Once the queen of gaming, Lara Croft has fallen from the graces of many games but she hasn’t been forgotten. Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix hope to change that the newly rebooted title in Lara Croft’s life aptly named “Tomb Raider”. We will do our best not to divulge any spoilers so come along with me while we take a look to see if they were successful.
The story features a much younger Lara Croft before becoming a world renowned archaeologist as she embarks on an expedition aboard a ship called “Endurance” with friends a TV production crew and an already well known archaeologist. This isn’t the Lara Croft we all know from games of the past. On the way to their location, a violent storm destroys the boat and leaves them stranded on an island and separated from one another.
The game feels very similar to Uncharted but with a much darker tone to the surroundings and overall feeling to the dialogue. No witty banter between characters, no light-hearted moments either. While traversing the island’s various locales, Lara will find animals to hunt which can be used to salvage parts and earn experience points, she also will come across weapon upgrade pieces and will occasionally uncover hidden locations that need to be explored to discover artifacts in usual Tomb Raider style by solving puzzles to get to the payday. I found the puzzles to be far less engaging and much simpler than I remember from the original series. One thing I was truly thankful for was that the timed switch style puzzles were omitted from this title.
When not spelunking or raiding tombs, Lara finds herself in heated gun battles with the islands mysterious inhabitants. The gun battles are fierce and fast paced but can be slowed down a little by using an automatic cover system that while isn’t as good as the one you would find in Uncharted or Gears of War is more than serviceable and helpful. Killing enemies will also earn you Experience points that accumulate to allow Lara to learn a new survival skill. Not only do the enemy kills net you experience, but if you go through their pockets, you’ll find ammo (copious amounts of ammo in the game. you’ll never actually run out) and salvage parts which can be used to build upgrades for
Lara’s various weapons. The sound and the graphics are gorgeous. These days everyone is talking next gen this and next gen that, but, while playing this game, I couldn’t help but wonder if we really need another generation of gaming console yet. This game looks about as next gen as I could imagine and it’s available on our tired old boxes already in my living room.
The team at Crystal Dynamics have done exactly what the series needed – They took the concept, made it their own and gave it a fresh yet familiar feel without straying too much from what made Tomb Raider so good so many years ago. A survivor may have been born but the Queen reclaimed her crown. Lara Croft is back and she’s better than ever.
Feed Your Console gives Tomb Raider a 9 out of 10
Simply stunning graphics
A title worthy of carrying the Tomb Raider title – Extremely enjoyable
Great balance between Tomb Raiding and gun battles
Simple puzzles – Beef it up next time
Cover System needs work