Oh boy, it’s been awhile since I’ve written a video game review. In fact, it’s been awhile since I’ve sat down and played a game. As you’re probably already aware, this website is not meant to be a site where video games are reviewed on the day they’re released, or even a few days after. No, this site is meant to be a place where you can visit, check out what I have played and see if it might interest you. Which brings me to my latest review, Tomb Raider. Word of warning, this is for the single player portion of the game, as I didn’t feel like touching multiplayer, as I believe it was completely unnecessary to include it in the first place. With that said, let’s get on with the review…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: Armed with only the raw instincts and physical ability, Tomb Raider delivers an intense and gritty story into the origins of Lara Croft and her ascent from a frightened young woman to a hardened survivor.
Tomb Raider sees the rebirth of Lara Croft, bringing the story into a more realistic setting (for awhile, until things go bat shit crazy) and really making her a naive adventurer, who gets in way over her head. After crash landing on an island, Lara is put through the ringer, as she tries to gather her friends together and fend off the several crazy natives of the island, who believe that a once ancient and very much dead queen is controlling the weather, forcing no one to be able to leave.
The obvious thing right away with the new Tomb Raider, is the in your face influence from that other adventure game, starring the dashing Nathan Drake, Uncharted. This is very much the female version of Uncharted and that is in no way a bad thing. The set pieces are grand, the battles are fierce and the main star, is put through some obscene amounts of torture. A survivor is born, indeed.
The game is played in a third person view, showing off the beautiful character model, Lara, who has a variety of different weapons at her disposal. You have your standard rifles, hand guns and shotguns, but you also get the wonderful bow, all of them upgradable by obtaining salvage points through the method of scavenging bodies and looting through chests. Besides upgrading weapons, you also obtain skill points by competing missions, or hidden tombs (the only actual tomb raiding in
the game, where you figure out a puzzle and get a nice XP reward in the
end). The skill points can be used to upgrade your adventure abilities (such as faster climbing, or better scavenging) and your fighting and hunting skills. There are also a lot of challenges in the game, which require you seek out hidden items; these will award you with XP points. Finding these can be a challenge (hence the name), but thanks to the Survival Instinct ability, which can be used anytime at the press of a button, it will highlight these items, in addition to enemies and climbing paths. I tried to avoid using this ability as much as possible, as I felt it took away from some of the challenge of beating the game.
The game has something else going for it besides some great game play and that is the beautiful graphics and when I say beautiful, I mean absolutely, positively gorgeous. The environments are so heavily detailed and varied, with several memorable graphical achievements, such as the burning building chase, or the terrifying climb to the top of a radio tower. This is one game that you will want to write home about and just praise it for looking so top notch. If I was to include anything negative about the graphics, I would have to say for the most part, the character models stand out, with Lara and her friends looking the best, but the game has a nice helping of generic bad guys at it’s disposal.
Speaking of, the sound also takes hit from these generic baddies, as the looping one liners you hear them say, as you stalk them with your bow and arrow in the woods, can drive a man, or woman up a wall. Still, besides that little nitpick, the rest of the sound department is phenomenal, with some beautiful music, that will make your ears sing.
As I said before, I didn’t play a lick of multiplayer and I have no desire to play it either. So I have no opinion on it, but there are several other sites that will discuss it further, if you so choose to want to find out more.
Tomb Raider’s single player campaign took me around 15 hours to beat, with a few stops in between, where I just explored a lot. I finished at around 80% complete, with a lot of challenges left undiscovered. After beating the game, you have the option to continue on exploring, so don’t fret if you don’t find everything your first go around. In fact, I’m pretty sure after you beat it, you’ll want to immediately jump right back in and experience this thrilling ride all over again, it’s that good. I say, armchair adventurers and fans of Lara Croft alike, will be plenty happy picking this one up!
Story – 4/5 – It’s a thrilling ride from beginning to end and the pain Lara has to go through is a lot. It sadly goes a little supernatural near the end, but hey, at least she isn’t fighting a dinosaur!
Gameplay – 4/5 – There will be times where you feel like Rambo, stalking helpless fools with your bow and arrow. There will also be times where you’ll feel overwhelmed, but, with the right tools are at your disposal, it makes it all so silky smooth.
Graphics – 4.5/5 – An amazing, beautiful game, that screams next-gen! Sadly, the generic baddies are a downer.
Sound – 4/5 – It all sounds so good, expect for a few reused lines from your generic baddies. Still, this one game to crank up! Overall (not an average) – 4/5 – A few nitpicks with the story and sound, but overall this is one experience worth reliving over and over.