13 de fevereiro de 2024

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered REVIEW

LARA CROFT PT got early access to the highly anticipated Tomb Raider I-III Remastered two full weeks before the official release and today we can finally share all our thoughts with you! This review won’t evaluate the games themselves — we all know and love those —, but rather Aspyr’s remastered versions, new additions, and, in some cases, missed opportunities.

The visuals

Tomb Raider’s original trilogy looks better than ever, yet it still is very much the same game — and that is a good thing. The remastered and remade textures and models are not intrusive in the slightest, they fit perfectly with the game’s overall style. The result is that the visuals truly look the way you remember them, and it’s not until you press the switching graphics button that you realize that a lot has actually changed. That feature is, by the way, a lovely addition: at any point during gameplay, cutscenes, and even on the menu and loading screens, you can instantly switch between the original graphics and the remastered ones with a simple press of a button. Comparing the two versions never gets old and it does makes you appreciate even more the work and attention to details here.

Lara’s model is, perhaps, the greatest improvement of all. Her new look was highly inspired by the FMVs Lara, meaning her face and hair look very similar to how she was always meant to look, but could not due to technological limitations at the time. The glow up does not end here, though. Lara feels more alive now, for she has brand new facial animations: she blinks, breathes, and looks around a little bit, both in gameplay and in cutscenes. Sometimes, it is strange to see characters shake their heads frenetically when they speak, as now their mouths move and the over-the-top animations of the originals do not fit with the updated visuals. Every model from every game — human or animal — has been completely remade. If you can, try saving some of their looks to be revealed when you play the games yourself. Particularly in Tomb Raider I, Larson, Pierre, and Natla look stunning. The FMVs were only upscaled, not remade, and they definitely do not fit with the look of the rest of the game. Menu and loading screens were successfully remade.

The modern controls

Although the game looks beautiful, things unfortunately start getting a little bit disappointing when it comes to the new gameplay. If you are used to the tank controls of the originals, you most likely will not enjoy the modern controls when you first try them. This has been a common experience among all the members of our fansite, as well as a lot of other friends from other sites who have also gotten early access to the game. Once you get used to the new controls and figure out how some things work, it gets better, but there are still some fundamental flaws with them. Firstly, it should be pointed out that both tank and modern controls come with pros and cons. With modern controls, you can move around, traversal, and platform a lot faster and more smoothly. It is absolutely transforming to simply move the joystick in the direction you want Lara to go instead of manually having to turn her in that direction. You can also move the camera freely, which is not only useful, but also allows you to observe the updated visuals a lot better. The biggest issues with the new controls are essentially the inability to hop backwards and the sometimes unfortunate camera. 

The former is particularly frustrating during combat, as Lara is now only able to hop backwards and backflip when she has a weapon drawn, but that will not always work. She will very often turn her back to the enemies and run toward the camera instead of hoping back and keep shooting them. We realized that you have to first stop running altogether so that you can then hop back, which is extremely inconvenient when you have a T-Rex chasing you. Although we could not review the game until now, you can see this happening in our exclusive game preview that we uploaded yesterday. As you can also hopefully see, though, we kind of got used to it and quickly rolled whenever that happened. This is, nonetheless, the player finding workarounds to gameplay flaws. As for the second major issue, the camera, you will find yourself actively fighting it so that you can go through tight spaces when the camera glitches. If you are in an underwater tunnel and that happens, good luck. In instances when the camera locks somewhere specifically to show you the scenario or a trap, the game frankly becomes unplayable every time. Lara will run to the wrong direction, fall, and die. There are a few things you can do to progress, like pressing the look or weapon buttons to reset the camera. When that does not work, you have to either push the joystick in the opposite direction you want to go — which quickly becomes a puzzle when it is not as simple as left or right — or open the controls menu and switch back to tank controls, as there are no camera issues with the original controls. Modern controls were meant to make the player’s experience less frustrating, but the effect is too often the opposite.


New features

Apart from the switching between graphics feature and the modern controls, there are a couple of more additions to the game. There are also a few things that most fans wanted to see that are unfortunately not included in the game.

The new photo mode is a very welcome addition for you to snap some digital Lara Croft pictures and document your favorite parts of each game. Although extremely basic, we still had fun with it, and you can at least choose her pose, outfit, facial animation, and weapon. We have included some of the photos we took throughout this review.

There is now a New Game + option once you finish the game, and you can replay it with all your weapons and some twists that will make the game a little bit harder this time, but we will let you find out how on your own.

When you are near interactable objects, a “!” appears on screen. You can turn that feature off if you want to. Boss fights now include the enemy’s health bar.

As a Portuguese and Brazilian fansite, we should also comment on the fact that the translation is absolutely hideous and almost certainly machine made.

A lot of fans were excited for the potential option to change outfits during gameplay, having more outfits, and being able to select levels to replay. Those are currently not features in Tomb Raider I-III Remastered.

Overall thoughts

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered is not the perfectly remastered collection we were hoping for, but thankfully the games themselves still hold up, being the classic masterpieces that they are and, in a lot of ways, looking and (sometimes) playing better than ever. The best part about this release is that these games will finally be accessible again and available to a new generation of players. There is hope that the issues pointed out in this review will be fixed in a future patch, but the version we played is the version you will finally be able to play tomorrow, February 14th.

If you want to see the updated visuals and the modern controls in action, go ahead and watch the exclusive special preview we posted yesterday. By watching, you also have a chance to win the game for free!


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