Now I know I said my new review would be Destiny but it’s going to take longer than usual because I am breaking down the game bit by bit and explaining everything in detail so in the meantime please have a review for Tomb Raider 2013 in it’s place but first I am going to tell you guys a story because it involves this game.
I absolutely could not stand the Tomb Raider franchise before this game, now keep in mind that I did play a few with some of them being Tomb Raider 1, Tomb Raider 2, Tomb Raider 3 and Tomb Raider Legend so it’s not like I am talking out my rear about the series but anyway I never could get into them properly the way I wanted to and believe me I wanted to but I just couldn’t, the stiff and rather clunky platforming was a huge pain in the ass for me so I just gave up however while I am not a fan of the original games I am a fan of this one.
Tomb Raider is a complete reboot of the classic franchise developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix released on March 5th 2013 for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 with updated versions called Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One containing all features and DLC along with updated everything that got released in North America on January 28th 2014 and in Europe on January 31st 2014.
As seen in the trailer above this reboot is a complete restart for the series and becomes a tale of survival unlike previous Tomb Raider titles with Lara setting out on her very first expedition on the ship Endurance with it’s crew with the intention of finding the lost kingdom of Yamatai, a mythical lost kingdom once ruled by a Japanese queen named Himiko however things do not go smoothly and Lara and her fellow crew members find themselves shipwrecked on the island after a unexplained storm and captured by a cult and Lara has to become more to survive, find her friends and get off the island while trying to figure out what is going on.
This rebooted version of Lara is younger, she isnt the pistol wielding badass that we all used know that used to fight dinos while doing backflips, she starts out fragile, vulnerable and uncomfortable, she doubts herself and what she is capable of such as killing and I think that is why the game is great, it shows given the situration a normal person can do the impossible when its a matter of survival and honestly it made me empathize with her which I could never do with the original Lara Croft because she barely had any faults but this new Lara has quite a few.
A famous explorer once said, that the extraordinary is in what we do, not who we are. … In our darkest moments, when life flashes before us, we find something; Something that keeps us going…. – Lara Croft
Tomb Raider is presented in third-person perspective like all the others because if it isn’t broke don’t fix it and it serves the game very well in many ways, such as combat, puzzle solving and so on and just so you know there is more of a emphasis on combat in this game than raiding tombs and solving puzzles like previous games which annoyed some people but hey you are shipwrecked on a lost island with a deranged cult after you and your friends so it’s not like Lara has much of a choice in that regard.
Tomb Raider is a lot like Uncharted gameplay wise and honestly the change works, the game also borrows quite a few elements from RPGS like the upgrade system and experience points with a few other things thrown in here like QTE events in some places and so on but let me cover the RPG like mechanics now.
Lara can explore the island in a number of ways such as using paths, ziplines and climbable areas which is a good thing because you will be running all over the place doing missions, completing challenges and hunting for elusive collectibles that are in often high up, hard to reach places and Lara often has to come back to previous areas once she has a certain tool or item like rope arrows to make a zip line or pull open doors for example to get a collectible.
Another element borrowed from RPGS is the upgrade system and there is two systems, one for Lara and one for her gear which she acquires throughout the game and the upgrades are really important because they make Lara a tougher adventurer and a bigger threat to things on the island and I will start explaining those with the Skills section as seen in the image above.
Lara’s 24 unlockable skills are divided into three trees: Survivor, Hunter and Brawler and they have various upgrades in them that do various things, for example in the Survivor tree (above) there are upgrades that let Lara find more salvage when hunting or opening various containers, another one will let her climb faster while in the Brawler tree (shown by the knife symbol in the above image) is mostly combat related skills.
In that tree Lara has skills that make her a deadly foe to enemies on the island, one skill called “Axe Strikes” give Lara the ability to deliver two swift but brutal strikes to enemies with her climbing axe to stun them, while another skill in that tree called “Dodge Counter” gives her the ability to dodge an enemy, stab said enemy in the knee with an arrow to cripple them and leave them vulnerable to a killing blow.
While the final skill tree “Hunter” has skills like “Ammo Capacity” that lets Lara carry more ammo and “Accomplished Killer” that gives Lara a slight XP bonus whenever she uses special moves like headshots, stealth kills and finishers to eliminate enemies and there are plenty of other skills that will turn Lara from a rather fragile young woman into a hardened survivor.
Lara starts the game without any weapons and as she explores the island she gradually builds up quite a selection of weapons like a Bow, Pistol, Assault Rifle and Shotgun and all of these can be upgraded to become stronger in a few ways, once you have found each weapon, there are several ways to upgrade it: Lara can find a better version of the same weapon as the story progresses.
