Wow, has 3-d platforming come a long way. Just looking back at the first few Tomb Raider games is enough to almost make you laugh. Get ready for an intense game, my friends. Many have waited at the edge of their seats for this game, and despite the controversies ie Laura being "handled" by the bad guy, etc, this is a game most will enjoy. Tomb Raider is a game I've been looking forward to. If you're thinking of buying the game, here's a link to Amazon. Most fans of Ms. Croft will want to. For the rest of you, perhaps this review will convince you to try the game for yourselves and make your own decision.
Tomb Raider Trailer Youtube by: IGN
Tomb Raider Platforming
The newest Tomb Raider nails heart-stopping, nail-biting leaps and Hail Mary's and crashes, and climbs, and snatching, and, yeah, I can go on for a while. Though not quite the badass double pistol shooting Laura most of us know and love, this younger albeit more inexperienced Ms. Croft gets the job done; and she looks exceptional while doing it. Her movements are so natural and fluent, even making small adjustments as she catches ledges and climbs, you as the player feel the experience all the more. You almost feel her exertions and fatigue. I'll put it to you another way, not only is her every movement believable, but I'm sure I'm not the only one sitting on my couch thinking I'm outta shape compared to this unassuming archaeologist.
Tomb Raider Camera
Let's talk about the camera for a sec. Some have complained that while the camera is spot on for the vast majority of the game, it can be somewhat touchy; I disagree. I'd argue the camera is just fine throughout as not once did I mess up on a platforming section or been killed by an enemy and thought, "^&%%# camera!". No, my friends. If you die in this game you have no one to blame but yourselves. So be a man. Or woman. That may be better as there are parts in the game that may have some guys thinking if it were them, they'd wish they were wearing their jockstrap... just saying... ow.
Once more with Feeling
The voice acting, especially of our badass heroine who proves the ladies can kick some you know what as well as any guy, is absolutely excellent. That, combined with some exquisite animation in conjunction with the story, creates something I didn't quite expect. You care about poor Laura. And what this game does is stick the landing on a very fine line. That is, you never question Laura's physical and mental fortitude, but at the same time there is an understanding that she is vulnerable at times. This is an origin story, folks. Laura is human, perhaps with more nerve and smarts than most, but human all the same. She has her doubts and her fears. Suffice it to say, when Laura triumphs, you feel you did good. Kudos all around. And when she fails or when plans inevitably fall apart, you feel her pain and suffering.
Tomb Raider Relics and Hidden Loot
Tomb Raider has many new features going for it, some of which you may not expect in such a game. Of course, there are some cardinal sins that should never be committed and failing to include exploring and discovery would be one of them. This Tomb Raider doesn't disappoint As you traverse through the different tombs, forests, mountain sides, caves, and so on, be on the look out for ancient relics for a chance for Laura to show off what she knows and even provide a bigger insight into the story of the game itself. In certain sections of the game, you'll want to poke around a bit, get to places you didn't think you could, whether you just couldn't think of a way or you simply lacked the proper gear, and solve the puzzles to find some pretty cool loot and collectibles What's more is once you beat the game you can return to different areas of the island and search to your heart's content. It's not quite an open world like Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption, or Borderlands, but it's comparable at the very least.
Tomb Raider Gameplay (OPENING SPOILER) Youtube by: the3NI9MA
Level and Art Design
The graphics of Tomb Raider are exquisite, just beautifully done. You can tell from the start just how much love and care went into creating such diverse environments that envelop you right into the game it seems. The level and art designers have done an amazing job with this game. Laura's new look is perfect in my opinion. She's still the iconic badass with the curves but without overdoing it in a way that makes her look like a disproportionate barbie doll Also, in this Tomb Raider, our gal Laura gets messed up. Cuts, scrapes, bruises, hell, there's even a part where she's impaled, and it all shows. She'll have all the dirt and grit and blood on her as a badge of honor that she's surviving everything the island and its occupants can throw at her.
