Tomb Raider: review

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GamepadGlory or Gamepadsnory ?

Before and build up –

Initially when I first heard about Tomb Raider I was not all that excited about it. It sounded like a great idea but with all the failed additions to the series in my eyes it started to get frankly stupid. With the new style, the origins story and the concept of it being open world it certainly had my attention. In the build up to Tomb Raiders release the more details the publisher released the more and more impressive it looked. The adverts and game play footage added to my excitement showing the games more in depth cinematic moments.

First impressions –

The first time I took control of the new, more human, Lara I noticed two things. Firstly, they really were not kidding when they wanted it to feel like she is being put through her paces and secondly how much attention to detail the design team had invested into the environment. The way in which the light scatters across from the candles and the warm glow it gives, the water running down walls into a pool below and grimy stones on the ground and walls. I was very satisfied with the way Tomb Raider looked and what the team had achieved with their time and efforts. I love the new sound and how it gives a real sense of the environment. You know that feeling when you look at a game for a little while and then you look at the time and realise 10 minuets has passed and all you had been doing is looking around and at the beautifully crafted world, that happened to me and I’m not ashamed to say a fair few times with this game.

Gameplay & Combat –

Lara feels very responsive, her movement is very fluid and with a solid camera behind her it doesn’t take long for anyone to get good at this game. The bow is definitely the hero weapon with five different versions of it, all improving on the last, its a fun weapon to use. Climbing feels natural and easy to navigate. It doesn’t take long for you to master all the different ways in which you can dispatch your foes and get into the story. This is the point when you can sit back and enjoying the game.

50% in –

So with being quite a way into the game and having found my feet with the controls I find myself having to dispatching my first tormentor with a gun. On screen Lara is nearly throwing up at this ordeal but within five seconds is trying to lob her next enemies head off with a climbing pick. I soon realise this game is not actually open world, sure you do get the sense of the island being open but its not, everything in Tomb Raider is set in one direction. In fact there are even areas in the game, if you go past a certain check point, you will find yourself having to go to the nearest base camp just so you can fast travel back to the area you may have missed. When I think about an open world setting the first couple of games that come to mind are Far Cry and Grand Theft Auto. These are true sand box, go anywhere you like or climb pointless mountains for no reason to find things you don’t need… that’s open world. If all you have in front of you is a straight line then this is not open world.

There are a few hidden tombs around but they are not very difficult to find, there will be a huge painting at the entrance of most. The ones that don’t give you so many clues to where the entrance is make you feel a little patronised by the time you have finished them.

I also noticed that all of the other characters who were part of the original exploration group are under developed and not as well delivered as Lara. This brings the game down but only ever so slightly.

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The end –

After finishing the game I felt fairly satisfied with how the story ended. I liked the transformation of Lara from a young, innocent woman into the proud warrior we all know and love as the game progresses. I do however feel the games ambition was too much too soon, I mean where do they go next with this. They have definitely set the tone and bar with the Tomb Raider reboot but, unfortunately I am going to make this reference, its like comparing Uncharted to Uncharted 2.

Verdict –

Beautifully crafted with amazing detail, a lot of love and heart has been put into making this game. Lara is perfectly executed in all ways but the game lacks in its ambitions, they just don’t quite reach their goals and it leaves you expecting something else to happen but that never comes. A little more attention needs to be paid to the supporting cast but I think with more time and drawing on the experience of making this title the dev team will be able to nail this. I want them to open up the beautiful new world they have created in future instalments. The new direction they are taking the Tomb Raider series in is great.

7.5 / 10 Whippyice

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Posted on April 21, 2013, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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