Tomb Raider Review
This ain’t your grandparents’ Tomb Raider, kids! In this version, they finally fixed that coding bug that made Lara’s chest too big. Now, before you storm off in a fit of rage, let me say this is one solid game! Even if made by Square, they certainly made a proper reboot to the series that I hope will continue for years to come.
Gameplay / Control
Playing Lara feels pretty natural in this incarnation. No longer will you be plagued by the evils of bad camera angles… well, mostly anyways. Actions are fluid and all but the dodging mechanics feel second nature. Dodging is a bit dodgy, but it’s rarely critical to use. One major failing point was the “quicktime events” where you have to hit a button at a certain time… This isn’t really explained well and I died many times before I figured out how to time it. Luckily you don’t need to do it too many times.
One thing I wasn’t overly fond of was the linearity of the game. I’m probably just spoiled by the likes of Skyrim, but I like free roam. It does open up a bit at the end when you have to go back to find all the collectables… you know… if you have completionist syndrome. There is a good bit of that and it’s not overly needed to finish the game, but for some of us with OCD having the game complete at 60% is just not acceptable.
Also, you have to aim to shoot. Not a major problem, but sometimes you just want to spray and pray when you’re in the fray.
Let’s talk about multiplayer for a second… I don’t understand the reason why every game needs a PvP multiplayer. If Mario had guns, it would have a CoD knockoff attached. It’s kind of distracting and yeah, it’s not bad for what it is, but there’s also not a lot of depth to it. I give the multiplayer aspect a score of “meh”. Play it when you’re done and want to hold on to the good feels for a little longer, but if you’re like me, you’ll get bored of it after a few matches.
Replayability / Interest
Once you beat the game, there’s very few reasons to return. Along your adventure, you will pick up some extra items, allowing you to access places you frustratingly tried to reach for hours before. It’s not a bad plan. It lets us completionists get a second shot at roaming around the large zones and finding all of our gubbins. And the final stage is saved, so you can return and revisit the awesome ending of awesome awesomeness (nerd squee!) over and over.
Other than that… there’s really not much more you can do. No new game plus, nothing new to discover, so you don’t have much reason to return unless you need a Lara fix while waiting for the next installment.
Oh wait, there’s multiplayer… but don’t bother, there’s plenty of other better options out there…
That said, the game really draws you in and won’t want to put it down. It will seriously leave you wanting more. Tomb Raider will take you about 16-20 hours to beat to satisfaction. Took me 19 and I pretty much putzed around, so most folks will shave that in half.
Despite it being very short (in classic gaming terms… it’s on par with a modern AAA game), it’s very well done. The only disappointment you will get out of TR2013 is the feels when it’s done… Better be working on TR2…
It’s a reboot. Now, usually that’s a dirty word when it comes to innovation, but sometimes it actually, well, works. TR2013 gave the series the booster shot it desperately needed. I mean, can you even remember the last Tomb Raider game? Yeah… back when Lara had only 2 polygons (albeit large). Now she’s younger, more anatomically correct, and actually more humanized.
Ok, so maybe the development team was a bit masochistic, I mean, there’s a death sequence for everything from falling into the ocean to stubbing your toe on a frog… BUT, it really made you feel protective of her. Unlike the oogled older version, this new Lara gets hit and hard. She’s beaten and battered by elements and baddies alike, and it’s now your duty to get her home safe! Almost a full 180 in the player/character relationship. This, above all that new fancy graphics and style is the greatest innovation; not only the reboot of the series, but the reboot of the character herself.
Leave it to Square to make the most realistic games out there. Sheesh! When folks wanted more polygons, they sure came to the plate. Maybe not in the way they were wanting… ha! Or, maybe not. As the original game’s audience matures, so does the the game. This is a more serious take on the series and thus, a more mature look. No detail was spared when it came to the richness of TR2013. I was on the fence about this whole style at first, but playing it… man, it sure fits!
Another fun thing is that despite poor Lara having the worst day ever, her outfit and look follows suit. So when she falls on a spike, she’ll have a rip in her shirt and hold the wound. It was a nice little progressing I thought. Taken all together, it’s kind of rough, but it really draws you into the game.
Also, I love the pause screen… something about this game makes it seem like every time you pause, it was meant to be a promotional wallpaper.
Uncanny Valley Factor
Ok, this is the burning question… did all that fancy graphics and super realism gain enough momentum to make it out of the valley? Amazingly… Yes! It mostly did!
Right, that’s a good college student answer, but as a whole, between cinematics and gameplay, the UVF was minimal. I think it was a cross between the bloom effects (cheap yes, but effective), dirty and gritty character models, and very very expressive facial emotions and natural body movements. This is a very hard level to achieve.
Now, I won’t lie, there are times that you fall a bit down into the valley… This is mostly in gameplay when the suspension of disbelief is interrupted by errors with clipping or odd character/environment interactions like climbing and changing directions. There are some times when you squeeze between rocks that you really think it might be a real person just photoshopped in. So yeah, even with all this, the over all vibe from the game is just spot on.
After years… and years… and possibly generations of players waiting for a decent Tomb Raider game, our prayers have finally been answered with a response beyond all expectation. When you get down to it, despite it being very short, the new Tomb Raider game hit the nail on the head with this one and it leaves you hungry for more. This is the reboot the series needed and I think it delivered this flawlessly.
Official ruling… Buy it! But not for full price… A Steam Sale is coming.
Comics About This Game!