Monday, 15 April 2013

Tomb Raider 2013 Review

If like me, you are a child from the 90s and were a fan of gaming, then you must have loved Tomb Raider. Back in 1996, a young na├»ve teenage boy was brought a PlayStation for Christmas and with it came a game that would open his eyes to a world of ancient mystery, puzzle solving and a cold heart bitch, who would become one of the most notorious serial killers of all time. Yes I am of course talking about the pop culture icon that is Lara Croft. This year sees the most famous woman in gaming get a brand new reboot, but how does it compare to the original? And how does it measure up to the best games of today?

Well, pretty bloody well actually. There was a danger that this game could have failed on so many levels; the character might not have worked anymore and what if no one cared? Well luckily, people did care. There are a lot of hard core Tomb Raider fans out there in the world and I am proud to say I am one of them, I even enjoyed Angel of Darkness, I know, I know. The origin story of Lara Croft is something that's been touched upon lightly in past games but here it's been giving a complete make over, while still keeping the essence of the original games.
Ok, so here's the gist; Fresh from finishing uni, Lara is off with a group to uncover some secret old island. On a hunch, they head into a dangerous area known as The Dragons Triangle when a storm hits and leaves the crew shipwrecked on a mysterious island... which just happens to be the one they were looking for. What are the chances of that happening, ay? The plot twists and turns as Lara makes her way across the island to find her friends, a way out of there and even herself. I really enjoyed the story, Lara's literal and physical journey is done brilliantly, developing a strong and believable character. It may be true that the secondary characters are a little bit one dimensional, but who cares when the central character is this good? By the end of the game, I was more than satisfied with her characters growth. Lara becomes a relatable and likeable person and I can't wait to see what she does next.

The games location on the island of Yamaitai is a wonderfully rich and detailed setting, full of history and culture that makes the game even more enjoyable to explore. This place is stunning. It's the little details that bring the island to life. The lost documents and artefacts that Lara finds give the island a long complex history for you to piece together as you play. One of my favourite parts of the game were the tombs, which are completely optional. It's the most traditional aspect of the game that made it feel like you're playing Tomb Rader. I liked the simple puzzle solving but was left wanting more, something I expect the next game to explore. Everything about this place brings the game to life; the ever changing weather conditions from sunny skies and heavy rain to light snow, making the setting both tranquil and brutal in equal measure. This island is alive with life both past and present, with animals running round for you to kill for experience and people to kill that you can loot for goods and of course, even more experience. 
What I didn't like about the game was the mammoth body count at the end. Lara literally kills hundreds of people, whether it be with a bow and arrow or a shotgun in the face. For me, the sieges seemed at some points to never end and after a while, I got bored of killing these poor, brainwashed  and doomed people. I would have liked to have had the option to be able to avoid some of the conflict with more stealth based game play. Other than that, I couldn't find much to complain about. The story sweeps you along in a series of visually incredible cut scenes that made this feel more like you're watching an interactive movie than playing a video game. The opening is one of the standout moments for me, along with the plane crash and journey down the mountain to the shanty town, leaving me exhilarated and eager for more of the same. 
This new Tomb Raider completely reinvents the franchise, bringing new life to one of my favourite gaming characters, while still being true to the spirit of the series; I bloody loved the fact that there was still a supernatural element to the game. And while the new game doesn't rewrite the book or introduce anything new to the genre like the original did back in the day, it doesn't need to. Tomb Raider is brilliantly made with a great story, fantastic gameplay, oh, and there are absolutely no dinosaurs in sight, thank god.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing game this is. Finally Tomb Raider has been brought into the 21st century! I completely agree that the whole thing refreshes the franchise while still staying true to the spirit of the series. Love it!