Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Starring Lara Croft Review – A New Bar

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Starring Lara Croft Review - A New Bar

PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC

Remasters for games of the N64 and PS1 era haven’t been easy for developers to create and for consumers to savour over the years. Those consoles exist in a realm where the visuals struggle to hold up, and so remasters of these game have been hard to nail, simply because the source material was so clunky to work with. Aspyr have seen a great deal of success over the years remastering games from the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube generation, but have decided to take a swing this time at a trilogy of games from an era that developers generally struggle to properly revitalise, short of fully remaking the games – the PS1. Lara Croft’s earliest adventures on the PS1 are iconic and Aspyr have taken on the job of revitalising a trilogy of titles that have long been extremely hard to go back to due to modern sensibilities, and in doing so have shown the world what a remaster of games of this era can (and should) be.

If you had love for Tomb Raider I-III, or if you’re a bit younger but want to check out where the phenomenon all began, the original trilogy has been easy to access but not easy to play due to visual stylings and controls that are simply awful by modern standards. Aspyr though have done an incredible job, honing in on these two core pillars, refining, reworking, and reassembling them to make this trilogy not just playable, but thoroughly enjoyable for the modern gamer. 

The most obvious change is one that is clear for all whether you’re hands-on with the game or not. The character models have been improved dramatically, while the environments themselves have also been touched up too. Returning players may think that this is exactly how the games looked in their day, but with a simple press of a button, the reality will immediately set in. Despite the game obviously wanting players to immerse themselves in the new look of the world, you will also have the ability to toggle the old 32-bit visuals back on if you choose, giving your mind’s eye an almighty rattle.

Another big area of improvement is in the games handling. Once again a quick toggle is available for players to experience the games with their original, tank controls, or the much less constrained modern controls. As we’ve seen with modern remakes such as Resident Evil 2 Remake, the improved controls do wonders fo the overall experience, and considering these changes have been applied to a remaster, rather than a full remake, their inclusion is especially important. 

That doesn’t mean everything is feeling flashy and new. As a series of remasters, and not a full remake, the archaic design of Core Design’s 90’s games will at times feel incongruent with the other improved areas of the game. The level design can be especially basic, with areas being designed initially with the now-optional tank controls in mind, something that doesn’t necessarily translate especially well to the input methods. Camera handling, even with the new control options can be fiddly at times.

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Starring Lara Croft Review is a sensational collection of games, touched up in the best possible ways. There are of course the warts of some now decades-old design philosophies, but if these can be overlooked and respected for what they were in their time, then you’ve got a package that is a must for fans of Tomb Raider, no matter the age demographic. 

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Starring Lara Croft Review

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Starring Lara Croft was reviewed on PS5 with a code kindly provided by Sandbox Strategies

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