Top 10 Game Reboots Better Than the Original Releases

Tags: #Doom ,   #MortalKombat ,   #TombRaider ,   #GodOfWar ,   #NeedForSpeed ,   #videogames

Michael Wendom

Michael Wendom

Last updated:  2023-05-11 18:00:06

Video game reboots are always a sensitive subject for gamers. While we all love to see our favorite franchises return, radical reimaginations are often risky endeavors that might fail to pay off. Luckily, we found many successful ones, even better than the originals that inspired them. After you check our top ten video game reboots, discover the best remakes and remasters.

10. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)

Hot Pursuit Reboot is one of the best Need for Speed games
Original release: 25 March 1998 (PlayStation)
Reboot release: 16 November 2010 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Also available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch (As a remaster)
Best reboot feature: The best police chases ever
Get it if you: Loved Burnout games
Skip it if you: Seek a more realistic experience 

Rebooting arcade racing games feels pointless, but Electronic Arts did it anyway... twice! Still, while the Need for Speed (2015) failed, Hot Pursuit was one of the franchise's best games. Topping the original Hot Pursuit was challenging, but developers Criterion Games made all the right moves.

Using experiences from Burnout games, they revitalized Hot Pursuit as a hyperfast arcade racer that was still all about outrageous police chases. You could either try to outrun the cops or join their forces and try to catch the suspects. Both campaigns were enjoyable while also having an enormous replay value. Combine that with excellent graphics and controls, and you'll get a timeless classic. Although, skip the Wii version, which is a totally different and inferior game. Instead, play the 2020 remastered edition for PC, PS4, Xbox One, or Switch. Yes, that's a remastered version of the rebooted game.

9. Killer Instinct (2013)

Killer Instinct reboot is already a classic
Original release: 28 October 1994 (Arcade)
Reboot release: 22 November 2013 (Xbox One) 
Also available on: PC
Best reboot feature: Surprisingly deep gameplay
Get it if you: If you are tired of Japanese fighting games
Skip it if you: Want a story mode

Initially published in 1994, Killer Instinct felt like a third wheel in a battle between Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II. However, the game still had a large following. Nonetheless, the series disappeared after a solid but unspectacular sequel and Nintendo 64 exclusive release, Killer Instinct Gold!

Its revival in 2013 was a huge surprise, especially since it was previously claimed that Microsoft, as the franchise owner, wasn't interested in giving it another go. The game initially lacked content but later added tons of characters via DLCs. Among them were many of the original characters with a few new faces. Furthermore, developers included guest stars from Gears of War, Halo, and Battletoads! Killer Instinct offers fast and unique gameplay with timeless visuals, making it a classic.

8. Doom (2016)

Doom reboot kept the frantic action of the original
Original release: 10 December 1993 (PC)
Reboot release: 13 May 2016 (PC, Xbox One, PS4) 
Also available on: Switch
Best reboot feature: Easy to play and fluid
Get it if you: Love simplicity in your FPS
Skip it if you: Expect anything else

While it was not the first FPS, Doom is one of the most significant games in history. What it brought was simple and fluid gameplay that set the standards for all future releases. The original game and its sequel are still popular today, thanks to multiple mods and even newer official releases such as Doom 64.

Initially, the Doom reboot was announced as Doom 4. Still, during the long development process, id Software concluded that it was a perfect time to start things fresh. We doubt anyone even noticed that the story was completely new since it was always there only to give us a reason to shoot. Unlike Doom 3, the Doom reboot returns to its roots, combining high-speed gameplay with attractive graphics and gore. Hey, that's all we've ever asked!

7. XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown modernized turn-based strategy games
Original release: Early 1994 (Amiga)
Reboot release: 9 October 2012 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) 
Also available on: PS Vita
Best reboot feature: Complex but fun gameplay
Get it if you: Want a game you play for years
Skip it if you: Are not ready for a tough challenge

X-COM: Enemy Unknown is a turn-based strategy with RPG elements and a cult following during the nineties. However, many were skeptical if the original's slow gameplay could be successfully translated into the modern era. Luckily, Firaxis Games was sure they were making something memorable, and the final result was better than anyone expected.