You can discover various weapon parts and combine them to upgrade said weapon and you can upgrade certain features of a weapon via Salvage, which you earn by hunting, looting enemies and busting open every container you can see, most weapon parts appear in random salvage crates or on dead enemies within a certain area, for example the makeshift bow you get early on in the game has four upgrade levels and once you find the required number of parts (in this case two for the Recurve Bow) you unlock stronger upgrades for said weapon.
Some upgrades you unlock naturally by progressing through the game, like rope arrows to create zip lines or fire arrows to burn enemies and burn flammable things like nets that have containers, other upgrades improve weapons in small ways, for example the handgun has various upgrades like a “Burst Fire Mode” which is a three round burst, “Extended Mags” which increase magazine size and “Muzzle Break” which increases damage.
Each upgrade costs Salvage and they don’t really cost much, some are 200 Salvage while others are 400 and you have a good chance of buying most of the upgrades early if you raid every container you come across, loot enemies after a fight and hunt animals like wolves, if anything the weapons parts are a bigger pain in the ass to find because some are only in certain areas like the “Mountain Temple” on your second visit and even then you have to find it in the many containers in the area but moving on.
Moving on from the upgrade systems and on to actual gameplay, this Tomb Raider is a lot more combat focused as I said earlier but there are still puzzles and they are actually pretty good even though they aren’t as hard as they were in previous games and one way they are made easier is with a special skill Lara has called “Survival Instinct”.
Lara’s instinct mode when activated highlights clues and interactive elements in the game world which makes solving puzzles, completing challenges and finding collectibles easier and while some people complained about this feature I personally think it’s a great addition because I completely and utterly SUCK at puzzles.
Quick Time Events are trown in at points through the game often appearing at important or fast-moving points in the game’s plot, one of my favourites is what some called the “attempted rape” scene where one of the bad guys is touching Lara up and then the QTE kicks in where you fight him off resulting in Lara’s very first kill.
Moving on from mechanics Tomb Raider is a great looking game even on my characters and cutscenes are really good quality even on my ancient 360 so no major problems there and it’s even greater looking game on the Xbox One in the Definitive Edition so thank you next gen for all the extra polygons that make Lara like 100 times hotter than before.
Sound is also good and the voice acting is equally amazing, Lara is now voiced by Camilla Luddington and she does a really good job at least in my opinion at giving this new younger Lara a strong but equally layered voice shows her emotions throughout the game, some people weren’t a fan of her new voice actor but hey you can’t get EVERYTHING right the first time.
Now the Tomb Raider story mode isn’t too easy or too hard and it easily clocks in at a decent 12 or 15 hours depending on your play style, I took it slow so I could collect and hunt everything mainly because I am a completionist and proud of it and believe me if you think this game is short try hunting for every collectable and hunting every animal to near extinction because that takes a while.
In the single player story there are tons of collectables for those avid treasure seekers and it encourages 100% exploration of an area to fully collect everything and that will make sure you use all of Lara’s equipment and skills to do so, the game has three difficulty levels.
Personally I haven’t tried the Tomb Raider multiplayer mainly because of not being a fan of team games due to people not being team players but it seems like a great addition to the game even though people were saying they didn’t want it but it’s a good addition for some extra content, the modes are Team Deathmatch, Private Rescue and Cry for Help.
The first mode is a simple PvP mode with teams pitted against each other, and the winning team being the one to kill the opposing team in three separate matches, in the second mode, the “survivors” team must take medical supplies to a specific point on the map, while the “scavengers” must reach a certain number of kills, both within a ten-minute time limit and the third and final mode, Cry for Help, involves the “survivors” exploring the maps and retrieving batteries for defended radio beacons while being hunted by the “scavengers”.
Long story short, Tomb Raider is a solid title that more than deserves any gamer’s money because it is a great reboot that was very much needed to the franchise and is just a geniune good game all round in every department, it is easy enough to bring in new fans and it has more than enough to keep the long time fans happy and with the most recent title Rise of The Tomb Raider out on Xbox One, Lara Croft is back and better shape than ever so if you can, pick up the Definitive Edition on Xbox One because you won’t be disappointed since it has upgraded everything and all the DLC.
So that’s it from me really, I do plan on reviewing Rise of The Tomb Raider when I get a Xbox One along with half a dozen other games when I buy them like Overwatch and Doom and etc so I am really loking forward to giving those a go in a month or two but anyway if you like this post then please like it, comment down below and share with the hashtag #SlayerNation so other people can read it.