January 15, 2015 by Paul Curtin
With both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One hitting the market at the end of 2013, 2014 started off as one of the most promising years ever for gaming. Both hardcore and casual gamers were hyped to finally get their hands on new triple-A titles that were specially designed for a new wave of next-gen gaming and that would hopefully rival the instant classics of years prior.
Unfortunately, because of the ridiculous amount of hype generated in the time since the previous generation, launch titles for the now current-gen systems were met with disappointment from fans, and both Sony and Microsoft struggled throughout the year to continue delivering brand-new exclusive triple-A titles. As a result, some of 2013’s best games were quickly released a second time on new platforms in 2014 to take advantage of the superior processing power that only PC gamers have had access to before.
2014 could best be described as the Year of the Remaster for gaming, which was upsetting for those looking for brand new experiences, but those who missed out on these masterpieces the first time around could even consider it the best year ever for gaming.
Naughty Dog improved last year’s Game of the Year, The Last of Us, by adding higher resolution textures and smooth 60 FPS single and multiplayer gameplay that gamers are now demanding from current-gen games. Last year’s runner-up, Grand Theft Auto V, actually one-upped the reigning champ by not only raising the graphics and population counts in their massive open world environments, but by also introducing a totally new first-person mode that immersed players in the realistic world of Los Santos on a level that no other GTA game has ever done before.
But among all the masterpieces that were remastered in 2014, one game truly stood out as encompassing everything that a re-release should have in order to justify its existence as being more than just a better looking cash grab, and that game was Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition. Blizzard’s cooperative dungeon-crawling loot fest lost our decision for 2012’s Game of the Year award to Rockstar’s Max Payne 3, but as Payne‘s online player counts quickly dwindled and Rockstar looked ahead to GTA, the team at Blizzard stayed hard at work by completely revamping and tweaking Diablo III to make it the experience PC players have been demanding for years.
The Ultimate Evil Edition on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One included massive visual upgrades that the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were not capable of producing, the entire Reaper of Souls expansion pack released previously on PC, a new simplified control scheme, and a revamped 4-player local shared screen experience that even makes members of the PC Master Race a little jelly. For all those reasons and more, Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition is the Best Remaster of 2014.