I heard great things about the newest game / reboot of the Tomb Raider series and seeing as how Steam had an amazing deal where you go all the games for $14 then I couldn’t pass the opportunity. I immediately dug into the game having heard the hype but also knowing it’s history. Suffice it to say this is a series that is now reinvigorated and ready to roll.
Tomb Raider follows a younger more naive Lara as she convinces her mentor and expedition team to diverge from their path to find the a lost kingdom called Yamatai in the Dragon’s Triangle (think Bermuda Triangle). Obviously things don’t work out for Lara and she ends up on an island where many others have shared similar fate. Those who remain have been indoctrinated into a cult of sorts but there is more to it then that. They seek freedom from an island that does not want to let them go.
The plot in itself is very engaging with lots of documents to be found and locations to be seen. The island is very much alive as you make your way exploring every nook and cranny. You often wonder what other areas you will find which is part of the fun.
Characterization in the game is very well done. Here we have a young, not so very confident Lara who gets horribly hurt at times but has to suck it up to keep moving. It sounds oversimplified the way I say it but we really get to see her grow and that the incredibly messed up situations she is in help her grow into the Tomb Raider we know she will be. And it’s not just her experiences that help her along the way as the supporting cast all have their part. The voice acting is very well done and there never seem’s to be a shallow character. Each have their role and in that role they have depth.
Gameplay wise Tomb Raider is a joy. Handling of Lara and jumping around is very smooth. Lara is limited to four main weapons, though she can use a climbing axe as a weapon. Each weapon is upgradable after you find materials. Materials are typical found as the main story continues however you find even more by finding Tombs. Also as you progress upgrades to your skills and new ones can be purchased to help round out Lara. I don’t say this very often but the game play feels so great that I don’t want them to change it EVER. If they want to add to this foundation that is ok however what they have now is perfect for the series.
As I briefly mentioned Tomb Raider has actual tombs to be discovered. There are more sub quest type of areas where it presents a simple challenge and once completed you find a gold treasure chest with items for upgrading your weapons. While tomb raiding should be obvious and cool I find this aspect alone to be the weakest. The challenges are not very challenging and the tomb explorations are rather short. I would have liked a few longer areas to explore and maybe something non useful but historical to be found. They packed a lot of flavour into the game, why stop now.
The game will suck up lots of time as it clocks in at 14 hours. However if you love collecting all the little documents, gps tracers, challenges, etc that can be found in each area then you can get even more game time clocked in.
Out of all the reboots I have seen, Tomb Raider by far is the best that I have seen so far. It respects the franchise and it makes Lara Croft more approachable in bringing a more serious mature nature to her. This is not your over sexualized Lara who we were left with, this is the new and improved Lara. Hear her roar!