Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered review – you were never going to smooth these games out

A Nostalgic Look Back at Classic Games

Video games have the power to be timeless and timely, and few games exemplify this more than Tetris and Tomb Raider. Tetris remains an enduring classic, capturing the hearts and minds of players across generations. Its simple yet addictive gameplay taps into our innate desire for order and organization. Meanwhile, the nostalgia and timeliness of Tomb Raider takes us back to a bygone era of 90s pop culture, with its remastered collection paving the way for a nostalgic journey that is both thrilling and bittersweet.

The Tomb Raider remastered collection offers a beautiful yet awkward walk down memory lane. In revisiting these classic games, players are transported back to the 90s, surrounded by the cultural touchstones of the time. As the first three Core games are bundled together, players are reminded of the magic of Lara Croft’s adventures and the unique challenges they presented.


Aoife Wilson quizzes Ian Higton about his own first impressions of Tomb Raider I-3 Remastered on the Switch.

The effort and care put into this collection is evident, as the first three Core games are beautifully remodeled with upgraded textures and models. Players have the option to seamlessly switch between modern and classic graphics, offering a unique way to witness the evolution of Lara Croft’s world. The addition of extra mini-campaigns and Croft Manors provides a truly immersive experience, elevating Lara from a mere video game character to a figure deeply rooted in history and mystery.

Cover image for YouTube videoTomb Raider I-III Remastered – Announce Trailer | PS5 & PS4 Games

Tomb Raider I-3 Remastered trailer.

However, the remastering process does present some challenges, particularly in the control schemes. The transition from classic tank controls to modern controls can be jarring, revealing the fundamental differences in game design and player experience between eras. The classic Tomb Raider games were built on a grid, offering a unique and somewhat awkward experience that has its own charm. Modernizing the controls while preserving the essence of the original gameplay proves to be a delicate balancing act, and the collection does struggle with certain mechanical challenges. Nevertheless, these challenges contribute to the authenticity of the remastered experience, allowing players to relive the intricacies of early 3D gaming.

Lara conducts an experiment by breathing in a new environment in this screen from Tomb Raider Remastered

The cinematics from the games are a little framey on Switch. | Image credit: Aspyr/Crystal Dynamics

Lara enters an ominous cavern in this screen from Tomb Raider Remastered

The atmospheres from the games are well-captured in the remaster. | Image credit: Aspyr/Crystal Dynamics

Lara stands triumphantly at a cliff's edge in this screen from Tomb Raider Remastered

Tomb Raider I-3 Remastered offers beautiful and nostalgic atmospheres. | Image credit: Aspyr/Crystal Dynamics

Despite the hiccups in the remastering process, the collection succeeds in capturing the essence of the original games. The challenging platforming and intricate puzzles, while frustrating at times, provide a valuable glimpse into the early days of 3D gaming. The meticulous attention to detail and preservation of the oddities that made the original Tomb Raider games memorable are commendable, evoking a sense of nostalgia that is as captivating as it is poignant.

Ultimately, the Tomb Raider remastered collection is a delightful blend of nostalgia and modernization. It embraces the awkwardness and frustrations of the classic games, offering an authentic and immersive experience that resonates with both longtime fans and newcomers alike. As players embark on this nostalgic journey, they will encounter the same trials and triumphs that defined the original Tomb Raider experience, making this collection a true testament to the timeless appeal of these classic games.

A copy of Tomber Raider 1-3 Remastered was provided for review by Crystal Dynamics/Aspyr.