My Big Sister Remastered Review - Retread
Updated: Jul 7
My Big Sister: Remastered
My Big Sister: Remastered is a remaster of a game that is, confusingly, the first in its series to release, but the last in story order. It picks up from where Ashina left off and resolves the cliffhangers from the end of that game, although I suppose it's more accurate to say that Ashina contrived cliffhangers to fit this game's existing plot. Although this remaster apparently has some changes to better connect the two stories, those changes were minor enough that walkthroughs for the original game are still largely accurate and you shouldn't expect to see most of Ashina's characters again.
In terms of gameplay, it'll be extremely familiar if you've played the two prequels already. You walk around rooms and talk to weird characters in order to find items and use them in other places to unlock the next area. Although it's almost exactly the same thing as the other two games, I found the gameplay of this one to be the most frustrating by a wide margin. That's thanks to a number of puzzles that require you to interact with spots that are completely unmarked. There's no way to find them except randomly mashing interact on every surface or using a guide. It also has two scenes that deviate significantly from the normal gameplay and can give you very sudden game overs, which could mean replaying a good chunk of the game if you missed a save point. One of them is entirely beatable if you remember the run command from the beginning of the game, which is mapped to a weird key ('C') and never necessary for anything else. These quirks would be more forgivable in a first/early game for a developer like the original release was, but a remaster should have been an opportunity to fix them.
I don't have as much to say about the other parts of the game. If you've played the prequels, which you should before starting this, you know what to expect from the story. In terms of graphics and music, it's massively better than Red Bow, but still not on the level of Ashina. Even though it reuses a lot of Ashina's maps, you're only seeing smaller and less interactive versions of them. It feels like another missed remaster opportunity - I get wanting to be faithful to the original design, but I don't think fleshing out the towns a little more or reusing some of Ashina's excellent music would have distracted from that goal. On top of that, there's a bizarre number of typos that are still in the game despite being reported and acknowledged by the dev in the bugs thread. All of them are entirely inconsequential to gameplay, but they're exactly the sort of thing you'd think a remaster would fix.
I feel a little weird about writing a review that mostly consists of comparing a game with its later-released prequel, but it's inevitable when the games are so similar, the story is a direct continuation, and this is a remaster. It's just impossible to get around the elephants in the room: Ashina is just better in every meaningful way and the remaster didn't take the chance to make needed improvements. Unlike Red Bow, it at least still has its memorable moments and is worth playing on sale, but it's next to impossible not to be disappointed when there's this much of a step down in quality at the end of a series. Alas.
Time to beat: 2-3 hours.
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