This video walkthrough will demonstrate Lara’s combat skills and strategy choices, and how she uses her Survival Instincts to navigate to points of interest on the island. Part one of this guide shows Lara tactically evading a hostile Scavenger den, adapting to dangerous situations, and learning combat skills to ... Read More »
Genres: Action adventure, platform
Platform: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 05/03/12
Tomb Raider Campaign Review
The Tomb Raider re-boot is finally here. With countless trailer/documentary releases and hype, at long last the world is able to get hands on young Lara Croft and help mould her into the cold-blooded, mass-murdering, buxom sex-goddess that we all know and love. In reality however this isn’t really a prequel, nor does it even feel like it sits in the same world of the older titles, as this game is the true meaning of ‘reboot’.
You take control of Lara, moments after being shipwrecked on an island near Japan. Most of her crew have been captured or killed by a mysterious group of natives and you must now reunite Lara with her remaining comrades. Along the way you will uncover the strange and mystical history of the island in the guise of relics and long forgotten tombs, as well as killing a butt load of bad guys, indulging in a spot of hunting and partaking in some of Lara’s new favourite hobbies; burning things and falling over, a lot.
Created by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix, this ‘reboot’ is something the series has badly needed. While the older games still stand the test of time the franchise itself has become somewhat bland and vanilla. Can you honestly remember the last time you heard a Tomb Raider title regarded as a ‘must play’ game? Perhaps we as gamers have grown past simply slapping a giant pair of boobs on a character to make a game sell? Or maybe the old ‘Tomb Raider’ style of games just doesn’t cut the mustard any more? To me, this iteration comes as an extremely stark realisation of this, almost like a poor unfulfilled fat guy who wakes up one day in a cold sweat and suddenly decides to go and make something of their life.
The game changes everything about Tomb Raider; no backflips, no dual-wielding (per say) and no stamina bar. What we have been left with is an improved, refined and re-imagined variation of a long forgotten and heavily aged original concept. The level design is beautifully crafted and layered, with a multitude of extremely interesting areas and landmarks that beg to be explored; many of which require a new tool or weapon upgrade. Although this does breathe life into an area once it has been completed, it’s a mechanic that borrows heavily of the Lego games, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Weapons are upgraded via campfire hubs that are found scattered around levels; they allow you to fast travel to other campfires and also level Lara up once enough experience has been collected. The skill trees for Hunter, Brawler and Survivor include various standard game tropes such as improved damage, ammo capacity and speed but also branch out into quick kills and improved salvaging. And it’s salvage you’ll need to improve your trusty firearms, as upgrading your weapons is paramount to taking down the larger enemies you encounter later on in the game. From armour piercing arrows to taping a grenade launcher onto a machine gun, everything is ridiculously desirable and very much needed, especially during some of the game’s more intense battle scenes.
The combat works with a very simple auto-cover and shoot mechanic, yet introduces an interesting ‘scramble’ button that can be used to dodge bullets, escape fire or avoid mêlée attacks. It can later be used as a counter device, more often than not is the difference between life and death. Tomb Raider also houses quick-time events, but for some reason they do not feel as empty and shallow as most games. They feel like something much, much more. I am not sure if its just the surroundings and camera angles that makes them more intense, but there is something really special about how simply pressing ‘X’ to hold on to a ledge can make you feel.
It would be easy to say that most things within Tomb Raider are exhilarating or enticing, even down time often leads Lara shivering or whimpering from past injuries. I think that Crystal Dynamics may have gone over board on just how much they beat Lara up (seriously folks, she should be in a wheel chair or dead after about two hours of the game), but even some of the more standard platforming section are narratively treated in such a way that you cannot help but be drawn in. Little things like Lara uttering “this is going to hurt” while tied up and swinging back and forth twenty foot in the air while she tries to free herself, or the way she slowly adapts to new situations like placing her hands on the ceiling of a small cave as she trudges through neck-high water after struggling to steady herself a few times. It’s these slight nuances that make you feel like Lara is going through the making of a ‘hero’. It is exemplified in situations such as guiding her over her first ever balance beam or undertaking her first kill. However, for all of these amazing firsts there are some equally un-connecting seconds. Moments after crossing her first shaky balance beam she is instantly climbing a decrepit war-time bomber up a waterfall, or more confusing still after making her first kill and being quite clearly distraught about the ordeal she is more than happy to move on to mass murder without a blink of an eye.
With so much re-imagining going on it is easy to come to the conclusion that this ‘Tomb Raider’ is a complete side step away from the original franchise. Bar its name you would be more than correct in ascertaining this could have easily been released as a brand new IP and that no comparisons would have been made to the original series. However, there’s still a hint of the strange underlying sexualisation, which is paramount in all Tomb Raider games. Granted in general it manifests itself in a different, non-intrusive way to the older titles, but there’s a point within about 10 seconds of launching Tomb Raider that treats the player to a very obvious slow motion, top-down boob shot. I am unsure why the developers felt the need to do this but I can say it was a bizarre move to make when completely overhauling a franchise in such a positive manner.
It is one of the most amazing and unique experience this generation. The game almost has its own bizarre aura in that many of the key elements can be construed negatively and positively but still come out trumps overall. Tomb Raider is trying to make a statement, in more ways than one. It’s not just pushing old/new ideas forward, it’s flipping the videogame niche table over and then shitting in the corner.
- Great eye for detail and incredibly immersive at times
- It took me around 2 hours and completing a side quest to unlock an achievement
- Some strange evolution in Lara’s persona
- A bit buggy at times
- Really bad subtitles
In this episode, we’ll show you how Lara can use the basecamp system as a way to explore the island and unlock some of its many secrets. Read More »
Armed with only the raw instincts and physical ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, Tomb Raider delivers an intense and gritty story into the origins of Lara Croft and her ascent from a frightened young woman to a hardened survivor. Read More »
We talk to Brian Horton Art Director on Tomb Raider about the new look Lara, the island, base camp and how the gaming landscape has changed since Lara’s first outing. Read More »
Lee talks to Karl Stewart about the upcoming re-imaging of Tomb Raider. Rebooting / re-imagining a series isn’t an easy thing to do, people have so many memories and ideas about what that game means to them. Now Imagine that game you’re trying to reinvigorate is one of the most iconic games ever, one that d... Read More »
Rebooting / re-imagining a series isn’t an easy thing to do, people have so many memories and ideas about what that game means to them. Now Imagine that game you’re trying to reinvigorate is one of the most iconic games ever, one that defined a generation. The pressure is on Square Enix to get it right, aft... Read More »
Nearly every gamer has heard of Lara Croft, and her magnificent (if not originally cone-shaped) umm… assets. This year’s re-imagining hopes to break that tradition by creating the tomb-obsessed heroine a little less top-heavy, and a little more ‘realistic’. Another convention being broken here is the addition of a mult... Read More »
An icon – a woman that pretty much defined a console generation but sadly one that peaked too soon. She always remained that icon, but as far as the games went the Tomb Raider series became pretty hit and miss. I am of course talking about Lara Croft, who despite her fame and pop culture status wasn’t actually a ... Read More »