'Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition'
Who's it for: Anyone who hasn't played through the masterpiece that is "Diablo III"
Console: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Nintendo was the first to think of remastering games and releasing them for new systems. "Super Mario All-Stars" took "Super Mario Bros. 1-3," as well as "Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels," and packed them onto a single cartridge for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). It was a huge hit.
Since that time, great games have been re-released, often in packages, to capitalize on fans' love of putting a shiny new coat of paint on a classic game.
This has proved especially fortuitous with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, given the trickle of original games being released for these systems.
These packages range from the plain to the elaborate, often packing in hundreds of dollars of content into a single, reasonably priced package.
That's what fans are looking forward to this November with "Halo: The Master Chief Collection" which will include the first four "Halo" games (playable as a seamless campaign), as well as every multiplayer map ever released, more than 100 in all.
This trend of remastering/repackaging games also came in handy this month while I was looking for something — anything — to play.
I was pleased when I received the "Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition." True, I had already played through "Diablo III" and its expansion pack, "Reaper of Souls," on my PC, but this gave me the opportunity to experience the game on my 55-inch plasma screen from the comfort of my couch.
The graphic fidelity on the PlayStation 4 (my version for this review) was impressive, presented at 1080p and maintaining a steady 60 frames per second, even when the chaos on the screen reached a fever pitch.
Combining the game and its expansion pack makes for hundreds of hours of entertainment, especially when you throw in the Adventure mode, allowing for an endless adventure.
It also includes the new Nemesis system, which is a hoot-and-a-half. A Nemesis is a creature who kills you, levels up and leaves your game in search of fresh blood. While it sounds like a horror story come to life, rest assured the beast jumps only to a friend's game.
There, your friend can identify the Nemesis by its modified name and will know it killed you. If it kills your friend, the Nemesis will jump again (up to five times), carrying another victory with it and bragging rights for whomever manages to bring it down.
Finally, you have the option of playing with up to four friends on the same screen and in the same room. Sure, it's great to connect online, but nothing beats teaming up in person to destroy evil.
"Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition" is the whole package, but if you have already played through the original and the expansion, you'll have to decide if you want to start over solely for the few new features and the joy of playing it in your living room.
'The Last of Us'
Another fantastic package is "The Last of Us Remastered." It might seem a little soon to bring last year's PS3 masterpiece to the PS4, but the changes are worthwhile, particularly if you have yet to play this amazing action game.
'The Last of Us Remastered'
Who's it for: Those looking for a deep, involved adventure
Console: PlayStation 460
The upgrades here are modest. The package does include all previously released downloadable content, including the fantastic "Left Behind" prequel, as well as all the multiplayer maps.
As beautiful as the game was on PS3, the graphics have been improved for the PS4 and the resolution increased from 720p to 1080p, full HD. Also, the frame rate was doubled from 30 per second to 60, making the action remarkably smooth. And while there's an option to lock in at the old 30FPS, I have no idea why anyone would want to do so.
Like all remastered games, it is difficult to recommend this to someone who has played the game, but if you're like me and "The Last of Us" is among your favorites, or if you haven't yet had the pleasure, this version is well worth your time.