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Chances are your favorite game has at least seen a number of ports, re-releases, End of the Year editions, and more versions than you can shake a stick at. This is due to companies trying to either milk a franchise for all it's worth, expand their audience, or to introduce new-players on new consoles to their game.
While sometimes it is clear-cut as to which edition or port you should get, other times it's not that simple. A special edition isn't actually better when the game on disk is missing something that the original game had. New versions can sometimes end up with FPS issues, toned down features, bad camera angles, or even ugly graphics. There have been many times when JP and PAL regions have a more superior version of a game while others get mere scraps and vice-versa. Sometimes even ports make a difference with some ports of a game having extra features or being better designed just because it's on a different console. All of this can make a specific version more or less desirable than the others!
This page is made to help gamers sort through all the versions and editions of a game and pick out which one is the best out of the bunch. Please focus on games that have multiple editions/releases of the same game (ex: Game Of The Year, Special Edition, Anniversary Editions, HD re-release, ect) in order to select the best edition of that particular game. Things like statues and music CDs are nice, but fixing up gameplay, less lag, faster loading, adding new levels, more on-disc content and updating graphics is much nicer! Please note that HD graphics or more DLC by itself does not automatically make a game "better"- there need to be actual improvements to the on-disk game itself for it to be better than previous iterations. Bonus points for when an HD release actually has text that can be read on a smaller screen or a tube TV.
ROM hacks that do not significantly change the base game and are of a game that actually was released are allowed here. For example, a hack that simply fixes bugs the in a company-released game is OK; however, a Sonic game that is spliced with Metroid would not be appropriate. If the company releases a new version on par or better than the hack, please replace the hack with the official version.
It's also fine to give out honorable mentions of other editions that might not be as great but are better than the rest and well-worth checking out as well.
Versions Better Due to ContentEdit
(if different from Base Game name)
|Assassin's Creed II||PS3:||Contains Assassin's Creed 2, Brotherhood, and Revelations, which completes the trilogy that is the second game... what? It doesn't matter, this has a ton of content.
Now re-re-released on ps4 and xbone, but it's a bad port, because it's ubisoft.
|Batman: Arkham Asylum & Arkham City||
PS3 / Xbox 360
Batman Arkham Bundle
|Collects Batman Arkham Asylum and Batman Arkham City. The series might be over-hyped these days, but it got that way originally for good reason. Two excellent games where you're THE GODDAMN BATMAN doing what THE GODDAMN BATMAN does.
Both games include all DLC content, as they're based on the Game of the Year editions. Both games are ON DISC, (which is important to some people) and not simply downloads. If you hate Gamestop, get this used, because it's an exclusive in the US.
There is a similar collection in Europe which also has Arkham Origins, but it is not suggested for a few reasons, namely that the only game on disc is Origins (the first two games are downloaded through a voucher), and it doesn't include any of the DLC content. Most people also find Origins to be an overall inferior game (it wasn't made by Rocksteady).
10 / 10 / A BAM HAM
Yet another collection re-re-released on new consoles, but with "better" graphics and more bugs/framerate issues!
|Bayonetta||Wii-U:||Don't let the name throw you- this game comes with BOTH Bayonetta and Bayonetta two! The Wii-U edition runs better than all of it's predecessors, even though there are still a few issues with slowdown due to reusing old code. Throw in extra content like new weapons, new costumes and the ability to keep playing after the main story is over, and it's the best of the best.
Fair warning though, Bayonetta 2 received a second print run in early 2016 to coincide with the character's inclusion in Super Smash Bros. These new copies do not include the bonus Bayonetta 1 disc, so be sure which version you're getting before you buy. Plus most 2nd hand copies will be minus the game anyway.
|Bioshock 1 & 2||Xbox360 & PS3:|
Ultimate Rapture Edition
|Bioshock 1 comes with the full game, new plasmids, a challenge rooms pack and an in-game museum showcasing the development aspects of the Bioshock series. Bioshock 2 comes with new updated voice acting Sinclair Solututions Tester, Rapture Metro, and the critically acclaimed Minerva's Den. It's all wrapped up in a nice double box with beautiful thematic art on the inside, a sliding dust cover and new verions come with Bioshock Infinite promotional stickers.
