Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Played This: Tomb Raider (The Newer One ...)

I'm a sucker for adventure games. From the very first Prince of Persia on PC, I was hooked, and they only get better and better. Of course the trend lately is, when a popular franchise wanes, then you give it another go over - start from scratch, find the roots, go deeper than the title has ever gone before. When I heard Tomb Raider was going to have the reboot treatment, I welcomed it. Lara Croft is a real cool character, but on an emotional level, I could never connect with her.

Skimpy outfits aren't enough to win me over. Sorry, Lara ...

Then the art came out, and I was all ... that looks like a real person! For the first time, it almost felt like the developers wanted me to focus on her eyes more than anything else - you know, contrary to old traditions.

Then the game released. If the mission was to completely redesign a character, visually and emotionally - well then, mission accomplished! Everything about this game looks great, and rather than care about the next artifact, I cared about the character and what was going to happen to her next (excluding the deaths that I, the player, seldomly caused ... ahem). You know the adage, be mean to your characters? By the time the game is over, everything that could possibly happen to a person, minus broken bones, and death, pretty much happens to her, including mental scarring - so long as you let her survive.

The story promises the origin of Lara Croft. In other words, her first expedition, and the events that led her to be a hardened survivor. She starts off like a rich college girl, with earphones and laptops, until a shipwreck lands her on an island in the Dragon's Triangle (not far from Japan) where ships and planes and whathaveyous are sucked in and left stranded. Having a violent group occupying the island doesn't help. From the first moments of the game, I knew this was going to be a different experience. Lara's focus isn't treasure. She has to eat. Really? She has to hunt deer with a bow from a dried up corpse?

Yes, please! And the raw-factor doesn't come close to ending there.

"I hate tombs ..." Ha! That's lamp shading at its best, folks!

I had only two gripes with this game, which seem like major things, but because it looks so good and they did such a great job with Lara (even though she went a little Katniss Everdeen on us), I'm willing to forgive a smidge. Firstly, Lara was such a big focus that the rest of the game seemed to suffer for it. Except for Roth, I had a hard time rooting for anyone else. Having the main baddie be a religious nut is nothing new, there's plenty of disconnect, and the bosses take away from the realism that the first part of the game established.

In fact, midway in the game, it went from survivor-mode to shoot'em-up. The game play is a lot like the recent Resident Evil games, where I can believe it takes a few rounds to put down a baddie, but here, against humans, I still had to unload five shotgun shells - at close range - to stop a guy. I got shot in the arm? Oh, let me brush this off and come after you again like nothing happened!

Right ...

No wonder this Tomb Raider reboot has an M rating, a change in tone that I don't think helps to set it apart from any other game.

Then there's the element of suspended disbelief. I really hoped this game would shy away from things that made the originals a little silly. Namely, having ancient monsters come after you without any reason as to why they exist. Throw in some random undead samurai? Why not? Never mind that no one even questions how this is possible.

Other than that, this was a highly enjoyable game, and a quick one if you focus on the storyline and not go into all the tomb side-quests. You're going to want to leave your stomach behind if you're going to survive this harrowing adventure. Be strong, and good luck!

Anyone else play this game? What were your favorite parts? What did you dislike, if anything? Are you ready for the next one?

I'm David, and if you look for adventure, adventure will find you.


  1. Believe it or not, I've never played any versions, although watching Conan play the latest was funny.

  2. Ha, see I never have any adventures because I never look for them.

  3. For me I was a huge fan of the originals so the things that bother some people about this game just brought me nostalgia. I have to say I loved this one, it will go down as one of my favorite games in the past decade. I felt the control was amazing and the graphics and story just pulled me in to each moment.

    Without spoilers, the part in the last fight that had to do with guns, had me cheering and remembering the very first time I played Miss Lara Croft all those many years before.

  4. I played Tomb Raider on my playstation (the original playstation) years ago. I never got past the training level.

    But I think this game looks amazing, and I kind of want to get a system upon which to play it.

  5. Laura Croft has always been kind of frustrating to me (tomb raiders and archaeologists don't mix well :), but I love the graphics here--will have to check it out!!

  6. I'm so glad I'm not into computer games. They're so clever and realistic these days I would get hooked and never get out.

    1. Which is why I'm into the story-driven ones. They have an ending, and I'm not the type to go back and play through all the achievements either. :)

  7. I want this game! The graphics grabbed me and it being an origin story definitely peaks my interest. Glad you had fun playing it.

  8. This is in my top three favorite games of the latest generation of consoles. (And I only paid $4 to play it, thanks to Redbox!) It had some of the best emotional beats of any video game I've played, Lara's redesign was spot-on, the graphics were beautiful, and the game play was satisfying and tight. I rarely used anything but my bow to take down baddies, just because the "silent kill" was so much fun.

    I too was hoping to avoid supernatural elements, but honestly, I didn't mind it all in the end. I very much hope that future Tomb Raider games follow this formula, though I fear that they won't. From what I hear, the game sales haven't been all that great. It's too bad. Games like this deserve recognition and success.

  9. I saw Conan O'Brien play it and it was hysterical! He does a Gamer segment and its the one on TR is very funny. Yes, I want to play it!

  10. I was of a generation earlier, so I never had the compulsion or obsession of these types of games.. BUT if I had the opportunity I know I'd be hooked!

  11. I need to try this game like this weekend or something. Thanks for the heads up.

  12. Okay, I'll have to give this one a try. I've been hesitant to sink my time and money into another video game, but this one sounds pretty good.