Game Review: Tomb Raider

It’s true that I play video games, but I only play a select few, of which I can typically name on one hand: Uncharted, Batman, Legend of Zelda, Diablo, and Tomb Raider. I do play other games occasionally with friends, like Just Dance or the like, but when we’re talking dedicating a lot of time, we’re talking just those few. Otherwise, I’d rather be writing.

Why do I like those games? Well, Diablo 1, 2, and 3 I played online with the brothers. The others, because of the story. I like that I get to take part in a story, like an interactive movie. Even the original Tomb Raiders had some decent story going on.

TOMB RAIDER 2013

I’ve been waiting on this one for a few years. Since the last few games were less than spectacular (unless you count the anniversary title, which I especially enjoyed on the Wii). They wanted to give Lara a Batman Begins sort of treatment. And having watched the previews, it looked to be something awesome, like Uncharted was.

So of course, I sent a chunk of money to Amazon and had it waiting for me last week on release day. It also came with an art book, which is cool, although the game is what I was all about.

And hence began the wrecking of my sleeping patterns for an entire week.

GAME PLAY

If you’ve played any of the Tomb Raiders on any iteration of PS, controls are quite similar. She still runs, jumps, shimmies, lunges, scrambles, etc. The only thing she didn’t do was wall run, but for everything else you’re getting it’s not really a sacrifice.

Tomb-Raider

She doesn’t start with her trademark double pistols. This is Lara before becoming the Tomb Raider. I believe she had mostly learned archery and maybe a little bit of gun handling. This takes place before even her first kill.

There aren’t as many puzzles to figure out as I would have liked, but the side quests of Tomb Raiding will give you at least some of that fill.

Something I really liked was fast travel between camps. So if you missed a few side quest items you could travel back to that area via one of the fast travel fires.

I also like the intense scenes Lara gets to take part of. Fires, mud slides, explosions, crazy wind and storms—this is the action-packed movie you get to be right in the center of.

STORY

I’m going to say it’s not quite as phenomenal as Uncharted has been, but it’s still up there as far as story goes. It’s definitely still got a Tomb Raider vibe with treasure and curses.

tomb raider

We also get to know the early Lara, and she arcs quite a lot in this game. In the beginning she’s a bit whimpering and sometimes annoying in dealing with what’s happening to her. (Understandably). By the end, she’s quite hardened. Believe me when I say the poor girl has seen nearly every unspeakable horror imaginable.

In fact, one nitpick would be that the game got a bit too gruesome for my tastes. I guess that’s where the M rating comes in. I get that they’re trying to be edgy and introduce Tomb Raider in a new light. But I would have preferred they stuck to more of the likes of Batman or Uncharted. Parents should note, if they don’t like hearing a particular f-word substantial amounts of times, they might want to skip buying this for their kids. It’s in there quite a lot.

I nitpick over that because I have nephews and other kids who love video games, and I think they would like the Tomb Raider series, but this one is far, far too mature for them. Just bring it down to Uncharted levels. That’s all I ask.

SIDE QUESTS

This was one of my favorite parts of the game. I always liked Tomb Raider for the treasure hunting side of it, and this game certainly delivers. You can do geocaching (a legit sport, for those that didn’t know), relic-finding, documents that give you insight into characters, find the map that shows you all locations, tomb raiding, and quests specific to those areas.

As I mentioned above, I especially liked the Tomb Raiding. In order to reach the treasure, you have to figure out a little puzzle of sorts to literally reach it.

images

The dreaded minesweeper challenge…

The most infuriating side quest, hands down, would have to be the minesweeper quest—which occurs in one of the last areas. There are mines spread along the beach or near the beach you blow up with bullets or arrows. My game would only count nine, even after looking up cheats and visiting each GPS coordinate twice. I recommend you keep track of where you have already blown up in case this happens to you. Also, when you’re on the beach, whatever you’re doing, tap the Survival Instinct button (L2 on the PS3). If it glows yellow, you want to pay attention to it. Seriously.

The mines were the only one I cheated on (and they are pretty tough). The rest I feel like you can locate if you’re paying attention, though some may take a little work.

WHY DO ALL THE EXTRAS?

Doing side quests or gathering salvage helps Lara become more formidable. You can upgrade weapons and skills, which make it easier for her to survive (and easier for you to kill bad guys). Some of the skills, too, make it easier to do side quests.

Wanna choke bad guys with your bow? Upgrade those skillz!

Plus you often get to explore the sets in unique ways and it just made the game that much more interesting. Yes, it’s cool to finish the game, but you might as well finish it with a bang.

Also note that you don’t necessarily have to find everything your first time through an area, and that some items you can only retrieve after weapons upgrades. It just makes it easier/more convenient if you take care of things as you go. None of the story events really have a time limit. You can take your time and pick up the side quests, or you can come back to it later.

EVERYTHING I EXPECTED?

Poor Lara never gets a break!

If you took Uncharted and mashed it with Batman (we’re talking Arkham series) and put a girl as the protagonist, you’d have Tomb Raider. It’s seriously that enjoyable. And it makes for good playing while we wait for future Uncharted and Batman titles. 😉

I don’t like that they seemingly killed the old Tomb Raider theme completely. Call me a fangirl, but that was a bit of a disappointment. The soundtrack sounded a bit too much like Batman’s. The other thing was the lack of trademark double-pistols. But worry not, Tomb Raider fans. There’s still plenty of delightful nods to the old series.

But yeah, I’m a thoroughly satisfied customer who eagerly awaits the next installment of the series. If you love Uncharted, Batman, or just good story games in general, this is certainly a game for you.

My rating: A+

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Game Review: Tomb Raider

  1. I think you convinced me to go out and buy this game. I’m currently off work with back issues for undetermined time so I need something other than homerun derby.
    This sounds intriguing and exciting.
    Thanks for the in depth awesome review.
    You get an A+ for ability to convey everything we might need to know as gamers with questions.

    • I think you’ll enjoy it. I like the games where it’s like you’re a part of a movie. That’s what Tomb Raider is like. And the end is crazy awesome!

  2. Ahhh, Tomb Raider … I love it! I’ve played them all, except this last one. You make me want to rush out and get it, but I gave up video games last year. I felt like I waisted so many hours that I could have used writing. Tomb Raider and Zelda were my favorites – Uncharted sounds awesome but I’ve purposely avoided it. I didn’t want to get hooked.

    I’ve tried to block out the new TR game but your video/images are SO tempting 🙂 …by the way, I have to learn how to embed those… But I will stay strong and focus on writing and just enjoy your review of it instead of playing it (at least that’s what I’m telling myself) =)

    • Lol. You’ve gotta do what’s best for you. I don’t play video games super often, so for me it comes as a nice break. But I understand about staying away from addictions. By the way, the animated images are just gifs. Loads of them on tumblr.

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s