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Tomb Raider I-III Remastered

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered

Aspyr has brought one of the most iconic and influential trilogies of all-time back to life in a faithful but modernised remaster.

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The preservation of retro games in 2024 might be a pretty lacklustre endeavour, but fortunately, we have developers around like Aspyr. Over the past two decades, the studio has helped breathe life into several beloved classics that were once stranded on older hardware. These include Fahrenheit, Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse, and a whole bunch of older Star Wars titles that were released during the PS2 era.

The studio's latest project is its most ambitious yet, as it's a remastered collection of the original three PS1 Tomb Raider games. Containing all previously released expansions, as well as reworked controls and visuals, the collection has seen Asypr come full circle, as one of its earliest projects it published was Tomb Raider II on MacOS in 1998.

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Let's start with the biggest change that the collection introduces, and that's the visuals. At the push of a button, you can toggle between the old and remastered visuals and the difference really is night and day. Aspyr has polished the game across the board, making improvements to lighting, textures, menu options, and character models. The frame rate has also been bumped up to 60FPS, enabling the games to run better than ever before.

Not everything is all rosy when it comes to the reworked visuals though, as I found some environments to appear too dark. I occasionally had to switch to the classic visuals to make sure there weren't any platforms that I was overlooking. I didn't find them to be the most impressive in cutscenes either. Besides removing some of the grain and sharpening the edges up ever so slightly, they are pretty much identical to how they appeared within the original releases, just displayed in widescreen format.

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When it comes to the games themselves, one thing I will praise right off the bat is the incredible value this package represents. For the modest price of £26.99, you're getting three genre-defining classics bundled together along with their expansions, and these can take you anywhere between 15 and 25 hours to complete. This time could be even higher when you consider all of the hidden artefacts that are scattered around for you to find.

Tomb Raider I-III RemasteredTomb Raider I-III Remastered
Tomb Raider I-III RemasteredTomb Raider I-III Remastered

I'll confess now that I hadn't played the original trilogy when they were released, but with them being staples of their era, I was keen to check them out. Without delving too deep into specifics, I found the games to be a really fun mix of platforming, action, and puzzle solving, and I appreciated how levels felt succinct and varied. Returning to these older titles was an enjoyable glimpse into the past, and it was refreshing how simplistic and straightforward they felt compared to the larger AAA games we're used to today.

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As I played this remastered trilogy for the first time, the biggest challenges I faced were the game's camera and platforming. When preparing a jump, you need to position yourself right at the edge of a ledge and use the action button to pull yourself up. It's a really strange concept to get used to at first, and I constantly found myself falling into spike pits or slipping and hearing Lara break every bone in her body. The camera was also a major obstacle, constantly obscuring my view when I was trying to make precise jumps.

Thankfully, Aspyr has included the option to switch to modern controls, which felt a lot more natural and intuitive. The tank controls have been ditched here for complete, 360-degree movement, which makes navigating the environment a hell of a lot easier. The shooting controls have also been remapped to the back triggers, which is more consistent with modern titles, rather than pressing the controller's face buttons.

Another point of frustration I found was the game's save system. In perhaps an unintended nod to the era the games launched, the collection requires you to manually save and there's no auto-save for beating a level. This can be pretty tedious to remember, and I encountered a pretty nasty bug that completely removed all my save data from one play session. On the brightside though, you can use the manual saves as save states to help you overcome the game's clunky controls and platforming.

Tomb Raider I-III RemasteredTomb Raider I-III Remastered

In the end, I found myself pretty torn on Tomb Raider I-III Remastered. It combines three classic PS1 games in one package and these now look and play even better than they ever have done before. On the other hand though, its archaic features such as manual saves, awkward camera, and hard to master controls, I can see presenting a barrier to entry for newcomers. If you want to experience some of the PS1's most iconic titles on modern hardware, then it's worth taking a punt for the price, just be sure what to expect.

06 Gamereactor UK
6 / 10
+
It combines three classic PS1 titles and all their expansions. The games have never looked and played better before. The modern controls are very appreciated.
-
The platforming can be very slippery and hard to get used to. Manual saving feels outdated. The clunky camera can lead to even more frustration.
overall score
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Tomb Raider I-III Remastered

REVIEW. Written by Kieran Harris

Aspyr has brought one of the most iconic and influential trilogies of all-time back to life in a faithful but modernised remaster.



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