Tomb Raider Review: Lara Croft Is Back
Tomb Raider Review: Lara Croft Is Back
Lara Croft is bigger and badder than ever in Tomb Raider reboot
That’s right Tomb Raider fans: Lara Croft is back. But this isn’t the impossibly-shaped sometimes uppity Lara Croft that we’ve previously been exposed to. This new and younger Lara Croft is full of self-doubt, but still manages to kick more butt than any previous incarnation of the character. The new Tomb Raider reboot shows us how Lara originally became the survivor and tomb raiding legend we’re familiar with.
Tomb Raider was ready for change. Not only was Lara’s appearance completely outdated and insulting to female gamers, but the action and adventure elements of the last few games have felt rather stale with storylines that seemed to flounder.
That’s where the new Tomb Raider steps in. First, we have a brand new Lara Croft. This young girl, who actually looks like a real young woman, is setting out on her first real adventure. Lara has to learn about things the hard way in this game and you, as the player, are learning along with her. She is utterly believable, thanks to some incredible voice acting by Camille Luddington, and her story is so well written that you cannot help but to be dragged along on this crazy adventure with her.
Speaking of the story, you might want to strap yourself into your chair before setting out to play Tomb Raider. To say it is action-packed and adrenaline pumping is putting things mildly. It is an all-out balls to the wall “you could die at any given moment” sort of ride that will often leave you breathless as Lara climbs, jumps and climbs ropes over the expanse of the island where Lara and her friends are stranded.
While attempting to get off the island and fight the supernatural forces at work there, Lara must also contend with a score of enemies, both mortal and immortal. Equipped with a bow, several types of guns and grenades (all of these upgradable), Lara often has to fight her way through jungle and temples. Forget all that nonsense, however, that you’ve heard about sexualized violence – it’s compete and utter b.s. These men don’t want to rape Lara, they want to kill her and that is made obvious early on.
In addition to the main mission of Tomb Raider, there are also many side quests available – including additional tombs that Lara can explore. Because, well, it wouldn’t be Tomb Raider without that, right? Most of those tombs do require puzzles to figure out how to get from point A to point B (aka the treasure), so those fans of the series worried about the lack of this can breathe easier.
But that leads me to the one point about the game that concerned me. The tomb puzzles seem to have been dumbed down a lot from previous iterations of Tomb Raider games. I generally was extremely challenged by the puzzles in previous games, but I figured these out a little too quickly. I understand that this game was meant to be marketed to the masses, but those of us who game regularly might be missing out on the challenge that the game should present to us. Even Uncharted has puzzles that are harder than these.
The other point that concerns me about Tomb Raider is all of the fighting that Lara does. There is a lot of fighting – a lot of Lara shooting her way through areas. Now I realize the other games had some quantity of this, but this new game felt more like a shooter at times than anything else. There was definitely a lack of balance between this shooting aspect of gameplay vs. the adventure part of gameplay. With that being said, though, giving Lara Croft a bow is a stroke of genius.
I don’t feel that these two points take anything away from Tomb Raider , though – I think most people will find the game enjoyable regardless of whether they are familiar with the other games or not. The story and characters of Tomb Raider (especially Lara) will pull you along for its thrills. And once you’re off the island, you’ll want to explore it all over again.