Rebootiful: Gaming’s best reboots

Feature

– James Orr

We’ve covered the games that were able to remake the charm of their originals, now let’s look at the games that relaunched and revitalised their franchises. For this list, we’re looking at the best reboots, where the game has been completely redone, and given its series a new and better direction.

Tomb Raider (2012)

Tom raider

The party was dead, but there were a few people hanging around.

We kicked off our remakes list with a Tomb Raider game, so it seems fitting we do the same for our reboots. 2012’s Tomb Raider brought Lara Croft out of her grave and gave her new life. It’s a stunning game with a great storyline and gameplay and what really made it a fantastic reboot was rather than the buxom action star of previous installments, the new Lara Croft was young, naive, and inexperienced. As the player moves through the island and its horrors, they are able to experience Lara’s gritty progression into the iconic Tomb Raider. Because of this, the latest Tomb Raider is a modern classic, and with its sequel on the horizon, its future looks just as bright as its past.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

“My eyes are up here, buddy.”

“My eyes are up here, buddy.”

A remake of 1994’s UFO: Enemy Unknown, XCOM: Enemy Unknown was launched almost two decades after its namesake and quickly became one of the best games of 2012. XCOM is faster paced than its predecessor, with simpler gameplay design that kept the game focused and remaining an intense experience.

Of course, strategy was still paramount, this being a turn-based strategy and all, particularly due to the perma-death feature of the game. If one of your soldiers went down, they stayed down for the rest of the game. This added a new level of difficulty that few games are willing to risk, and it led to many clutch encounters where your people could be down to a sliver of health to complete a mission. Just thinking about it is making me sweat.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Even today it looks better than the Prince of Persia movie.

Even today it looks better than the Prince of Persia movie.

Sands of Time was the second outing at a 3D Prince of Persia and the first time they got it right. It was worth the wait as it’s the peak of the series and became one of the greatest action-adventure games of all time. It has a fun and challenging acrobatic style of platforming, which was offset by the ability to briefly rewind time. The original 2D Prince of Persia hasn’t aged too well, but the Sands of Time still remains a beautiful classic, and the pinnacle of its genre.

P.T. (Silent Hills)

“Have you seen my baby?”

“Have you seen my baby?”

 

Despite being a demo, P.T. earns a place as one of the greatest reboots because of what it was and what it could have been. Even before the controversy around the future of Silent Hills, P.T. has been one of the most talked about games this year. It was hailed as the first real horror game in years, and was terrifying and complex in its execution, with fans all over the world scrambling to figure out every aspect of its corridor of horrors.

P.T. won awards, and has even been called the best horror game of all time, an incredible feat for a demo. It seemed like the full Silent Hills game could have been a sure-fire hit among critics and fans. As future director of Silent Hills, Guillermo Del Toro said, its cancellation “makes no fucking sense at all”.

Fallout 3

“You look hungry. Have a bullet sandwich. Careful, it’s hot.”

“I just wanted some moisturiser.”

Maybe the Fallout hype is getting to me, but yes, Fallout 3 is a reboot and an amazing one at that. The excitement and pandemonium leading up to Fallout 4 is due to the direction that Fallout 3 launched the series in. That’s not to say the original two Fallouts aren’t memorable; they formed the foundation of the franchise and Fallout 2 is still considered to be a classic. But a decade after its predecessor, Fallout 3 released and took everything to new heights, cementing the franchise as a contender for the best RPG series of all time.

Bethesda was able to introduce Fallout to the FPS genre without sacrificing the RPG elements that make the franchise unique. Instead, they pushed Fallout even further from the pack. Fallout 3’s greatest gameplay innovation, V.A.T.S., was inspired by the turn-based combat of the original games, and became a middle ground between the two genres.

Fallout 3 ran with the quirks of the series, with countless memorable moments throughout the wasteland, such as the nuking of Megaton as well as the ‘Gary’ vault. Plus there’s the classic soundtrack. What other game can you listen to ‘I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire’ as you set the world on fire? No other series had shown us the charm of a wasteland quite like Fallout has.

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