Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics /Square-Enix)
Systems: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC Release Date: March 5th, 2013
ESRB: M for Mature
Tomb Raider has always been a staple Action adventure franchise filled to the brim with danger and excitement; and this outing is no exception. Being labeled a reboot of the popular tomb delving franchise. Tomb Raider sets itself apart from its predecessors in one major way: Human Emotion.
Following the yet to be “Tomb Raider” Lara croft on her first true expedition. Tomb Raider picks up immediately after a horrific accident that finds Lara and the remainder of her expedition stranded on a mythical Japanese island. quickly separated Lara finds herself captured by an unseen maniac and strung up to the ceiling. using her wits and some fast reactions on the part of the player through a dozen quick time events you escape the death cave only to be confronted with the realization that you might actually be in real danger this time around.
Going back to an early comment, human emotion plays a much bigger role this time around. Lara is not a super woman, nor is she hardened by years of adventure and tomb raiding. instead you are confronted with a young woman who is being forced to face survival or death. and you will die, possibly a lot. not uncommon to the franchise Lara is crushed, burned, shot, impaled, and drowned all in excruciating detail. you can really tell that the development team really put a lot of time into making Lara’s vulnerability real, in her every whimper and stumble your with her from beginning to end as the tag line of the game says “A survivor is born”
as far as combat and traversing your environment goes; expect the typical “uncharted” fair. your going to hang from ledges, run across crumbling structures, and duck behind cover while shooting your enemy’s between the eyes. what it improves on is the impact of your weapons and the non-obtrusive cinematic camera. unlike the heavy use of cinematic moments in uncharted 3, Tomb Raider manages to find a sweet spot between game-play and just the right angle for certain shots/actions to look and feel like a film without taking you out of your actions. to put it another way many of the fights feel less scripted and more fluid and dynamic. interesting considering that uncharted evolved on the original tomb raider gameplay to have it come full circle here with Tomb Raider’s revival.
What this game did it did well. the characters are interesting, the tombs that are sprinkled throughout are a good distraction, and the presentation is fantastic. BUT there is trouble in paradise. at times the Tombs ( a side mission type deal that gives you a puzzle room to explore and solve) were presented at inopportune times that took me out of the dire situations presented to solve a puzzle and get treasure.
Another aspect of the title I felt needed work was the gear and “survival” aspects while on one side you had evolving equipment I found myself only using one or two weapons continuously and you have quite a few at your disposal making the progression feel like an artificial way to lengthen a play-through. the survival tech trees seemed interesting at first but just didn’t end up delivering the experience I was looking for as far as depth, tying this in with the lackluster need to hunt (something that is emphasis in the beginning but not given a mechanic, a semi dropped idea?) I’d like to see a more metal gear solid: snake eater approach in the next game to patching and feeding Lara in the wild.
Over all this outing with the budding Tomb Raider left me wanting more from the new survivor. I felt a strong connection to her and hope that any more titles in this franchise follow the strong writing and character development presented in this title kupo!
[ + ] Story: A fantastic story the follows Lara on her first adventure as “the tomb raider” excellent characters and situations make this a cinematic experience to rival if not best the Uncharted Franchise
[+] Graphics: the game is gorgeous, at times tho there just seems to be an endless supply of shanty towns and rusty metal. I hope Lara went to get a few good shots unless she wants to lose a leg.
[+/- ] Gameplay: Fun and solid along the lines of Uncharted. the lackluster mechanics that could have used more fleshing out would have given this a solid point.
[+] Replayablity: there is plenty of collectables and challenges as well as tombs to raid. I completed the game with a 65% in one 8 hour play through so If that is anything to go on you might walk away with a 16-20 hour experience in single player, oh did I add that there is a multiplayer? sadly is not really all that good and feels tacked on.
[ + ] Opinion: An amazing and unmatched experience in the adventure/platforming genre as of now. if you were a fan of Lara Croft before make sure to join her for this adventure. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
I rate Tomb Raider a solid 4 1/2 Kupo!