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Tomb Raider – First Impressions

March 18, 2013
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Lara kicks ass with her bow and arrow.

Let me start off by saying I have only played a couple hours of this game so far. This review is based on my first impressions, hence the title. Once I have completed it I will review it again and see if my feelings have changed. So, on with the review.  

 

Literally after 2 minutes of playing this game I was already reminded of Uncharted. This game has stunning visuals which will take your breath away. Maybe not quite as awesome as Uncharted 3 but it is up there in terms of graphics. Immediately you find yourself running through the scenery as parts of it crumble around you. As with the original Tomb Raiders you will be leaping from place to place in your somewhat ill suited clothing. You will be on the look out for relics and objects of interest while dodging a plethora of enemies. All very similar to uncharted. Well they are both treasure hunters I guess.  However, uncharted isn’t the only game Tomb Raider is similar too.

It also has aspects of Far Cry 3. You will find yourself hunting animals, distracting enemies and taking them down with stealth kills. As well as this you have skill points that you can use to improve your attacks or hunting abilities.  The makers have taken what worked well for Uncharted, Far Cry and others and made their own breed of game. It really is quite fun.

Let’s break it down into what went well and what was lacking.

The Good:

  • Graphics and visuals are stunning.
  • It isn’t as straight-forward as Uncharted.  There are tombs to be explored and skills to  customise. You can interact with the beautiful environment a bit more than uncharted and you can upgrade your weapons. Also, you can back track to previous base camps in order to explore and unlock achievements that you didn’t do the first time round. All this makes it more enjoyable at the time and also gives it more replayability.
  • The skill points. OK sort of already mentioned but in a game like this it is great to have  some level of customisation. This game allows you to choose what skills you want to improve, e.g. your bow skills or fighting abilities. This just adds an extra facet that Uncharted didn’t offer.
  • The story-line is interesting enough(so-far) and the voice acting is pretty good. Although, if you are anything like me, you will find the stereotypical English accents a bit grating at times. This is a good prequel of Lara Croft as you get to see her a bit more vulnerable before she was 100% kickass. However, I’m not quite sure that the characterisation works, a bit more about this in the bad list.
  • Being able to hunt and kill animals gives it a bit of an edge over those games that revolve around just killing human enemies. 
  • It’s just really fun. This game isn’t an effort and you won’t find yourself getting frustrated after failing 100 times at the same part. It is fun and it is enjoyable. The island you find yourself  shipwrecked on is intriguing and you naturally want to find out more. That’s what makes this game really good. 

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The Bad:

  • Lara’s character is a bit annoying. One minute she is crying over killing a deer, the next she has taken down five humans and not flinched. It is only when we go to cut scenes we realise that she is a bit of a wimp really. She isn’t the badass girl that you would expect from the previous Tomb Raiders. Yes, this is a prequel, so that is the whole point of it but does the difference between the game play and the cut scenes have to be so drastic? I would like to see her character reflect her actions to some extent! She is constantly killing, jumping about and hunting. Why is she still babbling as we go through the game? I think they shouldn’t have made her start out so innocent and caring. It’s just a bit too far in the opposite direction in my opinion. I would have expected her to be a go-getter who was a little naive but not a “girly” girl.
  • In the same vein, the realism isn’t that great. Kind of the same with uncharted. Killing 100 enemies without a scratch? Yeah right? She also recovers from any falls or scrapes really quickly. This just makes the whole thing a little bit silly. At the beginning we are led to believe she hasn’t even killed someone before yet she is AMAZING with a gun and bow and arrow!
  • The lack of tombs and treasure. As i have only played this for a little while then this point may be invalid. But it just seems there is a lack of actual treasure hunting. Instead it’s more like far cry 3, as in you are exploring an island. Maybe the tombs will come later? There have been a couple of tombs so far, but they are optional. They aren’t part of the story like the original Tomb Raider.
  • The lack of puzzles. One thing I loved about the original Tomb Raiders, and even the likes of uncharted, was the puzzles. Puzzles are fun and they help change the pace a little bit after killing a big troop of enemies. But this is where the Tomb Raider reboot is lacking. There are some puzzles, but they are piss easy. Hopefully as I complete more there will be harder puzzles! But i don’t have my hopes high based on other reviews.

 

So overall I think Tomb Raider is pretty awesome. It takes the interesting and beautiful worlds of similar games and adds a bit more. However, it lacks a little in the realism department, But it is a game after all.  I have moaned a bit about Lara’s character, however, Square Enix have done a great job of rebooting the series and I’m looking forward to future sequels. However don’t expect a game that is too similar to the originals! This game really stands alone.

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings. After I’ve completed this game, I will give it a proper review! 

So, have you played the new Tomb Raider? What did you think?

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