12 remastered games you need to play on PS4 or Xbox One

Eight revitalised favourites to check out now – and four more to come. Your wallet's going to be busy over the next few months...

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Got a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? We fully endorse playing the biggest and brightest new games – Far Cry 4 and Destiny pop to mind, courtesy of our list of the best games in the world right now. Seriously, go crazy. That's what you bought that pricey box for, right?

However, some of the most amazing games on both consoles are a couple years old, and weren't even designed for the current hardware. Come again? Thanks to the recent trend of developers "remastering" their last-gen games for more advanced systems, you can experience some of the best games of the last few years in their ultimate incarnations – whether you're an old fan or they're totally fresh to you.

Here are eight of the most essential remastered games available on Xbox One and/or PS4 right now, along with four more due out in the next couple of months:

Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, Xbox One)

Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most spectacular games ever created, and it's even better on new-gen consoles. The Xbox One and PS4 versions amplify the open-world classic with greatly improved visuals, and make the violence more visceral and disturbing via the addition of an optional first-person perspective. Even the radio stations add another 100+ songs to the mix. That's all just icing atop a spectacular core experience, but it makes the game well worth playing through again.

The Last of Us Remastered (PS4)

We recently picked The Last of Us as the greatest PlayStation game of all time, across six platforms and 20 years worth of amazing experiences. Seriously. Need we say more here? OK, we will. Naughty Dog proved itself a master of cinematic action with Uncharted, but The Last of Us takes it to the next level with an incredible world and mature, brilliantly acted storytelling. Remastered refines the PS3 visuals and improves the frame rate – very welcome improvements – and bundles in the heartbreaking Left Behind add-on campaign.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Xbox One)

With Halo 5: Guardians not due until late this year, Microsoft decided to bring not one, not two, not three, but all four main series entries to Xbox One last holiday with sharpened graphics. It's an almost hilarious amount of content in one package, considering four full games and every bit of DLC from over the years – we're talking 100+ multiplayer maps, all of which can be played online. If you've enjoyed the series in the slightest, you'd be nuts to pass up The Master Chief Collection.

Resident Evil (PS4, Xbox One)

Capcom's been pretty aggressive over the years with re-releasing Resident Evil games, but a remaster of a remake? That's just funny. But seriously, this is by far the best way to experience the iconic original game, as it glosses up the great GameCube remake from years back by improving the environments and adding 1080p, 16:9 widescreen, and 60fps support. Perhaps best of all the tweaks is the option to ditch the old "tank controls" and use a more responsive, modernised scheme.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition (PS4, Xbox One)

Lara Croft's reign atop the gaming world ended in ruin – but 2013's Tomb Raider restored the iconic heroine to greatness. It's a lot like Uncharted, sure, but that's not a knock against a supremely exciting adventure that satisfies with wild action and dazzling exploration sequences, but also reboots Croft's origin story with success. The Definitive Edition makes the console versions look as amazing as the PC release did on a high-end rig, plus bundles in previously paid multiplayer add-ons. It's certainly the best way to play.

Grim Fandango Remastered (PS4)

Most of the games on this list are semi-recent favorites given a nice facelift and a couple of extra perks. Not so with Grim Fandango: this legendary point-and-click adventure game debuted in 1998 and then more or less disappeared – until now. It's just been released on PS4 to allow a whole new generation of potential fans to dig in, offering up the amusing tale of a travel agent who helps the deceased to their destinations in the afterlife. Cleaned-up graphics and a fully orchestrated score are nice updates, but we're mostly excited just to see it alive and kicking again.

Saints Row IV: Re-elected (PS4, Xbox One)

Saints Row started life as an innocuous Grand Theft Auto clone, but once things took a very weird twist in the sequels, it came to life. For example, Saints Row IV sees you as the super-powered President of the United States – and leader of a street gang – who battles an alien warrior inside a VR simulation of the series' open city setting. That's the premise. And it's hilarious. Re-elected improves the graphics and bundles in all previous DLC, pus adds a brand new standalone side campaign called Gat Out of Hell. It's a huge, huge package.

Metro Redux (PS4, Xbox One)

Finding its niche in the space between typical first-person shooters and stealth-action affairs, the Metro series is quietly powerful – plus it's based on a Russian novel, and primarily takes place within post-apocalyptic Moscow's subway system. Metro 2033 and sequel Metro: Last Light are different-feeling games, but this remastered bundle offers a very cool perk: the ability to play each game with the other's gameplay approach, if desired. That shakes up the original experiences, and everything is much nicer-looking too, of course.