Tomb Raider – First Impressions

tomb raider review impressions

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I’ll admit, I really had no idea that the new Tomb Raider game was coming out yesterday so I didn’t know too much about it. I knew a reboot was coming out, but I hadn’t seen any videos or screenshots until Conan reviewed it last week, and it was that video that made me want to buy the game.

Lara Croft is back, but this time I believe it’s a prequel to the other games? I honestly don’t know, like I said, I didn’t read anything about it, I just popped it in and started playing. Her lack of confidence and her second-guessing nature leads me to believe that this is the first real adventure she’s experienced, hence my thinking it’s a prequel. I remember her being a seasoned explorer in the previous games, as well as being far less attractive… Yes, I said a video game character is attractive…don’t judge, you know you were thinking the same thing.

Anyways, the game opens with the ship you’re on hitting some bad weather and breaking apart. When you wake up everything seems ok. You are alive and you can see your friends in the distance, but as you yell for them someone punches you in the face and knocks you out. When you wake up this time, you’re hanging upside down wrapped up in a cocoon of some sort. Obviously you break yourself free and start your journey to find the missing members of your group as well as figure out a way off the island, but the island isn’t quite what it seems. Basically Lara Croft has just discovered the island from LOST, that’s really the only way to describe it. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some easter eggs in the game that gave us a glimpse back into the world of LOST. Maybe a dharma logo somewhere, some random numbers on the wall, there’s gotta be something somewhere, it’s just too obvious.

So that’s the basic premise of the game. I’m about 25% done with it so far after having sat down for a few hours last night to play, and I have to say, this game is pretty sweet. Visually it’s stunning. Lara herself looks amazing, but the environments and lighting effects that she interacts with are the star of the show. Everything is presented in a very cinematic way that it literally feels like you’re controlling a movie. There’s little to no HUD on the screen so it’s really immersive and brings you into the game that much more. I remember the previous games having issues with the camera and things like that, but the camera in this one does exactly what you need it to do. I even found it very cool when you’re climbing things and jumping around that the camera jumps to angles that you normally don’t see in video games. Like I said, it gives it a very cinematic feel, and I love it.

I honestly haven’t found anything to discerning about the single player game so far. Like I said, I’m only about a 1/4 of the way through so there might be something later in the game, but for right now I’m really enjoying it. There’s a new skill point system and weapon upgrade system that works very well within the world, the game auto-saves for you so you don’t have to worry about that, the puzzles aren’t terribly difficult yet, but there’ not super easy either. I guess if I had to make one complaint it’s that Lara isn’t really raiding tombs in this one… Yes, there are tombs that you can explore within the main map, but it’s not the main objective of the game. Raiding those tombs will definitely benefit you though as there are treasures at the end of each of them that will help you in your journey across the island. Which leads me to another thing I really like about the game, it’s linear, but at the same time it’s not. The island itself is open, you can run anywhere you want and do anything you want, within the limitations of the game obviously, but you’re not stuck to a single path running straight forward. You can use the different camps around the map to fast travel from point to point if you want to go back and look for more hidden treasure now that you’ve obtained new items and weapons. I think it adds a good amount of replay to the game because I know I’m definitely going to go back and hunt down all of the artifacts, journals and GPS trackers that the game has to offer. It’s kind of like having side quests in the game, but with more cleavage.

There is multiplayer in this game, which I thought was kind of odd, but I sat down and gave it a shot. It’s terrible. I literally left the game about 3 minutes in because it was so terrible. Tomb Raider is not the type of game that needs to have a multiplayer mode, but I get that since every other game these days has one they had to put it in. It’s obvious they didn’t spend a ton of time on it, but that’s fine because nobody is going to play it. Tomb Raider was made for the single player experience and that’s where it shines. Do not buy this game if you are only going to play multiplayer, you’d be dumb.

So if you’re looking for something to play for a few weeks until “The Last of Us”, “Gears of War” and “God of War” come out, then Tomb Raider is definitely a solid choice.