Tomb Raider Review
- Posted March 6th, 2013 at 13:01 EDT by Mike Harradence
- 8 Comments
- PSU Review Score
- Avg. user review score:
You must be logged in to rate a game
Tomb Raider is a fantastic addition to the Croft catalog and a fine rebirth of a classic character. With a great story, sumptuous visuals and meaty combat, this is one game you can't afford to miss out on in 2013.
- The fantastic visuals
- Lara Croft's characterization
- The classic Tomb Raider blend of combat, puzzles and hidden collectibles
- Narrative sometimes loses its punch in combat-heavy situations
- Frequent combat sequences can get a little tiring
- Some minor camera issues and visual glitches
How the mighty have fallen. Back in the late 1990s, you couldn’t move for the amount of Lara Croft mania that was sweeping the globe. Our busty archaeologist had not only conquered the gaming world, but her iconic image adorned the bedroom walls of spotty teenagers everywhere, magazine covers and even secured a spot on U2’s PopMart tour. Indeed, Miss Croft was every ounce a gaming legend, blagging a spot on the mainstream consciousness that only the likes of Mario and Sonic had achieved up until that point – possibly more so, in fact, thanks to her ample sex appeal. Unfortunately, it all went tits up for Lara after the new millennium, as brand fatigue set in and numerous other hiccups (including the monstrosity that was Angel of Darkness) managed to besmirch the Tomb Raider name.
By the time PS3 rolled around, Lara Croft was playing a barely-discernible second fiddle to cheeky chappie Nathan Drake; sure, her games weren’t bad by any stretch, but no longer did Tomb Raider pack the same commercial appeal as it once did. This is where Crystal Dynamics came in, having conceived the idea of a series reboot. This eponymous effort is an origins story of sorts, detailing just how our nimble heroine became the gun-toting, back-flipping badass we know and love, paying homage to both the old games and modern stable mates such as Uncharted in the process. But does Lara Croft ultimately still have a place amongst today’s gaming greats as she once did?
Tomb Raider scrutinizes a 21-year-old Croft as she and her companions find themselves on the hunt for a forgotten city named Yamatai. Unfortunately, their ship ends up on the wrong side of a massive storm, and the treasure-seekers find themselves shipwrecked on a mysterious Island in the Dragon’s Triangle. Although everyone survives, Croft is separated from the group and thus begins exploring the Island. While ostensibly a search and rescue mission with the ultimate goal of escaping the Island, Tomb Raider is more a journey of self-discovery for Croft; a gripping tale of one woman’s quest for survival that will shape her character and push her beyond previously inconceivable limits.
I’m no fan of comparisons, but yes, Tomb Raider is fundamentally quite similar to Uncharted – though that should hardly come as a surprise. However, while the Island shares much of that game’s linear progression, its pseudo open-world template is far more rewarding in the long run. The main quest alone is a meaty 15 hours or so, packed full of diverse set-pieces, intense shootouts and lush locations; but it’s the extrinsic goodies, the loot-filled tombs and multitude of collectibles that encourage you to venture off the beaten track that will have you compelled to dig deeper into Lara’s quest. More on that later, though.
Most of your time will be spent navigating the myriad of cliff faces, pillars, ladders, rooftops and other such obstacles that act as platforming playground for Lara’s impressive acrobatic skills. Croft has never moved so elegantly and precisely, while leaping from pillar to pillar, scaling walls is a cinch. Hitting X makes Lara jump, and as long as you are pointed in the right direction, she’ll catch onto any crevice or handhold. Thankfully, the level design is so that you won’t be left arbitrarily leaping into walls in the vein hope Lara will grab hold; the path forward is decidedly unambiguous, allowing for a smooth and satisfying jaunt between surfaces. That and Lara’s Survival Instinct, activated by hitting L2, highlights points of interest. The game keeps you on your toes too by spreading a few QTEs throughout some of the more perilous platforming too; miss a trick, and you’ll plummet to your death.
Naturally, you’ll have to fight your way across the Island. Wolves, cultists and mercenaries alike all take offense to your presence, so you’ll have your hands full. Fortunately, Miss Croft is more than equipped to deal with any threat; pistols, shotguns, a bow and more will become available to you over the course of the game, allowing you to adapt to any combat situation. Being a big Uncharted player, I felt immensely comfortable capping baddies, and it’s not hard to see that Crystal Dynamics has obviously doffed their cap to ... (continued on next page)
- 1:29pm EST - March 6th, 2013
I've always been a fan of the Tomb Raider games. Even the so-called naff ones. I love Lara Croft.
