Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Tomb Raider Review

Reviewed on: PS3

Tomb raider is a re-imagining of the Tomb Raider series. The game introduces a new origin story for the series, which improves greatly on the original simple plane crash story. The game also has a much grittier and more realistic tone while keeping the odd paranormal undertones. 

The gameplay of Tomb Raider is great and practically glitch free. Over the course of the game you receive several weapons that help you progress, the weapons include a bow (with several arrow types, the best general use weapon and the first weapon you receive), a shotgun, an automatic rifle, a pistol and pry axe. Salvage (from the wrecks of the various ships that crashed into the island) is found everywhere (and with perks can be found on animals and enemies) and is used to improve weapons. The pry axe is used to open doors, salvage containers and climb certain surfaces. Hunting animals, completing objectives, killing enemies in special ways etc all provide experience points that are collected to get skill points to buy perks to improve skills that supply bonus salvage, increase health, add new attacks and other similar boons. Tomb Raider is an open world game, to get to previous zones you utilise fast travel camps that allow you to travel to any other fast travel camp you've already found. To fit with the feeling that you're surviving and not adventuring, torches and fire are very important. Torches are lit on braziers and can be used to light certain objects to progress through zones, light up dark areas and you reveal salvage and secrets. Sometimes environmental puzzles are utilised to progress through areas and usually include burning things. Survival instincts are a view mode that make important objects glow to reveal anything you can interact with to progress. One thing I love is that apart from the survival instincts there are hints as to what to do but unlike other games where its a bright glowing line or something horribly obvious, the hints in Tomb Taider can be as subtle as a vent entrance falling down behind you.

The graphics are amazing, like Assassin's Creed 3 without the glitches. Environments look realistic, but are diverse and most importantly although each zone can be wildly different, they all make sense in terms of a tropical island (sort of). Tomb Raider has a dark palette to match the tone of the game while still looking realistic. Characters look great and the flow from cutscene to gameplay is flawless. I've found only one big glitch and that was in a room full of smoke, if I headed onwards the background would go completely brown until I made it to the exit, not great, but at least it was survivable. The sound of Tomb Raider is really cool, the voice acting is great, the new Lara Croft actor (Camilla Ludington) brings wonderful new depths to the character. The soundtrack is mostly based around the main theme which is adapted to fit the situation. My favourite thing about the music I found out about in the extra videos, the composer knew a sculptor who agreed to make an instrument for the game.

The story of Tomb Raider introduces a new origin story for Lara Croft, now rather than a plane crash in mountains, Lara has set out on an adventure when a storm rips apart the research ship and strands Lara and the rest of the crew on an uncharted island ruled by a murderous cult made up of survivors. The game has been set to a tone that Lara is not a badass killing machine on an adventure, she's just trying to survive. Throughout certain scenes both the player and Lara must face certain emotional challenges, such as her first kill. Even with the realistic tone of the game, it still manages to retain tones of the odd, strange and extreme which has always been a huge part of the series.

Now for once I've actually tried out the multiplayer, but I kind of wished I didn't. The multiplayer of Tomb Raider isn't bad its just really standard, it really is just the Call of Duty template that far too many (almost all in fact) games use today, So just in case you haven't played a game in a very long time, that means: leveling to unlock new weapons, new characters and standard game modes such as deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag.

Tomb Raider is a great game and I got addicted very quickly, its very similar to the PS3 game Uncharted (which is another game I love), the only thing is in my opinion there isn't a lot of replay value (and I don't say that a lot, I can find replay value in almost any game). I think this is a game that really should be played, but is more the kind of game you want to rent or borrow from a friend rather than buy.

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