Lara Croft is back and dare I say better than ever! Without a doubt she must have been hanging out with Nathan Drake a bit to learn the ropes, but man it paid off. Tomb Raider is the best kind of reimagining. Offering a human story full of gut wrenching death sequences and a story filled with mature themes about what it takes to survive. Lara Croft, you just kicked Nathan Drake right in the crotch.
Tomb Raider kicks off with Lara Croft as green as you can get. Her first expedition, no dual pistols, new hair fx (Oh yeah, nothing beats realistic Croft hair floating in the wind), and more! In perfect TR fashion things go wrong, very wrong. Before you or Lara can get comfortable you crash land on an unknown island, are captured, hung upside down among other dead bodies, and forced to fight or die. That is the reoccurring theme throughout TR. Lara is constantly forced to make hard choices, and those choices are what come to define her as a person. Emotionally charged is an understatement for this game. You and Lara will both be exhausted by the time you beat the campaign.
Tomb Raider’s greatest strength, and weakness, is the amount of time spent defining Lara as a real person, and what she has to go through to become the Tomb Raider we know. This is done with perfection, but at the cost of taking away from the other characters featured in this story. However, this wasn’t their story anyways so it doesn’t take too much away from your experience.
Lara’s journey takes you from her first kill to becoming the worlds greatest human hunter. This transition, as it usually is, happens in just mere seconds, but I felt it was handled better here than in other titles such as Far Cry 3. After escaping captivity, killing your very first human, and getting the crap beat out of you, TR sets you free on a island full of mystery and dark secrets.
Tomb Raider takes notes from Batman Arkham City when it comes to exploring this island. Certain areas will be off limits until you have acquired a new piece of gear, such as a climbing axe, rope arrows, etc. There is a lot to see here and the progression of the story does a great job offering you chances to back track in new ways. This was the only game I have ever ended up back where I started and without even realizing it.
Thanks to plane crashes, helicopter crashes, and intense “on rail” sequences you will probably never realize you’re back at the same camp you started at. Just like Lara, this island constantly changes throughout the game. Anything that happens in the game’s cut sequences will be left over somewhere on the island afterward. The developers did a great job really bringing to life the island and it’s inhabitants. Stopping by a campfire to upgrade Lara and her weapons also offers you a chance to fast travel. Traversing this island is so cool (seriously best use of zip lining ever!) that i never onced used the option to fast travel. With so much to see and discover you can easily find plenty to do here.
Keeping up with the trend right now in gaming, Lara’s “go-to” weapon is a bow. From fire arrows, to rope arrows, to using arrows to jam into bad guys’ eyes, Lara Croft’s bow is the finest use of the weapon in a game yet. Headshots with this thing are perfectly executed, they’re even complimented with a subtle and perfect sound cue. This won’t be the Lara you remember, but it’s not supposed to be. Crouch down, take in each segment with a sense of stealth, and you’ll find yourself having more fun with that bow than you did in Crysis 3 or Far Cry 3.
Tomb Raider redefines who Lara Croft is and how she becomes a survivor. Layered in a mix of Uncharted-esque climbing, with some solid stealth mechanics, and some highly mature sequences (every death sequences to Lara is a tough one to watch) Tomb Raider is well worth your money and I cannot wait to see where Crystal Dynamics take my favorite Croft yet.
TOMB RAIDER is a worth your hard earned cash, it gets a BUY!