While there are always going to be an endless amount of sequels to games, people forget about the other move that game companies love to do, reboots. We’ve already had one reboot this year with both DmC and now Tomb Raider. However, while some reboots just fall short of the original or feel uninspired, Tomb Raider seems to be a labor of love. You play as a young, naive Lara Croft on her way to the mythical Yamatai island with an expedition crew. As you get closer to the island, things start to get a little crazy and not only does the ship get destroyed, you are completely separated from the rest of your team. Now, stranded on an island of insane inhabitants and religious nuts, Lara must try to find the rest of her crew and escape, all while trying to keep herself alive.
While there has always been a since of survival in older Tomb Raider games, it mostly came from not wanting to have to redo some puzzles. This time, survival is the primary idea and pretty much everything you do is so that you don’t die. There is still the general idea of Tomb Raider with being able to find artifacts and learning about mystical/mythical cultures but the exploration of tombs as a major aspect has been sacrificed. This isn’t necessarily bad though, because the tombs are still present as side missions and if they were as major as they were in previous entries, it would only really take away from the game.
As you progress through the game, Lara actually develops alongside the story in multiple ways. Her character, of course, changes as far as maturing goes but how she moves and acts changes as well. While she is very clumsy at the beginning of the game (i.e. can barely even walk across a fallen log), by the end of the game she is jumping from rooftop to rooftop and sprinting across walkways. Of course, this isn’t an immediate change and adapting to her environment feels very natural.
As you progress, there is also a leveling system for you to be able to purchase new abilities to help you in your adventure. You gain experience from almost everything so by the end of the game you should have most, if not all, of the abilities. They range from being able to scavenge your arrows off of corpses to getting execution moves with each weapon you get.
Salvage is also a major part of the game. As you find random debris and kill enemies, you can search them to gain salvage. You can then use that to upgrade your weapons to make them more powerful, quieter and even give them awesome abilities. One of my favorites is that when you get to the end, you can have Napalm attached to your arrows that will rain fire down on unsuspecting enemies.
Sadly, one of the issues with this game is its multiplayer. While its not awful, its no where near award winning either. There are only 2 game modes that are any fun which are objective based and the deathmatch game types are just disappointingly slow. Thankfully, the single player experience is the primary reason to buy the game and it is good enough that the multiplayer won’t really hinder your feelings towards the game. Just don’t pick it up expecting to get addicted to the online.
Tomb Raider is, quite simply, a reboot done right. It doesn’t lack creativity, you can see the love put into it and even though it is only around a 10 hour game, its hard to even put down the controller. The single player has very little fault and by the end, you completely care about Lara for many reasons. On top of that, the controls are tight and you never really feel cheated. If you’re looking for a great single player experience then trust me, Tomb Raider is definitely one of the best and most polished of the year.
What We Loved:
- Amazing single player campaign
- Controls are tight
- Lara’s development alongside the story is fantastically well done
What We Hated:
- Online mode is nothing great
- A few, rare graphical glitches