By: Steven Collins
I have been waiting for March for quite some time. Tomb Raider is here and Lara Croft is back (sort of) in a big way.
The story was really well written and minus a few glitches and things that irked me, this game is fun and challenging but not frustrating or impossible. I’m going to make a guess and say that this will be the first game in a series of games because the Lara Croft we meet is not an experienced adventurer, early on having to remind herself of the basic survival skills and constantly psych herself up to accomplish attacks. (Which becomes reduced as the game goes along; including telling a bad guy to go to hell after he asks for her mercy after he tried to kill her.)
I enjoyed the game. It’s a great game. Not a good game, not an amazing game, but a great game. I’d give it a 9.25 using Game Informer’s scale. My experience was only negated by a few minor hiccups (twice I jumped toward a rock face only to have the game freeze for a split second, which caused me to not make the jump) and there were noticeable “invisible spawn lines” where you could have an enemy magically appear feet in front of you. I also had issues with the command button pushes, where you had a short window to press a button, usually triangle, before you died in some way.
However–and this is one big however–Tomb Raider is really great. It does something that I’ve never really experienced before. It has a linear storyline but it feels almost open world. You can fast transport between campsites and there is a lot of good cubby holes for extras and information.
I thought the weapon upgrades were a great idea. That helped me to constantly be on the lookout for hidden goodies, which in turn made them easier to find and make it seem less tedious of a task.
The game is a perfect blend of the Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted franchises. It’s open world, history based even though it’s a fictional story and it has a stunning environment. It handles like Uncharted in many was and took me about the same amount of time that the second one took me to beat (12-15 hours.) Also like Uncharted 2, I had to take a break several times because they game can be rather intense in points and after playing for several hours straight.
One of the things about the story that made it really interesting was the mythical and to some degree spiritual edge to it. It somewhat resembles Assassin’s Creed in this way. Throughout the game there are unexplainable circumstances that can only be spiritual or mythical to be real.
As far as replay value, I think it is worth a second run through and the multiplayer is entertaining if not a nice distraction from everything else on my shelf waiting to be played.
Overall, I think Tomb Raider is a great game. Not game of the year material but it certainly sets the bar for that very high.