Tomb Raider Review
This year has been pretty amazing so far, and been filled with quite the number of video game reboots. DMC Devil May Cry and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance come to mind. But, there is another reboot hot on the heels of these two, Tomb Raider. Lara Croft is back, but this time she is naïve, uneducated in being an adventurer and looks like a real person! We have had the pleasure of taking Tomb Raider for a spin, and here is what we thought!
I am going to be honest, I have never actually touched a Tomb Raider title before now, so I came into the story and adventuring as much as the Lara Croft that Crystal Dynamics does. Tomb Raider is set as a prequel to the previous games, and as such portrays Lara’s first every ‘raiding experience’. In a story which seems familiar to Far Cry 3 (our last years’ GotY), Lara’s friends have gone missing/have been kidnapped, and Lara must harden up, and save her friends that are still alive. Lara has never used a pick axe before, never wielded a gun, so every time you use one for the first time, Lara seems incredibly nervous. The parallels to Far Cry 3 stop there, because what Tomb Raider actually does is make you have feelings for the characters you are saving, and Lara’s growth as a person actually means something to you. The story was absolutely amazing, and left me on the edge of my seat at every turn. As Lara is young and naïve, you will realise what is happening, and where the story is headed long before Lara states it though.
The world in which you live Lara’s first adventure is massive, and open. There are millions of things to seek out and discover, ranging from collectibles to hidden tombs. During her adventures Lara must look high and low for documents that contain background information on her and her friends, and with each new document, the backstory grows, making the player connect that little bit more with each and every character. Similarly, Lara can also find relics littered around the world, that when discovered, give the player back story on the civilisations that can be found in the world that Lara now inhabits. Further on are hidden tombs, all of which contain one or two major puzzles/challenges in which Lara must complete in order to reach the tomb’s treasure. Lastly, Lara can also find GPS signals loitered around the world, but these don’t provide any back story or extra information, and seem there purely just for replayability aspects.
Gameplay wise, Tomb Raider, plays perfectly. The climbing and free running aspects of the game are very similar to those found in the Assassins Creed franchise, of which we often state is done perfectly. Combat wise, Tomb Raider uses third person view. The shooting feels very similar to the way you fight in Gears of War except a lot more fluid and fast (I mean come on, Lara Croft is about one quarter the size of Marcus Fenix). Hand to hand combat, when you actually do use it, is very similar to the way hand to hand combat is performed in the Batman Arkham titles, which again is perfect. Using gameplay mechanics from games that are all known for their gameplay aspects is a fantastic decision and makes Tomb Raider an absolute pleasure to play.
Tomb Raider received a lot of negative feedback when it was announced that it would contain multiplayer. Fans of the series thought this was overkill and that it would subtract from the single player campaign. As can be seen from the above comments, the single player campaign is amazing, with great story and great gameplay mechanics, so it is safe to say that nothing has been left out of the single player side in order to work on the multiplayer side. But what about the multiplayer? Well it’s actually pulled off quite well. You have your normal games such as team death match, and free for all, but you also have unique spins on games like capture the flag. In Tomb Raider’s capture the flag, one team goes out to collect medical supplies for their ‘team mates’. This team plays as Lara and her friends from the campaign. The other team, must stop them from capturing the medical supplies, but must also try and kill a set number of players. If time runs out and no team has completed their objective, whichever team was closer wins. It is actually incredibly fun, and with a large number of players, definitely keeps you on your toes.
Presentation wise, Tomb Raider again amazed us. Graphically, the world looks so realistic and colourful that you will wish that you were stranded there (except for the murderous gunmen killing everything they see but you get my drift). The attention to detail like the leaves blowing in the wind, or the ripples in the water changing depending on how fast Lara walks through it are amazing. The score throughout the game compliments the game brilliantly too, with dramatic music at dramatic moments and fast paced music when escaping danger, it nails the music at every step of the way.
Overall, I can’t fault Tomb Raider. I loved every minute with it, the story is amazing, the added multiplayer is fun and presentation wise the game is amazing. No matter who you are, you should take a look at Tomb Raider, and if you are one of the people who boycotted it because of the addition of multiplayer, rethink your choice because you are missing one of the greatest experiences I have had with a game. Easily a contender for game of the year.