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Overview

Lara's new character design reflects the game's nature as a full Tomb Raider reinvention.

Tomb Raider is an action-adventure game developed by Crystal Dynamics. It is a full reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise; the game's story, written by Rhianna Pratchett and Susan O'Connor, tells the tale of a young and inexperienced Lara Croft's first adventure. The game was developed by 80% of the team that worked on previous Lara Croft games and features a brand new engine dubbed the Crystal Engine.

Tomb Raider's development was first announced by publisher Square Enix on December 6, 2010. Initially scheduled for Fall 2012, release was pushed after Crystal Dynamics received a directive from Square Enix President Yoichi Wada to make the best game that they could possibly make. It was finally released on March 5, 2013 to general acclaim.

Gameplay

Like its precursors, the new Tomb Raider involves a mix of puzzle solving, platforming and combat in an open world environment. In terms of tone and mechanics, however, the game is more serious and realistic Lara does not dive in slow motion while using dual pistols with pinpoint lock-on accuracy, but rather takes cover behind the environment and eliminates enemies with a carefully aimed arrow from her bow. Unlike the typical franchise enemy roster, consisting largely of various wild animals, players' opponents in this game are almost universally human, with few exceptions. This decreased diversity is offset by an increased depth to the combat. Lara uses four different ranged weapons, each with its own unlockable upgrades, alt-fire mode, and out-of-combat utility. Upgrading weapons requires resources in the form of salvage which can be found in various containers throughout the island or by looting corpses. She can also use salvage to unlock limited close-combat capabilities, being able to dodge and counterattack, as well as perform executions on incapacitated enemies.

Action-packed sequences abound.

Tomb Raider's platforming follows in the vein of the Uncharted series, with cinematic set-pieces and dynamic features, as well as limited use of quick-time events. These set-pieces led to some initial negative publicity for the game (the first in the franchise to receive an 'M' ESRB rating), as failure frequently results in gruesome, fully-animated deaths, such as being impaled through the chin or crushed under a boulder. Increased control over jumps and the ability to scramble up walls, among other enhancements, make the platforming feel more polished mechanically than previously in the franchise. Puzzle-solving is also a more active process, as Lara must take into account variable elements such as fire, wind, and momentum. To aid her, Lara can activate her "Survival Instinct" at any time while standing still, which will highlight objectives, enemies, collectibles, and interactive elements.

Base Camps allow Lara to fast travel across the island. These camps are also where the player upgrades Lara's skills and weapons. Use of fast travel is essential for getting all the collectibles, as many are hidden or blocked behind obstacles that Lara obtains the tools to overcome later in the game. These collectibles include journals from past island inhabitants and the Endurance crew, relics reflecting the island's legacy, and GPS markers which reveal hidden caches. They can be found through exploration, by use of Survival Instinct, or by clearing each area's tomb to retrieve the treasure map at the end.

Story

Traveling aboard the Endurance, captained by Conrad Roth, Lara and her mentor, Dr. James Whitman, are seeking the ruins of the legendary island of Yamatai, which was ruled by the shamanistic Sun Queen, Himiko. Accompanying Lara is her friend of Japanese descent, Samantha, who is fascinated by story of Himiko. For Lara, the quest is inherited from her father, also an archaeologist, while for Dr. Whitman the primary appeal is as material for a TV series. Against Dr. Whitman's wishes, they follow Lara's hunch that Yamatai is to be found in the Dragon's Triangle, an infamously stormy and dangerous area of the ocean southeast of Japan. The Endurance is caught in a raging squall and shipwrecked on a mysterious island. The survivors soon encounter a band of homicidal madmen, and are split up in the ensuing melee. Most of the game focuses on Lara's journeys across the island to reunite with and rescue her friends, and find a way home. Early on, she manages to send an SOS message, and a plane arrives to evacuate the survivors. However, a freak localized storm forms and strikes the plane from the sky

Trial by fire.

