Tomb Raider (2013) Review

Tomb Raider 2013

Hey guys! I just finished Tomb Raider recently and will be giving a spoiler free review of the main story. I’ve played some of the multiplayer, but I feel the main draw for the game is its story. Tomb Raider (not to be confused with the 1996 title that was released by Eidos Interactive and Core Design) was released earlier this year by Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix, which follows the adventures of Lara Croft. For those unfamiliar with Lara Croft, think of her as an action hero like Nathan Drake or Indiana Jones. Fans would probably describe Lara more as a female “Indiana Jones” type character, since she too is an archaeologist.

This game serves as a reboot for the Tomb Raider series that reveals Lara Croft’s origins and builds her character development throughout. By the end of the game, players get to see a full transformation of Lara Croft where she starts off as a timid, innocent woman to a battle-hardened survivor.

Setting

The game is set on Yamatai, an Asian island from which Lara Croft must save her friends and escape, while being hunted by blood-thirsty island inhabitants. It starts with Lara setting out on her first expedition on the ship Endurance, with the intention of finding the lost kingdom of Yamatai. While traveling east of Japan, the ship is hit by a violent storm, leaving the survivors stranded on the island. Lara is separated from her friends and soon is forced to confront groups of the Solarii Brotherhood, a violent cult that worships the late queen and ruler of Yamatai, Himiko. Lara is forced out of her innocent comfort zone and must survive the island to save her friends.

Gameplay

The game is presented in the third-person perspective of Lara Croft that combines action, adventure, and survival elements. The player is able to freely aim his/her weapons and also use multiple weapons for different type of situations. As you progress in the game, you will come across checkpoints known as “camp sites,” where the game will be saved and you will have a chance to upgrade Lara’s skills, weapons, and equipment. The three different skill trees you will be able to upgrade are called “Survivor”, “Hunter”, and “Brawler.” Lara’s weapons will change as the player upgrades them, making them more efficient and deadly as the game goes on. In some areas of the game, the player has the choice of being stealthy or just going all out and shooting enemies.

The game also incorporates quick time events, in order for the player to feel the “rush” of survival and to think quickly. The game also features certain puzzles in the form of tombs to explore and story related instances that the player will have to overcome. Players have the option to just play the main story or play the main story and also explore more of the island and its hidden tombs. I think players definitely get more content and story out of playing both sides of the game since this reveals more of the island’s history and also uncovers some of Lara’s backstory as well.

On top of the main story and tombs, players will also be given sets of challenges to find and unlock in each of the levels they play to complete achievements. I really liked the rebooted story that was presented because it is a more “grounded” version of a Tomb Raider game, rather than the early over-the-top games. Tomb Raider has a whole bunch of content for players to uncover in the main story and also not to mention, a multiplayer mode.

The Presentation

Tomb Raider is run on a modified version of the Crystal Engine, created by Crystal Dynamics. The graphics presented in the game give the environments and the island itself “life” for Lara to combat and adapt from. I think the visuals in the game really do piece the whole rebooted feel together and are great ways to convey a fresh new setting in the Tomb Raider series. The graphics are really nice during gameplay and the cinematic sequences and everything modeled in the game is done with precise detail.

One of the things I like is that if Lara sustains an injury (minor cuts and clothes ripping) during a “guided sequence”, you will see that Lara has these cuts on her body and her clothes tattered as the game goes on. I think some games ignore these details, as well as movies. If something happens to a character, you should still see the result throughout the whole presentation right? For example, John McClane’s shirt is not bloody in the beginning of Die Hard, but when he starts to shoot and fight enemies, you can see “the change” on his clothes throughout the film. Stuff like that.

Score

I enjoyed playing this entry in the Tomb Raider series and think that this game offers a fresh perspective of Lara Croft and what could be coming her way next. I give Tomb Raider a 8.5/10, as it is an exciting, fun, imaginative, and much needed reboot for the Tomb Raider series by Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix. Lara Croft is one of the best female lead characters in fiction. Earlier this month, Square Enix confirmed that a sequel is being developed for next-gen consoles (and hopefully will also arrive on PC). Also, check out Conan O’Brien’s hilarious “Clueless Gamer” review of Tomb Raider below:

The Voters Have Spoken!

Based on what was voted in the poll, the next game I will review for you guys is:

Riptide

Dead Island: Riptide, released earlier this year by Techland and Deep Silver, is the sequel to Dead Island, a first-person action/survival horror game. Some people didn’t care for the game but I have decided to give it a chance and also since you guys voted for it for me to play! Much more will be coming about the game once I have finished it. Until next game.

– John

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