Tomb Raider has been reborn, the new 2013 edition of Tomb Raider was released to the public just a couple of weeks ago, featuring a new side to Lara Croft that we have never seen before, and thankfully, not in a bad way. Crystal Dynamic’s took the lead on the title, which sees a young Lara Croft setting out on her first expedition, one which as you can probably guess, doesn’t go exactly to plan.
The game starts on an unkown island, Lara’s ship has crashed and she has been left stranded on the island, left with only her intuition, Lara must make some tough decisions if she wants to survive.
The first hour of the game will feature a lot of character development, during this time the game attempts to get you up to speed with the old Lara, which it does through a few cutscenes and button-mashing sequences, but as the game comes closer to the end, you start to see Lara become the person we have all grew up knowing.
This may seem a little too much for those die-hard Tomb Raider fans, but thankfully Crystal Dynamic’s have managed to play this story out really well, and with the help of Camilla Luddington as the voice actor, you start to feel a real connection to the “reborn” Lara Croft. The younger Lara is extremely vulnerable and you can defiantly see that playing out during the start of the game, however you never get the sense that Lara is disempowered and seems to be the same old fearless Lara Croft even in the sense of danger.
However I can’t say the same for her friends and crewmates, who you don’t seem to feel the same way about during the game, however they are key to the story line, helping Lara get through some of the tougher moments, saving her from her own possible insanity, and obviously making a good filler for cutscenes, as without them it would simply be Lara talking to herself, which does happen quite often.
Guns have always played a big part in previous Tomb Raider titles, but it’s quite a while until you see Lara holding one in the this version of the game, however when Lara does conduct her first kill you find yourself emotionally tied with her as a character, after that however, the game seems to make a huge transition, suddenly your shooting more or less anyone in you path, turning the scared and lonely girl into a gun slinging survivor.
The gunplay in the game is by far one of its best aspects, weather your using the bow, pistol, shotgun or even the machine gun, you find yourself having extreme amounts of fun, and I have to say, this has to be one of the best games I have played that uses a bow as one of the weapons (not counting Crysis 3 of course), a weapon which is highly satisfying.
Each of the four weapons in your arsenal have been placed there for a specific purpose, and as you play through the game you will quickly find this out, swapping between the bow and the shotgun for those up close attacks.
The weapons upgrade system also helps with this love for the weapons in the new Tomb Raider, the system is easy to use and allows you to add anything various additions to your gun selection from the salvage you collect during your travels across the island, I would have liked to see a little more emphasis on hunting within the game however, which is introduced during the first section of the game and then quickly abandoned, simply giving you extra skill points each time you kill.
Progress through the game’s story can sometimes be easily achieved with the use of Lara’s new Survival Instincts vision which will highlight important objects around the map such as climbing walls, objectives, flammable objects and (once you have upgraded) ammo and collectables. This helps make the game’s puzzles a little easier, something that can sometimes be appreciated, however it’s something that is completely optional and you can chose to play the entire game without turning it on at all.
Climbing counts for a huge section of the gameplay, as the player you must guide Lara across some pretty dangerous obstacles, leading across platforms and cliffsides is quite a heart-stopping experience, and once the climbing axe comes into play, you start to wonder if she will actually be able to make it.
These surroundings are absolutely breath-taking, cliffsides have been moulded to a gaming perfection, water looks so good you could defiantly swim in it, and the fire almost life like. The detail that has been added to this game makes it a defiant Game of The Year contender, it’s the little things like Lara’s hair which has can be rendered on the PC with something called “TressFX”, which certainly works, Lara’s hair looks so good she has to be using Treseme (hoping you get that joke).
You might find a few links to other action games across various gaming series, with a ton of sequences where you will have to escape from burning bridges, and even slide down waterfalls dodging Lara’s impending doom, which if you fail you might end up with something similar to what we embedded above.
However not every part of the game takes from others, and you will still find actual ‘Tomb Raiding’ can be done quite often with a ton of secret tombs dotted around the map as well as various relics and ancient structures that you may end up coming across during your travels, and once you do you will be rewarded by a brilliant explanation of that object from Lara, showing her true inner geek for archaeology and ancient civilisations.
The great thing is that if you haven’t already found these during the storyline, at the end the map will open up, allowing you to hunt down this wide selection of documents, relics and gps locations.
The new Tomb Raider is a brilliant reboot, and certainly a job well done by Crystal Dynamics, this game had me stuck to it for hours, wanting to complete the next section, the graphics are incredible, and its great that Cystal Dynamics have allowed you to explore this environments freely, however the multiplayer that has been in the game is not as great, and this great gameplay hasn’t transferred as well from the single player mode, and all of the four game modes available seem to be a little boring, and seem a little clunky.
However this game is certainly one that should be in your collection already, its well-writen and the gameplay will have you playing for hours.