Tomb Raider (2013) Review [continued]

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Tomb Raider achieves a very cinematic feel to its story. While some people may say that this sounds as if the story is cheapened by being filled with lots of explosions and forced drama, I would say that while the presentation of the story is very cinematic, the depth of the story is almost book-like; especially if you indulge in reading all the lore and collectible entries. This is something I personally much appreciate as it reminds me of my all-time favorite game-series, The Legacy of Kain.

This entry being a reboot focuses more on Lara Croft’s origin story. Now, as some have pointed out, this isn’t exactly an origin story as it does not explain how Lara learns her various abilities– climbing, archery, etc. Instead, this is the story of Lara Croft’s first adventure. Personally, I think this is obviously the superior choice. Not only because the first adventure serves as a better backdrop for an adventure game, but because I have noticed that it is very difficult for a game to convey someone learning a skill. It is generally simply the game teaching the controls to you and you being tested on them once or twice, which is not realistic.

It’s rather difficult to talk in-depth about the story without spoiling anything, though I do want to point out that everything feels very natural. All of the things people say and the ways that they act seems how real people would behave. The story itself also progresses very naturally and accomplishes its task of showing Lara’s development into a strong, brave, and determined adventurer.

I also want to take a moment to contend one thing people have said: Some people in their reviews have accused the story of skipping some explanation or having some developments come out of nowhere. Primarily, the bad guys’ knowledge that X is the MacGuffin he needs (I’m doing my best not to spoil anything here). This is not, however; the case. If you pay attention near the beginning, he has a conversation with another character that leads him to believe that X may be the MacGuffin he is looking for. In addition, later on during a huge story moment, the bad guy performs a test which proves that X is the MacGuffin he is looking for.

There’s really not too much more I can say without spoiling things. The story does have a few cliches that one might see coming. Also all the development that not only Lara, but some of her fellow adventurers get, I hope we get to see them in a future game.


This game, oh my dear. The graphics are phenomenal. Especially if you have a PC rig that can handle full settings. The character and environment designs are stunning. The sound effects are perfectly punctuated, the voice acting is pitch perfect, and the music is quite literally music to your ears.

I suppose the first thing I should cover is Lara Croft’s redesign. I think this is the best design Lara has gotten yet, and it is certainly one of, if not the, most normal looking. By that I mean she actually looks like a real human being. They also let her dress a bit more sensibly in this one while still maintaining the iconic teal tank top and khakis. While it might be disappointing to some I think giving her a proper pair of pants was a great idea– I can’t imagine the combo of short-shorts and drop-leg holster straps on bare skin being comfortable. And then there’s the hair. If you have a powerful computer, I definitely recommend the PC version as you can enable TressFX. This presents the most astonishingly realistic looking and moving hair I’ve seen rendered in a game engine. It seriously looks like something you’d see in a high-quality CG cutscene. Although, even without this, they did a great job on the hair along with the rest of the character.


The world around you can also be quite breathtaking at points. Clearly a lot of time and energy was spent on both the modeling and textures for this game. This combines very well with the quality sound effects to elicit a very immersive experience. Indeed of all things, I can still vividly recall the sound of wind funneling through underground tunnels.

The music for the game is also excellent. While there are some instances where it takes a more upfront role, it is generally more subtle and very fitting to the mood of the game. In fact, Jason Graves, the game’s composer, actually contacted Matt McConnel for the design of a unique “instrument” to use for the games’ music. This instrument is used exclusively to create the musical accompaniment for the first part of the game. This lends a very unique sound to the island almost giving the island itself its own theme.


Extra Content

So this Tomb Raider includes something rather uncommon for the series: Multiplayer. This is entirely unnecessary and actually feels rather tacked on. Multiplayer puts you against other players in death-esque match scenarios full of running and gunning. This means that while the single player game accomplishes a balance between combat, platforming, and puzzles that very well serves to the feel of Tomb Raider, the multiplayer does not. Honestly based on the Tomb Raider franchise and especially this game, if the developers really felt it necessary to add a multiplayer mode, the focus should have been on relic hunting, point control, and/or co-op survival. Competitive speedruns on platforming/free running stages would also have been very interesting.

So the multiplayer they included definitely isn’t a driving force for this game. This makes me rather curious as to why they decided to have the DLC focused on multiplayer maps instead of extra tombs/single player content. While I have no interest in purchasing the multiplayer maps, I would certainly be interested in some DLC tombs that could perhaps add even more to the game’s/island’s lore.


This reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise is fantastic. It is not only one of the best Tomb Raider games I have played, not only one of the best games I have played so far this year, but has made its mark as one of my favorite games. I have been so impressed that I have been considering purchasing the PC edition if/when it goes up for sale on Steam (as I said, I currently own the PS3 version).

I deeply hope that Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics keeps this team of people working on this franchise. If they can maintain, let alone exceed, this level of quality it will no doubt once again cement Tomb Raider as one of the premier/iconic examples of Adventure gaming and I will certainly continue purchasing the games. If that doesn’t make it clear enough, I heartily recommend this game to new and old fans of the Tomb Raider franchise as well as any fans of adventure games in general. In addition, if you’re not a fan of adventure-style games, this is a fine example of the genre and I would certainly recommend as an entry point.

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  1. 8:11 PM, May 2, 2013Favicon of zeroreviews.usTomb Raider (2013) Review