Tomb Raider (PC) Second Opinion Review

By Athanasios 30.10.2016 8

Review for Tomb Raider on PC

Lara Croft: tough, agile, badass, with a stereotypically cool British demeanour, and an attitude towards adventuring that is comparable to THE Predator's passion for his alien game. She single-handedly unveiled ancient mysteries, fought hired guns and weird creatures, and, thank Darwin for the lack of PETA fanatics, wherever she went she became the scourge of the local fauna. She was one-dimensional, but in that '80s, doesn't-really-matter kind of way - in other words, she was a comic book character. Unrealistic. Sexy. Cool. What if Lady Croft had an actual *gasp!* personality and backstory, though? Cubed3 takes another look at the reboot of Tomb Raider.

A team of people has set sail for a mysterious island, but their ship crashed there due to some extreme weather conditions, and it's up to the protagonist to save everybody - but only after unveiling the mysteries of this place, and showing off some insane acrobatic, shooting, and puzzle-solving skills. No, this isn't Nathan Drake's latest adventure, although it could very well be one. Tomb Raider, the franchise the Uncharted series was inspired from, has actually become so heavily influenced by the latter, that this could be named Uncharted 5: The Adventures of Lara Croft.

It's a recipe made from heaven! For those who will profit from it, that is. Like it or not, that's nothing more than a money-making tactic—but, hey! Can you blame Crystal Dynamics? That's how business is done in the "modern" gaming era. The majority wants to be handheld, guided through a linear path, and exposed to a story instead of "living" it. Ravings of a nostalgia-blinded nerd? Maybe… Enough digression, though - on with the review. It's not Nathan Drake, then, but Lara Croft, although something feels different - and, no, this doesn't concern her disappeared, gravity-defying, assets.

Screenshot for Tomb Raider on PC

This is the most realistic take on the famous adventurer yet. Besides her non-comic book-like appearance (don't worry, she remains extraordinarily beautiful), Lara doesn't behave like a cyborg anymore. She falls down, gets hurt, bleeds, cries, and, most of all, is so afraid that this almost feels like a survival horror title at times. Obviously, Tomb Raider is not just a reboot of the franchise, but also a reboot of its main face, and it's a fascinating change. The first time she'll have to enter a dark cave, jump over a chasm, or shoot a man will actually leave her trembling from the shock.

The first example is when she decides that she must hunt a deer in order to not starve. She will be hesitant, but she will also force her hand to be stable in order to do what must be done. This makes the player identify and care for her, because this is handled quite well… initially, since, although her face remains in "scared" mode throughout her journey, that "realism" bit will lose its charm once she starts shooting mercenaries by the dozen, and performing some superhuman feats of strength and agility, which would leave the old Lara with her mouth open.

Screenshot for Tomb Raider on PC

Furthermore, this is a walk in the park, something that, similar to the Uncharted series, has a lot to do with how these games work - the notorious "Press X to Win" problem. Example: Lara will have to climb up a very high beacon tower. It's a tense scene that will make the player grip on the gamepad, but, immersion aside, this just requires pressing forward and, occasionally the A button - and this is what happens during the majority of the time that has to be spent here. Chaos all around? No biggie! Just follow the only path available, and push the buttons that are flashing on-screen.

Engrossing? Sure! When challenge gets thrown out of the window, however, that won't be for long. It's a shame, really, because, audio-visually, this is simply fantastic. The darkness of the jungle and the howling wolves, the roaring thunders and the way rain splashes on the screen, the fires, the explosions, and the smoke - everything is simply stunning, with the only thing better than those being Lara herself, who demonstrates one of the finest examples of video game animation in the history of the media. Yeah, it's that good!

