Square Enix asked me to review Tomb Raider for the PC and, of course, I gladly accepted the chance to get my hands on one of the more anticipated titles of the year. We were really hot for this one at E3 and I’ve spent the whole year hoping that this was going to be as good as all of the trailers and emails and commercials made it out to be.
So I gave it a play through…And now, the answer to the question:
Did it suck, or was it good?
I’ll not keep you in suspense. The game was very good. So good, in fact, that I didn’t want it to end.
Of course, though, all good things MUST end…Because the universe hates me.
And now that you have the verdict, I’ll talk a little bit about the game and tell you why I liked it.
First of all, I love the fact that the story is the ultimate prequel. Back to the days before Lara Croft was even a shadow of the virtual person we know. At the beginning of the game, she is underway on a simple archaeological expedition. She’s young, naive, weak and scared. When all hell breaks loose, it’s only by sheer luck and human survival instinct that she manages to not die.
From there, things just get really, really bad for her. She is separated from her group, lost and alone on a REALLY fucked up island which is home to a bunch of REALLY major douchebags. Lara must very quickly make the choice to live or die, kill or be killed, survive or be swept away by the tides of fate…So she bucks up and starts taking care of business.
Throughout the game you are able to upgrade a number of skills, from bow hunting to ammo carrying to scavenging. You also have the opportunity to acquire and upgrade a number of weapons, including a bow (my fave), pistol, shotgun, rifle and others. As the game progresses, you will find various things which will allow you to do more and more with what you have (like the rope-arrow).
Of course it wouldn’t be Tomb Raider without a whole bunch of puzzles to solve and crazy ledges to jump around on and this game is packed full of those. Some of the puzzles are very straight forward, mentally, and rather physically challenging. Others are the opposite. The nasty ones are the ones which test both your problem solving abilities and your coordination at the same time. Eventually, though, you’ll find your way through even the nastiest of puzzles and hazards (the latter providing us with some incredibly gruesome death sequences if we fail to mash the buttons at the right time or dodge in the correct direction…My favorite being a sharp metal pole through the chin and out the top of the skull) and will make it to the end of the game, which…
…I’m not going to spoil.
The only problems I have with the game are that some of the button mashing is very sensitive to how and when you mash-away and this can lead to numerous repeated attempts at performing a task that you know exactly how to do. In one sequence, which I won’t spoil too much, I died about 10 times because I didn’t get the button press to just exactly the right timing. I was either a little too early or a little too late. In another, the timing of a movement is so precise that it took me half an hour to pass an obstacle, even though I knew exactly what I needed to do. When I finally made it, I had no idea what I’d done differently than I’d been doing for the last 30 minutes. Things like that can become very frustrating…Overall, though, it didn’t completely spoil the experience.
Suffice it to say that this game is a proud addition to the Tomb Raider franchise. Square Enix has done a great job with it and created a very fitting beginning to the Lara Croft legend. I am very much looking forward to the next installment, wherein we get to see her develop more and become the ultra-cool headed Indy-with-hooters we know her as today.
If you’ve been on the fence about this one, stop it. Get your as down to the store and buy it, now! Unless you’re a kid, then you need to leave it alone because GORE, APLENTY. Go watch Spongebob before you turn into a serial killer, ya runt.