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on March 6, 2013
I might have been the harshest critic of the new direction Crystal Dynamics decided to take "Tomb Raider." There are several angry posts to my name across the web, talking about why this game would fail, and how it was a desecration to the franchise. After all, I grew up with Lara's series, and in fact, "Tomb Raider II" was the first video game I ever played. To this day, I thought that this would be a simplification of the timeless series, and a desperate attempt to make the series fit in with newcomers. Thankfully, I have been proven wrong. "Tomb Raider" is one of the venerable heroine's finest outings, and possibly the best action game since "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves."

We begin with Lara being trapped on an island, searching for her friends and being pursued by a menacing cult. But this isn't the cocky, oddly-proportioned character we're used to; this is before her official tomb raiding days, and the first major expedition she sets out on. As such, she is inexperienced and vulnerable, and the game chronicles her ascension from scared teen to powerful warrior. Now, you might think the trailers give away the plot, but you'd be dead wrong. The story is every bit as strange and wonderful as some of the earlier games, containing unpredictable twists and surprising supernatural elements. It would be a crime to spoil it, but let's just that fans of the old games need not worry; Crystal Dynamics (developers of Legend through Underworld) still know what this franchise is all about, narrative-wise, and they hit the nail right on the head.

Special props should go to Rihanna Pratchett, writer of the woefully underrated "Heavenly Sword", for making Lara into one of the most empowering female role models ever crafted. Even in her weakest states, she is never a victim, always resourceful and one step ahead of everyone else. