Like it or not, the return of classic games in high definition collections is here to stay. We've seen a number of repackagings of classic games from the PS One/PS2 era on the PlayStation 3 and some even a bit older than that. However, there's a startling amount that have already come out and a few more on the way leading into 2013.
So what are the best of the bunch? It's so hard to pick just one and there's nothing stopping you from buying them all up for your collection. But if you had to stick with a certain few considering your cash situation, we've got suggestions on what you should buy first. Get out your wallet and enjoy the return of these favorites…
The Tomb Raider Trilogy (Square Enix)
While we humbly await the arrival of the Tomb Raider reboot in 2013, there's plenty of adventuring you can do with Square Enix's well done Tomb Raider Trilogy. Featuring the previous reboot (from Crystal Dynamics) Tomb Raider Legend along with Tomb Raider Anniversary and Tomb Raider Underworld, the games cover many bases from Lara Croft's greatest adventures while still presenting the kind of run-and-gun style action that made you appreciate her in the first place. And it's rather cheap these days, going for around $20 and under.
God of War Collection and God of War: Origins Collection (SCEA)
Everyone loves playing as Kratos…and why not? Who doesn't want to be a bad-ass killer who can rip men in half without breaking a sweat, while still having time to pleasure the ladies for a few minutes? With both the God of War HD Collection and Origins, Sony covers every base of his previous adventures in style. All four games – God of War, God of War II, God of War: Chains of Olympus and God of War: Ghost of Sparta – are given impressively good HD transfers and the gameplay is still second-to-none when it comes to kicking butt. What's more, you can get these games along with God of War III in one shot for $40 in the God of War Saga. Sold!
Ico/Shadow of the Colossus Collection (SCEA)
Let's be honest: at the rate that developers are dropping out of the project, we may never see Team Ico's oft-delayed The Last Guardian. Maybe it'll re-emerge one day, but for the time being your best bet for getting compelling gameplay would be to dip into this wondrous two-game collection that released for the PS3 a few months back. Both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, outstanding games in their own right, are given great HD treatments and the abundant extras actually teach you a thing or two about their development. If there's one thing that should totally sell you, it's the thought of a little guy climbing up on top of a colossus, stabbing its weak points and bringing it crashing down to Earth. If that’s not thrilling gameplay, we don't know what is.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (Konami)
While we patiently await Zone of the Enders HD Collection to arrive next month, we've got plenty of Snake to keep us busy with the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. Though the original PS One game is nowhere in sight, the collection includes Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD – quite a collection in its own right. Each game has been given utmost treatment in their conversion to PS3 (and Xbox 360) and the online play in Peace Walker made the cut as well, which is a nice bonus. This is what a good HD collection from Konami is supposed to be like…and not that Silent Hill thing that we'd rather forget about…
Prince of Persia Trilogy (Ubisoft)
While Ubisoft tries to figure out if they want to reboot the Prince of Persia franchise again or not, you can relive the first three PS2 games using your PS3 with Prince of Persia Trilogy. While the mature-themed sequel Warrior Within might not be everyone's speed, the first game Sands of Time is still breathtakingly fun. The third game, The Two Thrones, adds an interesting component to the mix with Dark Prince elements. All three games have excellent platforming and swordplay and are well worth replaying – especially in 3D. This collection's going around $20 or so it's a great value these days.
The Sly Collection (SCEA)
Next year, Sly Cooper makes his long-awaited return to gaming with Thieves In Time. For now, you can still take part in some of his greatest heists with The Sly Collection, a terrific compilation of his first PS2 games remastered in high definition. His original debut, The Thievius Raccoonus, is still one of the best platforming games made in the previous generation. The sequels, Band of Thieves and Honor Among Thieves, introduce some new characters and caper elements into the equation. All three games look like cartoons brought to life and the extras are pretty fun too. Sneak it into your game collection when you get a chance.
Ratchet and Clank HD Collection (SCEA)
Finally, we have Sony's latest – and perhaps greatest – trilogy: the Ratchet and Clank HD Collection. The compilation features the first game, along with Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal, retouched for a new generation of play. The run and gun action remains splendid and the touched-up visuals really shine on HD screens. The developers even added the cool multiplayer from Up Your Arsenal, so you can take on your friends through PS3-networked battles. Throw in a Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time demo and a $30 price tag and you have a package that, like the titular heroes involved, is out of this world.