Gorgeous set-pieces, action-packed third person gameplay, tight controls. The Tomb Raiderreboot is the Uncharted for all non-Playstation-platforms.
‘A survivor is born’, that’s the tagline and the main hook for Lara Croft’s origin story. The famous and notorious heroine is the biggest poster child for female video game protagonists and so with this big heritage, the new Tomb Raider not only has to offer an entertaining experience but also take a stagnating franchise into the new generation: not an easy task for developer Crystal Dynamics, but they succeeded – for the most part.
The story starts out well and promising. Lara Croft is likable and the excellent cut scenes are showing her as a growing personality that is struggling with her situation – underlining the grittier tone and the bare bone fight for survival. Unfortunately the game itself turns these cut scenes ad absurd-um when you are a walking killing-machine that recovers health constantly. This destroys a lot of the immersion and seems like a design-choice that compromised depth for more mass appeal. The overall plot is interesting but too predictable and doesn’t offer any surprises. The voice-acting on the other hand is excellent for every character as well as all fully voiced-side notes and journal entries that offer richer stories than you would expect.
Tomb Raider was always about acrobatic moves but after several more open and parcour-esque games it is necessary to take it up a notch. Lara can perform a big variety of actions and thanks to tight controls she performs them all well. The free-climbing feels better and more precise than in Assassin’s Creed, the environments are more open than in Uncharted. The only minor flaws in my opinion is the unreasonable shaky camera in some cut scenes (during game play the camera is usually spot on and very well positioned).
The skill and upgrade-system seems to offer more customization and almost RPG-like aspects at first but since you easily unlock everything by the end it seems kinda pointless. Having XP pop-ups during fights doesn’t help the immersion either, something that could have been solved better.
A side note: Since the multiplayer seems to be dead at least for the PC version of Tomb Raider, I cannot comment on it here. Too bad.
All in all it is a highly enjoyable game and probably one of the blockbuster games that can be enjoyed by everyone. Tomb Raider is back on the radar and doesn’t need to hide behind Uncharted or similar games, with the sequel already on the horizon it is a good time to be an adventurer.