Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Hands-on Impressions

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Hands-on Impressions

By  Mike Crewe - 22nd Feb 2024

A whole Lara love!

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Hands-on Impressions

One of gaming's most iconic heroes is back! With the newly released Tomb Raider I-III Remastered players will have a chance to return to Lara’s first three adventures around the globe, but with a shiny new coat of paint! We’re here to give our thoughts and feelings about the legendary 90s action-adventure titles, but do these games still hold up well today?

First off, what’s actually included in this remaster? Well, although it may seem obvious from the title (yes, the first three games are included!) each title's expansion pack is also included! This means that as well as the base games, players also get: The Unfinished Business for Tomb Raider I, The Gold Mask for Tomb Raider II, and The Lost Artifact for Tomb Raider III. Not a bad deal, especially if you played these on console growing up, as these three expansions were originally only available on the PC releases.

Now, it’s important to stress that these do still very much feel like a product of their time, albeit with some greatly improved environments, lighting, and character models. Foliage, for example, looks a lot denser and three-dimensional and the increased draw distance makes each level feel much grander in scale. It’s clear that a lot of love was poured into the collection to make sure that it still retains the original three games’ vision, but also makes them more accessible for modern hardware and newer gamers.

If you’re entirely new to the franchise and are more attuned to modern gaming comforts, then the updated control scheme may be for you. This does away with the occasionally cumbersome tank controls, giving you full control of Lara’s direction. This, unfortunately, didn’t exactly feel like the optimal way to play, especially during platforming sections (Croft Manor’s obstacle course being the most rage-inducing!) as the loss of side-stepping and more intricate movement control often ended in a fatal leap. These can be swapped at any time in the pause menu, so it’s worth comparing the two control options to see which one you prefer, but from our experience, it just felt right with the tank control option.

Speaking of comparing, you can toggle between the original and modern look at the push of a button, instantly transporting you back to the late 90s! These showcases just how much additional detail has been added. Level layout remains the same regardless of which version you play, which ties into why we felt playing with the original control scheme felt more natural. It was a lot more difficult to slide down those perfectly angled 45 degree tree stumps and jump forward that way!

Regardless of which graphical option or control scheme you opt for, Tomb Raider I-III Remastered is an absolute blast of a nostalgia trip. Revisiting locations such as Venice and Antarctica with gaming’s most iconic heroine is certain to bring back fond memories. If, however, this is your first time playing these titles, then there is no better way to experience three incredibly enjoyable games (and their expansions!) for the first time. Just remember to let the butler out of the freezer, yeah?

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