TA Top Five: Franchises That Need Rebooted

By Jonathan Barnes,
Two years ago, the gaming world went collectively gaga over Crystal Dynamics' gritty reboot of their iconic series, Tomb Raider Achievements. They took a franchise that caught the attention of players with T&A and refocused it into a more realistic adventure with rock-solid mechanics, a great story, and a more proportional protagonist. Our community loved it (currently sitting at a 4.6), critics at large loved it, and it has spawned a new-gen re-release as well as an exclusive sequel for the Xbox One.

While Tomb Raider wasn't the first game to be rebooted, it most certainly won't be the last either. In this week's TA Top Five, we took a suggestion from community member, LJParnell and are examining some franchises that could do with a reset.

Honorable Mentions

Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter

Watch out, everyone, I'M BREAKING A RULE! We usually stick to games that have appeared on Xbox platforms for these lists, but I can't write this list in good faith and not put X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter on here. If you're anything like me, and who's to say you're not, your teenage years were dominated by trying to figure out dating, hiding things from your parents, doing just enough in school to get by, and spending every other hour dog fighting in either a TIE Interceptor, TIE Advanced, X-Wing, or A-Wing (I'd even accept the B-Wing but Y-Wings were like flying an Astrovan). This franchise has been dormant for far too long (although it is available again) and deserves a full console reboot. Heck, I'd even be willing to shell out some serious cashola on a sweet flight stick just to play it properly.

1 vs 100 Achievements

Like a comet streaking through the night sky, 1 vs 100 came and went all too fast. The Xbox LIVE community showed voracious support for the trivia sensation and many gamers (myself included) want to see it back. With the (modest) success of games like Fibbage Achievements, the possibility of playing games like 1 vs 100 with a smartphone makes the appeal of this reboot idea even more sexy.

Top Five

5. Dino Crisis

When bandying about titles around the Red Bull cooler in the Newshound Secret Volcano Lair, one game popped up more than once with a few hounds, Dino Crisis. I'm going to turn it over to Joshua for a case.

Very few games have captured what it feels like to be completely terrified by dinosaurs. Dino Crisis is one such instance, at least in my experience. I'll never forget walking down that hallway and the Velociraptor smashing through the window and scaring the life out of me. Of course, I was a lot younger then, but it left a lasting impression. Dinosaurs are hard to portray in video games because we think of them as these unstoppable giants, which they pretty much are. Capcom did it right. They made them scary and made you feel helpless. Whether they give it the HD gloss over or completely reboot the franchise, either way is fine with me.
4. Rock Band

This list is nothing if not timely. With Harmonix having recently released new DLC for their franchise AND a survey asking about what players would want from a new Rock Band, there appears to be enough smoke to think that a new version of the game is on the way for new consoles. While this may be the loosest interpretation of the "reboot", a new version on new consoles would be most welcome and could encourage players to dig out their plastic instruments... or buy newer, shinier ones.

3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Yeah, I'm a Star Wars fan... what? Wanna fight about it?

All joking aside, BioWare knew that they had a smash hit with KOTOR and took that success and went and made their own franchise to rival it: Mass Effect. But, much like Michael Corleone, just when they thought they were out EA and Lucas Arts pulled them right back in to make Star Wars: The Old Republic... for PCs... as an MMO... that is doing OK, but is by no means a mega-hit. What I and millions of others want, is a proper KOTOR on consoles. It could be a reboot, a sequel, or a spinoff, but that gameplay and universe were so great to adventure through that it's a shame (only rivaled by the existence of Jar-Jar) that we don't have more at our disposal.

2. Dead Space

Until Alien: Isolation Achievements made its triumphant debut this year, Dead Space (Xbox 360) Achievements was the closest thing we got to that "haunted house in space" vibe that made the Nostromo so famous. As Alien was to Dead Space so to is Aliens to Achievements. The sequel upped the firepower, upped the necromorphs, upped the action, and although Visceral may have dialed back the survival-horror a bit, they ended up making a more approachable game that felt like the right balance of action, narrative, and horror. Then there was Achievements ... even the biggest fan can admit that the ending went off the rails a little bit.

The tale of Isaac Clarke might be over, but I would be all over a next gen reboot that saw a new protagonist in a scenario like the first (or even second) game. And if they managed to retcon the ending to Dead Space 3, it's all the better.

1. Fable
Top Five

As much as it pains me to say it, (one of) the franchises (right up there with KOTOR) that made me fall in love with the Xbox is getting worse, not better. From (over-hyped) beginnings to modest results, the Fable franchise was launched with humor, duality, and a vibrant atmosphere. With each passing iteration, the world gets larger, the bugs get bigger, and the franchise seems to lose focus on what made it great: one hero, the land of Albion, karmic choices, and chaotic fun. While the jury hasn't even been summoned to weigh in on Fable Legends yet, the pre-launch buildup leads me to believe that Lionhead is moving further away from what made the franchise great rather than closer to it.

The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five every Sunday until we run out of coolness to debate and discuss. If you have an idea for a Top Five you'd like us to do, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.
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