Tomb Raider Review: No Dinosaurs, But That’s Okay With Me.

Crystal Dynamic does a wonderful job with the new Tomb Raider.
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Tomb Raider

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Tomb Raider is yet another reboot to start off the 2013 year.  In many ways they stay true to the series’ roots.  The series prior to this reboot consisted of your typical action/adventure hero who’d come out clean and unscathed after every battle. 

She was the daughter of a wealthy archeologist and had tons of money and toys to aid her on her adventures to fight dinosaurs and gun toting enemies alike.  Crystal Dynamics honors this by still including platforming, guns, collectables, even supernatural elements, and that’s about it.  The game’s attempt to immerse you in this new world and new Lara Croft is done very well. 


Lara Croft is the daughter of a well known archeologist who is now deceased.  She was given the opportunity with her friend Sam, and Roth, her late father’s best friend, to fund and accompany a team of 5 others on an excavation of a mysterious island.  The story begins with a very naive and sheltered Lara.  Lara and her friends wind up stranded on the same island they set out to find.  Once they arrive there, via boat crash and horrible storms, they encounter some not-so-friendly inhabitants of the island.  For unknown reasons they want to capture and kill your crew.  Lara’s journey from beginning to end is trying to rescue her friends and get off the island.  The dialog and story are very well written and performed. 

What I found to be more telling than any words or cut scenes were Lara’s movements.  You see her limping, unable to climb (which is a key element to the game), grabbing recent wounds, etc. Another facet of the progression of Lara is through her skill tree.  At the beginning of the game you have other real skills other than a bow and arrow.  As you progress you then unlock the ability to simply melee enemies, then countering other peoples attacks, to becoming a master of everything this remote island has to throw at you.  As a fan of many RPGs the unfolding of Lara’s new self through both story and skill tree has been tried many times before, but never quite as well as is here. 

The platforming and exploration by no means takes a back seat to the story.  I found myself sinking in about 20 hours into the campaign just because it was fun to explore the one room tombs, find artifacts, GPS caches, and other goodies along the way.  I can see how some people will be turned off by the location of those objects being revealed once you find the map.  I never found that it took away from my enjoyment of exploring, and I don’t usually 100% a game. 


A lot of people won’t take to the multiplayer, I think, out of spite or thinking it’s just a poor attempt to excuse a full $60 product.  I really enjoy the multiplayer.  I find the character progression ideas from the single player being a good fit in multiplayer.  You get to upgrade guns, bows, grenade launchers, mines, and a variety of others.  Multiplayer modes don’t offer anything new or inspiring. 

Your basic stock of free for all, team deathmatch, a version of COD dog tags vs mode.  In this mode, when you down enemies, you pick up “battery packs” for points.  You also have a variety of small highlighted areas to take over for more battery packs.  The opposing side tries to stop you from picking up downed teammates battery packs and prevent the enemy from taking control points.   The other option for multiplayer mode is a capture the flag game.  Instead of a flag, it’s a medical kit.  This mode was a little lacking, but I felt this mode worked better on some maps than others.

Overall, this version of Tomb Raider I find to be an awesome experience and hope we see the New Lara Croft’s adventure continue.  I hope the multiplayer is something that is continued to be invested in for future iterations as it has a lot of fun elements.  If you like action/adventure games, this is a game you’ve got to survive all the way to the end.

Tomb Raider Review: No Dinosaurs, But That’s Okay With Me.
Crystal Dynamic does a wonderful job with the new Tomb Raider.

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I'm a stay at home dad who writes about video games. I enjoy my family, video games, and music.