The Lost Review: Tomb Raider

By Nick DeLong On 7 Oct, 2013 At 01:32 AM | Mission: Main Featured, Reviews | With 9 Comments

Unfortunately for me and my need to have my gaming opinions heard, I sometimes leave an article behind, either because of poor time management, absent-mindedness, or things getting in the way. This attempt at a Tomb Raider review is one such failed piece that I stumbled upon while digging through our article history. I’m embarrassed to have missed out on the chance to review this incredible game, so I wanted to at least post what I had completed of it before it got left behind.

So, without delay, here is my opening and the game’s summary; I always summarize the game first and then build my review around that.

Lara Croft is not having a good day.  Her ship (the perhaps ironically titled Endurance) has been through a devastating storm and was torn apart, stranding the young Croft and her crew of documentary film makers  and fortune hunters on a mysterious Japanese island.  Guilt-ridden and hoping to find a quick way off of the island, Lara sets off to explore her surroundings for anything she can use to save the day.  It is here, during this misadventure, where a survivor is indeed born.  Nay, a legend.

Lara’s position in the halls of gaming history cannot be denied.  Not only is she the first significant heroine the medium has ever known, she’s still the most well-regarded and oft imitated, with a legacy of (not always good) games stretching back from the polygonal days of the PS1.  To be honest, up until the release of this genre-defining reboot, I’ve never been a Tomb Raider fan.  I played the games, drooled at her cosplayers, and revered her status as a female gaming icon, but never really enjoyed her outings.

Visuals [10] → Top to bottom, Tomb Raider is a beautiful game. Expansive environments, amazing character models, great cinematography – this game indeed has all of the visual niceties one would expect from a triple-A title.

Sound [9] → Sound fairs similarly masterfully, but I found a few of the sound effects to be a little underwhelming, and some repetitive voice over work hurt it somewhat. Still, this one is a real pleasure to have playing out of a good surround sound system.

Plot [8] → For a game claiming to be the “birth of a legend”, Tomb Raider felt a little light on plot and character development. There were definitely some cool moments and I loved some of its scenarios, but Lara’s genuinely human reactions to the terrible things she has to do are too soon forgotten by the game’s writers.

Control [9] → Tomb Raider controls well and makes great use of the controller, but can occasionally be a little on the glitchy side. There were moments where I wasn’t sure if I somehow managed to push the wrong button (I didn’t) or if the game was just having a senior moment (it was). Still, nothing serious enough to impact your experience.

Mechanics [9] → Tried and true is the most polite way to mention Tomb Raider’s heavily borrowed mechanics, but it’s just so much fun to play that I can’t imagine Nathan Drake was too upset over it. The game’s puzzle tombs and exploration really stood out as superior to Drake’s shenanigans, though.

Overall [9.0] → It may not be very original and can be a little on the glitchy side at times, but Tomb Raider is easily one of 2013’s most enjoyable games. It never quite reaches the technical highs of Naughty Dog’s incredible Uncharted games (its most obvious influence), but it manages to be more fun to play more often than not.

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