While they've rebooted the story, the developers bravely decide to keep the gameplay of XCOM: Enemy Unknown close to the original. Here we have a tactical turn-based strategy game with endless possibilities. This is a game where there is always something new to discover and improve, so it's hard to put it down. Apparently, many media shared this opinion, as they've announced it as the best game of the year.

6. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (2003)

Sands of Time might be the best game in the series
Original release: 3 October 1989 (Apple II)
Reboot release: 10 November 2003 (PS2) 
Also available on: Gamecube, Xbox, PC
Best reboot feature: Rewinding time
Get it if you: Prefer action to puzzles
Skip it if you: Expect anything similar to the original

The original Prince of Persia was so ahead of its time. Thanks to rotoscoping, we were all fascinated with its life-like animation. This was also an early parkour experience since you had to continually perform death-defying acrobatics. This game inspired many other classics, including Another World or Abe's Oddysee.

However, Sands of Time was a much different game. While the new Prince also had to rely on his platforming ability to survive, he learned how to run along walls and rewind time! This was also a much faster game with dramatically improved combat. While Prince of Persia got another quality reboot in 2008, the Sands of Time is still unrivaled. Unfortunately, the series has been largely forgotten by now.

5. Ninja Gaiden (2004)

Ninja Gaiden is brutally hard, as the original trilogy
Original release: 9 December 1988 (NES)
Reboot release: 2 March 2004 (Xbox)  
Also available on: PS3, PS Vita, PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Best reboot feature: Excellent fighting mechanics
Get it if you: Want a tough challenge
Skip it if you: Don't have excellent reflexes

The NES's original Ninja Gaiden was a brutally hard-action platformer with two sequels for the same platform. Even though they were so challenging, all three games were praised for their fast gameplay, well-designed stages, and impressive-looking cinematics for the time.

In 2004, the game got a reboot that transferred the gameplay into a 3D environment. However, it was still unmistakably a Ninja Gaiden game. The next generation of players was introduced to highly-challenging gameplay as our hero Ryo Hayabusa could be seriously hurt or slain by his enemies. However, that didn't hurt the sales. None of us could resist the outstanding gameplay mechanics and the graphics that pushed the original and then mighty Xbox to its limits. This release was later upgraded to Ninja Gaiden Black. Still, we suggest playing the ultimate version, Ninja Gaiden Sigma, for PlayStation 3. Luckily, Sigma is now also available on PC and newer consoles.

4. Tomb Raider (2013)

Rebooted Tomb Raider is nicely balancing exploring and action elements
Original release: 26 October 1996 (Sega Saturn)
Reboot release: 5 March 2013 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) 
Also available on: PS4, Xbox One
Best reboot feature: The introduction of RPG elements
Get it if you: Enjoy more action-oriented Tomb Raider games
Skip it if you: Seek complex puzzles

Tomb Raider was a sensation when introduced for the first PlayStation, Saturn, and PC. It successfully demonstrated the gameplay transition to 3D while introducing us to the iconic Lara Croft. Unfortunately, the hyperproduction of sequels made us lose interest over time. A catastrophic Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness almost killed the franchise as it was rushed to release. While the series was rebooted in 2006 as Tomb Raider: Legend, it didn't fully revitalize Lara.

However, that finally happened in 2013. We've got a younger and inexperienced Lara that's barely able to survive on the mystical island where she was stuck with her friends. This was by far more complex game than the original, not only because it was set in an open-world environment. It introduced many RPG elements and focused more on combat and acrobatics than exploring. Two more sequels followed, and even a movie based on this reboot.