YET AGAIN! re-re-released on modern consoles with "better" graphics... you know the drll.
|Blazblue: Calamity Trigger & Blazblue: Continuum Shift||Xbox360 & PS3:|
Continuum Shift Extend
|Play the first two episodes in the Blazblue series now all updated with higher quality sound, remastered full animations on story mode, smoother fighting animations, and new characters to try. The combat also has been rebalanced to amke things more fair. Also comes with a new Unlimted Mars mode (a 12-round advanced difficulty Endrance Trial), RPG-like Abyss mode with character upgrades, art book, soundtrack CD and a mini-calender. Supports DLC as well as multiplayer matches. Comes in a printed cardboard dust cover with the game and books inside.|
One Unit Whole Blood
|If you've never played a 90's era shooter, this is a great place to start. The irreverent humor, buckets of blood, bizarre weapons and B-movie references you know and love are all here. One Unit also adds two expansions on the initial story in which our charismatic psycho, Caleb, continues to battle the Cabal though suburbia (complete with Civilians to slaughter) and the Carpathian mountains. Four new multiplayer maps have been added for your LAN parties and dozens of new enemies to slaughter as well as new quips help keep things fresh.|
Also includes a sound track and music video both courtesy of Type O Negative, the definitive Goth metal band of the 90's, as well as three guides. Best of all, it can run smoothly on modern systems thanks to Good Old Games and works fine over Wine for the Linux inclined.
|Conker's Bad Fur Day||N64||
While Nintendo were once known for having games toned down, the dawn of the new millennium saw them do the opposite, Conker's Bad Fur day is actually better on the Nintendo 64. The re-release (Live and Reloaded) censors some of the more mature content, cuts out sections of game play due to "content", and has clumsier controls than the original N64 version. The only thing close to improved in the remake is additional multiplayer maps, only good for local play now. If you're here for the hilarious story then the N64 version is the only way to go!
Also re-released on Xbone via Rare Replay but it's just the n64 version, no enhancements at all, some minor issues too.
|Earthworm Jim||Sega CD & Windows 95:|
A remastered redbook soundtrack, bonus levels, passwords to help skip levels, extra upgrades and new endings - what more could you ask for? The Windows 95 version requires a DLL(wail32.dll), which necessitates copying the CD's contents onto your hard drive, and replacing its packed-in version of that DLL to get it working. Also runs better if you run it from "WORM.EXE" in the "Assets" folder. The '95 version has slightly better sound effects, and is generally cheaper, but both are equally valid.
Ignore the 'HD' remasters!
|Final Fantasy IV||Nintendo DS (also on iOS) / Runner-up: FF4 Complete Collection (PSP)||First off, take a look at this page: http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Final_Fantasy_IV/Version_Differences|
For First-Timers: If you want more story about FF4 alone and a bit more depth from it, the DS is the way to go. If you want more content and gameplay hours, along with a smoother experience, go PSP. Broadly speaking, the DS/iOS version tends to ironically be appreciated more by those who have played FF4 before and looking for a more challenging rematch. The PSP version is geared towards first-timers who also love post-game challenges.
The DS version has superior storytelling overall and bosses and enemies provide more challenge. The cinematics and "thought bubbles" especially stand out. The Augment System in DS is a nice addition, but you don't get the most out of it until DS's New Game +, as there aren't a lot of augment options to spread between allies until then, and then in NG+ it's only for thrashing the same dudes again, save for 2 new optional superbosses.
The iOS version is mostly the same as DS, but a bit inferior as noted in the above link, yet has an added Normal/Hard difficulty option.
