Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review: Tomb Raider (2013)

     The first of hopefully many reviews I plan to do for Games (Video, board, tabletop, etc) is of Tomb Raider (2013), and I will try and do one every Thursday. Tomb Raider is a reboot of an older franchise that has become stale and focused on the wrong things. Instead of focusing on the platforming and unique environments, the game focused on characterizing Lara Croft, and by characterizing I mean giving her larger breast and shorter shorts. Oddly enough this did nothing to improve sales. (Go figure...)

     The game focus's on Lara's first real adventure in search of an lost island called Yamatai on a large ship with various other supporting characters. While following a hunch that the island may be in the "Dragons Triangle" (vermuda but worse), the ship is split in two, and she gets stranded alone. While she has some experience and training in surviving such scenario's, this is the first time she's actually been in the situation that required said training. Lara is more vulnerable in this game, and not so sure of herself in the start. She's also not the "bad ass" soulless character that just shoots everyone that some of the other titles tried to make her. The only issue this creates is she seems to hate the idea of taking another life in the cut scenes from the start, but during the actual combat, she just mows them down without a second though. I feel like the game could have benefited from stealth game play in large area's....

     Anyways, upon exploring the island a large group of (mostly) organized inhabitants in the form of crazy, zealous, religious fanatics keeps trying to ruin Lara's day and making a mess of things. Her best friend is kidnapped by some mysterious Matthias guy for unknown reasons (avoiding spoilers) and Lara has to figure out the mysterious of the Sun Queen so her and her friends can escape the island. Which by the way is inescapable because of some crazy storms that magically surround it for some reason or another that has to do with the before mention Sun Queen. (again no spoilers?)

    The games combat and platforming sections are very well done. It is harder to kill all the opponents if they're attacking you back in my experience making stealth a necessity. Again though, can't stealth past sections without killing anyone most of the time. This kind of brings Lara out of character, but I digress. The game does have plenty of collectible items that you can run around the island to collect, motivation being achievements and upgrades for your weapons. After you beat the main story though you don't seem to ever use your weapons. Not that I've seen yet anyway.

     Platforming in long sections can be fun as a lot of the jumps and swings flow together and link up pretty well. I didn't find myself having to much issues with controls on this either, having never died because Lara misunderstood how left I wanted her to turn. I really enjoyed going back around for the achievements and climbing everything. Especially the coast area with all the broke ships.

     Graphics I don't feel like are something worth noting in a game these days unless they're exceptionally well done. This game's characters though are done well in this regard as you can easily tell by their facial expressions and animations the mood they're in.  The rest is just above average for a 360 game. Which isn't a complaint as much as it is just a fact. But I'd like to keep reviews more to the game play aspect of things if possible.

     All in all I really enjoyed the game having not played a tomb raider game since the first one on PlayStation, and I look forward to see where they take the reboot from this point onward. Definitely recommend for people to rent at very least, but who does that these days honestly...


  1. Another aspect where Tomb Raider excels is the upgrade feature. As you're killing, hunting, and discovering things around the island you'll be gaining experience. As you'd expect, you can level up and put these points into a sort of talent tree. You'll unlock new moves to counter enemies and find it easier to discover clues to puzzles. My favorite aspect of the upgrade mechanics was that as you loot bodies and find little crates you'll discover salvage. You can take the salvage and upgrade your weapons and tools. By the end of the game my Assault Rifle was a death cannon. You'll be thrown so many enemy encounters and boss fights you'll never feel overpowered.

    Tomb Raider

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