3. Mortal Kombat (2011)

Mortal Kombat is a definition of a soft reboot
Original release: August 1992 (Arcade)
Reboot release: 19 April 2011 (PS3, Xbox 360) 
Also available on: PC
Best reboot feature: Terrific single-player content
Get it if you: Have any love for fighting games
Skip it if you: Prefer more complex gameplay

After the original's success and a few sequels, Mortal Kombat slowly faded into obscurity. After atrocious spinoffs (Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub Zero and Special Forces), we've also got an underwhelming Mortal Kombat 4. Further sequels didn't do much better, so everyone stopped caring. Not even a crossover with the DC Universe helped things much, but everything changed with the 2011 reboot.

New Mortal Kombat did a fantastic thing, as its story was fresh while incorporating the original trilogy elements. Mortal Kombat reboot was also the first fighting game with a high-production story mode, which forced competitors to include it in their games. Still, they all failed to replicate its greatness. This was like an all-star version of the series, which featured every favorite character from the first three games. Most importantly, the title returned to its 2D roots following the success of Street Fighter IV. Unfortunately, the digital download version is no more.

2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011)

Deus Ex: Human Revolution keeps most of the old gameplay elements
Original release: 23 June 2000
Reboot release: 23 August 2011 ( PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Also available on: Wii U
Best reboot feature: Fantastic mix of FPS and RPG
Get it if you: Expect an excellent story and deep lore
Skip it if you: Seek FPS you can play in small doses

The original Deus Ex was a masterpiece that combined a shooter with a strong story and many RPG elements. You could choose how to augment the main character using skill points, which also heavily modified the gameplay. The main character could either hack his way to the goal or force his way through gunplay, which inspired CyberPunk 2077. The non-linear gameplay even allowed you to kill some major enemies early on, significantly modifying later events.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is both a reboot and prequel, but while the story is new, everything else is based on the original. This means you can play it as a first-person shooter or skip killings using stealth mechanics. Once again, the main character can use augmentations to improve its passive and active skills, continually modifying the gameplay. While the original version is fine, we suggest trying the Director's Cut. It improved boss battles, AI, and graphics.

1. God of War (2018)

God of War reboot saved the franchise
Original release: 22 March 2005 (PS2)
Reboot release: 20 April 2018 (PS4)
Also available on: PC
Best reboot feature: Completely reinvented gameplay
Get it if you: Loved any of the previous GoW games
Skip it if you: Want an actual open-world game

God of War series did wonders for PlayStation 2 when it appeared late in the console's life. It was a brutal action game that was easy to play but challenging. Based on Greek mythology, the story introduced us to the anti-hero Kratos. Furthermore, it featured graphics and presentation that were some of the best on the system. However, after a few good sequels and spinoffs, the series lost its appeal, resulting in an uninspiring God of War: Ascension.

Five years later, the original team was back with another game: a sequel and a reboot. Kratos got a new look and a sidekick, moved to Scandinavia, and now used an ax instead of his trademark double-chained blades. The perspective shifted over the shoulder, giving us a close look at the action. By continuing the saga while reinventing itself, God of War was quickly our top choice for the best reboot. It's hard to imagine it ever getting outdated. If you can, play it on PS5 or PC and a suitable gaming TV to enjoy buttery-smooth 60 fps gameplay.

Before you say that we forgot to include the excellent Resident Evil VII: Biohazard, we should mention that this game is an official sequel. That can also be said about some other games wrongly branded as reboots. Still, while your top ten list might differ from ours, we hope you agree that these are all great games!

What are some of your favorite reboots? What would your top ten video game reboots look like? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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JoshLynn Says:

I think that Killer Instinct reboot has been sitting on my Steam account for like 5-6 by now :/ Too many games to play.

March 17 at 10:44:35 AM

Gods Says:

I loved how Mortal Kombat turned out and saved the franchise. I also enjoyed Hot Pursuit - it's still my favorite NFS, together with the very first game in the series.

August 02 at 08:32:31 AM

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