Real Talk By: KJ
Since its gameplay demonstration at E3 2012, this game has remained in my favorite five the entire time. Lara Croft’s adventures at this point are stuff of legend, and have been replicated many times across a huge list of video games. Some might even say that Naughty Dog’s Uncharted Series is better than Tomb raider now. After enjoying both series of games, I could also make that statement that Lara has been surpassed by Mr. Drake. Why is this? Both series’ have always contained a superb level design, but where drake pulled away was at the most important aspect: The controls. For a huge chunk of Tomb Raider games, controlling Lara felt like driving a tank, lets not even get into the platforming aspect. Under new management, Tomb Raider has been rebooted. Is this an origin story worthy of your time?
Lara and her posse arrive at a mysterious Island in search of the Sun Queen. The trip wasn’t exactly smooth. The crew is instantly separated due to unknown forces and our hero is left by her lonesome. Since this is a new beginning, we get to see a much more vulnerable side of Lara. For a chunk of the game, she must figure out how to survive by herself with little to no resources at all. This isn’t like the other games where she’s a super woman. This version of croft will endure a tremendous amount of physical and mental pain. This helps keep the story more grounded. This game isn’t kind to her, she gets banged up a lot. She must have concussions and stab wounds out the wazoo. Her bruises mount up, but so does her will to survive. The game smoothly takes players on the journey, so by the time it’s over your comfortable with the full evolution caused by the island.
The main weapon in this title is the Bow and arrow. Use it to hunt animals and goons. The Island is filled with psychopaths, who only have death on their minds. They swarm players, throw dynamite sticks, and flank often. Players will have to be sharp, since enemies are on top of their game, and only get tougher as the game presses on. Stealth killing is very useful, so are melee attacks. The game makes smart usage of Quick time events. They will help you out in fist fights, and other hostile situations. Players need to take cover as well. The game features auto-healing, but a couple of enemies shooting you at the same time can lead to a fast death. Take advantage of the arrows and keep your head low. Salvage can be found in chests, on fallen enemies and in other secret locations. Collect as much as you can to upgrade weapons. Modifications can increase the power, blast radius and more. Other enhancements get really cool so I’ll keep it hush-hush.
Platforming will remind players of Uncharted, because of the smoothness in controlling Lara. Platforming, and shooting is made easy. As a single player package, gameplay feels so fine tuned. The visuals are impressive. The level design is really good. Locations never get stale. The game constantly throws action scenes your way, but what I love is that it’s never repeated. Something is always exploding, collapsing, but it’s never the same ever. Wish there was a mission select page, to go back and have easy access to some of these scenes. While you can never say the game is easy, normal difficulty could be a tad more challenging. The hidden tombs in the game can be serious fun, but they never really test your brain (or patience) like they did in other games. Times will get tough, but never to the point where you’ll be stuck for centuries. For Middle of the road to casual gamers this is good news, hardcore players immediately set the game to Hard. Just looking out for you!
The multiplayer aspect of Tomb Raider is exactly that: an aspect of Tomb Raider. The game on the whole is marvelous, and it’s great to finally have Lara back and kicking ass again. The multiplayer feels sloppily tacked on though, and that’s a shame because I really enjoyed the time I spent on the campaign and wasn’t quite ready to be done upon completion. The multiplayer consists of a bare 4 modes, 2 of which are the all too familiar Team Deathmatch and Free For All. Slight changes have been made to the conventions we have all grown used to, but this largely feels like a more mature Uncharted online experience, but riddled with bugs. It is possible I encountered issues due to the Playstation 3’s subpar servers, but players should not be glitching all over the place like Vanellope VonSchweetz from Wreck It Ralph. That might sound like an exaggeration, but one second a player is right in front of me and the next they skipped multiple steps in front of me. This is extremely frustrating when you are playing the specific mode where your team only scores points with melee kills. All in all, I had fun with the multiplayer although it greatly tested my patience. I would definitely recommend giving the multiplayer a go once you finish the main campaign, but I would advise against buying this game for the multiplayer. I encountered more bugs in 2 minutes of Tomb Raider’s multiplayer than I did the whole Aliens: Colonial Marines campaign and that says something. This should not happen in large AAA titles, however I am happy that more time was clearly devoted to the single player experience. Buy the game but don’t expect great things from multiplayer content.
KJ: Tomb Raider delivers. The game molds Lara into the B.A. we know and love, and rights the wrongs left from past outings. Impressive visuals, super responsive controls and an overall polish that puts many titles to shame. This campaign is Game of The Year quality, overlapping its own multiplayer component. Beat the game, and go back to find all the hidden artifacts. That’s a game in itself. Can you reach 100% completion? The new Tomb Raider is great, so were ready for round 2 (or 10 depending how you look at it).
Tomb Raider Gets
Out of Five
-Some Easy Tombs
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