Release Date: March 5th, 2013
Developer: Crystal Dynamics and Edios Studios – Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360], PlayStation, PC
Rated: M for Mature
Lara Croft is by far one the most popular heroines ever created in the gaming world. It has been over a decade and the sight of Lara has been a fun, crafty experience. However, Crystal Dynamics decided to take gamers back, before the Raider could raid.
This is a revamp of the series and it has been the talk for quite some time, until now. Could the developers really refresh the series, explaining how it all began without torturing Lara’s image?
Tomb Raider is about Lara becoming the explorer she was set out to be. Lara, along with a group of friends are heading towards the Dragon’s Triangle, east of Japan in Yamatai, in search for artifacts buried deep. However Dr. Whitman is more stuck on himself being lead of the expedition and originally refuses to give in with the others agreeing with Lara.
In route, the ship (called the Endurance) is unable to handle the weather and snaps in half. Now with Lara all alone, she’s not just trying to save herself, but her friends as well. From the crew acknowledging her decision, our heroine feels solely responsible for everything as she tries to devise a plan to get herself and friends off the island.
It’s like watching a child grow into their calling as she shifts from a scared young lady to the Tomb raider we all know. Crystal Dynamics perfects the back story of the young Lara Croft. The story is not rushed. Instead, you’re given the opportunity to not only live Lara’s becoming, but to also embrace it.
One could easily look at Tomb Raider and see a resemblance between it and both the Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted series. However, the deeper you dive into the game, the more you’ll see how the title holds on its own. There’s a handful of interactive moments that take place, keeping you on your toes as well as tombs to raid.
When you die, it’s definitely a gruesome death. Most games will show an image of you dying or slipping away. Tomb Raider shows you falling to your death in real time, not missing a moment. For example, wolves attacking you and snapping at your neck, killing your pulse, or rushing down a tidal wave and making the wrong turn, being impaled by the salvage.
Lara earns XP from different task and objectives that will improve your gear. You also earn skill points as a hunter, survivor and brawler. It doesn’t all fall in your hands as you must unlock within tiers master skills that will open Lara to the Tomb Raider that you learned to love over 15 years ago.
With abilities, you slowly begin to earn all of Lara’s weapons beginning with the bow. Believe it or not, as you are in an unfamiliar habitat, the bow and arrow will become your best friend, even after receiving firearms.
Tomb Raider wouldn’t be nearly as upbeat if the game didn’t provide puzzles for Lara to unravel. Expect for there to be different types of tombs for exploration. There’s plenty of short tombs, as well as a few larger scale, similar to the older platform installments. A challenge indeed, all worth it in the end. Also in and outside the tombs, you’ll find maps, documents supporting backstories to different characters, salvage to help modify your weapons and more.
If you’re looking for a bad side in Tomb Raider, there isn’t much to cover other than some minor mechanical glitches and the forgettable multiplayer.
Tomb Raider looks absolutely remarkable. Animations, character models and the environment are very detailed and crisp. As for Camilla Luddington, she sincerely did a phenomenal job on delivering the role of Lara Croft.
When you have molotov’s thrown your way, though painful if hit, the explosion lightens the area with a new beautiful (meant to be dangerous) texture. Realistically, the town becomes engulfed in flames and Lara literally finds herself in a predicament.
Controls are great as Lara’s movements and abilities aren’t rushed. The game allows you to learn new moves, places you in situation that call for the new assist to be performed, then open new doors for repetition.
Tomb Raider was an experience I didn’t want to see come to an end. New life has successfully been breathed into the series. It’s almost a statement that Lara can do anything the guys (Drake, Desmond and Connor) can do!
It’s the Lara Croft we should’ve been introduced to right from the beginning. The investment around launching a prequel and pulling it off, astonishing! With almost 20 hours of gameplay, hidden objectives and replay, don’t allow yourself to be stranded alone in a shanty town. This one’s a keeper!
Overall Rating: 4.5/5