5 Brilliant Reboots

Who remembers that terrible TV show eh?

We have been well and truly in the era of the reboot (not the TV show) for some time now.  Why would anyone want to release an actual new idea when you can just rehash something people loved years ago and sell it to them again using the power of nostalgia?  Over the last few years, there’s been a glut of remasters, rereleases, and reboots.  That’s a lot of re, and whilst the cynic in me thinks about how much of a cash grab in me, the gamer in me has seen some genuinely fantastic returns from classic franchises.  This is dedicated to the reboots that were actually worthwhile.

Boots
The one on the left is a boot. The right one is a reboot. Yes.

For clarification’s sake, a reboot is resetting a series or presenting it in a whole new way.  This can include reboots that are technically in the same universe as previous games (prequals and such) that might use the original game’s name.  Remasters and rereleases are not the same as they’re simply the same game with a new coat of paint and maybe a few updates.  That’s right, Crash Bandicoot, go somewhere else.  Let’s do this!

DOOM

doom-logo-587x330

MMM!  This is some good stuff!  An utterly revered franchise that practically made the FPS genre (yes, I know, there were plenty of other before) that gradually slipped into legend after Doom 3.  Whilst Doom 3 was a pretty good game, it very much lacked the frenetic pace and overwhelming hordes of the classic games.  It seemed like Doom had had its day.  Then news of the reboot started appearing.

DOOM
Must…play…again!

At first, it didn’t look too good.  “What’s with all this yellow?” people said.  “Why is the Doom Guy mantling on everything?  I don’t want parkour!” complained others.  Well fears that this wouldn’t be a proper Doom game were proved unfounded when we got an utterly incredible, fast past, brutal, FPS game filled with the classic monsters presented in a fresh and exciting way.  The pace was once again relentless, the classic weapons were back with a bang, and the Doom Guy was as nails tough as ever.  The multiplayer was a little disappointing, going a bit too far into modern conventions rather than the arena shooter insanity it was known for, but that single player campaign was one of the best FPS experiences I’d had in years.  I’d certainly welcome a DOOM 2.

DmC: Devil May Cry

DmC: Devil May Cry (2013)

I remember buying the original Devil May Cry when I was in college.  I was torn between it and Silent Hill 2 until a random bloke in the shop said that he reckoned I’d like the former more.  Not wanting to upset a random stranger, I purchased it and went home.  Don’t worry, I bought Silent Hill 2 a couple of weeks later.  Anyway, I loved it.  It was cool, creepy, fast paced, and boy was it hard!  That spider boss (Phantom I think?) killed me an insane number of times, but I refused to drop it to easy mode.  Because I’m also cool.  The follow up was a bit rubbish, but the third and fourth entries were both very good.  Then, nothing for a few years, and then a reboot was announced!  And people were not happy.  Dante has DARK HAIR NOW?!  What is this madness?!

DmC Devil may cry
These “otherworld” sections looked really interesting.

If you look past the character change (and the rather mean spirited “Not in a million years” moment), there’s a hell of a solid game here.  The visuals are excellent and the combat is top notch and very satisfying.  It’s certainly a bit easier thanks to the far more accessible combo system, but there are still plenty of very challenging difficulty modes to select and/or unlock.  I had so much fun with this that I purchased the updated version on the current console generation and had a blast playing it through again.  Whilst there were mistakes, the overall package was a hell of a fun reboot.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Prince of Persia

It’s a funny one this, because I think the original Prince of Persia series is remembered as being far better than it actually was.  It used that control/animation style that meant everything you did had momentum and took far longer to do than it should.  Flashback did the same thing as did a lot of games from that era.  At any rate, it was a series that was well remembered enough to get a 3D reboot in 1999.  This was terrible.  But then they had another crack at it and brought out Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Prince of Persia
It doesn’t look quite as good today, but at the time this looked really quite beautiful.

Well, this was much more like it!  The game was actually fun to control for a start!  Wall running, parkour, and a great combat system combined with the wonderful rewindeing mechanic to very much reinvent the series as a 3D action adventure.  It was great fun and the trilogy is still quite well regarded (yes, even the edge-lord laden Warrior Within)  over the few years they were released.  Then they tried to reboot it again in 2008 with next to no success, meaning they went back to their original reboot with a spin off.  I guess that sort of success can’t carry on forever.

Tomb Raider

tomb raider logo

Ok, so this is the obvious one, but I’m including it for another reason: I hated the original series.  I found the controls in Tomb Raider to be too sloppy, and the environments a chore to navigate.  I couldn’t understand why it was so loved by so many.  Regardless, it was very popular until it was gradually run into the ground with sequel after sequel.  Tomb Raider gradually faded away, until 2013 when the reboot (that was also a prequel I think?) turned up.  And it was good!

Tomb Raider
Don’t look so sad Lara, your reboot’s gone really well!

I actually really enjoyed this.  Everything felt much tighter rather than the floatiness (it’s a word!) that I disliked so much previously.  Whilst it had those crafting mechanics that I didn’t much care for, there was a somewhat interesting story, plenty to explore without being overwhelming, and optional tombs with enjoyable puzzles.  The tombs weren’t perfect and were a bit brief, but these were brilliantly built on in the sequel.  This genuinely seemed to revitalise the series, and we’re due for a third entry in this new run this year.

