Lara Croft, welcome to the next gen! The newest installation to the Tomb Raider series is a refreshing welcome to a once beloved franchise. By my count it’s been over 10 years since the last good Tomb Raider game and this is something the character needed badly.
This Tomb Raider story takes us back to the early years of Lara Croft’s life. A new college graduate on the hunt for an adventure, her first big adventure. In tow she has a very a typical supporting cast but that does not hinder the story as this story is Lara’s.
The game opens up aboard the ship Endurance. Lara and the crew are setting out to find the lost kingdom of Yamatai. Trouble quickly arises as the ship is thrashed about in a monster storm at sea, ripping it into two while washing Lara and the crew of the Endurance onto the shore of a nearby mysterious island (no not that island). From here Lara is nabbed by “natives” of the island to which she has to fight her way from their captivity and back to her team to find rescue and decipher the mystery of exactly where they are.
With this the game opens up a bunch of various survival aspects that one would get the feeling will play a big part of the game but merely only serve as XP boosters. Aside from the survival “tease” aspect of the game the rest of the gameplay is quite enjoyable. One of the better aspects of the game is the acrobatics. All the parts where you had to scale a mountain side or cross a treacherous bridge made very engaging moments for this game.
The combat in the game was good and familiar but never went into areas of being intuitive. This is not a problem however unless you are looking for some sort of new combat system in a game. Everything felt very fluid when in combat regardless of which weapon you used. I didn’t grow tiresome of the combat in this game either as I did with the first Uncharted, a game that can be viewed to as similar to this.
Visually this game is a treat with some extremely breathtaking scenes. Most notably for me was a scene you scale a rickety radio tower, the view from the top; awesome! Beyond that the game continually keeps up with its good looks. The character models look good as do the surrounding landscape. Some of the cooler cut scenes do popup when Lara dies which makes it worth dying in certain areas at least once.
Tying in nicely with the beauty of the game is the sound effects and ambiance of the island. Whether it’s the running water of a nearby stream or chirping of birds overhead it all plays a big part in helping the player stay engaged with everything going on. The cast of voice actors do a very good job with the script they were given and never really stray into the realm of corny.
Overall the games story was pretty good. No real big surprises as things were pretty predictable for the most part but the purpose of this game isn’t to surprise the player with the story but exhilarate, which it does a good job with.
However you want to look at this game, whether as a reboot of an old franchise or just a new story from an earlier time in Lara’s life it’s something I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys action/adventure games. Welcome back Lara, you’ve been away for quite some time.