Tomb Raider is a name that, for many, is synonymous with controversy in the gaming universe. Most men will think sexy and most women will think over-sexualized. Crystal Dynamics has set out to change that with its latest iteration of Lara Croft.
Our titular tomb raider Lara Croft no longer wears the impractical booty shorts of yesteryear and nor are her breasts humorously disproportionate. This tomb raider is the soft and fragile city girl from current days. She’s not on this island to raid tombs, no, not at all, she’s a part of the crew for a archaeology television show similar to Deadliest Catch. Lara is suddenly swept into adventure when searching for an island in the “Dragon’s Triangle”, a mystical portion of the sea akin to the Bermuda Triangle. After her boat crashes she’s caught by lunatics and left hanging upside down.
After taking control of Lara you’ll see the games amazing visuals come to life. Vistas are shown with beautiful mountain tops, lush and dense forest lines, and animals trotting about beneath your feet. The open world is also constantly changing with weather and time, so it will rarely look the same way twice.
The team over at Crystal Dynamics also did a great job at making Lara feel like a relatable character. She’s weak and has never even fired a gun – something you’re shown after her first kill. I won’t share too much as it’s something you’ll want to experience yourself.
That’s an attitude I share with the entire game. The story is one of the strongest I’ve seen in any game, with its biggest downfall being the lack of characterization of Lara’s adversaries.
Gameplay wise, the controls are tight and on point. You will feel immediately comfortable in the third person controller scheme. However, by the end of the game every button will have some use, many with multiple. While it may seem overwhelming, the game will slowly give you new moves and gear up until the very end, so it’s all very easy to figure out and remember.
Replayability wise, the game is not very strong, but it can still hold its own. After completing the main game you can visit any of your previously visited areas through the use of campsites. Each area has a set of collectibles to find as well as GPS Caches, books, artifacts, and challenges. There are also piles of salvage you can find, which you use for improving your weapons. The game’s enemies thin out after the end of the game, giving you a chance to search the areas for hidden items unhindered, as well as take in the game’s beautiful environments.
If there’s one spot where Tomb Raider really falls on its face, it’s multiplayer. The multiplayer has four game modes: Rescue (Capture the “Flag”), Team Death match, Cry for Help, and Free for All. All of these game modes are fairly typical 5v5 gametypes, the exception being Cry for Help.
Cry for Help is a combination of Call of Duty’s Domination and Kill Confirmed. There are four locations your team must capture, but when you’re killed you drop a battery that the enemy team has to pick up to score a point. All the gamemodes are very simple and, while fun, don’t vary enough to merit much investment into them. The controls in multiplayer are quite the opposite of its single player counterpart, clunky, unintuitive, and at times completely different from the main game. While down is always your pistol in single player, down isn’t always your side arm in multiplayer. The multiplayer also allows for crouching and a few other moves that aren’t present in single player. If you take some time to really dig into the multiplayer these differences are not problems, but the discrepancies can throw you off at first.
With a beautiful soundtrack, stunning graphics, amazing single player campaign, and hundreds of collectibles, the game’s only fault is truly its by-the-numbers multiplayer. I’ve spent about twenty hours with the games single player, getting almost all the collectibles and then starting over on another save slot. While the game may lack many tombs in itself, this game is one Tomb you won’t want to leave buried for long.