As she fights the hostile inhabitants of Yamatai, it is revealed that they are a fanatical cult, led by the ruthless Father Mathias, who was stranded there in 1982. As more people are shipwrecked by the Dragon Triangle's storms, the men are captured, tortured, and indoctrinated into the Solarii, the warrior core of the cult. The women, however, can be found crucified and burned to death across the island in some twisted ritual. Lara eventually reunites with most of her companions, including Joslin Reyes, the mechanic, who is repairing an escape boat, but discovers that Samantha has been abducted by Mathias for a sinister purpose. Pursuing him into the island's ancient temple, Lara discovers that the storms are caused by Himiko's vengeful spirit, still trapped in her ancient corpse. Mathias believes Himiko much pass her power on to a successor for the storms to stop and escape to be possible. However, the ritual for the transferral of power involves a trial by fire, which every woman thus far has failed. Samantha miraculously survives the trial, and Mathias takes her into the inner sanctum to continue the ritual. This angers the Guardians, magically preserved soldiers of Yamatai which defend Himiko's remains. Lara fights her way through both Solarii and Guardians to finally reach Mathias and Samantha in the midst of the transference process. What Lara has learned that Mathias has not is that it is not Himiko's power that is transferred, but her soul in its entirety, destroying the vessel's in the process. Therefore, to save her friend, Lara kills Mathias (finally wielding her trademark dual pistols) and torches Himiko's body, laying her to rest once and for all.

With the storms finally eliminated, Lara and Samantha escape with what few companions survive (only Reyes and Jonah, the galley master). They are picked up by a passing ship, and given the opportunity to go back home. However, Lara now realizes that she is an adventurer at heart, and there are many more questions that need answering. She has become a survivor, and will go wherever she must to find answers.

Skills

Throughout the game Lara earns experience that can be used to unlock a large number of different skills. They are broken up into three different categories of survivor, hunter and brawler upgrades. Within the categories, skills are tiered based on certain milestones of total skills. In essence, this prevents players from completely specializing in a certain tree, requiring that skill points be distributed relatively evenly among the trees. However, it is easily possible to gain enough experience by the end of the game to unlock every single skill.

Survivor

  • Animal Instincts - Keen observation allows players to spot hard-to-find animals and food sources.
  • Survivalist - Earn extra rewards when looting animal corpses and food caches.
  • Advanced Salvaging - Thoroughly search crates and caches to find extra salvage.
  • Bone Collector - Carefully looting animal corpses will reward players with extra salvage.
  • Arrow Retrieval - Resourceful archers can recover arrows from the bodies of enemies.
  • Scavenging - Spotting hidden pockets on enemy corpses will reward players with extra ammunition.
  • Climber's Agility - Increase players' climbing skills to traverse the environment with more speed and resist falling damage.
  • Orienteering - Players can use their keen perception to find hidden rewards in the environment.
  • Cartography - All tomb entrances and map locations will be revealed on the map.

Hunter

  • Steady Shot - A focused mind allows players more time to aim deadly shots with the bow.
  • Ammo Capacity - Efficient use of bags and pockets allows players to carry more ammunition.
  • Heavy Lifter - Increased strength allows players to carry the maximum amount of ammunition.
  • Accomplished Killer - Eliminate enemies with finesse to earn greater rewards.
  • Bow Expert - Stab enemies at close range with arrows for extra rewards. Also unlocks headshot reticule.
  • Pistol Expert - Execute enemies at point blank range for more rewards. Also unlocks headshot reticule.
  • Rifle Expert - Unload the rifle at close range to brutally finish enemies and earn bonus rewards.
  • Shotgun Expert - Blast enemies with the shotgun at close range to stop them in their tracks and earn extra rewards.

Brawler

  • Pain Tolerance - Withstand more punishment in combat and live to fight another day.
  • Dirty Tricks - Cleverly use dirt and rocks to blind enemies and leave them vulnerable to attacks.
  • Axe Strikes - Deliver two swift strikes with the climbing axe to stun enemies.
  • Axe Expert - Use the climbing axe to deliver a deadly, stunning blow to enemies.
  • Dodge Counter - After dodging an enemy, stab them in the knee with an arrow to cripple them and leave them vulnerable to a killing blow.
  • Dodge Kill - Skillfully dodge lightly armored opponents and then strike them at close range to kill them instantly.
  • Dodge Kill Mastery - Striking after dodging becomes even more deadly, allowing players to kill almost any enemy.

