Saturday, 2 March 2013

Tomb Raider Review

Tomb Raider wasn't a game I was planning to get last year, and to make this review even more unlikely that it was going to happen, I had never even played a Tomb Raider game before. After hearing the hype about this game I decided to buy the game and see what Tomb Raider is like. I can say that my first experience with a Tomb Raider game was awesome. There was many things I liked about the game which I will talk about in this review. There are also some things I didn't like which will also be addressed.

Tomb Raider starts of a little slow with Lara not even coming in contact with an actual enemy for about 45 minutes in to the game. The first little part of the game is about survival, and doesn't feature any big shoot em up gun fights that normally happen within the first 2 minutes of a game. After getting out of a mysterious cave, a wounded Lara will need to find a camp and food to eat. Once the objective is done we start pushing towards the more action route of the game. During this time period of the game Lara will find different weapons like a bow as well as a gun. She will also find tools to help her survive like a pry axe to help open doors which when used triggers a QTE that shows a pry axe meter that needs to be filled to open the door.

I talked earlier about how early in the game Lara had to find a camp. That was not a one time thing as there are many different camps scattered across the map, and these camps have a much bigger purpose than keeping Lara warm. Once you activate a camp you will have a new menu pop up with three different options, Skills, Fast Travel and Gear. Skills are earned in separate points, and to earn these points you must do certain things in the game to gain XP to fill the XP bar. Once the XP bar is full you will gain a new point. You have two different upgrades to choose from. The upgrades you can choose from are Survivor Upgrades and Hunter Upgrades. Some Survivor Upgrades you will come across will be things like Animal Instincts which makes hard to find animals and food sources glow in the distance or you can earn extra rewards when looting. Hunter Upgrades include more ammo and a steadier aim.

When you pick Fast Travel you can choose between different camps you have found to make it easier to travel for the player. Then you have the final option, and that is the gear option. In the gear option you can upgrade your weapons and also survival gear you have earned during the game. To upgrade your items you have to find units of salvage which you can find in crates scattered all around the map or you can loot it in dead bodies. Once you have enough salvage you can use it in exchange for better weapon/gear perks.

Tomb Raider also uses QTE's very heavily in the game. They are used for all kinds of moments in the game like opening doors or during an encounter with an animal (Like a wolf for example) or a normal human enemy. I thought the use of QTE's got a little annoying after a while because it was so heavily used, and also during encounters I died quite a lot because of QTE's (Look out for the Triangle/Y button QTE because it can be a pain) While on the subject of annoying things it should be noted that Lara can be quite annoying too with her groans during fights. After a while though the you learn to ignore the annoying Lara grunts and groans.

The gameplay itself is very solid, and reminds me a lot like the brilliant Uncharted series. You will start to notice the similarities when Lara is climbing up wrecked objects and doing the big leap of faith jumps. This isn't to say Tomb Raider is a rip off of Uncharted at all as Tomb Raider separates itself from Uncharted by having moments where survival is more important than having a gun fight. It's also nice to just relax at a camp after a big moment during the game to regroup, upgrade some weapons, and then start off again. To sum it up, first you will think of Uncharted but soon after you will think of it as Tomb Raider with Uncharted elements on the side. Confrontations with enemies are very well done and the combat is extremely fun. There are a decent amount of ways to get through enemies like stealth kills, all out shoot em up gun fights and you can even sneak past enemies without even killing anyone. The way you fight is up to you.

The story of the game is decent too. I liked how they made Lara regret killing for the first time, and it felt like Lara had to kill to survive even if she hated doing it. Some may find the way it's all done to be a bit uncreative as after Lara kills her first victim with such a huge regret you can go and shoot everyone else straight after with no regrets from her at all but again this depends on how you play. You can try and never kill someone again because it's possible. As this is non spoiler review I can't go in to much detail about the story except saying it's decent and worth playing to see the end.

Tomb Raider boasts some very sharp looking graphics. The scenery in this game is amazing to look at when you are just hanging around and also just looking around. The start of the game takes place in a forest and it's also for me when the scenery of Tomb Raider is at its best. The games characters also look graphically solid as well as cutscenes looking very sharp too. Tomb Raider has some very good voice actors too that can and will be added to the list stacks of positives.

The Final Verdict

Tomb Raider is an excellent video game, and also most important to me a very fun game to play. I had a blast playing through the game and must recommend it to everyone. What's not to like about this game? You get great gameplay, fun combat, survival elements, stealth elements, quality graphics and good voice acting. It's a complete game. Main Story will take around 10-14 hours to complete depending on different factors like if you want to do other things in the game or if you want to steam through the game. Tomb Raider is a solid start to what looks like an amazing March of video games.

+Fun combat
+Voice acting

-QTE's used a little too much at times
-Annoying sounds at times

Final Score


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