A Story of Survival... And Mass Murder
Back in the days of the original PlayStation, Tomb Raider was a franchise that was a force to be reckoned with. However, as more sequels came out in later generations, each feeling more iterative than the last, the quality of the games declined greatly. Now, the series is faced with a massive reboot created by Crystal Dynamics-- certainly no easy undertaking. Simply titled Tomb Raider, the game shows a more fragile Lara Croft's origin story. Is the price of survival worth the price of admission?
As stated, Tomb Raider tells the tale of Lara Croft's not-so-humble beginnings. When a voyage to an island in the Dragon's Triangle goes awry, Croft and crew's ship crashes. Lara wakes up, calling for her friends, only to be blindsided by a local. Dazed, tied up, and hanging in some kind of cavern, Lara frees herself and must do everything to survive on her own. It won't be easy, as the island is maintained by a crazed cult, any ship or plane that tries to leave the island gets shot down by Mother Nature, and supplies are scarce. Tomb Raider definitely shows a different side to the mythos of Lara Croft. She starts out as an incredibly vulnerable and scared girl and by the end of the game she becomes a hardened survivor. However, I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief at times. Lara is constantly put in ridiculous situation after ridiculous situation, each more insane than the last that it felt like the storytellers were trying to shove it in my face that Lara was a strong-willed survivor. Seriously, I got it already. It's sort of tough to swallow to have it repeatedly drilled into me.
|It takes a big man to use a woman for a shield.|
|Bad dog! Down, boy!|
|Well, aren't these cheery surroundings.|
In addition to salvage points, Lara Croft can also earn experience points through multiple means, such as scavenging fallen animals she hunts, defeating enemies (headshots and more savage kills net more points), and coming across hidden collectibles. When enough experience points have been earned, Lara gains skill points. These can be used to get survivor abilities for Lara to use. Such examples of this include being able to spot otherwise hard-to-find sources of loot, recovering shot arrows from downed creatures and enemies, and increased climbing speed.
Speaking of hunting, one of Tomb Raider's first objectives after Lara escapes from the cavern of crazed cult members is to hunt a deer for a source of food. You might think that this skill is useful and is used more prominently later in the game, but no, it's simply a one-off deal that only nets you experience points each time you kill an animal. I would have liked to see taking down animals as something necessary, since after all this is a game showing how Lara survives her ordeal. Wouldn't scavenging for food be an important part of that? And I don't mean something as boring and as tedious as collecting and eating food like Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater had. Just something to make the experience seem more realistic would have been interesting to see.
|There's no thrill to these hunts in Tomb Raider.|
|Nathan Drake, eat your heart out.|
|Multiplayer offers four unique modes to enjoy.|
|Fire bad! But it looks really good at least!|
[SPC Says: 8.75/10]