Weapons

Lara gradually acquires a sizable armory, either scavenged or stolen from defeated enemies. Each weapon has its own upgrade tree, purchased using salvage found throughout the game world. In addition, weapon parts can be found, upgrading the weapon and another tier of upgrades.

Bow

The bow is Lara's first and most versatile weapon. It is silent, and with an upgrade arrows can be retrieved from bodies after use. In exploration, it has many uses: setting fires, pulling objects, opening rope-bound barriers, and creating ziplines.

  • Rope Arrows - Adds a rope arrow as an alternate firing mode.
  • Fire Arrows - Arrows are lit on fire and ignite targets on impact.
  • Napalm Arrows - Fire arrows spread a pool of fire on impact.
  • Explosive Arrows - Arrows are rigged with grenade tips to explode on impact.
  • Reinforced Limbs - Reinforced bow limbs allow a stronger pull for increased damage.
  • Plaited String - Twisted bow string increases arrow damage.
  • Stabilizing Weight - Stabilizing weights improve accuracy resulting in increased damage.
  • Penetrating Arrows - Charged shots will penetrate armor or pass through soft targets to hit multiple enemies.
  • Wrapped String - Wrapped string enables faster firing.
  • Key Ring Trigger - Makeshift key ring release trigger further increases firing rate.

Shotgun

The shotgun is, of course, a close-range weapon. In exploration, it is used to destroy flimsy wood and chickenwire barriers, allowing access to more areas.

  • Full Choke - Adds an alternate firing mode which concentrates the cone of pellets and gives them longer range.
  • Incendiary Shells - Modified barrel tip applies ignitable fuel to outgoing pellets.
  • Barrel Shroud - Slotted barrel shroud improves gun handling for increased damage.
  • Modified Receiver - Tuned mechanics improve performance for additional damage.
  • Polished Bolt - Faster cycle rate between shots improves firing rate.
  • Padded Grip - Padded front grip helps steady the weapon for reduced weapon kick.
  • Wrapped Stock - Wrapped folding stock further steadies the weapon while firing.
  • Shell Mag - Removes need to load shells individually for faster reloading.
  • Drum Mag - Improves reload speed and doubles magazine size to 12.

Rifle

Upgrades and acquisitions are reflected on the weapon and Lara's character model.

The rifle is powerful and long-ranged but with low accuracy and high recoil. In exploration, the grenade launcher add-on blasts through metal barriers.

  • Grenade Launcher - Makeshift grenade launcher removed from an enemy turret and attached to the rifle.
  • Frag Grenades - Grenades spray shrapnel upon detonation, incapacitating enemies in a wide blast radius.
  • High Capacity Mag - Longer magazine holds 15 more rounds.
  • Barrel Shroud - Barrel shroud improves gun handling for increased damage.
  • Match Grade Barrel - Custom barrel rifling increases bullet speed for more damage.
  • Padded Stock - Rifle butt and grip padding helps steady the weapon while firing.
  • Muzzle Brake - Effectively dispels the gas from bullet firing to reduce recoil.
  • Taped Double Mag - Two magazines taped together increases reload speed.
  • Polished Ejector - Polished ejector increases firing rate.
  • Scope - Increases zoom magnification for improved accuracy at long range.
  • Silencer - Shots are quieted at the cost of slightly reduced damage.

Handgun

The handgun is accurate, but weak, and hold the distinction of being the only weapon usable while holding a torch. It is also the only weapon which has no unique purpose outside of combat.

