Reboots are scary for everyone. When I hear a series I like will be rebooted, I go into a rage and become extremely concerned to what these strangers are going do to my baby. If it’s a series that the general public agrees has been slowly decaying from the inside, sort of like McDonald’s french fries, then some people have their jobs on the line. The amount of pressure on a company, even if it’s accomplished developers like Bethesda swooping in to take the reins, must be insane, and this list is to honor those who excelled under that pressure.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
When Konami was developing Lords of Shadow there was a mix of excitement and worry. The Castlevania series is one of the most beloved in the gaming industry, so when gamers were presented with the alternate universe the story was taking place in mixed together with the move to 3D formatting there was concern for an impending disaster.
However, the game pulled through quite nicely. The world was extremely picaresque with its towers and dark Medieval setting that would often times make me stop playing and just take it all in. Gabriel’s character design was damn near perfect, and the attention to detail on the weapons was a real treat. Its in-game combat drew many parallels to modern action greats like the God of War franchise, which made sure I never felt as if things were slowing down. Overall, Lords of Shadow incorporated so many different elements into itself, from puzzles to insane battles, that it could appease anyone. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for this title’s recent sequel.
DmC: Devil May Cry
GAMINGBOLT / News
When Capcom revealed what had become of Dante, many were seriously concerned. Excuse me, that’s an understatement; many were flipping pissed off that their beloved white-haired protagonist had been changed into some “short brown/black-hair, twenty year old d-bag.” Yeah, can you tell that I wasn’t a fan of the Westernization of the series at first glance? Admittedly, Ninja Theory did a good job with westernizing the game. Dante was the portrait of an American post grad: partying at a pier, hooking up with two women, and living in a trailer.
Despite my disdain, I gave the game a fair chance and within an hour I couldn’t deny the appeal of it. Dante’s sarcastic and stylistic nature fit the new character design pretty well. His youth also allowed for a more internal look at Dante that helped endear him to the skeptical. He’s at the age where comprehending who he is and what he should do are natural conflicts and his struggle with them resonated intensely if you weren’t put off by a few cliche touches. The moment where Dante tears open his chest to see if he had a heart was powerful, but touches upon every angsty persona imaginable.
Ninja Theory also nailed the setting for this reboot. The scenery change to a metropolitan-coastal city resembling NYC was done extremely well as it modernized the atmosphere, while keeping the distrust of larger organizations and systems intact. The surreal like quality of being pulled into Limbo as objects became distorted and crushed was deserving of praise even if you hated everything else. Finally, the combo accumulation held up to the older games while being accessible to new gamers. In the end, Ninja Theory deserves a great big congratulations. They stuck to their creative direction despite the massive negativity, and successfully changed the opinion of many gamers; that’s an uphill fight most won’t win.
gamesradar / Media
Lara Croft is simply one of the greatest protagonists to grace consoles, and has been doing so since the 90s. For a series that has been around for over a decade, Tomb Raider has definitely had its ups and downs in creating fresh and new experiences. The juggernaut Uncharted series didn’t make the prospect of a reboot easy, as it set a new standard for the action/adventure genre. However, the series’ hiatus wound up being for the best as Crystal Dynamics’ Tomb Raider was one of the best games in 2013. The origin story framework was brilliant; no longer did we play as the cave diving, dual-pistol expert Lara Croft, but rather the girl who will become her. We got to experience the events that transformed a young adventurous spirit into a badass survivor – and what a series of events those were. The whole beginning of the game was one abuse after the other as Lara tumbled through an environment that stabbed her through the side and bashed her all around. I needed to take a break from the beating before she had even found a place to relax. All in all, with a world that was incredibly layered, and gameplay that you could customize to turn Lara into the tomb raider you wanted to be, 2013’s Tomb Raider redefined its explorative nature in a personal and exciting way. Almost too much so, because I can’t count the times I missed an action input; I was too captivated by what was going on.
gameinformer / Media
I was one of the many people cursing the thought of playing Metroid as a FPS. It didn’t feel right, and I was worried the gameplay and universe would be dumbed down to handle the perspective change. Of course, I soon became one of the many feeling like an idiot for the insults I slung at it. Thanks to the first person perspective, Metroid Prime reintroduced Samus to us as, well, us. The experience of becoming her through this perspective was shockingly well done. The first person point of view made the story personal and let me experience the life of a bounty hunter in an entirely new way.
The gameplay was tight without many hitches, making it hard for anyone to criticize the switch. All my fears of the game losing its adventurous essence did not, thankfully, come to fruition as exploration was a big part of the game. In fact, the exploration far outshone the action, and in a way that would still hold a newcomer’s interest in the game. Then the level of interaction with Samus was intensified as the environment and enemies simply popped out at me, in which I responded with a chorus of “Die” and a hail of fire.
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When Bethesda took control over the Fallout series, people were skeptical about the outcome. Bethesda had already proven itself with games like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, but the difference in genre was worrisome. The developer preserved the Fallout series’ idea behind the environment and character interactivity, but reimagined everything else. Creating a close up first person shooter and mixing in some RPG elements, Fallout 3 basically had undergone a nuclear fallout from its predecessors.
Some fans probably screamed bloody murder because despite the V.A.T.S combat feature, strategy was not as essential in Fallout 3 as the earlier games. Some probably complained that the game had become more spectacle than substance. That is partially true, because Bethesda was going for a more cinematic experience. However, to say Fallout 3 didn’t have substance is crazy; there’s a reason why it received critical acclaim from practically anyone who touched the game. The game offered a world that could literally envelop a player for hours. The desolate land was entrancing and viewing it from a first person perspective really brought about the feeling of isolation and how important human connection truly is. Yes, the story and ideas of the world in the first two Fallout games are extremely good, but Bethesda made those ideas come alive in a world that entrenched the gamer into every single act. Topping it off with gameplay that let you choose between stealth or guns blazing or whatever you really wanted, Bethesda made sure you felt like a living entity in Fallout 3′s world.
Reboots are risky endeavors, and risks can be scary, but that makes their successes all the more incredible. The number of reboots that have failed far outnumbers these successes. You could count them out during the time it takes someone to do a full playthrough of Fallout 3 and you still wouldn’t be finished listing them all.