Video Game Review: Tomb Raider

ImageDeveloper(s): Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, Nixxes Software BV, United Front Games, Feral Interactive

Publisher(s): Square Enix, Feral Interactive

Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Genre(s): 3rd Person Action-Adventure

Game Mode(s): Single Player, Multi-Player

Release Date: March 5, 2013

ESRB Rating:  M – Mature

This was originally written on 10/05/2013, and minor changes have been made to the content and format. My goal is to make this as spoiler free as possible. As a disclaimer, this was my first Lara Croft game. I have since bought the rest of the franchise and will be playing those… one day.

My personal stats:
This is all based on the single player campaign. I have yet to try out the multiplayer aspect. I played the PC version via a game pad.

  • Played = 18 hourstomb raider
  • Completed = 94%
  • Achievements = 25/50 (50%)
  • Skills Upgraded = 24/24 (100%)
  • Gear Upgraded = 35/41 (86%)
  • Relics Found = 42/42 (100%)
  • Documents = 53/54 (98%)

Quick Synopsis:
This is a reboot of the Lara Croft character and the Tomb Raider story line. At the beginning we see Lara Croft as a 21-year old woman on her first big archaeological mission in search for an island in the Dragon’s Triangle (kind of like the America’s Bermuda Triangle) called Yamatai, which is near Japan. Lara was able to convince Sam’s (Samantha), her best friend from college, family the Nishimuras to fund an expedition in search of the kingdom. The Nishimuras family are actually descendants from the people of Yamatai. She and Sam are led by Dr. James Whitman, a celebrity archaeologist. The rest of the crew included Reyes, Jonah, Grim, Alex, and Roth, who was a friend to the late adventurer Mr. Croft.

After being hit by a massive storm, the research vessel becomes part of the myth of a shipwrecked graveyard within the Dragon’s Triangle. The crew is separated, and as Lara, you start your search to reunite them. Through this search, Lara discovers ancient Japanese tombs, rituals, relics, and documents all pointing towards ancient Shogun army, the Storm Guard, which protected their Queen, Himiko. She also finds out that Yamatai is now home to a cult of sadistic ship / aircraft wrecked islanders.

tomb-raider-base campThroughout the game you earn XP and find salvage. XP goes to upgrading your skill sets which are survivor, hunter, and brawler. Salvage goes to upgrading your gear such as the bow & arrow, pistol, rifle, shotgun, and axe. I personally enjoyed the bow & arrow the most and concentrated on upgrading that first.

As you progress, you see Lara change from a timid yet intelligent and resourceful young woman into something more fearless because she was pushed to the limits in order to survive. That being said, the character growth still kept her humanity intact.

There are a lot of close calls and strange happenings, and I do not want to give those twists and turns away, but it really draws you in. The game is definitely left open for a sequel.

“A survivor is born.”

Pros:

Graphics:
1) Cinematic and gameplay graphics are stunning both near and far. You move through different topographies within different climates. It is all seamless and detailed.

Audio:
2) The voice acting from the entire cast was incredible, they did such a good job of drawing you in and connecting with the characters. Sometimes I thought I was watching a TV show or a movie. Big props to Camilla Luddington as she really brought Lara to life.

3) The musical score of the video game really added to the emotions of what you were seeing on screen.

tomb-raider-sneakGame Play:
4) The story was amazing. The writers did an incredible job with twists and turns and tugging on the emotional strings.

5) The combat was fun whether it was with the bow & arrow, pistol, rifle, or shotgun. You had stealth opportunities and gun blazing opportunities. Coming from a love of the Ubisoft games, I always preferred the stealth approach.

6) Not even looking at multiplayer, there is replay-ability with the game. Prior to the final mission, I went back to fast travel camps to look for remaining collectables. (Come to find out, you can do this after the final mission as well.) I played this game on easy, but I can definitely seeing myself later on coming back to this game on a harder difficulty.

Cons:

Ok to be honest, in order to have ‘cons’ I had to be nitpicky. Gamers, these are definitely not deal breakers…

Audio:
1) I wish I could have adjusted Sound FX and Voice Dialog separately.

Game Play:
2) The hidden tomb ‘Hall of Ascension’. Geez I hated that thing…Lara Croft ended up taking a swan dive off the bridge. This was the only time I had to go to You Tube to understand the exact timing. I am not proud, but it is true.

3) Within the combat, sometimes I forgot that you had to use the aiming button in tandem with the firing button. Instinctively sometimes I tried to free shoot, which costs me Lara’s health and sometimes life.

Conclusion:
One of my friends, Fiend, played this before and raved about it. When it went on sale via Steam, FL1P convinced me to buy it and at least play the first mission. With two friends raving about it, I just had to. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Any free time I had, I played it. On a 1 (worse) through 5 (best) scale, I would rate this a 5) Buy Brand New.

moneyBuy this game now!! You will not be disappointed. I am truly excited for the series to come. Typically I do not buy, but a handful of titles, when they first come out; the Tomb Raider titles might be added to that list.

 

Thanks for Playin’!

Works Cited

1) Tomb Raider. October 5, 2013. Web. http://www.tombraider.com/

2) Wikipedia. October 5, 2013. Web. http://www.wikipedia.org/

Images

1) Amazon. October 5, 2013. Web. http://www.amazon.com

2) Tomb Raider. October 5, 2013. Web. http://www.tombraider.com/

3) Crystal Dynamics. October 5, 2013. Web. http://www.crystald.com/

4) Tomb Raider. October 5, 2013. Web. http://www.tombraider.com/

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