albeit it with extras goodies to boot), and therefore a remastered game--at least in my eyes.
However if you come to me as ask if Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes is a remade game, I’d say yes, because it’s a vastly overhauled version of the original 1998 game, and it was updated with similar mechanics and aesthetics as seen in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 2 Anniversary, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! and Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire are all remakes of their original games, whereas The Last of Us: Remastered, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMix, Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD, Killzone HD and Okami HD are remastered games, in my opinion.
I suppose an easier way of differentiating what constitutes the difference between “remade” and “remastered” is seeing whether or not the overall presentation of the game--i.e. graphical engine, aesthetics, textures, audio, etc--is vastly overhauled compared to the original version.
Of course, this is how I define the difference, and no doubt your definition may differ, but maybe this may help clear the fog for some people.