Tomb Raider I – III Remastered Review – What Are These Controls?

This is not the Tomb Raider I remember playing growing up...

Hristijan Pavlovski
Hristijan Pavlovski - Content Writer
7 Min Read
Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Key Art
Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Screenshot
Review Overview

The original Tom Raider games were the games that planted the seeds of admiration for me when it comes to exploration-adventure games. So when I learned that they were making a Tomb Raider I – III Remastered collection, I was ecstatic! Unfortunately, my excitement was misplaced it seems. Let’s take a look at why I have that opinion for the PC release.

The Story of Tomb Raider I – III Remastered

Tomb Raider I - III Remastered Game 1
Tomb Raider 1 Selection Screen

Tomb Raider I – III Remastered’s story encompasses the original trilogy + their respective expansion packs. The whole thing is brought together in one neat package, making it easy to shift between games and expansion packs at a whim.

This is one of the things that the collection gets down perfectly. It faithfully recreates the missions of the original trilogy and it presents them to you in one seamless package.

Tomb Raider I - III Remastered Lara's House Portrait
Lara’s House Portrait

One thing that I particularly liked was the ability to switch between the remastered graphics and the original graphics. There’s just something about looking at low-polygon graphics that creates a nice warm feeling inside of you, you know? It’s probably the reason why I think Warcraft Reforged looks better with the original graphics, rather than the updated ones.

Back on topic though. As I mentioned at the start of this heading, the story is just about the only thing that the Remastered gets down perfectly, everything else leaves something to be desired.

The Gameplay (If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It)

Gameplay Example 1
Gameplay Example 1

The original Tomb Raider games used Tank controls. I.e. you played the game solely on the keyboard on PC. Mouse support was a novel concept back then, so you didn’t see it very often. Tomb Raider I – III Remastered includes mouse support, however, its integration is so confusing that it ruins the entire gameplay experience.

In the options screen, you can switch between “Tank” controls and “Modern” controls quite easily. Here’s the thing though, the remaster’s foundations have been rebuilt to accommodate the modern controls scheme, however, its labeling is inconsistent on the keybinding screen.

Gameplay Example 2
Gameplay Example 2

For example. In the 1st game, you have the button to sprint, however, that button does nothing as the 1st game doesn’t have a sprint mechanic in it; that gets included in the 3rd game. Same with the flare button, which is present in the 1st game, but doesn’t actually have a function till the 2nd game.

That’s not all though. In the tutorial, you learn that the action button is used to do a variety of things (interact with objects, grab onto ledges, etc). However, with modern controls, there are effectively two action buttons. One is the letter E, which is used to interact with objects and the other is left-click, which is used for acrobatics.

And if you thought that was the only weird thing, you’d be wrong. Backflips and side flips are also messed up. With Tank controls, all you have to do is press a movement key in a certain direction and the jump button and Lara performs that movement. With modern controls, you can only do that while aiming, i.e. while holding down the right click.

What I Liked About the Remastered

Freezing the Butler
Freezing the Butler (He Deserved It)

In a few short words, I loved how the remasters made me feel. It gave me that nostalgic feeling that I was yearning for all these years concerning the franchise. There’s something about replaying your favorite childhood games that will always feel special, regardless of how many years pass.

When it comes to recreating the original experience, the remastered collection has more than done its job. Playing the game feels like seeing a friend you haven’t seen in a long time.

What I Disliked About the Remastered

Gameplay Example 3
Gameplay Example 3

There’s no denying it, the weird controls are the single biggest issue with Tomb Raider I – III Remastered. There’s no point in creating a “modern” control scheme if you don’t bother explaining how it works.

At first, I thought that the game was broken because of it. But after a lot of trial and error, I finally figured it out. It’s not that the game is broken per se, it’s just that the modern control scheme is misleading and takes some getting used to.

Final Verdict on Tomb Raider I – III Remastered

Tomb Raider I - III Remastered 3rd Game
Tomb Raider 3 Selection Screen

Despite the frustrating new control scheme, there’s nothing inherently wrong with Tomb Raider I – III Remastered. It’s a faithful recreation of the original trilogy and it gives you a warm feeling of nostalgia just by playing it.

I just hope that a patch is released soon that addresses some of the concerns I have with the modern control scheme. Something as simple as an indicator in the keybindings screen for “Action Button 1” & “Action Button 2” will go a long way in addressing the issues.

Let’s end on a good note, however. What are your favorite moments from the original Tomb Raider games? We’d love to hear your answers in the comments below.

This review is based on the PC version of Tomb Raider I – III Remastered. The key was provided by Aspyr.

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Screenshot
Review Overview
Above Average 6
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By Hristijan Pavlovski Content Writer
Bachelor of Philosophy and Content Writer. In my free time, I also write fantasy short stories and the odd philosophy book here and there. I’m also an avid fan of strategy games and RPGs.
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