It’s no secret that video game reboots have been a major part of the industry in recent years. Indeed, reboots are an essential aspect of the gaming landscape nowadays, but the best part is that they can actually be quite good. With the likes Final Fantasy 7 and Resident Evil 2 set to get complete overhauls, we got to thinking about the best rebooted games ever released. To the surprise of very few, we’ve managed to drum up a list of the ten best.
To clarify, we’re not talking about enhanced ports or HD remakes either, but full-fledged, from-the-ground-up installments that re-establish canon, reinvent a dormant property, and reintroduce consumers to an existing IP. We’ve opted to avoid numeric installments, as these titles continue where others left off – so our apologies to Fallout 3 fans. However, without any further ado, here’s Game Rant’s list of the 10 best video game reboots.
Let’s start with one of the more recent reboots, DOOM. Taking on the same name as the 1993 original, the purpose of this game was to return the property to relevancy. Many gamers were initially down on the title, believing it to be a half-baked release as a result of its launch-day review embargo… Oh how wrong they were. The game managed to successfully reinvent the series by banking on constant movement, opting to scatter armor and health packs about in lieu of allowing such relevant bars to regenerate, and encouraging a different way to play the tired first-person shooter genre. id Software did good by fans and newcomers alike on this one.
Keeping it relative to the game listed above, Bethesda managed to successfully resurrect the long-struggling Wolfenstein in a similar fashion to DOOM. After the franchise was acquired from Activision by Bethesda, the publisher went about assigning work on a brand new entry to developer MachineGames. The end result was, admittedly, a sequel, but it improved upon the narrative substantially and finally managed to make William “BJ” Blazkowicz an engaging character in the eyes of many. Aside from the hero, the story itself was riddled with ‘what if’ scenarios presented by the fact that the Nazis had won World War II in-game, and the end result left fans over the moon – and even on it in one of The New Order‘s levels.
Oddly enough, Star Fox has seen two reboots following its launch on the SNES back in 1993. While the more recent Wii U version, Star Fox Zero, was criticized by many for trying too hard to shoehorn the GamePad into its control scheme, Star Fox 64 managed to flesh out the lose concept presented within the original substantially. It did this through the expansive map it featured, the vehicles that could be controlled, and most importantly the characters that filled it. Adding actual voices to the game brought with it an entirely new level of depth for fans, while also ensuring that iconic lines like “do a barrel roll” came into the realm of existence. To this day many gamers still refer to Star Fox 64 as the de facto entry in the series.
Lara Croft has been a rather polarizing figure within the video game industry. Her original design was often under fire for its exaggerated and unrealistic look, but there was no questioning that the gameplay itself was enjoyable – making the series an instant hit with gamers. Years later, however, the Tomb Raider franchise found itself on the rocks due to several lacklustre entries. Fortunately, that didn’t deter Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics from taking on the monumental task of rebooting the franchise. Arriving in 2013, the next entry, simply titled Tomb Raider, was incredibly well-received, and managed to breathe new life into Croft and her origins.
As one of Sony’s more popular platformers, the Ratchet & Clank franchise was already in a good place amongst fans, so many likely didn’t even think that it needed to be rebooted. Despite this, that line of thought immediately changed once it was announced that the series would be getting its own film and theatrical release that retold the introductory adventure of the wily Lombax and his mechanical friend. This left developer Insomniac Games to spearhead a reboot that tied-in with the movie, and the studio absolutely rose to the occasion.
As one of the most controversial gaming series ever created, it’s hard to believe that Mortal Kombat was struggling leading up to its reboot in 2011. Opting to recap and retcon the entire mythos, the finished product managed to introduce a solid story and return the focus to what made the franchise so adored to begin with – violence. Implementing over-the-top executions coupled with rock-solid gameplay made for a gracious return to form for the franchise, and Mortal Kombat has been back in a big way ever since.
Releasing for PC in 1994 under the title of UFO: Enemy Unknown, the property quickly gained a following thanks to its intense turn-based action. As the games evolved, so too did the name, eventually opting to go under the banner of X-COM. There were big plans in place for the series moving forward following the release of X-COM: Enforcer in 2001, but two planned games in the series were later scrapped. It would be 11 years before 2K Games managed to resurrect the franchise, and in doing so it established a tried and true entry that ousted the ‘UFO’ portion of the original game’s title – effectively introducing gamers to a rejuvenated series through X-COM: Enemy Unknown.
Before Ubisoft attempted a reboot of the IP, Prince of Persia was a somewhat successful series on the Mac II that made a name for itself through precision platforming mechanics. Once Ubisoft obtained the rights to the franchise, it drastically changed the entire game’s formula by shifting it into the third dimension and adding ground-breaking time control abilities. The combat, wall-running, and even the narrative brought about a major step forward for the series, although it looks as if PoP is once again in need of a rebranding of sorts.
While opting to give Dante a head of dark hair agitated a great number of fans initially, DMC: Devil May Cry gave the property a much need breath of fresh air. Foregoing the dated feel of the originals, this reboot focused solely on chaotic action and went about showcasing one of Capcom’s more interesting protagonists in a different, albeit familiar, light. Hopefully we see more of that young punk sometime soon.
After skipping an entire console generation, Nintendo finally opted to resurrect Metroid as a first-person shooter. Given how beloved Super Metroid was, many were immediately angered by such a transition, but the Alien-inspired series managed to thrive as a shooter. Retro Studios made a name for itself through Prime, which opened the door to its eventual resurrection of the Donkey Kong Country franchise. Suffice it to say, the developer has since secured a rather substantial role within the company.
That wraps up our list of the ten best video game reboots. There are still a number of other franchises that many could claim deserves a spot on our list, so don’t hesitate to let us know your thoughts.