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Tomb Raider is an Action-Adventure game that introduces players to the origin of one of the most identifiable video games icons of all-time, Lara Croft. The game features a blend of survival, stealth, melee and ranged combat, and exploration gameplay as a young Lara Croft is forced to push herself past her know limits to survive and unravel the dark history of a forgotten island. In the process she will unlock the adventurer within her. Additional game features include: weapons both familiar and new, upgradable items, a variety of play environments, and human and animal enemies.
When the first ever Tomb Raider game launched in 1996 it was a revolution. Outstanding in terms of graphics, gameplay, and storyline, it changed the way that video games were played and developed forever. Fronting the games assault on the world was the central character, Lara Croft. Lara was also to have an incredible impact, quickly becoming the most recognized and celebrated female action heroine and an icon for the video games industry.
This newest rendition of Tomb Raider explores the intense and gritty origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a frightened young woman to the hardened survivor that she would become known as. 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.
Here is what Danny Chandler as a reviewer has to say:
The short of it is, this game is fun. It takes all the best elements present in other action-adventure games, including past installments in the Tomb Raider series, and throws them into one package. It's plot and story are excellent - the dark tone and convincing visuals, voice acting and soundtrack all draw you into Lara's adventure. This game is totally worth playing through the campaign. You'll be challenged, stressed, sickened, and, most importantly, highly entertained.
The long of it is...
1. If you like the Uncharted series, you will love Tomb Raider and you need read no further. The gameplay, character design, cinematography, and more are all very reminiscent of Uncharted. I would say Tomb Raider ripped off Naughty Dog (publisher of the Uncharted series)... Let's just say team Tomb Raider was really, really inspired by Uncharted and wanted to pay them a deep compliment by borrowing generously from the Uncharted Formula.
2. The graphics are stunning. I'm amazed that the XBOX 360 can render some of the graphics this game pulls down. It's gorgeous. Great skys, mountain vistas, creepy tombs and caves, and convincing animals. When it's supposed to be lovely (think exotic jungle, stunning mountain range, colorful sunset, or Lara), it's lovely. When it's supposed to be grimy and gross (think tombs, caves, wolves, and ... again, Lara - after a kill), it's grimy and gross. It's just motion-picture quality production.
3. Also presentation-wise, the voice acting is superb. I wasn't too keen on Lara's new voice when I saw the trailers, but the voice actress really sells the whole story. You're right there in the action, thanks to the voice work.
4. The soundtrack is awesome! It really sets the mood perfectly. At turns emotionally moving, tense and suspenseful, and sweepingly adventurous. Speaking of mood ...
5. If this Lara Croft becomes the amazing, unbeatable, super-heroine of "later" Tomb Raider games, it's because of her experiences in this reboot. "Harrowing" doesn't begin to describe the journey this character takes. This is, I would say, the one departure from the Uncharted formula (whose protagonist is very happy go lucky, and the subject matter dramatic, but light). Tomb Raider is dark, scary, bloody, and tense. I was 100% drawn into the story because they did such a good job with the tone. Gone are the hokey, cartoony (in retrospect) tombs of the PS1 days - this adventure is a nail-biter. When Lara is hurt, you believe it, from the blood and the cries. When she dies (which can be often - the game has its share of difficult parts), the deaths are stomach-turning, gruesome, and violent. There's no gloss to the violence in this game. You'll know what I mean when Lara kills her first human.
6. The gameplay in the single player campaign is phenomenally fun. It's the perfect mix of puzzles, action, exploring, all without getting too bogged down in one or the other. There are quick-time events (press X, quick! press y, quick! shake the L stick back and forth, quick!), but they're not too frequent, I don't think. Anyone familiar with Uncharted will probably find fewer here than on that PS3 series. I think they're necessary for the edge-of-your-seat sequences in which they're employed, to keep you in the story.
7. The story is short. I rented, I repeat RENTED, Tomb Raider from Redbox and finished the campaign in about 12 hours (hey, what can I say, it's Spring Break). I only did three of the optional tombs, and played the online multiplayer for about 1/2 hour. I would say rent it, if you can. Why spend $60 on a game that, while awesome, can be finished in a few days (you'll still only spent $6 if you keep it three days). Unless you REALLY want to take your time with this or want to buy it to support Square Enix so they can fund a sequel (which, I'll grant you, would be awesome), just rent and save it from sitting on your shelf. If the multiplayer were better, that would be a different story, but ...
8. The multiplayer is not very fun. Part of the great thing about the combat in the campaign is that it's short and sweet, used sparingly, where appropriate. And some of that is the more "stealthy" combat. When it's all combat, all the time, like in online multiplayer, it loses its charm, and just isn't fun. Multiplayer in third person can be hard to pull off (just ask Rockstar about Max Payne 3). I enjoy a good deathmatch online, but I didn't find one here. Again, rent it to see for yourself, but I thought the multiplayer was the only weak link in this chain.
9. Play this game. It was the most fun I've had with a video game since Uncharted 2.
I just want to make clear that this is an excellent, excellent game. I say, "rent instead of buy," because for me, that's how the cost-benefit analysis plays out. I figure an Amazon.com review should contain my straight-forward opinion, and that's it. I completed the campaign in 12 hours, with "65%" of the game completed. Did I find all the Uncharted-like artifacts? No, and the ones I found didn't compel me to find more. The little tidbits of information about the vases and coins were interesting, but not worth spending another $60 to buy. Did I complete every optional tomb? No, but the ones I did complete were short (i.e., one puzzle) with an uninspiring reward (XP, or experience points). I thought the story was great, the presentation great, etc., but, again, not worth owning when I can rent it and get the same experience I personally would have wanted and gotten if I had bought it. If the developers and studio wanted everyone who plays the game to pay $60, then they wouldn't license it for rental. They don't have to play it that way. But they do, because of a little something called price differentiation. You choose how much you want to pay depending on the experience you want. You can pay $60 the first month it's out to own, or you can pay $4, like I did, to rent. To me, I'd rather have the extra $56 and just do the campaign. If you're a "completionist," then this game is probably worth $60. You can also wait a while for the inevitable price drop, and the cost of the price differential goes down. This isn't an issue unique to video games - motion pictures work on the same price differential, with some people paying $12 to watch in 3D in the theater, some paying $20 to own on Blu-ray, and some paying $2 to rent. It doesn't change the quality of the game (or movie) - here, Tomb Raider is a 5-star game - but it's important to know what you're getting for your hard earned dollars. Hence, the product review. $4, 12 hours, and a completed campaign for me was an excellent experience.
Time to make your purchase for Tomb Raider today!
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