TOMB RAIDER - March 15th, 2013
One of my new favorite games. I’m not sure where to even start. This game was incredible. I was hooked from the thrilling beginning all the way to the end. I typically don’t try to collect all the items and various other collectibles in a video game to get 100% completion, but for the first time I decided to do that with Tomb Raider. It was well worth it. Collecting all the documents and relics added to the overall intriguing story in my opinion. Enough about collectibles. This was a very ambitious and solid effort by Crystal Dynamics to tell the origin story of Lara Croft. The overall story was very well done and the environments looked incredible. My computer couldn’t really handle everything at ultra with all the extra eye candy options enabled (plus I was victim of the NVIDIA GPU problems), but even around normal settings I thought it still looked incredible. I really loved how Crystal Dynamics took a more realistic approach to this game. Lara was crafted to be very vulnerable, which is unlike basically every other Tomb Raider game. In my case, this aspect of the game kind of caught me off guard because I had literally just finished playing through Legend and Underworld. I jumped into Tomb Raider expecting to be able to do crazy flips and acrobatic moves, but I soon realized I was controlling a much more realistic Lara. You stumble when you’re hurt. You can’t do crazy flips. You have to survive. You’re not invincible. Not at first anyway. This is what I loved about Tomb Raider. The horrible events that occur force Lara to become a survivor. It was a perfect origin story of how her character came to be. I really felt like Lara gradually became more hardened throughout the course of the game. Crystal Dynamics did a great job with Lara in this - as well as the new voice for Lara - Camilla Luddington. She really brought the character alive both with her voice and motion capture. The rest of the characters were all well done as well - but obviously were not as developed as Lara. But who cares? It’s Lara Croft we all care about anyway, right? I loved how it was kind of similar to Far Cry 3 in respect to leveling up and upgrading weapons and gaining new abilities. This worked very well in my opinion and was a nice change. I loved the combat system in this game. The weapons felt very real, especially the bow. I think that’s a good word to describe Tomb Raider - real. It was a very gritty and thrilling experience throughout (especially the scripted pieces with the slow motion - I literally held my breath during most of those). I cannot wait for Crystal Dynamics to continue on with this new Tomb Raider vision. They’ve managed to not only craft one of my new favorite games, but also my new favorite video game character.