Tomb Raider I-III Remastered review

by on February 13, 2024
Release Date

February 14, 2024


Tomb Raider I-III Remastered is a difficult review for me to write. As a lifelong gamer aged somewhere between 35 and 50 (that’s all you’re getting) I grew up pillaging crypts with Ms. Croft. I played through all of the Tomb Raider games in their original format, endured both Angelina Jolie movies (okay, the first one is kind of a classic) and the Alicia Vikander one, enjoyed the isometric adventures, and (mostly) adored the reboot trilogy. I’ve even read at least one of the graphic novels. I’d go so far as to consider myself a fan of the character and the franchise at large. But I really struggled to completely enjoy the Remastered trilogy.

First of all, I am not attacking the original games. The seminal first title had such an impact on the industry back in 1996 that it still has legions of fans now. The continuations were similarly received and, rightly, revered. But make no mistake, while this remastered collection pretties the game up and adds a few tweaks, the original feel is very much kept, warts and all.

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered

The two biggest changes are the controls and the graphics. You can choose to play all three with the original “tank” controls or a more modern scheme, but both feel ungainly for different reasons. The collective decision by the industry to bin tank controls should be celebrated as a genuine milestone, but even controlling old Lara with a new scheme feels unwieldy. Smoothing out the hard edges of the original graphics doesn’t do us any favours when we’re trying to get Lara to climb a ledge or jump a gap but our intrepid adventurer won’t respond because she’s three millimeters off center.

Aesthetically speaking, the reskin is nice enough, but none of the three games look “modern”. They look like PS3 games, which is still a considerable improvement, but nothing worth stopping the show for. And because it’s reskinned over PS1-era animations, Tomb Raider I-III Remastered still looks a bit odd. Perhaps one of the strangest choices is to use the same reskin for Lara across all three games, meaning she looks the same throughout and playing them in succession is like playing the same game. There’s no evolution to the character beyond costumes, and no sense of time passing or progression.

Cutscenes haven’t been reskinned or remade. Switching back to the original graphics here just reverts it back to blurry, unwatchable standard definition. It creates a massive juxtaposition between the reskinned gameplay and the cutscenes that’s jarring every time.

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered

Perhaps I’m being unfair and went in with my expectations too high, but trying to play these games now, even with modern controls, is hard work. There will be those among you who welcome it and I’m certainly not judging people for wanting to revisit a classic with nicer graphics, but it’s hard to deny that these games just don’t hold up quite as well after so many years.

The combat, for example, is messy with either control scheme. Lara’s arms flail around like a marionette with a string cut as you try to lock onto enemies and animals. At one point I died to spiders because Lara couldn’t lock onto them below her and they were somehow able to tank point-blank gunfire. It is the way it was, and if that’s what you’re here for then you’ll love this, but I found it difficult to overlook some of the original systems in the cold light of 2024.

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered

But it’s not all combat, and much of what made us love these games in the 90s is still here. The puzzles, adventure, indiscriminate murder of endangered species – even the ability to head to Croft Manor and lock your doddering old butler in the freezer. You can do this stuff and more. Nothing has been taken out, and it many ways it feels like a museum piece, a testament to glory of what these games were, and did

There’s a lot in Tomb Raider I-III Remastered anyway though, to be fair. All three games plus the extra content awaits you, and those fans clamouring to revisit the trilogy they remember, will have a ball. But a lack of changes with the cutscenes, unrefined combat, and loose platforming can’t be hidden by a simple reskin. If you’re here for nostalgia’s sake, more power to you, but if you’re expecting a sweeping remaster of this beloved trilogy that brings it up to date in a meaningful way, you’ll have to keep waiting.


Retains the original's charm
New control options
Option to play with original graphics


Movement and combat are incredibly awkward
Cutscenes haven't been reworked
Reskin isn't all that great

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

If you're here for nostalgia's sake, more power to you, but if you're expecting a sweeping remaster of this beloved trilogy that brings it up to date in a meaningful way, you'll have to keep waiting.