Lara Croft is back….well was a week or two ago. In a reboot to the old Tomb Raider franchise we got to see Lara’s origin…and what made her the treasure finding, gun shootin’, platforming pro we know her as.
When the game starts off your on a boat. Boat crash (Rip boat), and your stuck on an island. When you wash to shore your kidnapped by a hobo and tied up in a cave somewhere on the island. Like I said this is an origin story and one of the coolest things about it is that you go almost an hour into the game before you even handle a gun. When Lara finally does have to pull a trigger its in a life or death self s\defense moment and it effects you just as much as it does her. It does move on a lot faster after that point with Lara shooting people with a bow and arrow left and right though. The island Lara’s stranded on is huge and beautiful. Tomb Raider is probably one the best looking games on PS3 right now and there are some moments that make you step back and just take it all in.
On the flip side the story isn’t quite what it wants to be. The characters (except Lara) are all rather one dimensional and stereotypical. Its also pretty predictable to the point that you’ll figure out the twist at the end halfway through the game and everything else leading up to it will have you sitting there saying “right i know lets move on.”. Lara’s character on the other hand is handled masterfully. With some really fantastic voice acting and events that take place you genuinely care about what happens to her. Besides looking pretty she is never presented sexually or objectified in any way. In fact after your seen her get washed down a river, fall into an abandoned airplane, grab a parachute while falling through the windshield, crash into a tree, fall to the ground, and then subsequently trip on a rock and hit the ground as if the game is saying “OK that’s enough.” you can’t help but cringe at the pain. The best (and worst) part about this is that directly following this she doesn’t simply shrug it off. You have to stealth your way through the next sequence because your so battered you can’t jump. Lara’s character is handled so well that its a shame the others weren’t given as much attention.
The biggest part of any game is the game play And Tomb Raider is a blast to play. There really isn’t much to say about this other than giving an example. You zip-line down to the ground from a tower and walk into a shack. All of the sudden your foot is caught in a snare and your pulled upside down while enemies approach. You have to shoot them while upside down and then shoot yourself down. Once your down you take cover behind a boulder and find a roll of rope. You use it to create “rope arrows” that you can use to create a grappling hook effect. Suddenly you realize that you can reach areas you never could before without those rope arrows prompting you to backtrack just to play around. The game really doesn’t let up…ever. You’ll be interested and your blood will be pumping from start to finish and you’ll wish you had more of it to play.
9.4 out of 10 for Tomb Raider from this guy. With so much of a focus on this being an “Origin” I can’t wait to see what Lara does next.
MISNOMER: The game IS “M” for violence. There are a few VERY graphic scenes in the game that are pretty cringe worthy. Check “commonsensemedia.org” for a family friendly low-down on what’s in the game