Coming Back to Raid Tombs and Kick Ass (Tomb Raider)

TR-logo-final

Like so many franchises, Tomb Raider has gotten a reboot. I went into this high hopes for the story since it was written by Rhianna Pratchett. While I will never forgive her for Mirror’s Edge, she did write the Overlord games which were wonderful fun.

I was not disappointed.

Rhianna gave us a believable beginning to an iconic gaming woman. A story that builds on the genius that is a young Lara that isn’t so self assured. From the beginning we are presented with someone who is not only smart but also insecure. She knows she’s right, but she doesn’t have the years of experience behind her to be the confident Lara we’re all used to seeing. I like this a lot. It shows a humble, if smart, beginnings of the confident woman. As we travel through to very well crafted story, she becomes more sure of herself. By the half-way point we’re seeing that familiar Lara and by the end you know she’s gotten a taste for something that she’ll never turn away from again.

I will say one thing about the whole “threat of rape” thing that was spinning a few months back. Yes she is threatened in this way, but she’s threatened with horrible-ness through the whole game, including murder. So yea, she is threatened, but it’s nothing to write home about.

TR Bow

Gameplay is what you would expect. Plenty of running and shooting and climbing ever surface in sight. The controls are all very easy to use straight out of the box. There are some quicktime events, but they’re unobtrusive and not a pain in the ass to do. I’m notoriously terrible at aiming shots in games like this but he aim assist saved me. So even if you’re rubbish at aiming, like me, don’t worry. I used the fucking hell out of the bow & arrow too. That thing was so awesome to use as an alternative to guns. One of my only complaints is that here really just wasn’t the amount of puzzles that I’ve come to expect from a Tomb Raider game. There are puzzles that are integral to the game, but it just felt a little lacking for me. You could tell what your upcoming tools would be simply by having a look around at what you couldn’t climb. Sure it was a little predictable, but I can forgive it this one thing.

I really liked the music and sounds of the game. They conveyed mood and drama very well. I didn’t find annoying, repetitive or boring. There’s not a lot I can say about the music than that.

TR Behind Scene

Visually the game is stunning. You have this deserted island full of mystery and wonder surrounded by this impossible storm. The world around you is rendered in a very believable way and really has been thought out and deigned nicely. It felt like a lost island filled with a mythical ancient story just waiting to be discovered. Also, video games have had hair issues for a long long time, but this has made some great improvements. On the PC version you get to use the TressFX engine which is a special engine for just rendering the hair. Just wish it had been in the console versions too.

Ya know  really did like he prequel a lot. My only gripes are the lack of more complex puzzles and it really felt kinda short. Even with doing a lot of exploring and completing about 90% of the game extras outside the main storyline; I only got about 16 hour of play from it. I know that’s pretty much normal these days, it still feels like it’s too short. This isn’t uncommon for me though, I don’t want the goodness to end.

Go get the game. It’s definitely worth it

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3 responses

  1. Don’t be too miffed about the Tress-FX thing – it was nearly the death of my Nvidia-powered laptop!

    Like

    May 2, 2013 at 12:16 pm

  2. I’m kind of mixed on it to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, the intro level through the caves left me speechles and the pacing of the game was emotionally draining. It really put you in the character’s shoes and i felt almost hunted every time i picked up the pad.

    I feel like this is a fantastic game in it’s own right but it really challenged and made me think about why i loved the TR series in the first place. It wasn’t for the fights to the death or battles with the bad guys. It wasn’t for the racing an evil corporation for a ling forgotten powerful relic or fighting for survival – i loved the original series because it pitted you against the environment and the environments were like a kid’s dream (tropics, ice caverns, tombs, jungle, etc).

    This game reminded me too much of watching Prison Break, insomuch that i just got tired of being so emotionally drained and just couldn’t watch it anymore due to lack of resolution. I get that this story vehicle is incredibly effective for survival games and gets right to the heart of the conflict. In it’s own right, i see this game as an absolute triumph of a character driven narative. Your gameplay is intrinsicly linked with the Lara’a confidence and the pacing is nothing short of exquisite.

    Personally though, and i can only speak for me, i feel like there is some small disparity between the nature of this game and the nature of the early TR series. I realised that when i was playing it i was incredibly moved, adrenalin(ised… is that even a word??), and caught up with the value systems of the player’s goals and totally invested in each challenge but, when i really thought about it, i didn’t actually enjoy it. It wasn’t fun. I felt compelled to play on, simply to resolve the situation but i wasn’t motivated by the love of the game. I was motivated by the (and this probably sounds a litte soft or mental) character’s….well, safety. There , i said it, but it’s true. I felt that i should get through it faster to have a chance to save the other characters. I chose to access the willing supension of disbelief even though i know that it’s all linear and scripted – that’s how effective it was. But it just wasn’t fun and didn’t make me feel better for playing it.

    Anyway,, i really liike your reviews and find them entertaining and well balanced. So there =)

    Like

    May 7, 2013 at 9:30 am

    • Thank you. TR was very different to previous iterations of the game. I personally was very driven by the story and for me that’s what’s the most important in so many games I play. In story I really thought the game excelled. And it did compel you to want to protect Lara, but how each of us respond to that is different. It’s interesting to hear how others responded to it.

      Like

      May 7, 2013 at 10:55 am

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