5. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (2010)
Whilst not the best game you’ll find on this list it’s certainly a noteworthy reboot. Castlevania was always a side scrolling adventure that had never stepped foot on the Xbox 360 or PS3 consoles before, something Lords of Shadows changed. The game radically re-mastered the fundamentals for the game, bringing it into the three dimensional world and causing it to become more of a hack and slash adventure if anything else. Although many gamers felt that the core feel of Castlevania was lost on Lords of Shadows the game does stand as one of the best sellers and one of the best looking games the franchise has ever seen. Enemies and monsters are realized more effectively in a 3D environment whilst level design is so much more apparent with elements reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus being present. Sometimes breathing new life into a franchise requires a big risk, a risk that seems to have been incredibly worthwhile with Konami’s Castlevania franchise. Lords of Shadows will even see a second installment this winter after Konami showed a gameplay trailer at this years E3 press event.
Gamers don’t like dramatic change, especially when it’s a beloved franchise mascot that’s getting the makeover. It’s unsurprising then that many took an immediate negative approach to the Devil May Cry reboot which features a radically redesigned protagonist, Dante. New hair-dos aside, the DMC reboot brings some much welcomed changes to the franchise including a restart in the storyline. The previous titles had weaved a rather complex narrative with some confusing elements that would have wreaked havoc if a sequel had been attempted, hence publishers Capcom’s desire for a reboot. Whilst it retained the classic feel in combat that you would expect from a Devil May Cry game it did showcase some excellent environment designs with surreal art concepts for the games “alternate universe” setting. Capcom didn’t hand full control over to new developers Ninja Theory just to make sure that the reboot would be reminiscent of the previous titles but still different enough to push the franchise in new directions. Mission accomplished.
3. Fallout 3 (2008)
Whilst strictly not a reboot (In terms of a sequence of games being reset) Fallout 2 publishers Interplay went bankrupt during 2004 leaving the continuation of the franchise in doubt. Finally, 10 years after the release of Fallout 2 we got Bethesda’s monumental open-world role playing game, Fallout 3. It claimed several Game of The Year awards and Best In Show at E3 2008 both during and after its release. If that’s not a comeback, then what is?! The game builds on the universe shown in the previous two installments but delivers the experience in a first person manner and removes the turn-based combat system, replacing it with a more free flowing system that includes the infamous targeting system VATS. Bethesda retained many familiar characters and respected the rich lore and history surrounding the Wasteland but brought the franchise leaps and bounds into modern gaming thanks to their already successful (but still undeniably buggy) engine seen in their Elder Scrolls series.
Like many franchise reboots, the most recent addition to the Tomb Raider series sees the game take a new approach to the familiar story. Whilst most gamers are familiar with a strong and independent protagonist Lara Croft, who takes falls and punches in her stride, the reboot delivers an interesting origin story that depicts our beloved superwoman in a new light. The game seeks to develop Lara by humanizing her, she feels the effects of the weather and cries out in pain at harsh drops, this contrasts nicely to when she starts to become more like the Tomb Raider franchise fans are familiar with. By creating this development it welcomes old players to discover more about their heroine but also welcomes new players by introducing Lara in a much more descriptive manner. The game itself is excellent, sharing more than a few traits with the hugely successful Uncharted series; it does spectacularly well at reintroducing one of the icons in gaming history.
1. Metroid Prime (2002)
If any franchise made an epic and triumphant return thanks to a reboot it would be the Metroid Prime series. Just like Castlevania (back at number 5) Metroid Prime was a much-loved side scrolling game that hadn’t yet graced the console platform. Thankfully Nintendo had something wonderful up its sleeves in the form of a first person shooter Metroid Game. Upon announcement many gamers were obviously cautious, this would be a sharp change in direction for a well-grounded and already popular franchise, however this was the beginning of something special. The new FPS perspective and brilliantly realized environments came together to create an epic gaming experience that still maintained much of the lore Metroid fans know and love. The game was much with such acclaim that it remains one of the highest rated Metacritic games (97%), it won several Game of The Year awards and is the first in a subsequent trilogy of FPS Metroid Prime games. If any reboot has jet propelled a franchise to new heights, it would be this one.