To(o Good!)mb Raider

27 Mar


The new game Tomb Raider, a reboot of the franchise by developer Crystal Dynamics has the player taking the role of the “new” Lara Croft. She’s an amateur archeologist fresh from college, as she embarks on a journey with her friends and mentors into the uncharted territory Known as the Dragon’s Triangle. After a storm hits the ship housing Lara and the rest of the crew is wrecked and they wash up on the jungle island called Yamatai inhabited by a mad cult. They soon discover that they can’t leave, owing to an ancient curse put on the island. It’s up to Lara to find her friends, evade the cult and unravel the island’s mysteries.

Whether you’re new to the franchise or already a seasoned raider, it’s likely you’re familiar with the name Lara Croft. She’s basically the embodiment of “kick-ass.”

But the new Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft gives her something of a character facelift. Rather than the stoic warrior, she’s now more feminine, more human. And that has the effect of making her more relatable.

The story may sound like your typical B grade horror story, but it’s all rolled out through an organic series of events, and it actually works as far as the set-up goes. And it introduces players to some key features in the gameplay, one of which that resembles the detective vision in the Batman games. Tomb Raider’s version of this, dubbed Lara’s, “Survival Instinct,” desaturates the screen’s color and highlights clues and environmental wrinkles that might help Lara through puzzles. In addition, whenever Lara finds a new treasure or artifact it can be examined more closely in the menus, often revealing new information about the item.

The game shares parallels with another fantasy-adventure game series, Uncharted, and shares a lot of its mechanics. A third person Platformer accompanied by use of different weapons such as pistols, rifles, shotguns, etc. But a unique weapon in the game and the new icon for the franchise is a Bow and Arrow which along with the other weapons can be upgraded if the player has collected enough building material called salvage found across the island.

The player also can opt to use stealthy silent kills during combat as opposed to the run and gun tactics which usually result in a swift death. The game sports a great deal of challenge as you cannot just use one strategy to take out all enemies. Some enemies use full body shields and others go in to force close combat making the player employ the extent of their arsenal and abilities. The game encourages players to use strategic and tactical in their approach. As ammo becomes scarce, players who have been wasteful with their rounds will find themselves out of options and out of luck.

Visually the game is mostly monochromatic tones during dramatic scenes. But soon the graphics give way to sweeping landscape shots of the island and the different places you’ll visit, lending a nice bit of scenic beauty to all the the gloom and doom.

The game also pays great attention to detail; the beautifully rendered monumental locales, the fine grimy details on Lara in different environments and even her weapons so finely detailed that you can see the individual wooden sticks that make up Lara’s first bow.

The games only real problems lie in its multiplayer, which has various poor-men versions of games like capture the flag and others. They had a distinctly “tacked on” feel to them, and they’re pretty much pointless.

But make no mistake: the single player campaign is definitely worth the $60 price of admission. The new Tomb Raider has it all: a good story, fun gameplay, great graphics and above all a protagonist who’s human enough to make you care about her.

That’s not an easy thing for a game to do.

Two Thumbs Up!

This has, is and always will be my opinion.

Thanks and see ya later!



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