The first few years of the PlayStation 3 were borderline embarrassing. There was the infamous E3 2005 presser where we all found out Ken Kutaragi’s dream machine would cost five-hundred-and-ninety-nine-US-dollars and feature giant enemy crabs. The launch lineup consisted of subpar ports, hot garbage, and Resistance: Fall of Man. The controller was bad, the system was ginormous, the UI was abysmal, and its multiplatform releases were near-universally inferior to their Xbox 360 counterparts. They also made Lair. Thankfully Sony pulled out of this tailspin and eventually course-corrected the PS3 to be a pretty damn good console, but it was a bumpy road getting there.
Originally released in 2009 for the PlayStation 3, and now out on everything under the name Shatter Remastered Deluxe, Shatter is a Arkanoid-style game with one of the smartest tweaks these kinds of games have seen: the ability to alter the ball’s trajectory at will. The paddle is equipped with fans that can suck air inward or blow it outward, which enable it to influence where the ball will go more directly than just bouncing it off the paddle and hoping you angled it correctly to get the ball where you want it. This allows Shatter to create levels that require some precise maneuvers to clear.
The story mode is likely where you’ll want to head first to play though the 71 levels spread across 10 different worlds. What I liked about Shatter back in the day was how it changes up the usual brick breaking formula and it does that with the level design and with how you interact with the ball. The most unique mechanic is that you can suck and push out air which allows you to interact with the ball and bricks in new ways. This can change the direction the ball is going which can be helpful but you also have to avoid sucking in any bricks because if they hit your paddle then you lose control of it temporarily. This whole mechanic just makes playing this style of game more engaging and why it was one of my favorites back on the PS3.
So, any judgment as to the merits of Shatter Remastered Deluxe really start with the equipment players will use to play it, as the entirety of upgrades are audio-visual related. For those with a modern display and hardware, the game runs in full 4K and 120FPS, and is a sight to behold. There’s a lot of depth to the backgrounds, and the sharpness and smoothness provided by this extra fidelity do a lot to make it pop. The exemplary music also got the remaster treatment, and players with a decent sound system will enjoy this in refined form as well.
This remaster hasn’t really changed much. The UI has seen some small tweaks and the game has now been upscaled to 4K and is able to run at 120 frames on PS5 and the Xbox Series consoles if you’re somehow rich enough to have a TV capable of doing that. Otherwise, it’s still the same game – which is good! Because Shatter is still a great videogame as is. In a time where games are frequently seeing full-scale remakes, often trying to replace the original works in the process, to see a classic come back out with only the smallest of changes made is welcome. And with the original game still readily available on Steam, Shatter Remastered Deluxe isn’t seeking to replace the original: it’s just an opportunity to bring the game back into the spotlight. If re-releases remain the best means to achieve that currently, then at least Shatter Remastered Deluxe takes the right approach.
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