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Often, video game franchises will attempt a reboot. Essentially, this means they take an established franchise and move it in a new direction. Whether it be a major shakeup to the main character, a dramatic shift in setting, or a complete rethinking of the way the game actually plays, video game reboots can often inject new life into a beloved franchise. After all, a game franchise can only hang around in the same form for so long before gamers are going to move on to something else (Call of Duty is a glaring exception here, as that more or less stays the same and continues to sell insane amounts of copies).
Today we are going to take a look at some of the best examples of a popular video game franchise getting a reboot. These franchises were on an obvious decline, and rather than simply letting them sail off into the sunset, the creators hunkered down, and completely revitalized them with some new and interesting takes on what was clearly becoming a tired formula. Stay tuned next week, when we will discuss some video game reboots that did not exactly go off as planned.
Let’s get the latest and greatest reboot out-of-the-way first in the form of Tomb Raider. The new Tomb Raider changes up much about the game, including the beloved Lara Croft herself. Instead of the overpowered badass, Lara in the new Tomb Raider is reluctant, and downright uncomfortable with her situation. She adjusts, and her character starts to come around to be the Lara we all know and love, but the change creates a much more dynamic game in which the character actually evolves, which is something the older entries in the franchise lacked.
The gameplay is also changed in the new Tomb Raider. Less of the game is focused on exploring enclosed tombs, and much more of it is about exploring the vast and beautiful island. It’s a change many hardcore fans of the old Tomb Raider games may not like, but it was necessary to inject some life into the series many gamers had all but forgotten.
DMC: Devil May Cry
Devil May Cry is one of the coolest action games ever made (behind God of War, which is, in my opinion, the best third-person character action game ever). Dante is easily one of the coolest characters to grace a video game, and I will readily admit, I was reluctant to accept the major changes to him in DMC. Boy was I wrong. Not only does DMC find a way to make Dante cooler than he already was, but it actually improves the gameplay a great deal.
DMC is not the biggest reboot, as it maintains the core gameplay we all expect from a Devil May Cry game. However, it fundamentally changes enough to bring new life to the series, and that is what a good reboot is all about. For all the people who gave up on Devil May Cry after the first one, now is the perfect time to come back and give the series another run.
When Bethesda announced it was working on a new Fallout game, gamers were both excited and angry. Those of us with no previous attachment to the Fallout games of yore immediately thought, “Elder Scrolls with guns; that’s awesome!” Fans of the old series were less pleased with the news, but I think we can all agree, Fallout 3 did right by the franchise for old fans and new ones alike.
Like most Bethesda games, Fallout 3 was not without some technical hiccups, but it just doesn’t matter because everything else about the game is just awesome. The company managed to take a series that a whole generation of gamers had never heard of, and put it back in the limelight for all to enjoy.
Metroid games in the old days were side scrolling games, and they were awesome. When Nintendo announced it was bringing a Metroid game to market in the form of a first person shooter, gamers were cautiously optimistic. Would our beloved Samus fit into a first person shooter? Yes, she most certainly did.
Metroid Prime takes much of the core gameplay of the series and flips it to a different perspective. It maintains part of what gamers love about the franchise, but it changes enough to welcome in a whole new generation of gamers. Seriously, if you have not played any of the three Metroid Prime games, you are missing out.
So there you have it, some of the best reboots in the history of video games. Who says a franchise has to die off just because gamers are tired of the formula. A little creativity and some big changes can take a tired series and give it a whole new life.
Of course, there is a darker side to all this. Some video game reboots don’t go smoothly, and we will get to that next week when we talk about the worst reboots in video games.