There is one character I strongly believe to be as popular outside the gaming community as Super Mario, and let’s be honest, she is also better looking than him. I am talking of coarse about Lara Croft, the main character of Tomb Raider, and it has been a whopping sixteen years since she took the gaming world by storm (even though back then she had pointy and boxy boobs), With such a huge following it was expected to see a re-launch during this generation, and with such awesome tools, Crystal Dynamics had endless possibilities to bring back the famous Lara Croft to the world of Gaming. A couple of days ago I found myself with a copy of Tomb Raider, a bag of chips, a pint of Guinness, and a lack of pants, and I immersed myself in what I can simply describe as an awesome time.
Audio and Video: The visuals in this title are nothing short of fantastic, the textures are beautiful, and the lighting is amazing. The characters are modeled brilliantly well, and Lara’s new look is more appealing and arousing by today's standards. Great attention to detail has been given to the visual aspect of the game, especially the weaponry and uniforms. Flora, fauna, and the environment diversify as you progress through the game, making exploring the vast areas more exciting and interesting. The archeological treasures you discover and collect can be inspected (just like Uncharted), and they are extremely detailed, and are presented alongside an accurate historical background. Pristine quality graphics bold well with high quality audio, and as you can image this title sports fantastic surround effects in DTS audio, a great sound track which amalgamates well with the pacing and different environments you meet through your journey, and great voice acting (even though Luddington does moan quiet a lot).
Gameplay: This title is a concoction of great stealth, puzzle, platforming, shooting, and RPG elements. All aspects of the game work brilliantly well together, and make a great means of entertainment. The stealth elements of the game have been clearly influenced by the latest Hitman title, including the instinct feature. I must admit, Tomb Raider is one of the best stealth games this generation has to offer. The RPG elements of the game are brilliant; you have plenty of customizations for your weaponry which are made through collecting salvage, looting, and unearthing upgrades. You also have a various skills which you can master by allocating skill points. There are a lot of similarities with the Uncharted series, and you can clearly see its influence on the puzzle and platforming mechanics, which play brilliantly well. You also get to raid tombs (which apparently isn't the main focus of the game titled Tomb Raider), which hold treasures, salvage and weapon upgrades. Even though they are essentially side missions, I found myself really fond of these segments due to the great design of the puzzles implemented and the challenging nature of finding secluded tombs and successfully raiding them. Something missing from the title, in my opinion, is decent melee attacks. Performing melee attacks will essentially get you killed pretty quickly, but I can understand that this might have been a decision in order to make the title more realistic and true to its roots. Making Lara weak will essentially force you to take down your enemies one by one by sneaking around and making proper use of the environment around you. Gunplay (just like Uncharted) suffers a bit, and I found myself feeling more comfortable using the bow and arrow, which seems like to be a conscious decision by the studio, again to make Lara more believable as a character.
Personal Experience: The game suffers from some glitches and the storyline might not be as interesting as the ones implemented in any Uncharted title, but to be honest, this game is fantastic, I simply couldn't get enough of it. Adding the stealth and RPG elements to this title brought this game to a whole new level, and made it the great game it is. I don’t even remember the last time I played such a title and enjoying it so much. This really is a must have title, and the studio behind this project did a great job at bringing this amazing character back from the dead and leading the way for the action adventure genre. A new adventure series is reborn, and I can wait to see how this series evolves in the coming years.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Written by Matthew C