While reboots and remakes—a trend in both Hollywood and gaming—tend to make people's eyes roll, we want to say: not all reboots are horrible. We liked what Chris Nolan did with Batman for his Dark Knight trilogy, and we love JJ Abrams' 2009 reboot of Star Trek. The impending release of Star Trek Into Darkness inspired us to consider our own favorite reboots in video games, and here are our top five:
5) Tomb Raider
Besides introducing Lara Croft, the original Tomb Raider helped define 3D exploration in games (along with Super Mario 64), but as with most long-running franchises, it eventually grew stagnant. This year's reboot distinguished itself as one of the best games in recent memory. Tomb Raider deftly combined horror, tension, exploration, and action into a harsh and gritty retelling of Lara Croft's origin. Plus, it features one of the best bows in modern gaming.
4) Mortal Kombat
After splashing onto the arcade scene as "the fighting game with the gory fatalities," Mortal Kombat soon lost its way among competition such as Street Fighter, Soulcalibur, and BlazBlue. But then, 2011's reboot pulled off the paradoxical: return to its gameplay roots and foster nostalgia while also advancing the genre with elements like a full-fledged story and variety of modes. In only one title, Mortal Kombat reinvented itself from a fighting game that was just about tearing people's spines out into one of the best fighting games in years.
3) Ninja Gaiden
Ninja Gaiden was originally a pretty boss 2D sidescrolling action game about a ninja dealing with demons, the CIA, angry dogs, and some of the most infuriating bats in all of gaming. Its 2004 reboot not only brought the game into 3D, but it combined the scope of an action game (with fights against gigantic bone dragons, tanks, and helicopters) with the depth of a one-on-one fighting game and established itself as one of the best—and hardest—action games ever. Its difficulty made moments like killing a demon with a wooden oar all the more satisfying.
2) Metroid Prime
The Metroid series served as one of gaming's early pillars—helping to invent the 2D exploration genre, and featuring not only one of the best "iconic body armored" character designs, but one of gaming's best heroines: Samus Aran. While Metroid Prime might have sounded like a bad concept on paper—a developer in Texas making a 3D version of a Japanese classic—it resulted in one of the most remarkable games in Nintendo's history. Rather than make another gung ho space action game, the creators instead brought exploration, puzzle solving, platforming, and story to first person games—the same way its predecessor did for its 2D predecessors that won our hearts back then.
1) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
The original Prince of Persia still maintained its reputation as a splendidly animated 2D platforming adventure. The responsive controls, smooth animation, and excellent platforming level design still persisted with The Sands of Time, but this 2003 franchise reboot also added innovative time mechanics and a fantastic story that contributed to making this one of the best action-adventure games in years. Miss that ledge? Rewind time and make the correct jump this time. Crazy sand monsters swinging their swords too fast? Slow down time and stab away. The time manipulation also results in our favorite narrative context for reloading a checkpoint: since the story is being told in past tense, every reload gets prefaced as an explicit revision in the Prince's narrative—he actually goes, "Oh wait, that's not how it happened. I'm misremembering, here's what really happened…"
We just named our favorite reboots, what are yours?
Posted by Thierry Nguyen on May 15, 2013