Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Early Game Review: 'Tomb Raider Remastered I-III Starring Lara Croft'

Released in a whirlwind of innovation from 1996 to 1998, the original "Tomb Raider" trilogy marked a seismic shift in gaming culture, thrusting gaming into the teen and adult markets and turning heads globally.

The dual-wielding, crop-topped heroine defined the era, and has continued to stay relevant in this generation of consoles, thanks to an evolution that embraced the likes of the "Uncharted" series, which it also partially inspired.

Going back to its roots, Crystal Dynamics and Aspyr break into the vault and resurrect Lara Croft's earliest adventures in a budget-priced, remastered anthology. The result is mixed, with glorious nostalgia mitigated by blocky controls that stay too loyal to the original.

It's hard to go home again, and this collection proves that adage with a pronounced thud. While the updated visuals round out some of the rough edges, floaty and stiff controls make the game seem like a relic from the past.

A wholesale reimagining on the lines of what we've seen with "Final Fantasy VII" and the "Resident Evil" series would have been a more intriguing way to go.

Still, the flair and late-1990s goofiness of the gameplay is not without its charms. I smiled as I clumsily renegotiated the adventures I had as a teen, and enjoyed the myriad tweaks and upgrades that offer a light modernized touch to the proceedings.

But all told, my further adventures involving Lara will involve her more recent games -- even the cut-rate, top-down offshoots, rather than these dusty archives. Lara has moved on to bigger, better things, leaving this realm behind for the history books.

Publisher provided review code.

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