Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered Masterfully Preserves The Original Experience

This is how revivals ought to be bar none.

Story Highlights

  • The original Tomb Raider trilogy is back in what has to be one of the most authentic revivals.
  • It’s much more than a visual overhaul; everything the originals embodied is back, even clunkiness.
  • In a time when game preservation means remakes, faithful revivals like this need encouragement.

As rich as video games’ history is, there’s also a downside to it all. What’s that you ask? Dozens of IPs that were once the star of the show are nowhere to be seen now. I’m sure you’re aware of how powerful nostalgia is. I don’t know about you, but I’ll jump at the chance to relive some of those past gems anytime. Yet, we’re in a time where video game preservation has been threatened to dangerous levels.

With stuff like the closure of digital stores and video games slowly becoming digital-only, game preservation is already pretty bleak. And I assure you remakes are not the answer to this problem. Measures need to be taken to make sure the original state of a title is preserved, lest we lose these to the wheels of time. It’s nothing impossibly hard, as Aspyr has demonstrated with the brilliant Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered.

YouTube video

Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered Is The Perfect Revival

You must be wondering, it’s a remaster, how is it a “perfect revival?” I think to better understand this, you’ll need to give it a try yourself, but I’ll try to explain nonetheless. If you play the collection, you’ll see that not only do you get a remaster, but the original experience comes bundled with it as well. At any time you can switch between the modern visuals or the classic presentation with absolutely no delay.

This switch is not only for the gameplay but every part of the game. You can switch during cutscenes, pause menus, static loading screens, and even the title screen. On top of that, Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered features both a modern control scheme and the original tank controls. What does this mean? You can switch to classic style and tank controls, and you’ll essentially be playing the originals.

Not only is the collection a proper remaster to justify the “revival,” but it also serves as a source to preserve the original adventures, and this is a major achievement. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate well-done remasters and remakes, but I firmly believe the original state of a game needs to be retained. Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered kills both these birds with one stone; massive respect for the developers.

Everything’s Back As It Is, Jank And All

Over the years, Tomb Raider has spiraled into a gigantic franchise with a dedicated fan following, but you never forget this saga’s humble and clunky beginnings. The remaster aimed to take us back to this time and honor the origins, and boy did it do a great job of this. It is a remaster, yes, but believe me not a thing has been changed from what it was, down to the little janky details we know and love.

You can't get more authentic than even including all the original clunkiness
You can’t get more authentic than even including all the original clunkiness

The camera is still out of control, your jumps though better are still pretty clunky, and you’ll be doing a ton of blind jumps. It’s like giving the adventure a new look but keeping everything that embodied its history and legendary status the same it was. Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered is so faithful that sometimes I wonder what was the young me even thinking, loving this frustrating platforming.

Camera with modern controls is the most frustrating thing in this new remastered.
byu/CWalkthroughs inTombRaider

And I don’t mean this in a bad way. It’s a constant reminder of how much technology has progressed in all these years. Playing this collection genuinely made me look back to the simpler times when even janky controls never interfered with my enjoyment. The originals were a masterpiece of level design and creativity when it came to puzzles and traps, and all that is still as I remember, and I just love it. 

“A Game Needs Revival? Here, Have A Remake”

When you think about preservation, is a remake the first thing that comes to your mind? Honestly, I always consider remakes to be the last solution, because it is a ton of responsibility. A remake has to live up to an existing standard, and even the slightest of mistakes can cost it dearly since it’ll be called out for this. Unless a remake is a perfect depiction, it’s a pretty risky situation.

I honestly do not think so many games need remakes!
byu/PurpleTwo8851 inpatientgamers

It’s not like we don’t have any good remakes, there are multiple cases of good stuff like Resident Evil 4 and Final Fantasy 7. But there are a lot more bad examples as well, and it’s not worth the risk. I mean, look at the Silent Hill 2 trailer, will it become a combat-focused game? I have nothing but doubts about that one. Oh, and for a moment let’s say the remake is indeed pretty good. Is it the original’s replacement?

Silent Hill 2 remake's combat trailer had me genuinely worried
Silent Hill 2 remake’s combat trailer had me genuinely worried

Take a look at the Kiwami remakes of Yakuza 1 and 2. There’s no doubt they are exceptional recreations and I appreciate that, but at the same time, the originals are nowhere to be seen now. They’re stuck on the PS2, and you can’t revisit them now, as the Kiwami versions have become a “substitute.” Other than the quality issue, this is another reason why I find remakes troubling, they undermine the original.

Kiwami remakes are great, no doubt, but what about the originals
Kiwami remakes are great, no doubt, but what about the originals

Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered Should Set An Example

We’re living in a time where remakes and remasters are excessively frequent. No one considers if there’s even a need for it, just push out a remaster. In what world did The Last of Us Part 2 need a remaster? There are more examples, too. Basically, when companies hear the word preservation, they think of remakes and remasters. No one stops to ever consider the original, and this needs to be changed.

I prefer ports to remakes.
by inpatientgamers

Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered shows that both these objectives can be fulfilled. Developers wish to create a remake or remaster? Sure, go ahead no problem. But also, make the original accessible. The simplest thing if nothing else is to put them on PC, the evergreen platform. Remakes are important for old games and can be a good thing, sure, but preserving the original is integral.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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