Tomb Raider

Format Played: XBox 360
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Crystal Dynamics
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Score: 9.1/10

TombRaider2013The new Tomb Raider game that isn’t a Tomb Raider game; short easy puzzles, Far Cry 3 and Uncharted gameplay & very short Tombs.  This has been everything I heard before playing the game for myself; does that mean the game is bad?  Not at all and here is why.

Ok so it’s not the game all Croft fans wanted, when I think of Tomb Raider I think of large areas, massive puzzles that have you standing around in deep thought and Tombs so deep and open that you are searching for hours just to find a way to progress.  However this is a Tomb Raider reboot which tells the story of Lara before her first ever journey and it’s been told in style.  The first thing you will notice is the graphics, the game looks absolutely stunning it really does, I really can’t believe the difference between Anniversary and this game on the same console, the difference is more the noticeable and it between the two it looks next gen.  Controlling Lara handles very well allowing her fluid movement almost Assassins Creed style easy of climbing and jumping unfortunately with a slight glitch here and there with scenery but nothing major to complain about.  Combat works, I would have liked it if like in the multiplayer you could crouch in the single player game instead of auto crouch; the bow and arrow feel is fantastic especially when you pull off a head shot.  If I am honest I would have used the bow all through the game if it wasn’t for the achievements to use other weapons.

Before continuing I’d like to just skip over some of the games bad points which I must stress are small minor things for me personally:

First off I didn’t need the game to tell me where items are: really I didn’t need this, Tomb Raider is all about exploration and finding secrets, I don’t need a map that tells me nearly everything I need to find and where to find its exact location by waypoint.  If the map wasn’t bad enough some of the items sparkle on the ground and if that wasn’t bad enough it would also be highlighted if you are close enough by pressing “LB” to enter your Survival instinct.  Hidden Tombs have painting all around their entrances which can be spotted from a long distance and if that wasn’t bad enough you would hear a noise and text will come up when you are nearby!  Thanks game but I seen it a mile off!  Remember in the original PS1 game when secrets would blend into the background? Now that was a challenge!

Tombs are very short, yes this game has tombs but they are about 10-20 minutes each, simple puzzles and when you finish it would come up saying “TOMB RAIDED” which is so laughable it may as well have had the guy from Ridge Racer say it out loud.

Multiplayer is broken & completely unbalanced, if you are a level 1 you have no chance to compete with higher level players.  Joining a game with a friend is near impossible as you can’t join a game as a party.  You can get stuck by landscape which can also have problems seeing while aiming and some of the weapons are also unbalanced.  Also like some other multiplayers there are people who manage to glitch all over the place making them impossible to hit.

tomb-raider-review

I know it looks like I didn’t enjoy this game after that but I find issues with games easier to talk about then things I actually liked.  The multiplayer I can forgive as it’s all about the single player anyway and the multiplayer is sort of an afterthought, once you have leveled up a bit it’s still ok to play and it’s always a great feeling pulling off a headshot with a bow and arrow or hitting someone off a zip wire.  This is a prequel so Tombs can be sort of forgiven as it’s more about the story of how Lara grows from an archeologist behind a desk rather than being out in the field, at least they put Tombs into the game full stop.  As for items being on the map the challenges in each area are certainly not shown and they can be very difficult to find.

I am sure this game would appear short but if you want to get everything as I did then you are going to be playing a hell of a lot longer.  Some of the achievements are glitched meaning they took a lot more to do then they state, and there are one or two that will take you a lot longer to accomplish then you would like (like two of the multiplayer ones).

There is a RPG style about this game too, leveling up skills and weapons plays a big part in Lara’s travels I am guessing this would be Square-Enix’s doing however I do feel it brings something extra to the series and works quite well.  You can wade in water but there is no swimming which I found funny since the last released Tomb Raider game was Underworld, Lara’s deaths defiantly has the shock factor which she has had to put up with since the rag doll falls off cliff faces.

crystal-dynamics-tomb-raider-gameplay-16

The story has been told well, the plot line pretty much goes as you expect but it sets up the series very nicely which I hope there is a follow on.  I just can’t tell you how nice this game looks, screen shoots do not do this game any justice, some of the games cinematic scenes completely blew my mind.  The way Lara also grows as she progresses and all the rough and tumbles she takes you really start to care for her.

I loved this game and I really can’t wait to play it again.  (Also to get the 5G I missed on first play) If this story moves on the way I hope I really would be a happy fan.  Before I finish off I would also like to congratulate Crystal Dynamics for adding a little something here and there for fans of the original series.

So far this is my game of the year!

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~ by Martyn on March 11, 2013.

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