Then Uncharted came along. It took the best parts of Tomb Raider and made them better.
Now we have 'new' Tomb Raider.
I'd barely started the game, and it already felt like I was replaying all of the Uncharted's together. Lara starts off injured (Uncharted 2). Lara moves through caves with narrow passages with a flaming torch (Uncharted 3). Lara emerges onto a cliff with a nice sunset (Uncharted 1). Lara walks down a narrow cliff path (any Uncharted). Lara climbs the remnants of a plane hanging over a cliff (the train, Uncharted 2). Lara slides down a tunnel, requiring you to steer her away from obstacles (Uncharted Golden Abyss).
All this in the first minutes.
Now don't get me wrong - I know Uncharted borrowed heavily from the older Tomb Raider's and other games. Generally speaking, I love this stuff. But Uncharted at least felt fresh and new; it took everything about the genre, and while it didn't necessarily do anything better, as a package it (in my personal opinion) took it to a whole new level.
So far with the this, it seems as if they've lifted various parts of the Uncharted games wholesale, replaced Drake with Lara and called it 'new' Tomb Raider.
I've now reached a part where I have 'heavies', complete with riot shields... again, just like Uncharted.
It is a good game, and I am enjoying it, which is the main thing. But the whole experience would seem far more epic if I didn't have the feeling I'd done it all 3 years ago in Uncharted 2.
- 2:51pm EST - March 6th, 2013
I agree with Paranoimia to a point. Yes, TR takes a LOT from UC - especially the combat sequences. However, I will still say the combat still felt new to me because unlike UC, the combat here is actually fun. In ALL of the UC's (even the incredible UC2), I came to dread the combat (mostly because the enemies were damn damage sponges that took a ridiculous amount of bullets to kill, or because they used incredibly annoying gimmicks - (ie, the teleporting jerks in UC3), and saw it as an obstacle to be overcome to get to the next part of the story. In TR, however, I actually find myself looking for a fight.
- 3:58pm EST - March 6th, 2013
@1 yeah but- What else can u do with an adventure game that is tomb raider? Back in the 90s we didn't have the technology to have these features like Uncharted. I'm a huge Uncharted fan but I think Tomb Raider is certainly not just copying from it, it has took the game the only direction it could I think, with it's own characters.
You can not take the platforming, cover-system, treasure-hunting out of a Tomb Raider games- And many of these things mentioned in above posts are not just used in Uncharted but in adventure games as a whole because they work.. Only now with Tomb Raider it has been combined with a more cinematic (movie-like) experience.
On another note does anyone find this games combat more difficult than Uncharted? I don't mean to blow my own trumpet here but I can normally ace through Uncharted, but I die quite frequent on Tomb Raider- Thoroughly enjoying it though!
- 8:26pm EST - March 6th, 2013
I have all the Tomb Raiders, and I must say, I really enjoyed this one.
Not a fan of UC, so can't really comment on that. I completed TR Reborn in 11 hours with 68%, and now I'm going back thru to find everything I missed. I'll play this one over again as the game play is great, and the graphics, wow, amazing. It gets quite tricky in places and I must agree, you do die a fair few times. Sometimes it's trial and error. I'd recommend this game to anybody.
- 8:55pm EST - March 6th, 2013
- 11:48am EST - March 7th, 2013
is the distribution od combat / riddles/ collectibles 90%/8%/2% like I fear? the reviews make clear that all hidden tombs are optional ...
- 3:46pm EST - March 7th, 2013
Great idea. Doing that.
Toooldtorun | Toooldtorun
- 6:17pm EDT - March 19th, 2013
Loving the game so far. Smooth graphics fantastic upgrade system. Best of all up to now are those flaming arrows. Whoosh Baddie Begone. However I am somewhat disappointed with the number of "Old skool" puzzles involved, just not enough. Lets hope for a PS4 sequel with a little more cerebral content. When I pay high prices for games I want a challenge that does not end constantly in a short but bloody gunfight. I seem to remember spending days trying to find exits, keys and solving puzzles when playing TR, TR2 TLR etc. Too much nostalgia?
This will permanently ban this user and delete all associated comments. This action is irreversible, are you SURE you want to do this?!