Tomb Raider needs no introduction. Lara Croft has graced our screens for almost three decades, in one way or another, and the franchise has spawned a huge fanbase. But will Tomb Raider I-III Remastered be enough to please fans who want to relive their past, or will it leave them an angry rabble that’s bashing on the door of Crystal Dynamics?
Let’s get the obvious out of the way here, you won’t find any new gameplay content in Tomb Raider I-III Remastered. It’s the original Tomb Raider trilogy but just remastered. It’s in the name. But let’s be clear that this isn’t a Last of Us Part 1 remake or anything.
All of the cutscenes in all three games are the same as they were back in the day - simple FMVs that haven’t been remade in any way. It’s not even obvious that you’re playing the remastered version of the game until the level loads and you take control of Croft. But when you do, it’s a sight to behold.
In gameplay terms, the graphics of each game look like 2007’s Tomb Raider Anniversary. The resolution and frame rate have been increased. This is noticeable when toggling between the new and old graphics modes, which you can do with the push of a button on the fly. When you swap back to PS1-style emulation, it becomes glaringly obvious how much better the remastered version of the games look and play, especially when you feel the frame drops of the original version, which often drop below 30 (I’m sure Digital Foundry will be along shortly to confirm this).
Another great thing about the Tomb Raider I-III Remastered collection is that you can swap between the traditional tank controls or the modern controls, much like in the Resident Evil remakes. This will certainly appease both camps of players - those who want to have the traditional clunky experience and those who want to control Croft’s direction as modern gamers have become accustomed to.
Aside from the revamped graphics and controls, though, you’re in for the same experience as you’ve always gotten in the Tomb Raider games. Tomb Raider II and III continue to get increasingly difficult in the first level (those spikes in III will get ya), and there isn’t a new save system or anything to make things easier. Each game remains structurally intact, so die-hard traditionalists will rejoice, but those of us who would like a more modern experience will be left slightly disappointed.
Tomb Raider I-III Remastered does, however, manage to perfectly toe the line for what most players will be expecting. It provides a faithful recreation of the original games, but Aspyr, the studio handling the remasters, has also managed to change just enough so that players are getting an experience they can at least stomach graphically.
We suspect that most fans of the series will love the package on offer here. At under 30 GBP/USD/euros, Tomb Raider I-III Remastered is a package full of value. It gives younger players the opportunity to lock the butler in the freezer in Croft Manor for the first time, and it gives series veterans an incentive to take another trip through each of these games with all the necessary modernisations without ruining what made Tomb Raider the success that it was.
Overall, Tomb Raider I-III Remastered is a great remaster of the original Tomb Raider games, and it’s well worth the asking price. It’s not a full-on remake though, and even though it delivers some great modern graphics and a new control system for all of the games, it isn’t a full-on remake. If you’re the sort of player who wants to replay the PS1 Tomb Raider games but with a shiny new coat of paint and some revamped controls, then this will be for you. If you were looking for a little more in the form of remastered cutscenes, new save points or a checkpoint system, then you’ll likely be a little letdown.
However, there hasn’t been a better collection of the Tomb Raider trilogy that started it all to date, so if this has piqued your interest, you should be probably open that wallet or purse and get to playing.