  • Burst Fire Mod - Allows for an alternate three round firing mode.
  • Extended Mag - Longer magazine holds 10 rounds.
  • High Capacity Mag - Extra long magazine holds 12 rounds.
  • Port Vented Slide - Recoil compensation improves accuracy for increased damage.
  • Muzzle Brake - Delivers a round more accurately for increased damage.
  • Polished Barrel - Improves mechanical performance for increased damage.
  • Magazine Well - Magazine is easier to insert for reduced reload time.
  • Rapid Fire Mod - Hair trigger modifications increase rate of fire.
  • Ergonomic Grip - Rubberized grip modification reduces recoil.
  • Silencer - Shots are quieted at the cost of slightly reduced damage.

Axe

The climbing axe serves as the primary melee weapon, allowing Lara to defend herself in close combat. In exploration, it is used to scale cliff faces, turn cranks, and pry open chests and doors.

  • Strengthen - Reinforces the pry axe so that it can be used to operate cranks.

Multiplayer

Tomb Raider's multiplayer mode lets players play as the survivors (Lara's group of friends) or the Solarii (the crazies who inhabit the island). The mode has a leveling up system where players earn experience points when they defeat enemies, complete objectives and win matches. The experience points go towards the player's general level. Passing levels leads to unlocking new characters (Lara is one of the last unlockable characters), skins, weapons (each player starts with a level 1 character who only has a bow and arrow) as well as traps. The game lets players hide traps throughout the maps such as rope which entangle opponents (players can free themselves by mashing on a button or by having a friend help) and fake ammo boxes.

As players level up, they gain better weapons as well as grenades. Tomb Raider's multiplayer also has a perks system where players must choose between an offensive perk as well as a survival perk. Many aspects of the single player game carry over into the multiplayer with these perks. For example, one survival perk lets players see important and useful objects within the environment.

Many of the single-player characters are playable in multiplayer.

The multiplayer features 5 maps (with more to come through DLC). Players can climb, jump and use rope lines to navigate the maps quickly. The cover system from the single player has been removed in favor of a retooled sprint where characters lower their heads like in Gears of War. Certain maps have mystical elements. For example, one map has a magic bell which, once rung, triggers a deadly sand storm.

There are 4 multiplayer modes in Tomb Raider. The Free for All mode is classic free for all where players run around the environment, shooting anything that moves, the player with the most points at the end of the match winning the game. Team Deathmatch is similar to Free for All except that players are put into teams (the Solarii or the Survivors) and must kill the opposite team in order to score points. Rescue is a sort of objective based mode similar to capture the flag where the survivors try to gather supplies and bring them back to their base while the Solarii try to stop them. Finally, Cry for Help is another objective based game mode where the Survivors fights for a communication tower in order to call for help while the Solarii try to stop them.

Soundtrack

The game have 20 songs, all composed by Jason Graves, the soundtrack is released as a digital download on March 5, 2013, and also available on iTunes.

Track list

Track No.TitleDuration
1.Adventure Found Me1:02
2.The Scavenger's Den3:47
3.Exploring the Island2:04
4.First Blood4:26
5.Reaching Roth3:17
6.Infiltrating the Bunker2:38
7.A Call for Help6:31
8.Entering Himiko's Tomb3:07
9.The Descent4:12
10.The One5:40
11.The Scavenger's Camp2:33
12.Paying Respects4:45
13.On the Beach6:49
14.Secret of the Island2:16
15.The Oni4:32
16.Whitman's Test5:10
17.Scaling the Ziggurat3:50
18.The Ritual4:05
19.A Survivor is Born3:12
20.The Tomb Raider0:51
Overall Time Duration74:47

PC system requirements

Minimum

  • Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Vista,7,8 (32bit/64bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics card with 512Mb Video RAM:
    • AMD Radeon HD 2600 XT
    • nVidia 8600
  • Dual core CPU:
    • AMD Athlon64 X2 2.1 Ghz (4050+)
    • Intel Core2 Duo 1.86 Ghz (E6300)
  • 1GB Memory (2GB on Vista)

Recommended

  • Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8
  • DirectX 11 graphics card with 1GB Video RAM:
    • AMD Radeon HD 4870
    • nVidia GTX 480
  • Quad core CPU:
    • AMD Phenom II X2 565
    • Intel Core i5-750
  • 4GB Memory

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