Tomb Raider has undergone a remix in this prequel to the earlier games, but the question is does it do the Lara Croft legend any justice?
The new version is set as an origin story to the original games and tells the story of Lara Croft’s beginning as an adventurer. Starting out as a bit of an academic, but rapidly becoming more of a survivor.
From the box:
After a brutal storm destroys the boat she was travelling on, a frightened young woman is left washed ashore on an unknown beach. On her own but not alone she has only one goal, to survive.
Here begins the first adventure for a young and inexperienced Lara Croft in a story which charts the journey of an ordinary woman who finds out just how far she must go in order to stay alive.
Armed with only the raw instincts and physical ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, 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.
The game plays as a mix of Exploration, stealth and combat as you roam around the island piecing together the story of the island, and try to survive both the natural hazards and the islands inhabitants.
If you’ve managed to miss what Lara Croft is about (where have you been all these years). its a blend of leaping across chasms from vertigo inducing heights and shooting various fauna, monsters and psycho loonies to gain rewards.
Leaping about the environments sometimes yields the reward of finding loot or optional tombs for more rewards.
As in the previous review of Crysis 3, the primary weapon thrust upon you is a bow which you can upgrade periodically as you find pieces and collect ‘Salvage’ from boxes and crates littered about the environments. You will also find along the way, other weapons (namely and Ice Axe, Pistol, Shotgun and a Rifle) which can also be upgraded.
Lovely graphics are the first pointer to this being something a little special, starting out just after a shipwreck and you can see beautiful sea vistas as you start your quest, as you progress you’ll see tombs littered with bones and the island strewn with the ruins of concrete buildings and temples hinting at the islands past. The character models all have been exceptionally well crafted too, and once you start earning rewards, you can see just how well in the ‘Gallery’ once you unlock them.
I felt that the combat was more satisfying than that in Crysis 3, and the AI was a little more challenging, as the bad guys in all their guises actually did try to outflank me and chuck dynamite, grenades or Molotov cocktails at me to force me from cover, calling to their friends as they did so.
The weapons also seemed more satisfying too; shooting somebody in the head with your bow resulted in any associates crying the alarm and attacking you and (occasionally successfully) actually trying to kill you; whilst offing several enemies with 3 or 4 well placed pistol shots brought smile to these old jaded lips.
Which brings me on to the ‘stealth’ part of the gameplay – this is my usual preferred style of playing, but stealth in Tomb Raider was less of the stealthily ninja warrior, and more of the conveniently placed enemy. There is a couple of places where you ‘sneak’ past enemies, but this was more of a set-piece than actual stealth, but this is not a detriment in my opinion.
Once in a while you will happen on an ‘Optional Tomb’ to be raided for yet more rewards, but for me these felt like they were almost an afterthought; as if the developers suddenly though “Hey, this is Tomb Raider, but we haven’t got any tombs to raid! shove something in quickly…”. They do not provide much of a challenge to complete, nor do they give any substantial rewards.
To sum up I really enjoyed this game and would recommend to anyone. In answer to my earlier question – Yes! Lara would be proud! 🙂
I’ll give it 9/10