Okay, I've talked a bit about just about everything except the gameplay. In this Tomb Raider, Ms. Croft will level up different skills in the hunter, brawler, and survivor categories Killing enemies and reaching certain points of the game provide experience points which you can then spend on skills such as an ability to allow Laura to scavenge and salvage more supplies. Other abilities make her a stronger fighter. And throughout most if not all the levels, there is salvage and loot aplenty. Do yourself a favor and grab everything you can get your mits on as you can upgrade your gear and equipment.
Tomb Raider Combat
And now, what I'm sure you're most interested in (most of you, at least), the combat. Will Laura be shooting her iconic double pistols with seemingly infinite clips of ammunition? No. Do I care? Not at all. Give me the new bow any day. And why? Elementary, my dear Watson. It's far more satisfying. Why do you think about 6-7 people out of 10 snipe in most shooter games? Stealth, finesse and the gratification of one shot, one kill. Done. The controls are right and responsive; so much so parts of the game are almost too easy; and for that I recommend playing this game on a higher difficulty even for the casual player.
In my opinion, there are a few too many quick-time events in this game. Typically, I'm not a fan of timing a button press and then watching the game unfold in front of me and thinking I could be doing that instead of simply watching. And unfortunately there are some enemies in the game that are made easy to do away with simply because there's that magic button you need to press under the right circumstances and at the right time for an easy kill.
Searching Tombs too easy? Makes sense, I suppose...
Another complaint I have is that some of the searching and exploring through tombs and such is a bit easy. And it's made even easier with a visual aid if you so choose. Cheaters. In my opinion, the Survival Instinct actually takes away from the experience as I can see players spamming that far too often if they' just want to get on with the game. Which I suppose is a good thing to have if you're that kind of player. But c'mon, this is Tomb Raider. You should know what you're getting into. This game is about survival, not handing you the keys left and right. Of course, there's a simple way around this. If you're like me, just don't use it.
Xbox 360 Hiccups?
Now, once in a while you may experience some lag, some drops in frame rate, perhaps some texture pop-ins and outs here and there. It doesn't happen much, but I did notice this happening once in a while. Perhaps we've just reached the point where the console technology is struggling to keep up with the demand of the games. I've only played Tomb Raider on my Xbox 360. So if anyone reading this has played it on PS3, or PC and experienced the same problem, let me know. I doubt it, especially on a high-end PC, but I am curious.
Why Multiplayer? Why???
Multiplayer is a bust. I played for a bit but quickly became bored with it. Single player is where this game shines. The multiplayer was perhaps a good idea, but I can't help but think this game would have been better served if multiplayer was scrapped and instead having all the time and manpower go into the single player. It would have been EVEN BETTER than what it is now. Now, something like competitive multiplayer along the lines of reaching a relic in the best time would have been cool. Think of a game like Mirror's Edge. My friends and I spent hours competing for the fasted run through a level. Something like that for Tom Raider would have been fun, either both players racing at once, or at the very least taking turns and comparing times for bragging rights. What you have now is a shooter guns blazing experience that's pretty much exactly what you'd expect and grows old very quickly.
So, as you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed this game. Hell, it's the best game I've played in a while and a great way to start off 2013, it is only March, after all. The story is engaging, Laura is a believable badass yet sympathetic character. The visuals are exceptional. The gameplay is solid all around. And what complaints I do have, even with the multiplayer (and let's be frank, who really thought the multiplayer would be the best thing about a Tomb Raider game?), are very small when the larger picture is considered. Tomb Raider earns a well-deserved 9 out of 10. If you don't own it, you should if you're a Tomb Raider fan. Heck, I think even those of you who haven't really enjoyed the previous games that much are likely to enjoy this one. At the very least, give this game a rent, bum it off a friend for a few days, just do what you gotta do and give this game a chance. You won't be disappointed.