I’m not a fan of Tomb Raider. In the long history of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider, I think I had played only 1 of the games (forgotten which one) and seen 1 of the movies (mainly due to the then young and still hot Angelina Jolie). So it’s fair to say I’m not a fan.
This game changed that.
Tomb Raider is a 2013 reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise showing a young, green and inexperienced Lara Croft in her first adventure. For that reason, it has been dubbed Tomb Raider: Year 1 by many fans. In many ways, Tomb Raider: Year 1 is correct.
The game begins with Lara setting out on her first expedition aboard the ship Endurance, with the intention of finding the lost kingdom of Yamatai. Against the advice of others, she ordered the expedition to venture into the Dragon's Triangle, an area east of Japan known for its violent storms. The ship was struck by a violent storm and shipwrecked, leaving the survivors stranded on an isolated island.
Lara was one of the survivors and as she tried to locate the other survivors of her ship, she found evidence that the island was inhabited. Strange carvings, dead bodies, animal sacrifices, cultists all proved to her that the island had been inhabited for a long time and that the island she washed up on was the legendary island of Yamatai. Not only that, she became convinced that there was something mystical about the island.
However the story of Tomb Raider takes a backseat to the gameplay and the characterization of Lara. The game emphasized the origins of Lara, showing her development to become the character everyone knows and love. Many people say this was the highlight of the game and I fully agree on that. After playing the game, I finally get it. I finally understand why so many people love Lara Croft so much. Like I said earlier, this game made me a fan.
I especially liked the fact that this Lara Croft was one who bleeds and gets dirty. Good use of cut-scenes shows Lara hurt, injured and desperate. Even when you were in-game playing Lara, you could see the dirt on her and that by itself makes this game better than previous Tomb Raider games. The game also made sure to show that Lara is no saint. She makes mistakes and has a tendency to believe she knows better than everyone, even when she acknowledges that others were more experience than she was.
Not only that, the gameplay was excellent. The visual of Yamatai was great and the game itself was exciting. Many times during combat, I found myself holding my breath. Some of the puzzles and hidden tomb locations were also very well done.
Of course the game was not perfect. The multiplayer was non-existent because…well, no one’s there. A lot of the achievements in the game are in the multiplayer so if you are one of those who aims for 100% completion; sorry but you’re out of luck.
Also, Lara Croft was emphasized so much in the game the rest of the cast became pretty forgettable. Most of them could be easily be put into generic tropes like dead mentor, insane bad-guy, lovelorn potential boyfriend etc. Tomb Raider was about Lara Croft, Lara is the Tomb Raider. Everyone else was a secondary character that weren't worth remembering.
Overall, Tomb Raider is a game I would highly recommend. It’s an exciting action-adventure game that would not only please old fans of Lara Croft but also bring new fans to the franchise. Bring forth the sequel; Rise of the Tomb Raider!