Tomb Raider gets a complete makeover from Crystal Dynamics in this latest reboot. This game is such a fun ride from beginning to end. It moves very quickly and is packed with so much action that there’s never a dull moment. It plays like Uncharted, a game that borrows heavily from the earlier Tomb Raider games. It tells the origin story of Lara Croft and how she becomes a survivor. It features a lot of platform jumping, ledge hanging, wall climbing, landslide skidding and optional tomb raiding (as side quest) in this third-person adrenaline-packed shooter game. There are numerous quick-time events reminiscent of those seen before in Uncharted and Resident Evil 6 where players must stay alert and press the correct sequence of buttons quickly and timely or it’s game over for Miss Croft.
The game features very nice graphics in exotic locales laden with Japanese religious artifacts, statues, temples and pagodas . The setting of the game is on an island in the fictional Dragon’s Triangle located somewhere off the coast of Japan. Like the Bermuda Triangle, ships and planes get lost or malfunction when they get too close within its vicinity. The infamous island is cursed with a raging storm that makes it impossible for any of its inhabitants to leave. In this latest adventure, Lara and friends are stuck on this island and you have to help her find a way to get off of it alive.
Lara and her crew of eight aboard an expedition to find the lost Japanese kingdom of Yamatai, home to the legendary ‘Sun Queen’ named Himiko who holds real mystical power. Their search leads them to the Dragon’s Triangle where they encounter a violent storm that destroys their water vessel. Lara then finds herself separated from the rest of the group. In order to reunite with her friends, she must travel all over this mysterious island while fighting off wolves and the island’s unfriendly inhabitants as she eventually realizes that the island is actually the legendary Yamatai itself. She soon learns its secrets and meets a man named Mathias who is also searching for a way off the island. Mathias believes that the only way to do that is to offer the Sun Queen Himiko a human sacrifice. But not just any human will do; it must be someone from Himiko’s long line of descendents and worthy enough to become the queen’s successor. Mathias believes that Lara’s best friend Sam Nishimura, the crew’s camerawoman, is the perfect candidate. Therefore, most of the later missions in the game involve rescuing Sam and figuring out a way to stop the unnatural diabolical storm, which Lara later discovers to be intrinsically linked to Himiko’s unrest soul. Crystal Dynamics attempts to show us how the tribulations and hardships the younger Lara undergoes in this game’s adventure help shape and groom her into the iconic tomb raider that she later becomes.
This game clocks in around 12 to 15 hours and can easily be completed in one weekend. It is extremely fast paced and very action-oriented. Lara has four main weapons at her disposal: a bow, pistol, shotgun and rifle. They can be upgraded as Lara finds their missing pieces scattered throughout Yamatai. Her weapons can also act as nifty Batman-like gadgets that allow her to shoot off ropes to ascend/descend from one cliff to another. Skills can also be upgraded to allow for more powerful combat and survival techniques. Skill points are awarded each time Lara kills an enemy or manages to open small wooden boxes found throughout the islands.
In order to advance through the many uncharted territories of Yamatai, players need to help Lara solve countless numbers of fun and well crafted puzzles, some of which may have you scrambling the internet for clues or answers. In addition, Lara has to use her wits and highly skilled combat ability to survive this adventure. Thankfully, the combat isn’t too repetitious like in Uncharted where players have to make it through one wave of enemies after another just to move inches to the next locale. The non-stop in-game action sequences and cinematic cutscenes play out seamlessly and really help move the wonderful story along. This game plays out like a great blockbuster movie and the best part of it is that you get to be in it!
Tomb Raider also comes with a wonderful soundtrack. Crystal Dynamics hires Jason Graves to compose the game’s music in the style of classical composers like Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. There are also horror sounds that play out incessantly during those more intense and terror-stricken scenes. These sounds are made from a custom-made instrument of glass and metals via a collaboration with McConnell Studios in Raleigh, North Carolina to help stir and bring out proper emotions from players.
This is a fantastic game and is more fun to play than any of the Uncharted games released so far. It is very addictive and will keep you itching to grab those controllers every time you’re away from it. Bravo to Crystal Dynamics! They have made not just the best Tomb Raider game, but one of the best games to ever grace the PS3.
If you like games like Uncharted and Far Cry 3, you’re going to love this.
Check out our review of the Definitive Edition here.