The original Tomb Raider came out back in 1996 on the PC, Playstation and Sega Saturn and introduced us to a female heroine named Lara Croft. Lara was known for her adventures, her strength, and to many young men, her looks. But please don’t let her looks fool you, Lara is a hardcore English archaeologist.
The Tomb Raider series, which has been been a part of comics, games, and movies, has spawned 8 games and has gained the title of one of the best selling video game franchises of all time. And now in 2013, the Tomb Raider series has gotten a reboot with the latest entry to the franchise. This entry is a totally fresh re-telling of Lara Croft as she goes from a young, innocent junior archaeologist to the hardened tomb raider she becomes later.
Both Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix has teamed up to bring a brand new Tomb Raider that both fans and new comers will, I repeat, will enjoy! Here is the story and Lara’s bio straight from the game’s homepage:
A Survivor is Born
Tomb Raider explores the intense and gritty origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a young woman to a hardened survivor. Armed only with raw instincts and the ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, Lara must fight to unravel the dark history of a forgotten island to escape its relentless hold.
Age: 21 Nationality: British Appearance: 5’4” Brown Hair and Eyes Background Info:
At the beginning of the story, we experience Lara embarking on her first job after graduating from University. She shows fear in the face of danger, initially lacking confidence in her own abilities and judgment. Still, we can see the seeds of what Lara will eventually become. She possesses a powerful sense of moral courage. She is clever, resourceful and determined.
Okay, let’s get started with this review.
The first thing that will catch your attention is the cinematics of Tomb Raider. The Hollywood like presentation makes it almost seem as if you are watching a movie then it turns into an interactive event. Tomb Raider does a great job at turning up the action dial gradually through out the entire campaign.I don’t think there was ever a time when I was like, man, *yawn*. At the beginning, you briefly get introduced to the crew and people of the ship the Endurance and while I do wish that they would have fleshed out the characters a little more, this is just a very minute wish that is soon looked over.
You start your adventure, shipwrecked and separated from your crew and soon find yourself captured by some very unfriendly people. Which is where one of the controversies of the rebooted Tomb Raider. During this capture, Lara, while captured and tied up, is “assaulted” in an almost attempted rape scenario. Many people thought that this was a little too much for the young Lara Croft. I however, thought it was just enough. It helped me to see and believe the transformation of the Lara Croft of old.
The game is spread high and low over an island and is laced with camps, which once found, you can fast travel between, various challenges, “hidden” tombs, relics, documents, and other findable items, which are all wonderful for the explorer types. If you are tired of exploring and want to take a break, you can always go hunting for deer, rabbits, or birds when the opportunity arises. Another fulfilling aspect of this new Tomb Raider is the weapon upgrading. At first, you start out with just a plain bow, but by the end of the game, you have an arsenal to deal with an army. And you are going to need it. Along the way, you are able to find salvage parts which are then redeemed for weapon upgrades. Also, by finding rare items and dealing with the enemies you come across, you gain experience points. Those experience points can be used to upgrade one attribute within three skills, Survivor, Hunter, or Brawler. Simply assign the point to one of this areas. It’s all about how you want to play.
Tomb Raider also uses a fair number of life or death quick time events. Now, I have had a love hate relationship with quick time events, which I am sure many of you do also. I have played games where basically the entire game was a quick time event and it just wasn’t much fun. Then there is Tomb Raider which I feel did a fantastic job of not leaning and depending entirely on quick time events to push the action. Instead, the quick time events serve as frosting over the already well paced action story.
Tomb Raider isn’t all roses however. I really wished that Crystal Dynamics, which as I can see have done a great job with this reboot, would have fleshed out the rest of the ship crew of the Endurance. I wanted to care more about them. I wanted to know more of their back story. Well, I was fortunate enough to have receive the Tomb Raider, The Beginning, hard cover 48 page comic book by Dark Horse with my copy of Tomb Raider. In it, it gave a small background story of the crew. But that’s me. Also, while at times, the action and challenge was ramped up in the campaign, I found the tomb raiding, ha see what I did there, to be way easy. Maybe the first “hidden” tomb was like, okay what do I need to do here? But once you kind of know what to expect from the “hidden” tombs, man it was a cake walk. One “hidden” tomb, I kid you not, on the first go took me less than a minute. When it happened, I was like, wait…what…that was it?
Side Note: What’s the deal with “hidden” tombs thing? Well, I say “hidden” because they really aren’t that hidden. For a tomb to be hidden, you can’t have blatant drawings of tombs almost every where. I mean you might have just have had blinking marquees and a loud speakers blasting saying “TOMB RIGHT HERE!”
To some it all up, this reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise is shaping up to be a great new beginning. Seeing Lara from this beginning, I really do believe will really cause us to have a connection with her. Crystal Dynamics have done a great job. The pacing is spot on. To the point that when you get to the end, it’s a sigh of relief. Better yet, if you are a “completionist”, you will want to go back and clean up your completion percentage for the campaign. Tomb Raider was a great adventure, a journey of highs and lows and I for one enjoyed every bit of it.
Full disclosure, I haven’t touched the multiplayer yet. Maybe I’ll do an update which will include my impressions of the multiplayer.
We give, Tomb Raider, easily
GO GET IT!