Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider

Producer: Square Enix
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Platform: Xbox360, PS3, PC
Rating: Mature

Tomb Raider

Raider's Return
Written by Josh Schilling

The latest entry to the Tomb Raider franchise is a prequel to Lara Croft’s notable exploits, and re-introduces the character as a wide-eyed student of archeology. This is where the beauty of the story lies, in that even though we know that Lara will end up being a dual-pistol-wielding badass, the transition in this latest game feels natural and right. We see this young lady feel the pain of her first kill, and then tap in to the inner strength that she possesses in order to overcome the tribulations that are presented to her. She is not a born killer, but rather a girl that is forced into a position of survival, and the progression that she makes creates an emotional connection between her and the person holding the controller.

The mechanics of this game ooze quality. From the beautiful scenic vistas, to the intricacies of Lara’s animation, you can tell that there was a lot of love put into the creation of this game. I have never been so taken aback by the artistic camera direction of a game before, and the movements I made with the thumb-stick on my controller never really felt like I was playing a game, but more like furthering the progress of a story. But this game is not without its nit-picky faults. The overall script just screams “Lost” at some points, and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly poke their heads out of some shrubbery and exclaim, “Hey, we can’t get off this island either.” The multi-player, does add a couple of interesting tidbits like trap setting and character selection, but it all seems forced and out of place with the thoroughness of the single-player story. But the drawbacks are extremely minor compared with the overall successes that this game attains, and while the replay value is minor, the memorable 12-14 hour journey is well worth the investment.

Perfection is almost impossible to achieve in any artistic endeavor. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as they say, and I’m sure there are at least a couple of dudes out there saying that Aliens: Colonial Marines is the best game that they’ve ever played. All I can say is that I’ve played a hell of a lot of games in my day, and I can honestly tell you that I had a great time playing this latest version of Tomb Raider. I felt empathy when I saw Lara shuddering before a campfire, I felt trepidation when I traipsed slowly down a dimly lit cavern, and I felt exhilarated when I plunged down the length of a waterfall. Most of all, this game will remain with me as an example of the epitome of what this generation of gaming consoles were able to produce, and it makes me eager to see what the folks at Crystal Dynamics can pull off next.

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