Lara Croft Returns: A Tomb Raider Review. Well, yes the new Tomb Raider is out and I have played through it on the Xbox 360. When I first heard that Tomb Raider was returning to the video game world I admit, I didn’t expect much. Then I heard small tidbits about rebooting the story and that intrigued me. However, it was not under CES 2013 when I sat down and played a small portion of the game that I decided to buy it.
What makes this Tomb Raider so unique? Simple it starts from the beginning and without giving too much away, this is the game that gives us the defining moments that make Lara Croft the tough character we know. The game also takes a different approach to the gameplay and interacting elements. Let’s continue talking about the single player campaign.
Let’s start with the story. It’s dark, gritty and fun to be a part of. It has quite a few twists and turns that keep you in the dark or guessing. It is a story telling approach that seems simple until you start finding these artifacts/ relics and information on your way through. It sucks you in and attempts to get you attached to the characters, successfully I might add. The story is what made it difficult for me to just put the controller down. I had to finish it, I couldn’t wait to finish it. The other thing I like about the story and game is the length, it’s a pretty long game, I imagine I put about twenty plus hours into the campaign.
Graphics were beautifully rendered in an often darkly enjoyable way. The details from the environment to the interactive objects were spot on. The Characters looked amazing and the cut scenes just blew me away. However, there were a few glitches. I did notice often enough the character would jump/move or momentarily freeze, likely from loading more of the level.
Audio and sound FX were a masterpiece along with the soundtrack that came with my Collector’s Edition. Some advice, don’t listen to that soundtrack in the dead of night while alone- your probably won’t sleep that night.
Controls and the AI. While the AI was not exactly bright, they did seemingly learn or at the least change tactics when in scenarios where as one would die ad respawn multiple times. Yes, it will happen. Controls are straight forward and relatively easy to learn and master. Other than some odd angles or jumping on top of objects, like a stump, right in front of you it was just about right.
Achievements are not difficult, most rely on completing certain tasks. And the some are multiplayer as well. All in all pretty straight forward, but not necessarily one’s you’ll unlock without trying.
The game mixes a perfect blend of resourcefulness puzzles and third person shooter along with some strategy. The puzzles will make you think, but won’t keep you up all night nor pulling out your hair. What you may find difficult without a map is finding all the artifacts, relics, GPS Caches and challenges thrown about the island. Alas, it was fun. I felt like a kid again playing a totally new and different game.
I recommend getting Tomb Raider and as you play to take your time looking around for anything you can find. Take patience in learning to excel one weapon at a time, starting with the Bow. Upgrade your weapons whenever possible. Oh, and have fun.