shacks's Tomb Raider (PlayStation 3) review

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My Tomb Raider Review

I have never played any of the previous Tomb Raider games. I have seen some of the first couple played from time to time, but nothing about them caught my interest at all. So I can not do any comparing really from those to the new rebooted Tomb Raider that has given birth to a new Lara Croft. Crystal Dynamics did what I think a lot of developers wish they could do with big budget well known game series. Not only did they go out on a limb to reboot Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider franchise, but they did it with great success as well.

All of have ever known about Lara Croft is she is rich, raids tombs and loves adventure. With this reboot it basically shows us the start of Lara’s addiction to adventure. She has set out to make her mark as an archeologist on a ship with a crew that is looking to create a reality TV show. The set piece is the lost island kingdom of Yamatai. However things go sideways as the ship crashes them onto the island and Lara is quickly separated from her friends. From there Lara learns quickly that she must do anything necessary to survive.

Crystal Dynamics said before the launch of this Tomb Raider that they wanted to make players feel like they had to protect Lara as they played through the game. That isn’t the case at all. In fact playing as Lara is no different then playing almost any character in similar situations and actually goes a bit farther than that. I personally don’t like playing females in video games; simply because I am not one, but playing as Lara Croft was the closest to a female protagonist I have felt since Jill Valentine in Resident Evil 3. Lara Croft came across to me as a very independent and strong character, which did not need anyone taking care of her.

Lara Croft is quickly thrown into an environment were she has to do anything to survive and she does by all means necessary. Tomb Raider does a great job of blurring the lines of adventure and stealth. One minute you will be running around the area and the next you will be sneaking up on your enemies to take them out quietly. Or you can if you choose run in guns blazing, but the bow Lara gets quickly in the game makes the stealth quiet way of doing things most fulfilling. If that is not your style Lara gets her hands on a few other weapons in the game in line of a pistol, rifle, climbing ax and a shot gun. All of which can be upgraded throughout the game. None of them are as fun and again fulfilling as the bow, especially the shot gun. A shot gun should not take around four shots to kill someone up close. When Lara is not in battle she gets around usually by climbing rock sides and others with ropes to slide down or climb up. You will also unlock different tools and such to use with the weapons to also help you get around. This enhances the game play allowing you to go back through to get collectables that you before could not get.

Outside of the main story of Lara trying to get her friends and herself off this island alive, there is also tombs to be… well, raided of course. These tombs do give a break in the main game play, but they are all very short lived however. They all usually take all of five minutes to complete with one or maybe to puzzles total in each. Not only is there not a lot of puzzle solving, but they are easy to solve on top of it. The tomb raiding does seem like they are very tacked on at best and most of the focus in the game went to the main story and adventure that lies there. Of course being I have not played a Tomb Raider game before I can not at all compare tombs of before to the ones in this game, but I can assume there was much more to the tombs in old Tomb Raider games, simply because these are so simple and watered down.

Tomb Raider is a pretty linear game, but it is well masked with the ability to go back to old locations and that most locations are open for you to play around in after the baddies are all dead to search for salvage, complete challenges and find hidden things such as GPS caches. This also helps break up some of the repetitiveness of killing bad guys and also if you find fun to swinging and climbing around this will add to the length of the game. It also gives you the opportunity to just simply look around you. Tomb Raider has arguably the best graphics of any console game to date and looking around the environment is absolutely breath taking to say the least. Even during cut scenes the game at times almost looks real to life. It is like you really are watching a movie.

The only thing that feels more tacked on in Tomb Raider than the raiding of tombs is the multiplayer. I would have given it more time, but I didn’t have to. It is by far probably the worst multiplayer I have played in a long time. The controls don’t feel as smooth as the single player causing your character to clunk around while running or aiming down opponents. The lag is horrific and completely game breaking more times than not. There was even an instant that right as a game was starting someone came from behind and killed me, within seconds of the match starting. This wasn’t me coming into a game late and not paying attention. This was I was in the lobby and then the match started. There is a short count down as you look at your character before each match starts. So either the game is that bad to have someone kill me so quickly or someone glitched, either way it is a problem with the multiplayer and should have been addressed. There is no excuse this day in age to have a multiplayer be this broken.

The multiplayer might be a nightmare, but it is not at all the reason to play this game. I am sure hardcore fans of Tomb Raider games and of Lara Croft will find issues with the new tone for her and where this new series is going, but it is amazing none the less. Lara Croft is never crying or whining, she strong and takes all that comes at her in stride. Some might say this is dark compared to the other games, but Crystal Dynamics humanized Lara Croft and put her through the wringer making her one of the greatest adventures I have ever seen. I love what this game is and can not wait to see what is next for Lara Croft. This is a must have for anyone that loves action and adventure in their video games.


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