best tomb raider games

The Top 5 Tomb Raider Games in The Franchise Ever Made

Tomb Raider is a renowned and iconic action-adventure video game franchise that has captivated gamers worldwide since its inception back in 1996, and since then the franchise has undergone various changes to the genre and game design, from brutal levels filled with traps and secrets, to fast paced action shooters and modern story based adventure games.

The fanbase may be torn between the classic and newer iterations of the beloved character, but it’s fair to say that the franchise boasts some excellent games from all of it’s eras and here is a list of our favourite adventures.

Tomb Raider (2013)

Reboots for any franchise are always going to be controversial and Tomb Raider is one of those franchises that has completely reinvented the protagonist from a solitary force to be reckoned with who only plays for sport to character in the making learning the ropes of her craft, even omitting her beloved iconic dual pistols and acrobatic finesse.

While the modern reboot of Tomb Raider is a major departure from the original character, the 2013 reboot is an excellent videogame, drawing inspirations from the similar action-platform series Uncharted. With difficulty oriented around combat rather than the level design, Tomb Raider is more linear than its predecessors, but boasts an excellent variety of optional tombs for Lara to conquer alongside an action experience that is a thrill to experience.

This game has Lara stranded on an island fighting for her survival as she becomes more confident and adapting to the perils of the island, and it’s a memorable action game that is definitely worth a spot on the list.

Tomb Raider Legend (2006)

best tomb raider games

Speaking of reboots, Legend was the first time the Tomb Raider franchise successfully received a significant overhaul and this was an excellent propulsion of Lara’s character back into the gaming space after largely feeling absent in the early PS2 era with the exception of Angel of Darkness.

While this is a very short and linear game without the sprawling levels from previous titles, it makes up for it with the refreshed combat, acrobatic movement, traversal and improved cinematic quality.

Legend unifies a version of Lara that borrows heavily from the style of classic Tomb Raider with a revamped approach to gameplay more suitable for the 3D capabilities of the newer consoles.

Legends remains a standout Tomb Raider experience and is the best Tomb Raider experience of the generation it released in, it’s definitely also worth checking out Tomb Raider Underworld.

Rise of The Tomb Raider (2016)

best tomb raider games rise of tomb raider

Building on what made the 2013 reboot successful, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a direct evolution of reboot Lara and this adventure is the best of the modern trilogy due to its meaningful narrative and adventure components, stunning art design and puzzle implementation.

The introduction of the wire spool is a significant improvement over it’s predecessor, shifting Lara ever so slightly back to being the acrobatic action hero she was revered to be and capitalizing on the element of traversal that made other predecessors in the franchise desirable.

Where Rise of the Tomb Raider really shines is the challenge tombs, which although sparse offer meaningful side-challenges for the player utilizing Lara’s new tools.

While originally launching as a timed exclusive on a platform that didn’t necessarily have much history with the franchise, the best modern Tomb Raider experience can be enjoyed worry-free on all platforms.

Tomb Raider The Last Revelation (1999)

The Last Revelation is a brutal experience, much unlike the newer games in the franchise which have a warmer reception for newcomers.

It is an unrelentingly punishing pilgrimage through Egypt that expects the player to be more than well-versed in complex puzzle solving and challenging level design with little hints and some really obscure solutions designed to invoke ire.

It’s only for fans that have conquered Lara’s previous adventures.

This game isn’t for Lara Croft, its for the Tomb Raider, and as expected, it’s the most challenging game in franchise alongside Tomb Raider III.

It’s the final adventure of Lara Croft on the PlayStation 1 and for those that love the challenge aspect of Tomb Raider, this is the place to go.

It’s also an excellent game that brings Lara back to Egypt, one of the places where the adventure started, and combines all of the lessons taught to the player over the course of the franchise into one main dish.

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered (2024)

tomb raider remastered

While the latest of Lara’s adventures have outdone themselves with excellent tombs, the Tomb Raider element has been largely missing from the equation in recent history, leaving a void behind where Lara used to hold the reigns.

The original Tomb Raider from 1996 is one of the most significant 3D platforming games in history, pairing themes of isolation and horror with adventure. Tomb Raider II, released in 1997 is one of the best 3D platformer games from the 1990s, sparring with the likes of Spyro 2, Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64.

Revolutionary for its time, Lara became the face of the gaming industry and the leading lady of action adventure games with a remarkable presence in pop culture.

Tomb Raider 3 from 1998 is a sprawling and brutal continuation with tough and sometimes inflaming traps – maybe a bit too often in some sections of the game – but nonetheless paired with what can be celebrated as an excellent degree of player agency in tackling the various levels, even with choices in regards to what order the game is played.

It goes without saying that ranking the classic games that made Lara an icon in the first place is going to be somewhat controversial, they are challenging games and many may find the older controls unforgiving and the need to overcome the tough levels without modern handholding a bit exhausting, but with the whole trilogy remastered on all platforms, and all three of these games featuring in one package with all of the expansion levels and with a repertoire of quirks and quality of life improvements, this is the definitive Tomb Raider trilogy and it is absolutely the best way to experience Lara’s early adventures.

We love the ability to switch back and forth between the retro and HD art styles at the click of a button, the ability to choose between modern or tank controls completely transforms the gameplay and the addition of a NG+ challenge mode is icing on the cake for older veterans who want more of a challenge. The remaster is a love letter to older fans of the franchise and an opportunity for newer fans to experience the magic. You really can’t get a better Tomb Raider experience than this amalgamation of Lara Croft’s classic and most beloved adventures.

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