XCOM

XCOM

Ah, here it is.  The series I loved as a child and played far more than was healthy.  A horribly tough strategy/tactics game that had far more depth than my child-like mind could handle (that’s probably still accurate to be honest).  Position your base of operations on the globe and try to develop your technology and expand your influence to repel the alien invasion through careful planning and successful tactical battles.  It was very, very hard.  The second game was similar, then things started to move away from the formula that people liked so much.  Apocalypse was a bizarre real time/turm based mix.  Interceptor was a space combat game (although I enjoyed that).  Enforcer was a third person shooter of all things!  Then, the reboot happened.

XCOM 2
Stolen from last year’s thrilling playthrough of XCOM 2.  I got so many of my family and friends killed.

This is how you do a reboot.  Take what everyone loved from the original and keep it in place whilst streamlining to bring it up to modern standards.  The world view was there but less of a faff, the technology race remained but was clearer, and the tactical battles were as intense as ever but with fewer needless buttons.  There was even a plot of sorts!  The Enemy Within DLC added even more ways to play and increased the threat of the aliens.  And fans of the classic could rest easy, as the game was as hard as ever.  The follow up was better still!  I’ve lost hundreds of hours to this rebooted series, and I’ll probably lose more in upcoming runs.

Some special mentions as ever.  The Killer Instinct reboot was a masterstroke as it was released with a free-to-play model in which you could try characters out and buy them if you liked.  So much better than the current fighting game model of buy the full game then buy the DLC characters without being able to try them out.  At any rate, it modernised the series well for the new console generation.  Wolfenstein: The New Order brought back a classic series rather well after many attempts to reinvent it.  It took it in an alternate reality direction and did something that more FPS games need to do: made the weapons feel genuinely powerful.  The fact it came out around the time people were getting sick of modern military shooters certainly helped too.

Killer Instinct
All the characters had a huge update in terms of their design, but were still quite recognisable.

And that’s it!  What rebooted series do you love?  There are probably a lot of other classics that have received a highquality revitalisation.  Let me know what you’d include.

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21 thoughts on “5 Brilliant Reboots

  1. Wolfenstein 3D was a good reboot for its time, reimagining an early stealth game as the genre codifying first-person shooter. Other games have improved on the genre, but I still think it’s fun to revisit every now and again.

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      1. Yeah, from what I heard, Syndicate was made back when Peter Molyneux didn’t feel the need to overhype the games he worked on and that the new one was a cheap attempt at cashing in on the property.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m actually quite a fan of the first Tomb Raider reboot, starting with Legends. They ditch the tank controls and it plays much more like you’d expect a modern action game to play like.

    Worth checking out since you liked the latest games.

    Another really good reboot was the Ninja Gaiden series. I skipped the NES so I had no idea that the Xbox games were based on the characters from a 2D side scroller.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Awesome list! I just tried the Doom demo on PS4. I didn’t have any special attachment to the original but this game rocks! Like literally I really dig the soundtrack. Waiting for a potential sale and I’ll be snatching it up for the switch.

    I got DMC, like this franchise, I had no special attachment to the originals. I saw cutscenes and new what Dante was like. In DMC I much rather prefer his character design. The game play is awesome to, oh and once again, the music kicks ass.

    Lastly your special mention of Killer Instinct, unlike the others, I have a special attachment to the older game, especially ki gold. I’ve yet to play the new one but am very interested, and took a good listen to many songs and the sound track is rocking once again. They’ve done such an awesome thing in remixing old songs but making each characters theme sound like new songs with inspirations from the old ones.

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    1. KI has so many great touches. The style of the characters, the remixes of the original tracks. I live that the menu plays the original theme as you navigate the different options. It also helps that they gameplay is brilliant and the combo system is so much more accessible now!

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  4. Sands of Time is one of my favorite games ever. Reboots don’t get any better than that in my opinion. Doom and DmC were both a lot of fun too. While I enjoyed the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot well enough – it’s a solid game – I don’t think it is a particularly good reboot. To me it loses the essence of what the series was about – challenging platforming and puzzles – and trades that in for a focus on action, shooting and setpieces. Still it was really well-made and I can see why it was so well-received by many. And I did end up loving where they evolved this formula to with Rise of the Tomb Raider and am super excited for the next game.

    There was another rebooted trilogy after the original games and before the recent ones that ditched the tank controls. They actually played a lot like the PoP Sands of Time trilogy. That included a really cool remake of the original game that took a lot of its impressive level design and gave it modern controls and graphics.

    Great list! Never got around to playing XCom, but it sounds sweet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the thing I didn’t like about the original Tomb Raider was the controls in relation to the platforming, so I appreciated the reboot lightening up on that. Rise was a much better game though; the tombs in that were really satisfying to solve and felt like the were genuinely hidden away.

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  5. I never got round to playing the original Doom or Tomb Raider, mostly because I had only just been born or still only a toddler then. So when I played the reboots for both, it was like a new experience for me. Baring in mind I had played games like Uncharted and Halo, so I think the developers did a good job, in terms of keeping them fresh but pleasing the original fans

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      1. It felt like a throwback game to me, one where you can just pick up and play. No tedious inventory system, side quests, complex weapon upgrades. Just focused on shooting your way through one area to another. Music was great too!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d wear those boots, just sayin’ (I really wish I could post a gift of a literal Saiyan, but it’s probably better these comments don’t allow such foolishness). I like the theory behind reboots in terms of bringing something classic to a newer generation; something they might never experience because the format is to dated. I haven’t played any of these, but Tomb Raider looks beautiful, and I always enjoyed Prince of Persia.

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