Top 10 Video Game Reboots Better Than the Original Releases

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

Michael Wendom

Michael Wendom

Last updated:  2020-11-13 17:42:58

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 not pay off. Luckily, we had no trouble finding many successful reboots even better than the original games that inspired them. After you check our top 10 video game reboots, you may want to read about the best video game remakes and remasters.

10. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)

Hot Pursuit Reboot is one of the best Need for Speed games

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 wasn't an easy task, but developers Criterion Games made all the right moves.

Using experiences from creating 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 extremely fun while also having an enormous replay value. Combine that with the 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 version 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

When it was 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, after a solid but unspectacular sequel and Nintendo 64 exclusive release Killer Instinct Gold, the series just disappeared!

Its revival in 2013 was a huge surprise, especially since it was previously claimed that Microsoft, as the franchise owner, is not interested in giving it another go. Still exclusive to Microsoft Xbox One and Windows, 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. Developers even included guest stars from Gears of War, Halo, or Rash from Battletoads! Killer Instinct offers fast and unique gameplay with timeless visuals that already made it a classic.

8. Doom (2016)

Doom reboot kept the frantic action of the original

While it was not the first FPS, Doom is one of the most important games in history. What it brought us 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 many 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, the id Software concluded that it was a perfect time to start things fresh. We doubt that 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, Doom reboot returns to its roots, combining incredibly fast gameplay with attractive graphics and lots of gore. That's all we've ever asked!

7. XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown modernized turn-based strategy games

X-COM: Enemy Unknown is a turn-based strategy with RPG elements that had 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 that 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 sort of 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

The original Prince of Persia was so ahead of its time! We were all fascinated with its life-like animation, thanks to the introduction of motion capture. This was also an early parkour experience, since you, as a Prince, had to continually perform death-defying acrobatics. This was a game that 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 also 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.

5. Ninja Gaiden (2004)

Ninja Gaiden is brutally hard, as the original trilogy

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 and well-designed stages and had 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 where 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 very powerful Xbox to its limits. This release was later upgraded to Ninja Gaiden Black, but we suggest playing the ultimate version, Ninja Gaiden Sigma, for PlayStation 3.

4. Tomb Raider (2013)

Rebooted Tomb Raider is nicely balancing exploring and action elements

Tomb Raider was a sensation when introduced for the first PlayStation, Saturn, and PC. It successfully demonstrated the transition of gameplay 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 then 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. What we've got was 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 complicated game than the original, and not only because it was set in an open world environment. The game introduced many RPG elements, and it was more focused 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

After a success of the original 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 underwhelming Mortal Kombat 4. Further sequels didn't do much better, so everyone stopped caring. Not even a crossover with 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 the 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 game returned to its 2D roots, obviously following the success of Street Fighter IV. Unfortunately, digital download version is no more.

2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011)

Deus Ex: Human Revolution keeps most of the old gameplay elements

The original Deus Ex was a masterpiece that combined a shooter with a strong story and lots of 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 served as inspiration for 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 that you can play it as a first-person shooter or entirely skip killings using stealth mechanics. Once again, the main character can use augmentations to improve it's passive and active skills, which continually modifies the gameplay. While the original version is fine, we suggest trying the Director's Cut. It changed boss battles for the better, but also improved AI and the graphics.

1. God of War (2018)

God of War reboot saved the franchise

God of War did wonders for PlayStation 2 when it appeared late in the console's life. It was a brutal action game that was both easy to play but also very challenging. The story, based on Greek mythology, introduced us to the anti-hero Kratos. It featured graphics and the 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, which was a sequel and a reboot. Kratos got a new look, moved to Scandinavia, and now used an ax, instead of his trademark double-chained blades. The perspective was also shifted to over the shoulder, giving us a close look at the action. By continuing the saga while reinventing itself, God of War was easily our top choice for the best reboot. It's hard to imagine it ever getting outdated. If you can, play it on PS5 and the right 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 that are often wrongly branded as reboots. Still, while your top 10 list might be a lot different than ours, we hope you agree that these are all great games!

What are some of your favorite reboots? How would your Top 10 video game reboots look like? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


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