Tomb Raider Review
Rebooting much-loved franchises is always risky. Recent history, however, has taught us that the risk can pay off with the well received revivals of games like SSX and the fresh new take on Devil May Cry. Then again, if you’ve played Duke Nukem Forever you might not be so optimistic.But, fear not! Tomb Raider is a phenomenal game. It stays true to the die-hard fans whilst inviting a whole new generation of players to the franchise. Here’s how:
Anyone who has been watching the hit show ‘Arrow’ will be familiar with this story, as there are many similarities. After a freak storm hits the ‘Endurance’, our now young, naive heroine is washed up on an island she knows very little about. She is accompanied by a colourful group of shipmates, all of whom ended up here as part of an expedition to find out more about the lost kingdom of Yamatai and it’s Queen, the elusive ‘Himiko’. The game’s main story focuses on Lara’s struggle to adapt to her new, very extreme circumstances and her discovery of the many mysterious secrets this island holds. One important detail about this reboot is that the age rating has been lifted. 2008’s ‘Underworld’ was rated ‘12’ whereas ‘Tomb Raider’ has been taken to an explicit ‘18’. This really was necessary in order to connect with the character on such a high level. Throughout the game you will see Lara go through unbearable pain, both emotionally and physically in scenes that could only be so powerful in the absence of a low age restriction. Tomb Raider is a gritty, gory experience which introduces the ruthless Ms. Croft we all know and love, perfectly. In fact, so much effort is spent on the development of Lara that it leaves the rest of the crew looking a little two-dimensional. This can be remedied by finding the crew’s diary pages scattered across the island.
GRAPHICS & GAMEPLAY
Lara isn’t the only eye-candy here. The Island in it’s entirety is a beautiful place to explore. I often found myself standing still and panning around the environment, just to take it all in. A quality present in many Square Enix titles.
Movement feels fluid and natural whether you’re hopping from tree to tree, scaling a cliff face or sliding down a waterfall. Little touches like making Lara strain when she’s lining up a deadly shot with her bow make it seem like a very real experience. Enemies are instinctive and interact with both the environment and each other. For example: you could be spotted wielding a rifle and they’ll flip over a table, use it as cover and yell “She’s armed!”. Details like this make encounters the edge-of-seat events they should be. Climbable walls are highlighted in white, a trait borrowed from the more light-hearted ‘Uncharted’ series.
During the game, you’ll come across optional challenge tombs where you are required to solve a puzzle in order to retrieve a collectible. These are extremely well done. A nice break from the story and challenging enough to make you feel like a puzzle-solving wizard!
Unfortunately, this is Tomb Raider’s one weakness. The multiplayer feels rushed and just plain unnecessary. Although the combat mechanics really shine in the single player mode, they fail to translate here. Leaving combat feeling messy and frustrating. You have the novelty of playing as key characters from the story, hero or villain, but this quickly wears off and you’re left with a very average experience when compared to the versatility of the solo campaign.
Tomb Raider will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The island is so beautiful and the gameplay so natural that you’ll want to go back to collect the extras without it feeling like a trophy hunter task.
Being an origin story, Tomb Raider is definitely left open to continuity. Lara’s back and it looks like she’s here to stay.
A SURVIVOR IS BORN.
- A note from admin, Steve Quinn -
This is Callums first review on our site and what a great Tomb Raider Review it was. We hope he comes back to us and reviews something again soon. Let him know your thoughts on this review in the comments below.