Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics have done an incredible job once again to deliver a very eye catching and action packed game. Tomb Raider is a reboot of the franchise as well as a prequel. To take a change in direction for such a well known franchise is a big step this day and age, take Devil May Cry for example. Although there wasn’t as much controversy over the appearance of the new Lara there was definite talks about the game being a carbon copy of currently existing third person shooter adventure games. In my first my play through, I was able determine that this is most definitely not a carbon copy of any game. Perhaps the borrowing of elements exist (which is pretty common in all games), but Tomb Raider most definitely is a title that stands on it’s own.
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Tomb Raider takes place before all of the daring adventures the previous games took place. Lara Croft is in search of an island in the Pacific Ocean. As Croft and her crew mates are sailing through in their ship called the Endurance, a brutal storm causes the ship to split in two and crash as Lara tries to escape. Lara ends up on an island and is immediately knocked unconscious by a shadowy figure. Lara wakes up tied to a ceiling and this is where our story begins. The plot was set up very well and the story unfolds itself in a way that’s complimentary to the past games; packed full of great moments and adrenaline pumping scenarios.
Tomb Raider comes equipped with smooth, crisp controls that are very easy to get acclimated with. The environment is very detailed when it comes to player interaction, so the games unique cover system is that much more enjoyable. When Lara approaches a wall, or any surface shielding her from enemy fire, she immediately falls into cover. Unlike most games where a button command is necessary for this, she does it automatically and issues of her clinging to walls unwarranted are seldom to nonexistent. This allows for improved mobility in moments where you transferring to a different cover is required.
The modification system is also quite dynamic. As you progress through the game you find five different weapons. A Bow for long range silent kills, pistol, sub-machine gun, shotgun, and rock climbing pick-axe for melee combat. Of course, different situations call for different weapons being used. For example, what if you have a close range situation with multiple enemies? You can pull out your shotgun and go head on against them or go creeping in the darkness using stealth to choke and stab enemies with your pick axe! The gameplay includes many different aspects from the action genre (Uncharted, Gears).
As far as the multiplayer goes, it is fun but it definitely feels like an underdeveloped, last minute, added on component. It’s a little wonky at first as the fluidity that’s found in the single player is nearly absent in the multiplayer side of the title. While I appreciate the way the aiming system and implementation of recoil adds realism and a refreshing learning curve, the guns still feel a little weird. The pistol feels as if its stronger then all of the automatic weapons due to its accuracy. Overall the multiplayer can be fun, but there’s a really offsetting thing about the way it feels compared to the single-player portion.
This game is nothing short of graphical beauty. The visuals are crisp, the animations are sleek and the overall presentation of the game is refined and polished. I found myself revisiting past areas just to recount and observe the vast amount of detail. The hidden collectibles are very well stashed. When you find new areas it seems as though items were strategically placed and not just plopped on the map. For example, towards then end when you find a document that from Alex, you are lead straight to a area where the document almost unfolds in the actual gameplay.
Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics set out to reboot the franchise and bring the series back to its fame and glory. With a captivating story, great character development, and great gameplay, it’s more than safe to say they did. Tomb Raider is a mechanically and graphically amazing game with a great story line that will hopefully lead to a sequel. By taking an iconic character such as Lara Croft and putting her in a rebirth/new beginning situation, I believe they just revived a prolific yet almost forgotten series.
But that’s just my opinion! Make sure you make your voice heard and rate the game. Also feel free to leave feedback in the comments as well!