After installing a texture mod to Mass Effect 2, it was evident that a decent amount of older fun games could be updated via adding high-resolution textures. Adding texture packs to games, could, in a sense, allow them to remain relevant as their graphics fidelity is increased without having to completely rework a game render pipeline.

Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines

Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines is an action role-playing game, released in 2004, for the PC. At the start of the game, players choose their vampire gender and class. You gain experience as you play the game that can be used to upgrade your vampiric powers. The level system is standard fair and not overly complicated thus making it easy to understand for seasoned RPG veterans or those new to the franchise. It originally sold around 80,000 copies, partly due to a blustery development cycle as well as being released the same month as the critically acclaimed Half-Life 2, making it a sales disaster.

Given the fact that Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines is a 14-year-old game, the geometric detail of the characters and objects in the game are relatively high. Due to Bloodlines polygon meshes having a decent amount of detail, adding higher resolution texture maps to the models can massively improve the graphical fidelity of the game to give it a modern makeover.

Dreamfall Chapters

Dreamfall Chapters is an episodic adventure game that prioritizes character interaction, exploration and puzzle solving. Dreamfall Chapters, first chapter, was released in October of 2014, and the fifth and final chapter was released in June of 2016. The Final Cut, which contains all episodes, launched in 2017 for consoles and PC. Playing, you take control of 2 different characters, Zoe Castillo, who inhabits a dystopian cyberpunk future, and Kian Alvane in a fantasy world called Arcadia. Although the games art is stylized it could still benefit from texture enhancements.

Dreamfall Chapters, being a newer game on the list, has some impressive visuals. If you set your resolution to 1080p or below, then the default high textures will work just fine. The game allows for screen space ambient occlusion, screen space reflections, and shadow maps, that works quite well for the game even with its stylized art. For those of us who set our render target to 1440p and 4K, the default textures are blurry and have room for improvement. 2K and 4K texture maps combined with bump maps or tessellation (which add a 3D element to 2D textures) and the effects listed would allow for Dreamfall Chapters to challenge some of the best-looking games to date rivaling some recently released titles.

Alan Wake

Alan Wake is an action adventure game. The Player is Alan Wake investigating his wife’s disappearance. The game is divided into six episodes that have their own plot twists and cliffhangers that pull the narrative together over the course of the game. Released in 2010 for the Xbox 360 and 2012 for the PC, the object models are detailed but textures are drab and fuzzy.

Alan Wake is a newer game, and also a bit of a cult classic among its audience would make a great game for adding a high-resolution texture pack for those of us who adhere to the PCMR life. Alan Wake would also be a significant sign to other developers to allow for basic mods to their games so players can keep some of the best classics alive.

Half-Life 2

Half-Life 2, released in late 2004, is the epitome of first-person shooters. In Half-Life 2, you play as Gordan Freeman, a nuclear physicist turned rebel leader. Players take part in a resistance turn, full rebellion against the Combine, an intergalactic empire that has conquered earth and turned it into a dystopian nightmare. Following the conclusion of the game, Valve released two episodes continuing the story that ended in a cliffhanger leaving players to this day with no solid conclusion to the game series. Half Life’s gameplay also spawned one of the most popular games do date, Counter-Strike, which has influenced other companies to try and dethrone the king of the first-person shooter.

The original Half-Life received several graphical style mods that allowed it to look nearly as good as Half-Life 2 upon release. The second installment of the series has received some graphical upgrades over the years, but none seem to bring the game to modern standards. With Half-Life 2 being an older game, adding more modern rendering techniques and lighting effects with high-resolution textures would be needed to bring Half-Life 2 to modern graphical fidelity.

Dragon Age Inquisition

Dragon Age Inquisition is a cross-console generation, action role-playing game. Players are the Inquisitor of the Inquisition or ‘chosen one’ due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time and receiving a ‘mark’. It’s probably best if you just play it to figure things out, though if you haven’t played the original 2 Dragon Age games, like me, then you will be quite lost with what’s going on. You can be multiple genders, races and classes, each with their strengths and weaknesses, which will alter how the story unfolds and different characters interact with you.

Currently, there are a handful of texture mods for Dragon Age Inquisition, though most are for the main characters and character armor for the player character. The background, foliage and castle map mods are non-existent and new textures would greatly enhance the look of the game. Since the game released on 2 generations of consoles and the PC, the developers didn’t spend as much time on higher resolution maps for the overall world thus making the game look dated despite being one of the newer titles on the list.

Conclusion

With newer games constantly being released, one may think, what is the point of keeping older games alive? Unfortunately, a decent amount of newer games look fantastic but lack the charm of the older generation of titles. Giving older titles the ability to look more like their modern counterparts give players a great opportunity to relive the classics and maybe even bring in new players who never got to experience older titles.

About The Author

Christopher T
Staff Writer

I'm an old timer that started in 1988 with Tempest at the Disney arcade; in 1989 I was given an NES with Contra and Super Contra, thus sealing my fate forever. I moved onto the Genesis, followed by the original PlayStation, PC (mainly just for DOOM) and the N64. I got a launch day PS2 settling for the PlayStation family of consoles until 2015 when I renewed my interest in the PC world. Outside of gaming, custom PC water cooling and car parts are life.