A lot has happened since 1996 when the first Tomb Raider game was first released. It featured a well endowed but heavily pixelated 3DFX rendered Lara Croft and involved lots of puzzle solving, a wide range of opponents and extravagant environments.
Fast forward to 2013 and we have the all new coming of age Lara, played by Camilla Luddington, who is the voice and motion capture model. Lara is now much younger and vulnerable, not aware of her bad-ass survival abilities passed down from her father. She is on a path of self-discovery and finding the physical and psychological limits of the human mind.
Since this is not a review, according to the official website, the story is as follows:
Tomb Raider explores the intense and gritty origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a young woman to a hardened survivor. Armed only with raw instincts and the ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, Lara must fight to unravel the dark history of a forgotten island to escape its relentless hold.
The first thing you will notice is how jaw-droppingly well-made and beautiful this game is. The developers have paid attention to every single little detail, for instance when raining, small drops of water will form on the screen completing the illusion that your monitor is just a window with a view of this beautiful island. Watching the sun set over the shores was just breathtaking and surreal, and makes you wish you where there, if it weren’t for everyone trying to kill you from every direction.
If you have played Portal (and if you haven’t, do so after playing Tomb Raider!), you will appreciate the tombs with puzzles forcing you to actually use your mind. Luckily the solutions are not over the top difficult, so even if you may have to struggle for a while, it will not get tedious from trying too long.
The pacing is very well thought out, with simple and often stealth attacks in the beginning, and especially towards the end all-out war ensued a frantic adrenaline pumping of shotgun shells towards machine gun shooting and knife swinging melee enemies, combined with the swift shooting of exploding arrows to fight off molotov throwing and arrow shooting islanders farther away.
It has been pure joy and excitement playing this game, and I envy those who still have Lara’s epic journey ahead of them. I can only imagine what the next game in the series will look like, considering the upcoming next-gen consoles becoming available later this year.
(images courtesy of Square Enix/Tomb Raider)