The best “Tomb Raider” yet

Lara+Croft+fixes+her+wounds%2C+just+like+%22Tomb+Raider%22+fixes+the+franchise%27s
Back to Article
Back to Article

The best “Tomb Raider” yet

Lara Croft fixes her wounds, just like

Lara Croft fixes her wounds, just like "Tomb Raider" fixes the franchise's

Eidos

Lara Croft fixes her wounds, just like "Tomb Raider" fixes the franchise's

Eidos

Eidos

Lara Croft fixes her wounds, just like "Tomb Raider" fixes the franchise's

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






I am so very happy. “Tomb Raider” is good. Really good. Considering the last two things that I have reviewed, it is kind of relief. Add to that I am basically one of the biggest cynics when it comes to reboots in any form. Then when I tell you that the “Tomb Raider” franchise was overdue for a reboot, that should make you perk up and take notice.

I have been playing “Tomb Raider” since the beginning, as one of the very first games that I bought for my shiny new Playstation One, was “Tomb Raider.” But the passage of time has not been kind to the franchise, and Lara Croft has suffered a plethora of crappy games.

A lot of poor management behind the scenes, coupled with bad game design, and weak writing, left one of the big ladies of gaming buried under a mountain of broken dreams and crushed expectations. But our heroine has clawed her way out of that dark place, pickaxe in hand, under the guidance of Crystal Dynamics. Bravo to the team, I must say.

The story to this reboot-prequel thing is simple enough in its presentation, yet not so uninspired as to be boring. The idea is simple enough, Lara Croft is a plucky, young rich girl, fresh from graduating from university in archeology, and is on an expedition to find the fabled Japanese island of Yamatai (basically a lost island in the same vein as Atlantis), only to shipwreck upon the island due to a freak storm’s forcing the boat down.

On this mysterious place though, she finds not only the ruins of a Japanese society that worshiped a female leader as a Sun Queen, but a host of deranged survivors from other shipwrecks that have also come to worship the Sun Queen, and want to make sacrifices in her name.

After surviving the wreck, young Lara Croft must overcome not only the natural dangers of Yamatai, but survive the zealous insanity of the ragtag survivors already on the island. Simple, yet effective. And I’m not going to lie: this game sees the Hell beaten out of Lara. This game will emotionally and physically batter her. But that is sort of the point, as this island serves as the crucible that will take this soft-natured rich girl, and turn her into the smug, hardened badass that we all love from her original games.

Despite that the controls are completely different from all the previous games in the franchise, “Tomb Raider” has very intuitive and simple controls. Shooting is the same shoulder button that it always is for third-person action-platforms, and most other actions have simple one-button commands. This will usually consist of running, jumping, and scrambling up rock faces and other natural obstacles.

There is also a large number of quick-time events, and it seems that the game has borrowed heavily from the Uncharted franchise as its inspiration. But since that franchise is essentially “Tomb Raider,” I think we can forgive a bit of taking the other way around. Personally, despite Lara iconicly being a two-pistol kind of girl, I found myself drawn (pun intended) to the bow in this game.

It was silent, which complemented my stealthy play style this time around, was powerful enough to kill most enemies with headshots, and had recoverable ammo. Oh, did I mention this game makes you work for all of your resources? Because it does. It is quite punishing at times. But one of the taglines for the game is “A survivor is born,” so if you aren’t expecting a little difficulty with this one, you are in for a wake up call.

Visually, the game looks fantastic. Character models are rich and varied, even among the nameless mooks that make up the majority of your enemies. Character models look distinctive without being comic or highly stylized. And everyone has a great amount of grit and damage on their models, which in Lara’s case only continue to accumulate over time.

The environments are flat-out gorgeous, and despite some of the extremely varied architecture on this supposed lost island (ancient Japanese temples right next to secret Nazi observation posts? Sure, why not), everything feels very unified, and like it’s part of the same location.
The sound design was also very strong in this game, with impacts and other indicators of injury making sufficiently cringe-worthy sounds. The musical score in this game was a curious mixture of unobtrusive and epic. That was a very odd tightrope to be sure, but all the more inviting because of it.

Lara Croft is a “Tomb Raider.” The very best of them, in point of fact. But it’s nice to see her origin story, and see where our badass Brit started off. I mean, it’s not like there is an Indiana University out there or anything. I highly, HIGHLY recommend for both fans of the series and casual fans alike to own this game. I am sure everyone will have fun with this one. In my case however, I may need a bit of a break before I try again, because the story, once revealed, might hurt my enjoyment of some tense mysteries. Not a big deal though. Enjoy mates!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email