Reminiscing about old video games with my gaming colleagues recently got me thinking about some of the most enjoyable role-playing games (RPGs) I have played over the years.
I am a huge fan of this genre, in which character and story development are key traits and games can be extremely immersive. I have enjoyed both RPGs that were big hits and those that ended up under the radar.
Here are three old RPGs that I think deserve a remake.
1. STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC
I am not a hardcore Star Wars fan, unlike some of my friends who can regurgitate the dialogue of Darth Vader from the movies. But playing Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic (Kotor), released in 2003, made me a convert.
Set around 4,000 years before the Star Wars Episode I movie and the rise of the Galactic Empire, you play a character who survived an attack by the Sith Lord Darth Malak and would later train to be a Jedi.
With its superb role-playing elements, balanced combat features and scintillating storyline, it was one of the best RPGs I have played.
The revelation of the player's identity remains one of the most jaw-dropping moments in video game history.You turned out to be Darth Revan - the master of Darth Malak - who was betrayed by his apprentice, but rescued by the Jedi Knight Bastila Shan. You can choose to either defeat the Sith for the Jedi, or help the Sith to become the new Dark Lord of the Sith. The game's sequel, released in 2005, was great, but could not match the original's brilliance.
It is now time for a remake, especially with recent news of potential new Star Wars movies based on the Kotor universe in the works. It would be great to get re-acquainted with Shan, Malak and Revan, as well as enjoy the original RPG with updated graphics, cutscenes and gameplay.
2. ALPHA PROTOCOL
I remember finishing this game just before I flew out for the annual mega gaming convention E3 nine years ago.
This action RPG puts you in the shoes of secret agent Michael Thornton as he unravels a global conspiracy that threatens his life and the world order.
The game plays like a James Bond movie. Players travel around the world chasing leads, using the latest gadgets to hack into computer systems and the game's innovative dialogue options to advance the storyline.
It was a novel premise with great storytelling, but it was also full of bugs. For example, the enemies' artificial intelligence (AI) was suspect and at times comical. Enemies ran in a zigzag manner even when they were close enough to shoot you. The graphics were less than stellar too. Thus, reviews were bad and the game did not sell well.
But what cannot be faulted was the ambition of the developers. It was just that the technology then was not ready to pull off what the developers had in mind. But now, I think the technology is ready.
3. LIONHEART: LEGACY OF THE CRUSADER
This 2003 game was set in an alternate history in 16th-century Europe. The wrinkle is this: During the Third Crusade led by King Richard the Lionheart in the 12th century, a supernatural catastrophe tears apart the fabric of reality, unleashing magic and demons from another dimension.
You play the unlikely hero who tries to save the world. During your journey, you meet and interact with historical figures such as Joan of Arc, Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei.
I like that the game's alternate history setting allows all these historical figures to be on the same timeline. I also remember enjoying the superb voice acting and dialogue options.
However, critics hated the game's Diablo-style hack-and-slash gameplay at the time, as well as the emphasis on combat over role-playing elements in the later part of the game.
As a result of unflattering reviews, the game did not sell well and became a footnote in gaming history.
But I have always believed the game was just a couple of tweaks away from greatness.
So can we have a re-make please, with fixes to balance the gameplay and add modern graphics?