Rock climbing, adventuring, ancient relics, and spelunking are all things that sound like tons of fun, in the right circumstance. Now, add that to insane islanders, guns and violence, and a fight to survive, and you have yourself a video game. Lara Croft is back and better than ever as the lead character to Tomb Raider. Much like Life of Pi, Lara is headed to find an ancient treasure on a large ship that becomes ship wrecked after a sudden storm fills the sky with black clouds and rains terror down on the crew. Now it’s up to her and other survivors to discover the supernatural forces that are keeping them from leaving the island.
Graphics in games continue to get better as we venture further into the life of the current console generation. Tomb Raider is no exception. The character design and environmental work shine with realistic movements and lush vegetation. The creation of the island was intricate with the slightly contained, open world feel filled with ledges to climb and tombs to explore.
The gameplay feels a lot like Uncharted if you mix in a little Far Cry 3. It has similar but slightly more realistic climbing elements. Lara finds and improves weapons along the way. The gameplay achievement of Tomb Raider is its upgrade and customization system. It allows you to customize Lara to the way to like to play, whether it’s going in quiet and killing with silent takedowns, or its taking the AK 47 and going in guns blazing. The weapon you will gravitate toward is the bow and wow is it fun. The bow mechanics are the best I have played in a video game and later on when you can strap napalm to an arrow, it will not disappoint. Along with the bow, the takedowns in close range combat are also satisfying. When Lara rushes in with a rock, and later an arrow, to finish off a pursuer, you can just about feel the punch. Let’s remember now that these men that Lara are attacking are trying to kidnap and kill her and her mates. It’s not like Grand Theft Auto. These are not innocent people.
The story in the Tomb Raider game is just about the same as most of the Uncharted series. There is a secret force keeping Lara from leaving the island, and she must use her wits and the help of others to figure out the problem. There are bad guys, good guys, and good guys that go bad. It’s not very inventive or original but it doesn’t lack adventure and action. It’s the constant movement and terror that keeps you enthralled. The voice acting of Lara’s character is great and at some points heart breaking. There are only a couple of issues to the game that are quite glaring. As you get later into the story, the game starts to reuse environments that you have already experienced. Yes, it is good to have a sense of where you are as the game difficulty gets harder, but it starts to lack the discovery factor that goes into an adventure/spelunking Tomb Raider game.
Overall, as a series that has been suffering of needing a reboot, Lara Croft and Tomb Raider got a serious uplift. Developer, Crystal Dynamics, took a dead series and revamped it to contend with award winning games like Uncharted and the other best ofs. It’s a game that someone could watch as you play and wouldn’t get bored. It’s cinematic and exciting and that’s what makes Tomb Raider a huge surprise and easily a must buy.
Article by Tyler Comstock