Full Tomb Raider Review

We bring you the complete GameSkinny review on the new Tomb Raider release from Square Enix.

I raved about this game when I pre-ordered, and again when I played the first few minutes of the game on release day. I'll continue to rave about it in this review, so if you hated the game, be prepared for my shining praise and adoration for this game.

The Gods worked in my favor yesterday and showered the East Coast with what appeared to be a small blizzard--meaning snow day! I took me 11.6 hours (according to Steam), but I beat the game yesterday.

So, on with the review. Unfortunately there was no great way to capture video, so for now, it's completely text based.

The Game Play

I touched on this briefly in my previous article, but after completing the game, I have to say that the controls could use improvement. Square Enix did an alright job getting the game on PC, but this game is definitely meant for a controller. Mine hasn't shown up yet. Again, keyboard placement can sometimes be complicated if you're not ready to press the right keys.

More importantly, sometimes the game just flat-out doesn't tell you what keys do what. Which is frustrating when you're hanging from a ledge and E isn't working to get you over the cliff. I died a couple of times trying to get through sequences which aren't 100% clear.

Switching from keyboard to controller is kind of irritating, so I would recommend starting out on one or the other.

I heard many complaints of glitches and crashing, but I didn't have any issues whatsoever, so I guess I got lucky in that regard. I had no graphical glitches, everything ran smoothly and I really enjoyed the look and feel of the game.

The puzzle aspects of the game was fun. They're somewhat simple to get through if you think. Again, the controls can screw you up some, but once you get the hang of it it's fairly easy to figure out how to do it.

Also, the Survival Instinct feature (the greyscale screen you get when you press Q) is extremely helpful, especially if you master the skill that allows you to see more salvage in the environment. Things that are important show up as bright shiny orange when you activate the Survival Instincts, which keeps you on track and helps you with some of the smaller XP gaining quests (like destroying objects--these are completely optional).

As a note about half--give or take--of the game is cinematic. I loved this, though I know that many gamers hated how many cut scenes there were throughout. My chief complaint about this was that most auto-save points are either right before or right after a cut scene, meaning that if you die... yup, you're watching those cut scenes over and over, with no way to skip past them.

Combat

Combat was an interesting aspect of this game that took a little time for me to get used to. With a mouse it can be somewhat complicated, though I didn't get a chance to try it out on the controller.

The bow was by far my favorite weapon. The arrows you get are insane--napalm arrows and grenade arrows made things super fun. While you get these super damaging weapons, you can't just go in guns blazing; trust me, I tried. Each situation has to be analyzed carefully so that you can kill most of the guys without being seen or heard. Which is why I enjoyed the bow way more than any of the guns you receive. It's silent and deadly.

Aiming and shooting are fairly self explanatory, though I've never actually used the middle mouse wheel to fire a weapon, so that was an interesting point.

You do actually have to be aware of your time. It's easy to become overwhelmed by guys swarming at you, especially towards the end, so just keep that in mind. Some fights are surprisingly difficult (due to what keys you press when, half the time) and may need two or three tries before you manage to get past them.

Story

I actually enjoyed this story more than the game play. While some may say that it was cliche and unoriginal, I loved it. It was easy to get involved in and easy to follow--the characters were all at least mostly convincing, even if some are rather ungrateful that you save their lives more than once.

Most importantly, though, I really bonded with Lara. The developer's intention was to create an atmosphere where you would actively want to save Lara; but I disagree with that view. Lara is kick-ass as hell and she doesn't really need saving. I prefer to think of it as going on this chaotic adventure with her as an observer.

I can in no way relate to the protagonist (aside from desperately wanting her sick body and adventurous life), but like Isaac from Dead Space, I found myself really rooting for her and wanting her to live and succeed.

Rating

I gave this game 9 out of 10 only because the controls were confusing sometimes and the cut scenes were a pain to sit through after the second or third time of seeing the same one. I would absolutely recommend adding this game to your library--it's a quality game that I really enjoyed and will be playing again. Definitely worth the money.

Our Rating
9
We bring you the complete GameSkinny review on the new Tomb Raider release from Square Enix.

Former Staff Editor

whale biologist.

Published May. 10th 2013
  • Juna Zell
    Contributor
    What really annoys me about the game is the stupid challenges. Wandering around looking for mushrooms? No fun :(
  • HorseJacker_
    Featured Contributor
    Got the game last night for PS3 and thus far I love it.

    One negative I agree with is the controls and camera angles, especially when encountering the wolves. Their usually so close, you can't get a great read on them with the bow.

    Wonderful review though and spot on so far, beautiful game.

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