I Impulsively Bought the Tomb Raider Remasters and Loved Every Second of It

In Short
  • Surprisingly, while most of my impulse purchases turn out to be disappointing, The Tomb Raider Remasters were a breath of fresh air.
  • The redone graphics introduce visual fidelity while still maintaining the retro vibe. Meanwhile, the modern controls provide a new take on the tank controls.
  • The Tomb Raider Remasters prove that if you involve enthusiastic fans and modders in game-making, great things can happen.

I confess. I am a video game hoarder. Every time a Steam sale comes around, I can’t help but grab games and then forget about them. No matter how many I own, I obsess over buying more. There’s a reason why this is important. The newest Tomb Raider Remasters were one of these impulse purchases. Could I have lived without buying them? Yes. Did I still get them? Also, yes.

To be honest, this specific purchase had a reason behind it. The Remasters were mostly meant for my Steam Deck, as I’m actually finding it harder to get good couch games now. And while a part of me immediately regretted pressing that buy button, I now find myself thinking otherwise. So, what exactly is so special about the first three Tomb Raider Remaster games that I am more than fine with them now? Well, let’s talk about that.

A Remaster Done Right

We all know that video game remasters aren’t a new thing. To be honest, most developers fail to create a balance between bringing in the new while keeping the old. Thankfully, the Tomb Raider remasters have taken plenty of notes from the books of Nightdive Studios and others to create something alluring.

The games have been remastered in such a way that they retain the old aesthetics but still bring in a breath of fresh air. What truly impressed me was the immaculate attention to detail. This ranged from things like the pattern on the walls to even a skeleton lying on the ground. It always impresses me when games go this far to retain their flavor while adding new ones.

Tomb Raider Remasters old visualTomb Raider Remasters new visual

Besides the little details, the remaster also adds numerous lighting touches and even level additions. This is most prevalent when you visit the Colosseum in the first Tomb Raider game. Even though the levels have been brushed, they still retain the rugged, low-poly aesthetic. However, subtle additions like a light shaft or a proper skybox really helped add atmosphere to the game. It also added a touch of modernity to it.

While any Tomb Raider veteran will recognize these changes at first sight, the developers already had something in mind. The Tomb Raider remasters have an on-the-fly graphics changer that lets you switch to legacy graphics at any point. We’ve seen something like this at work in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. And seeing it in the TR remasters makes me even happier.

I Impulsively Bought the Tomb Raider Remasters and Loved Every Second of ItI Impulsively Bought the Tomb Raider Remasters and Loved Every Second of It

Once you take a step back and realize how far we’ve come in visual fidelity, you somehow appreciate the legacy graphics even more. There was a time when the old Tomb Raiders looked like a 4K movie to me. Seeing the remaster however made me realise the magic was inside my eyes all along.

The Dreaded Modern Controls Aren’t That Bad?

Even though the Tomb Raider remasters were an impulse purchase, I had already heard a lot about the game’s infamous control scheme. However, I do need to point out that I’m not a returning player. My run-in with this series comes from the old Legends trilogy and the reboot.

So, while I am not a stranger to tank controls per se, they were new for me in the remaster. See, I don’t hate tank controls. I love them. Silent Hill 2 is my favorite game. So I am used to it.

The outside of Tomb Raider 1 in Tomb Raider Remastered

But I didn’t want to play the Tomb Raider remastered with tank controls. I wanted to experience the series with a more refined system. I’ve read a lot about how the new controls aren’t very intuitive. The system has infuriated gamers and even hampered the experience for some. And you know what? I kind of agree.

There are some problems here. The camera sways away randomly, Lara runs two steps quicker with a push of a stick, and she sometimes refuses to hold ledges altogether. But on the bright side, my friend and I did get some laughs out of it on Discord, so there’s that.

New graphics in Tomb Raider remasters

But like everything else in life, it’s easier when you know how. Holding circle/X on a controller in a tight spot will save you from falls. Understanding how standing and running jump work will help you avoid stupid deaths. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is that holding the right trigger while jumping is always a good precaution.

However, even after getting used to all this, I still hope a camera fix comes in. Having said that, the modern controls aren’t that bad. While they might be out of touch (unlike the graphics), I can certainly appreciate them for making an honest attempt.

The Tomb Raider Remasters Are Just Right Amount of Perfect

In the end, Saber, Aspyr, and Crystal Dynamics couldn’t have done a better re-release of a game adored by thousands of kids from the 90s. Without a doubt, Lara Croft has become a legendary character for many. While Crystal Dynamics works hard to create the next entry in the series, we have three games with expansions to enjoy.

Of course, fixes are on the way. And I do believe the remasters will keep getting better over time. However, the best thing the developers did was include the fans who absolutely love the series to help create the remaster. Be it the OpenLara modder Xproger leading the project and countless other passionate developers joining in for this work, this was a move that just goes to show how powerful gamers can be together.

It further proves that instead of suing fan projects (We all know who), sometimes welcoming them can do wonders. And that is what the Tomb Raider remasters are. At its core, these are the same games many have grown up with, with enough enhancements to still appeal to the modern audience. And that’s why they are one of the best impulse purchases I’ve made.

So, did you try out the Tomb Raider remasters? What are your thoughts on it? Let us know in the comments below.

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