Tomb Raider is a huge franchise that not only inspired multiple games on various platforms but also continued on into comic books, novels, theme park rides and movies. The movies alone can attest to the highest-grossing film adaptation of a video game ever released in the US. These are pretty impressive credentials. The Guinness Book of World Records has even recognized Lara as the most Successful Human Virtual Game Heroine of all time. This all started in 1996 with the release of the original Tomb Raider. Here we are again in 2013 with the latest and without a doubt the greatest entry of the series simply labeled Tomb Raider. It’s a reboot, a total re-envision of Lara Croft and the story behind this legendary explorer and adventurer.
Rebooting a franchise with so many stories and releases already in place is a risky and no doubt difficult venture. How does one cater to the old school fans of Croft while trying to breath new life into the series? Let me address your concerns and assure you that Crystal Dynamics has not only met expectations but vastly surpassed them in every conceivable way. The game has a truly unique and authentic feel that keeps the excitement level on high at all times while delivering some of the best visuals to date on the PC. It’s one of those games that you just have to stop and look at the immense detail poured into each area and scene. Much dedication and love was put into this title and it’s ever apparent due to the fantastic story, solid controls and overall polish found in Tomb Raider. This is the holy grail of action adventure games…it’s really that good.
In short order, Lara must learn that to survive she must do whatever is necessary. This means no hesitation, no mercy and no regrets from her necessary actions. Players will have to defend themselves constantly while also hunting for food and ravaging for supplies and gear. Your limits will constantly be pushed whether it’s climbing up a perilous mountain wall or fighting off a mob of angry locals that are intent on terminating you and your friends. Luckily, as you progress through the game you’ll be able to upgrade your trusty bow and firearms for more accuracy and damage. Another helpful addition to the game is Lara’s Survival Instincts Vision. It helps point out areas of interest, enemies and a heading for the next objective.
The game doesn’t pull any punches from the very start and its immediately apparent this is a new, darker and grittier Tomb Raider experience. Throughout the campaign you’ll be faced with extreme adversity. Lara gets through these with her versatile pick ax, handgun, assault rifle and stealthy bow. The action is well paced with nice cinematics in between and occasional QTE’s to mix things up. You are never quite safe on this mysterious island and the game lets you know this. In one scene, Lara mistakenly steps into a bear trap. If that wasn’t bad enough the underbrush around her starts moving, followed by the sounds of low growls and snarls. Players are then forced to fight off a pack of ravenous wolves all while being immobilized and trapped. Tension building moments like this are what make the game truly incredible and absolutely thrilling to play.
Key Game Features
- Tomb Raider Rebooted – The new version of Tomb Raider is designed to reboot the game series for both the new generation of gamers, as well as longtime fans
- The Origins of Lara Croft – Set before even the earliest of classic games in the series, Tomb Raider serves as an origin story for Lara Croft, detailing her metamorphosis from an unsure young woman, to a superstar adventurer
- Diverse Gameplay – The game incorporates a variety of gameplay genres, including survival, stealth, melee and ranged combat, exploration, and more
- Weapons – Utilize a variety of weapons, including bow and arrow, an ice ax, and pistol
- Xbox LIVE Achievements – Grow your Xbox LIVE gamer score as Lara pushes beyond the limits of human endurance and unravels the dark history of a forgotten island
Exclusive PC Features
- Full integration with Steamworks to offer cloud storage for saves, multiplayer matchmaking, achievements, as well as automatic updates and new content.
- Support for Steam Big Picture Mode.
- Very high resolution textures with up to 16x the amount of data
- Detail Tessellation to enhance the detail on many surfaces in the game
- Higher quality shadows
- High quality depth of field with near-blur
- Tessellation algorithms used to smooth out geometry
- Improved cloth, SSAO, quality wetness effects, and post-filter effects.
By this point you are no doubt aware this is an outstanding game that deserves your attention and truly raises the bar for action adventure games across all platforms. Tomb Raider will probably be regarded as one of the finest titles to be created for this generation. I’ll let Darrell Gallagher from Crystal Dynamics sum up this review by quoting his thoughts on rebooting the franchise.
“Creating something truly special is incredibly challenging. You have got to really want it: you have to be passionate; you have to care about it, and you have to dedicate yourself.” We have a studio full of talented people who have put their hearts into making this game – this is not just a game on their resumé, speak to any one of them, they’ve been on a journey. We hope that the game we’ve built will endure and that this is a well deserving renaissance for Lara Croft.”
Review Rating: 9.5/10