Screenshot for Tomb Raider on PC

Despite all the criticism, this is actually a great experience. The acrobatics, while easy, are exciting; the plot, while full of forgettable NPCs, is a generally good archaeology thriller; the protagonist is simply great; the survival horror aspect, while only strong in the very beginning, is indeed well-implemented; and finally, the gunfights, arguably the weakest part of all Tomb Raider instalments, are actually fantastic here - although they do overstay their welcome after the middle of this odyssey. Even better, fellow OCDs who love collect-a-thons will have a blast with the tons of things that can be found, which range from simple trinkets to pieces of lore, like lost diaries.

In conclusion, while somewhat flawed, this is a piece of software that is quite entertaining. There's a major flaw, though, and that is that Tomb Raider has simply lost its "heart" and soul. It's a little bit of Assassin's Creed and Resident Evil 4, and a lot of Uncharted, but it has way too little Tomb Raider in it. Why? Too plot-heavy and cinematic, with a severe lack of puzzles, and, most importantly, a profound shortage of tombs - which, by the way, are nothing more than five-minute-long mini-dungeons. The end result is a very good action title with some minor RPG elements, like EXP gains and crafting, but a pretty weak action-adventure.

Screenshot for Tomb Raider on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Tomb Raider tries to do a lot of different things, and, while it doesn't excel in any of them, it generally does a pretty good job, whether that's about the shooting, the platforming, or the exploring. Note, though, that while great as a whole, and although the new realistic take on Ms. Croft is, for the most part, well-handled, some long-term fans might get disappointed, because this might be a great game, but it's far from a great Tomb Raider one.

Developer

Crystal Dynamics

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Despite the disconnect between story and gameplay (Lara is scared to kill, but the player makes her take out seemingly hundreds of goons with ease), which is a difficult thing to nail given the circumstances, I loved playing through this on PS3, and was more than happy to 100% it a second time on PS4 (I remember bagging the Definitive Edition for a bargain price due to a pricing error lol). Not quite enough Tomb Raider in there, but a really fun game.

Great game, I 100%'d it last year and it ended up being one of my favourites. While it may be lacking in some areas compared to its sequel, I actually prefer it overall.
 

This game took the things that made the first game great and made them better. Smoother gun play, better character development/backstory/interaction, loads more exploration, more challenge tombs, tonnes of crafting and collectibles and a decent story and good locals to boot. Deserves better than a 7. 

Echoes221 said:
This game took the things that made the first game great and made them better. Smoother gun play, better character development/backstory/interaction, loads more exploration, more challenge tombs, tonnes of crafting and collectibles and a decent story and good locals to boot. Deserves better than a 7. 

Challenge? Where???

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

Ofisil said:
Challenge? Where???

Was thinking the same thing...

Rise upped the tombs, and the puzzle challenge a little bit more, but not to the extent that it is on the original's level... so the TR reboot certainly isn't on the original's level in the tomb/puzzle sense.

... They're called "Optional Challenge Tombs" in the game. I didn't mean to say they were actually challenging. I just loved the fact that there were more of them and it felt more authentic to the TR formula. 

Christos (guest) 28.08.2018#7

Very harsh review in my opinion. The score does not reflect the quality of the game. This game was among the best of last gen. Definitely a 9+/10. I am sorry but for most of the text you are just trying REALLY HARD to nitpick in order to justify your very harsh conclusion and score. When you review a game, you should review it based on what IT IS, rather than what you think it should have been. Just because the game changed in style and followed a different direction than the earlier Tomb Raider games does not mean this is a bad game. It is a REBOOT, it is supposed to start the series from scratch...

You mentioned Resident Evil 4 ironically, which, despite being a totally different game than its predecessors, was largely considered to be a masterpiece. People didn't think "oh it just does not have resident evil's "soul" anymore, let's give it a 7/10"...

Christos (guest) said:
When you review a game, you should review it based on what IT IS, rather than what you think it should have been. Just because the game changed in style and followed a different direction than the earlier Tomb Raider games does not mean this is a bad game. It is a REBOOT, it is supposed to start the series from scratch...

Very correct - only this is not as good in what it does as much as it could.

...never said it's a bad game, by the way.

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

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