Tomb Raider (2013) Game Review by Alex (DragonCraft Productions)


Tomb Raider is one of the most recognizable titles that exist in the gaming industry. It features Lara Croft in her various adventures throughout the world in her quest of finding ancient relics and revealing the truth about many of the mysterious the world. This concept has worked quite well in the past, but we never had an origin story, a game where Lara was still green.

Tomb Raider has delivered just that. The story begins with Lara, fresh out of school really, and her fellow crew members of the ship Endurance being stranded on a strange island, which later on is identified as Yamatai, the island of the Sun Queen. Very soon Lara finds herself dealing with so much more than she bargained for: the island, although inaccessible normally, is inhabited by a strange cult, which worships the Sun Queen Himiko, who died in ages past. Lara soon has to face not only the horrors of the island itself, not only the vicious cult members who are out for blood, but also come across phenomena that are just plain unnatural, as if the Sun Queen herself conjures storms to keep everyone inside.

The story is progressively becoming more and more intense and it somehow keeps you at the end of your seat; will Lara fail now? Or she will manage to beat all odds?

Like every Tomb Raider game, it offers various puzzles and optional tombs to discover and explore, but they are vastly different from the past. This reboot focuses more on plain logic and fast gameplay rather than painstakingly trying to time your jump perfectly to reach the ledge where that damn lever is, which will enable you to enter the underwater cavern and after you manage that without drowning, to reach that other lever… No, this game is heavily influenced by the likes of Uncharted.

Lara has a variety of weapons, from a bow to a bloody grenade launcher. What is missing though are Lara’s trademark twin pistols, though she more than makes it up for it with her “twin pistols”, if you get my drift! Once again, the design of our heroine focuses on her looks, like it has always been done so in the past; hell, the designers of the game even openly admitted that they made Lara’s breasts as big as possible! But I was talking about weapons first: it’s easy to get distracted by Lara and how she moves in the game.

Lara can obtain Salvage in her journey, which will then enable her to upgrade her weapons to make them more powerful and flexible. The bow often becomes the weapon of choice, as it doesn’t just offer silent takedowns from the get-go, it’s also very handy as you can use it for plethora of actions, such as use the rope arrow to help you climb to a next level, or use the burning arrows, all while singing: “We didn’t start the fire!” (extra credit who gets the reference) or help you access new optional tombs.

Lara Croft is an archaeologist and the game makes sure that you learn it. In every level, there are various relics to find, some are ranging a thousand years back, some can be World War II equipment. Lara makes a habit of finding those and she gains knowledge from them. In fact, the relics are much more interesting than the optional tombs, as the later contain weapons parts (which is bloody weird that you can find shotgun blueprints in a case sealed for God knows how many years) or unlock perks for Lara, such as faster climbing. The puzzles leading to those rewards though are really fun, so that counters it a bit. Just a little bit.

Apart from upgrading weapons, you also have Lara to think about; she also learns and upgrades her own skillset as you go on. Everytime you kill someone or find a relic or anything in the world that is going to have impact on the game of some sorts, you gain XP. Once you reach a certain threshold, you are given a Skill Point. You use said SP to unlock a Skill (shocking, I know) from 3 different categories: Survivor, Hunter and Brawler. Each category is useful to the game and most of the skills make sense and will help you reach your goal much faster and much more efficiently. While this is not to be used as a guide, the Survivor skillset is far more important in early levels, as the game is very intelligently designed for the player to be able to survive the onslaught of the starting zones.

Visually, the game is stunning. The depth of details that have gone into this game is just astonishing. Every action Lara makes or every hit she receives, it is portrayed in your screen (unless you are using DLC attires. Then nothing can harm you. Hell, you don’t even get dirty!) The forest, the sea, the storms, the mountain peaks, the man-made structures, everything is a sheer beauty. The soundtrack, apart from one or two tracks, isn’t very… appealing. You tend to forget about it. The sound effects however, now THAT is astonishing. What was lacking a little bit has to be the voice acting: apart from the main antagonist of the game and a handful of enemies, no one is really leaving an impression. However, what is worth noting, is how Lara’s voice actor, Camilla Luddington, manages to show the growth of Lara. As the story progresses, so does the voice acting. In the end, we are treated with a Lara who has seen terrors, has survived them all and her eyes show the tale as well.

Tomb Raider (2013) is the finest reboot of Lara Croft we ever have had. It’s a joy to have, a joy to play and in the end, a joy to complete. Come then, brave the island of Yamatai, where Lara Croft will guide you to a world of mysteries and awe. Come and experience the shaping of Lara Croft, the world’s leading authority in archaeology and why she has dominated the gaming industry for over 20 years now.

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Alex Very nice review and it is a hell of a game, I thoroughly have enjoyed it on several occasions :slight_smile:

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