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Something to look forward to: Aspyr Media announced the upcoming remastered versions of the first three Tomb Raider games last September. To mark the final month before the collection's February 14 launch, the studio has shared a deeper look at the $29.99 package's contents, including visual and gameplay upgrades.
In a guest post on the PlayStation Blog, Aspyr Media explains that it wants to make the Tomb Raider I-III Remastered collection as faithful as possible to the original versions but accessible to customers who are playing them for the first time. Users can toggle numerous settings to update or preserve whichever parts of the 1990s experience they wish.
Instead of reimagining the trilogy that started the iconic 27-year-old franchise, Aspyr hopes to offer definitive, archival versions of each title. All three utilize the original source code, so they include every bit of content from the original PC and PlayStation versions and their expansion packs.
Check out TechSpot's Special Feature: 27 Years of Tomb Raider & Lara Croft
However, the company recognizes that new players might struggle with the ancient tank controls. Thus, the options menu contains a quick toggle between the classic system and a modern scheme based on the Xbox 360-era games Tomb Raider Legend, Anniversary, and Underworld.
With the new controls engaged, the right analog stick has full control over the camera, and Lara moves in the camera's direction. First-timers might want to note that since the games were balanced around the tank controls, the updated configuration could lower the difficulty, similar to recent conversions of the original Resident Evil. Other minor gameplay additions include a photo mode, health bars for boss encounters, and over 200 achievements.
Meanwhile, the improved graphics introduce more detailed textures and round out the character models for those unaccustomed to blocky polygons from the 90s (but not ray tracing, like the recent RTX Remix mod). The animations, effects, lighting, and environments are also new, but players can switch to the original look with one button press, similar to the Halo Anniversary games or Command & Conquer Remastered Collection.
Tomb Raider I-III Remastered launches on February 14 (protagonist Lara Croft's birthday) for $29.99 on Steam, GOG, the Windows Store, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series consoles, and Nintendo Switch. This is the first time any of the included games have come to consoles since the original PlayStation almost three decades ago. The Xbox version is an Xbox Play Anywhere title.
Oddly, the collection has two sets of minimum system requirements. According to GOG and PCGamingWiki, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 is required – no problem for modern PCs but still somewhat high for remasters of 25-year-old games. Steam and the Microsoft Store appear to have revised the minimum specs to the trivial GeForce GT 730 (or AMD R7 240) and 4GB of system memory. However, the new information raises the storage requirement from 2 to 5GB.
The difference likely primarily concerns users with handheld gaming PCs like the Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally. The Steam version is Steam Deck verified.