The game introduces a young Lara Croft and a crew who are seeking an adventure and are bound to a group of stormy islands known as the Dragons's triangle in which her ship crashes separating Lara from the surviving crew.
The first few hours show how Lara doubts her abilities but also show how she has to embrace what she is destined to become. From an average regular person to a survivor, the changes that are taking place with her is transpired in the first few hours of the game. She is forced to explore, survive and uncover the mystery of the island's strange, hostile people. Lara pushes through narrow caves, crawls along ledges, hunts for survival and scavanged parts. The games progression embraces what you will have to face in order to build up her abilities beautifully. The game has a progression system that is definitely unique as her abilities are very important but also the strength to build her as a person through out her journey shows that the developers really took into account an excellent rpg factor.
The game has heavy cinematics and quick time events but are never over used. The game does not have one dull moment. As a matter of fact the game is full of surprises and never lets the pacing become slow. To me this is really highlighted through out the entire adventure. I was really surprised as to how many events the developers were able to give you with out making this game get stale. Her endurance has been pushed to the level where most would have given up. The island itself is one mystery that Lara has to uncover. Knowing her friends are out there and she needs to find them is just a piece of what you will encounter. There's plenty of diversity buried within the game and a handful of moments that will have you begging to go back and do it all over again. The additional tombs and optional areas bring an element of discovery. The puzzles can be brain busters and certain jumps will have you wondering can I make this attempt. But at no time feel to complicated to the point that you will feel stuck which is why the pacing great.
Playing as Lara is fantastic. Controls are responsive and tight. The use of the bow and arrow adds an addictive stealth mechanic to the game while an array of firearms are available for taking down bigger threats. The weapons included in this game are the bow, pistol, shotgun and rifle. Each are used in ways that help you progress from area to area. I found that using the bow was the most useful for me. The ability to use pickaxe for climbing, zip-lining, and as a melee weapon brings another unique feature which helps distinguish this game and gives it a sense of realism. You can upgrade her gear by finding and accumulating salvage caches which are translated into salvage points. The survival instinct mode helps you establish more items that can be collected. Smashing special wooden crates, opening large trunks, searching dead enemies and animals are just some ways you can retain salvage points. Salvage points are used to pay for weapon upgrades making it worth scouring an area to find salvage items.
Overall this game looks fantastic. The attention to detail to each environments and lighting effects show case that this generation graphics continued to be pushed to the limits. The dedication the developers put into this game are definitely highlighted through out the entire journey. With gorgeous environments, action-packed gameplay I have become a fan. Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics have created something special here. I hope they continue in this direction and that Lara's next adventure establishes an excellent series. Can't wait to see what they are working on for next gen systems.