Tomb Raider (2013) review
Get to know Lara Croft when she made the transition from an insightful, but insecure teenager to a hardened treasure hunter on a trip most people wouldn’t survive, most due to the mysteries surrounding the island that she is a castaway on.
Lara has a place in so many people’s hearts – so many that she’s the best selling videogame heroine and awarded a place on the Walk of Game. She’s been played by oscar nominated actress Angelina Jolie and have a huge and loyal fanbase covering the world. From the movies and the earlier games, we know that she’s a bounty hunter, has lost her father when she was young and she wants to live up to his legacy – and does it.
In the newest instalment to the series, the developers told us at a pretty early stage that they were going back in time to let us see Lara from before she matured into the well-known badass adventurer most of us know.
The game introduces us to Lara, who sits in a cabin, listening to music on her smartphone, when suddenly the ship keels over, effectively throwing her out of the bed. After trying to get to safety and failing, we see Lara getting up on the beach and you now gain control of her. You start looking for the other crew from the Endurance (the ship you were onboard), and as you progress, you find out more of the story behind the trip and the people behind through a camera you find in the start of the game.
You will find journals that reveals some of the other characters true colours – some are sweet, and some that will make an unexpected twist – others will make you downright mad. These journals also reveals that leaving this island won’t be as easy as expected. The storm that got hold of Endurance and smashed her on the rocks wasn’t natural, nor a coincidence…
Ready, go, ACTION!
Tomb Raider has taken the Uncharted way and made it much more characterised by action – you’ll encounter a good number of shootouts against some madmen, and the game includes some multiplayer as well.
Don’t worry though, you will be able to explore and discover ancient relics from a distant time – not to mention solving puzzles to get to the numerous treasures scattered around the island. Apart from running around and shooting at bad guys, you get to climb, slide and in general enjoy the view. If you end up in a pickle and you don’t know what’s next, Lara will more often than not give you a hint after a while – if not, then you can always activate the survival instinct which will highlight relics, journals, collectibles in general, not to mention your current goal if you’re still playing the story.
I completed the game in about 16 hours, and didn’t rush through it – I explored the tombs I found along the way, listened to every conversation and listened to most of the journals voiceovers, which is quite slower than my reading pace. And I had trouble with a good chunk of the shootouts where I died a couple times, so I am sure the game can be completed in about 12 hours. I was a little sad that such a good story ended (just like when I finish reading a good book), but there’s so much more to the game than just the story to get through. There’s a bunch of collectibles and relics to find – things you missed during your playthrough.
Going social, but not as treasure hunters
When looking at the multiplayer, the physics feels off, but the maps make up for this. Once you’ve gotten used to them and can exploit your knowhow, the fun really starts. There is a lot of different ways you can approach your enemy – head on with your primary weapon, melee them by sneaking up on them or you can use the levels inbuilt snares and other traps – including explosive barrels when your enemy gets too comfortable near one.
Characters are split into two factions – the survivors with Lara as leader, and the Solarii which is lead by Mathias. More playable characters, weapons and skills are unlocked as your progress and levelling up. You can choose your main character for each faction, and you can choose which weapons to carry, two different setups for each faction. It is basically a simple shooter with deathmatch, team deathmatch and catch the flag modes.
I love seeing Lara again, and even more learning about her past and how she evolves. Weapons, especially the bow, fits right into the story and feels great in use. Shooting these strangers doesn’t really inflicts any bad conscious, on the contrary as these guys have grown mad by being trapped on the island, but losing some of the crew from the Endurance didn’t make me weep either. If you were side by side with the crew more, I am sure there would be plenty of tears.
Miss; Multiplayer feels slapped on just to give players the option. While there is a number of fun additions like traps, the physics feels of, and don’t make me talk about balancing.
Need; A unique multiplayer mode, like get from one point to another one on the island before the other players would have fit the game more.
Mechanics does not apply to the multiplayer part of the game, but the replayability is as it prolongs the game.