Tomb raider was first released in 1996 and developed by Core Design.Since then Tomb Raider and its leading lady Lara Croft have been all over the globe from the tallest skyscrapers to the deepest tombs.The last time we had seen Lara was in Tomb Raider Underworld in 2008, the 4th Tomb Raider game done by the Great Group of developers known as Crystal Dynamics.Now with 5 years gone by its time for Lara to try to take back her title from Nathan Drake as the best artifact collecting adventurer in video games with this years Tomb Raider reboot.
Forget what you might already know about the Tomb Raider of days past.Tomb Raider opens with a great scene showing how the young Lara Croft ends up on an island full of crazies and lunatics.This is the beginning of Lara's struggle to stay alive and become a more capable adventurer.From the start of the game you know Lara is no hardcore adventurer,shes never killed an animal let alone a person so when things start to go bad you can clearly see how unsure she is about what it is shes going to have to do. Throughout her story and all of its twists, Turns, disappointments, heartaches and the occasional happy moment she becomes capable, not just at surviving but at exploring and defending herself from the many dangers that lurk around every turn of this island.
The Island itself is beautiful.Full of all types of rich bright colors and animals(and psychos).While playing I found myself walking from area to area allot without even noticing I was doing it.I was busy staring at the amazing graphics of the island, the characters, the animals and the backgrounds.Any time your treated to a cut scene your eyes will be glued to the screen not just for the graphics but for the story itself.The only time I noticed any type of hard edges was in very close up scenes of Lara like when shes waist deep in water moving through small tight tunnels.This might be less noticeable on a normal size TV. Iv been playing on a 120 inch 720p 3D projector(this game is not 3D)so in those few areas like that lara is gigantic on my screen but on a normal 50 inch TV I doubt you would notice it.
The game play in Tomb Raider is very fun.It starts off slow with Lara having no weapons or the skills to use them. throughout the game Lara gets equipped with all types of weapons and tools to help her survive and explore.The first weapon your introduced to is the bow and arrow. Thankfully Lara had some previous training with a bow and is capable of using it.The bow will become probably your most used weapon and tool.It lets you take out enemy's quietly from a good distance giving you options on how to approach an upcoming battle.When your near bad guys Lara will hear them and get ready to fight.You will see her pull out her weapon and crouch meaning its time to be alert.Moving up to any wall or barrier will make lara take cover and this system works flawlessly. I never had trouble popping out and shooting or making a quick getaway from cover but sometimes you will have to switch your aiming side(L3)to get a good shot.The puzzles you come across for the most part are fairly simple and easy to figure out especially when you use your survival instincts(L2) to highlight anything in the area you might need to use.While the main story has you run into some easy puzzles I found that exploring some of the hidden tombs will have harder puzzles to figure out.
To upgrade your equipment and weapons you will be searching for salvage. Little bits and pieces of scrap left by other shipwrecks and island dwellers. As you explore the island you will find box's, crates, burnable hanging bags, artifacts and books.In some crates or box's you might find a bow part or rifle part.collecting a set number of these pieces will give you an upgrade to your gun that can only be gotten by finding these pieces. As you get more and more salvage it can be used to make attachments for your weapons at day camps.At the day camps you can also use skill points you've earned to give Lara more skills like carrying more ammo or using your climbing pick as a close quarters weapon. You can also fast travel to areas you've already been to for some extra exploring.
The audio in this game is great aside from a small glitch here or there.There were a few parts where a gunshot or audio of someone talking would lock up an repeat until the game was sent back to the title screen. It was a slight annoyance but it didn't keep you from the game for very long. The music just seems to fit well. When approaching a fight you will hear the music start very low and when all hell breaks loose it really kicks in.The firing of arrows gives you a reassuring sting snapping sound and the bang from the different guns sounds like they should.Screams of agonizing pain and people pleading for there lives echo through the buildings where people are being tortured and killed but most notable are Lara's screams and moans.From the start to the end this woman takes a beating from everything around her with little time to heal up and her voice shows it.You can tell when Lara's hurt, scared, sad, angry or determined just by listing to her.
Overall this is a great reboot of a classic game and one of the few games out to star a strong(most of the time) female protagonist.From the sights and sounds all the way down to the game play Tomb Raider is a work of art and I cant wait to see where Lara lands for her next adventure...hopefully for next gen systems.