Sometimes you want to charge guns, swords, and words a-blazin into a game world and tame the land until Iron Maiden writes a song about you. Other times, you just want to heft your heavy eyelids, sip a light tea, and gently sail through friendly old places made new again. You’ve got a long day ahead of you, but you don’t have to venture out into the cruel sadlands of life just yet. Remember better days. Here, let me help with videos of the original BioShock and Deus Ex: Human Revolution re-realized in Unreal Engine 4. They’re quite a sight.
In both cases, assets and concepts from the original games were given exceedingly thorough Unreal Engine 4 spit ‘n’ shine jobs. The end result is what you see before you. Rapture looks dingier, drearier, and more waterlogged than ever, and Deus Ex is so sterile that I can practically feel the frosty glass stinging my skin.
Graphics! I do like this sort of videogame archaeology, though. Dig up a piece of gaming history, brush it off, and put it on display for all the world to see. Puts the mind in an interesting place, too. In BioShock’s case, we’re looking at a game that – love it or hate it – arose from a very specific set of circumstances, a triple-A publisher putting mega-buck backing behind a fever vision undersea metropolis. Irrational itself is sleeping with the fishes now, and publishers are more cautious than ever with their money. We’ll probably never see anything quite like Rapture’s strange majesty again, feel the way we felt the first time the bathysphere spat us into this corpse of a place. Also, it’s weird to realize that a game released in 2007 now qualifies as nostalgia fodder. Where did the time go, and how can I get it back?
I wouldn’t mind exploring these revisions myself, but I feel like they’d quickly show their seams. Maybe it’s better this way. Or not, but both videos are nice to look at nonetheless. Can’t complain too much about that. Or well, some people can, but it’s just too early for me. I have tea to finish.