FF4CC has more content overall with much more challenging bonus dungeons and bosses making up for the main game being easier on PSP (vs DS). The Interlude chapter, which ties into FF4: The After Years, uses the same gameplay as in FF4. TAY may or may not appeal to you, but if you're looking more challenges and bosses to face, it has several. The bonus dungeons and bosses really test your mettle, as you can't simply power-grind to beat them.
|Ico / Shadow of the Colossus||
Collects both masterpieces and ups the resolution to 1080p. Also features 7.1 stereo surround sound, and sterescopic 3D if you're into that. No changes were made to the gameplay of Shadow. On the other hand, Ico is based on the European release, rather than the JP or NA. This is considered a good thing, as the EU version included some extra content and tweaked puzzles (for the better). The graphics of both have only been tweaked to the point of making them look good in HD.
The best feature is that each game runs at a solid 30 frames per second. Shadow of the Colossus was infamous for pushing the PS2 hardware, and the frame rate would often stagger during colossus battles, sometimes dropping to 15 frames or less when action was peaking. There are no such issues here.
If you think the cover art is hideous, you can reverse it for the originals. Also includes some digital knick knacks, like XMB themes.
Qubed (Lumines Live!)
|Qubed expands on not one but three games to bring you better graphics, higher quality audio, and smoother gameplay than ever before. Although Extend Every Extra and Rez HD are also good, Lumines Live is where this game really shines with the same levels you know and love in glorious HD visuals and HQ sound as well as new multiplayer competitive modes, more puzzle modes, more characters, and the ability to purchase brand new level packs to easily double or triple your available songs. This game comes with just a regular Xbox disc, no frills, but is still very worth it for lovers of puzzle and rhythm games.|
|Metal Gear series||Various systems||Since the Metal Gear games have been ported to a variety of other systems since their first release, let's go through them one by one. Generally you should try to get the Legacy Collection for the PS3, which includes all the best versions.
Metal Gear: Japanese version on MSX2 with an English translation and the DynamicVsync patch. While the re-released version has an official translation and has a save feature, what not many people seem to realize is that the original MSX2 version runs at a smoother framerate, while the re-released port on consoles doesn't.
Metal Gear 2: Depends on your preferences. Regarding the MSX2 version's clock speed, it was programmed on an HP-64000 computer, which is not an MSX computer, meaning that, when playing (or emulating) on one with an 3.5Mhz Z80A chip, it runs a helluva lot slower than its predecessor (with the elevators being an exception), and if running on a 7Mhz MSX2 or turbo-R, the game runs too fast. This happens because its timing routine has a bug that allows it to run at 2x or even 3x the target framerate if the CPU can handle it (ref).
Anyway, if you just want to play the game regardless, the re-released port is recommended for newcomers, as the official translation is a lot more refined than the fan translation for the MSX2 version and the speed is less sluggish, along with some minor tweaks. However, there are patches for the MSX2 version, namely the Turbo patch (which fixes the game's speed) and a card patch that makes it similar to the PANCards from MGS2 and The Twin Snakes.
Metal Gear Solid: PlayStation 1. The PC version is okay, but it may not work well on higher operating systems unless you use a patch (no widescreen hack unfortunately), not to mention the whole Psycho Mantis fight with a keyboard. Don't even get me started on the Gamecube version. The PS1 version is also available on PS3.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Xbox 360 or the PS3's HD Collection (not sure about the NVIDIA Shield TV version), sort of. These ports lose the skateboarding minigame, but make up for it in other degrees. The Windows port is apparently not so good (although that could be changed), as is the Xbox port of Substance.
Metal Gear Solid 3: HD Collection again. Loses the Snake vs. Monkey minigame due to licensing issues, but keeps the free camera and now runs at 60 frames per second. The 3DS version is okay, but adds crouch walking and moving while aiming - while these seem like good additions, it's similar to how MGS: The Twin Snakes had first person shooting which broke the game.
Metal Gear Solid 4: There's only the PS3 version.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker: HD Collection again. The PSP version is portable, but again - it's not the best in the world.
Metal Gear Solid V: You really can't go wrong with any of the versions, but the PC version is pretty good for what it's worth.
