Tomb Raider Review
System: 360, PC, PS3
+ Fun gameplay (love the bow)
+ Good graphics
+ Good physics/destructible environments
- Enemy AI is so-so
- Weak multiplayer
Tomb Raider is an action-adventure platform video game. Published by Square Enix, Tomb Raider is the fifth title developed by Crystal Dynamics in the Tomb Raider franchise. As the first entry in a new Tomb Raider continuity, the game is a reboot that emphasizes the reconstructed origins of the lead character Lara Croft. This Tomb Raider takes us places we haven’t been before but is this tomb really worth raiding?
Tomb Raider is an action-adventure platform video game. Published by Square Enix, Tomb Raider is the fifth title developed by Crystal Dynamics in the Tomb Raider franchise. As the first entry in a new Tomb Raider continuity, the game is a reboot that emphasizes the reconstructed origins of the lead character Lara Croft. This Tomb Raider takes us places we haven’t been before but is this tomb really worth raiding? Check out the full review after the jump.
What We Liked
Having been a fan of the original Tomb Raider franchise back during the playstation era, I can honestly say that this game really helped give a semi-believable back story as to how Lara Croft became, Lara Croft Tomb Raider. This new Tomb Raider from Square Enix is one of my favorite Tomb Raiders to date. That is due to the fact that the combat, traversal of the environments, and just the overall gameplay is fun and entertaining. One really nice feature was that you have this “survival instinct” mode that allows you to stand still and see the environment in black and white where important objects are highlighted automatically. The nicest thing about this is if you get lost, there is a small compass that helps point you in the right direction.
You can choose to be more stealthy (the route I took most the time) and use the bow for the silent, but very deadly kills (headshots are rewarding, literally you get more XP for getting headshots). The bow is by far the most useful weapon because not only is it a stealthy kill but you can also use it later on to create zip lines of sorts using rope. This helps makes traveling through many cliff sides and rough terrain much easier.
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I also liked the story for the most part. I say “for the most part” because, without spoiling things, the story feels very pushed along at times. It reminds me of Arkham City in that you can play through just the story itself and only be done with maybe 50% of the game. However the flip side is it is very similar to Far Cry 3 with the ability to learn new skills, traverse the environment pretty freely, and even hunt for food. Once you finish the game you can go back and raid any unseen Tombs and roam the island just like Far Cry 3. Plus all of the camp sites you have discovered can be used for “fast travel” just like Far Cry 3. This is truly a believable back story for Lara Croft as to how she came to be. She was always an explorer but this is what made her a true adventurer and I for one enjoyed that adventure.
What makes the adventure that much more fun is even on the outdated consoles this game looks pretty darn good. Graphically speaking the draw distance, water, foliage, and Lara herself help really to sell the pain and suffering that Lara endures throughout the game (especially the beginning). I am curious to see it on PC and see how much better it truly is and by no means is this the best looking game but it is definitely up there with the Uncharted series within the 3rd person shooter action/adventure games. Speaking of Uncharted, this Tomb Raider (unlike any other) plays very different compared to the older ones and in fact plays a lot like Uncharted whereas the large difference is when Lara gets close to cover she automatically ducks down rather then you having to push a button. This actually makes the gameplay feel that much more fluid.
What We Disliked
Tomb Raider definitely is a fun adventure with good looking environments and a decent story. However, there are also a few things I didn’t like. While handling the bow was tons of fun, especially when it got upgraded to a much better, faster, and more accurate one, the shooting never felt right. I am not sure if it was the way the guns felt, the recoil, or the lack of my aim but the shooting was off. Now unfortunately this Tomb Raider looked and played A LOT like the Uncharted series which is different then past Tomb Raiders. However, Uncharted’s gun gameplay feels pretty good especially with the variety of weapons. Whereas in Tomb Raider you can tell Square pretty much just wanted you to use the bow except towards the end where you are forced to use guns. Plus, since the guns felt fairly weak especially compared to the bow which usually only took 2 shots to kill someone. This just made the game feel a bit unbalanced.
Not to mention the enemy AI at times would take cover but that was about the extent of their knowledge. Often times the AI would simply rush you, regardless of what weapon you were carrying or they be behind cover but still plenty exposed (especially their head) which made for easy kills. What was nice was that a lot of cover could be destroyed and this would cause the AI to move cover unless of course they just decided to rush you. The boss and mini-boss fights seemed to have better AI but it was more the fact that they had armor and you couldn’t just shoot them dead on. Still they were entertaining for the most part but by no means the most memorable boss fight.
I may have forgot to mention but the game does in fact have a multiplayer mode, well sort of. It’s technically multiplayer but you should not judge the game based off of it because if you did you would hate this game. The multiplayer has only a few modes, some of which feel one team has a large advantage over the other one and others that just don’t work with the environments and gun play. Remember how I said the shooting in SP felt off, well multiplayer is no better, in fact it may be worse because the frame rate was not smooth on the PS3. The graphics are dumbed down a lot for the MP and worst of all, it just wasn’t fun. The only good thing about the multiplayer is that there is no online pass but that’s about the only positive thing.
Overall the single player experience is not bad as it will keep you entertained for a good 10 hours or so depending on how many tombs you want to raid and how many side missions you want to try and do. The game takes you for a great ride the frist time through but there isn’t much motivation to play through it again. The story is a good back story for Lara Croft but you won’t much care about the other side characters. The gameplay is fun and addictive from beginning to end. It’s nice to have the choice of being stealthy or just running and gunning but you can tell that they definitely want you to use the bow more often then not. The leveling system is a neat aspect ala Far Cry 3 as it is nearly identical but not as robust. The AI could use a bit of work but that is just a minor complaint. The multiplayer should have been left out. In the end, the story will keep you entertained, and Lara Croft is looking as good as ever especially with cuts, scrapes, and dirt all over her. The only thing missing from this game is the iconic dual wielding pistols, well sort of. Be sure to pick up this game and play it for yourself, but it’s probably more of a rent then a buy.