HD Collection Note: Do keep in mind that, despite that MGS2 and 3 are now in HD, the ports are by no means perfect. There are some visual bugs and fuck-ups here and there, grenades and Codec in MGS2 have a slight delay, and other sorts of oversight, some of which are still not patched in recent updates. This may be inconvenient for purists and maybe speedrunners, so if any technical issues like these pisses you off, you're better off sticking with the PS2 versions on either a pre-2008 PS3 with backwards-compatibility or a PS2 with S-Video/Component/RBG, though they don't support progressive scan (shit sux i no). See here and here for more info.
|Ōkami||Ōkami: PS2/Wii||We know you're here for the pretty graphics as much as the gameplay on this one so, depending on which is most important, we have two winners: PS2/PS3 and Wii.
If you're looking for the real credits and beautiful rice paper-filter graphics, stick to the PS2 version. If you want the game in 1080p, the PSN store has a HD downloadable version with waggle support. The Hong Kong version comes with fully compatible English, if you want a physical PS3 copy (you can also turn up the paper filter in the options).
If you're less worried about pretty filters and prefer better controls, stick with the Wii version as being able to use the Wii-mote as your "brush" is much easier, faster, and more fun than trying to use analog sticks to do the same thing. The PS3 version has Move support as well, however, in combat the "waggle to attack" mechanic is much less precise than simply tapping a button, and makes some weapons nearly useless because they require timed inputs to continue combos.
If you hate Capcom for their injustice to Clover Studio, buy a PS2 copy pre-owned and don't buy Okami-den, despite the fact it's really quite good.
|Silent Hill 2||
PS2: Silent Hill 2
|While Silent Hill 2 still plays better on the HD collection than Silent Hill 3, it's akin to saying that being lit on fire is a better fate than being pissed on and then lit on fire. The HD collection is somewhat of a poor porting job in general, and the remastered graphics and redone voice acting are actually inferior to the original. Again, the original is your best bet. THANKS KONAMI|
|Silent Hill 3||A masterpiece with fluid controls, fast loading, few glitches, good cameras, and few clipping issues. Hard copies often come with the sound track as a free bonus! The HD remaster actually downgrades the camera in an attempt to be "scary" while adding rougher controls and various clipping issues and bugs. It feels sort of rushed like they did Silent Hill 2 first, then hurried to remaster Silent Hill 3. It's a shame. Stick with the PS2!|
|Tales of Vesperia||PS3 - JAPAN ONLY||The PS3 version contains additional content like more scenarios and more monsters. Sadly, it is currently unavailable in NA/EU with no announcements regarding any western release. Get the import anyway and add the full translation patch! http://www.romhacking.net/translations/2777/
As Many JRPGs have been headed to pc there is a very good chance this will also appear, though quality of the port may be up for discussion.
|Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter||PC version||Excellent AI, great first-person controls, NPCs using real-life military tactics and micro-management of your squad like the older Ghost Recon Games make this version more interesting, deep and fun than the others.|
|Vampire the Masqurade: Bloodlines||A unique horror-RPG in which you play a vampire of one of several clans. These clans count as your "character class" and will change your abilities, speech options, action options, and even your entire path through the game depending on the clan you choose! The unpatched version is a notorious broken mess. Thankfully one crazy dude named Wesp5 released a fix patch that corrects and expands on an already massive (for the time, anyway) game. Buy the game on Good Old Games and it comes with the patch- no hunting required! Want more? Add the Plant Vampire upgrade to GoG's version: http://archive.planetvampire.com/Bloodlines/files/patches/|
|Virtua Fighter 5||VF5 Final Showdown is the same on both 360 and PS3, so just get that. If you want to get picky, however, The best port of the game is the 360 port, which is based on the arcade Version C, as opposed to the PS3's port of Version B. Also, it's online and the netcode is damn good.|
|Zone of the Enders 1 & 2||
|While the HD Collection for the Xbox 360 and PS3 should generally be the definitive collection, there's the small problem that High Voltage Software, a generally bad developer, ported the collection. As such, you might get frame rate problems. Only the PS3 version was patched, and only for ZOE2 at that, so if you have the PS2 it's recommended you get the original versions. If you don't, make due with the HD Collection.|
Games to add: most 16 bit games, every 'Tales of' entry and a shitton more.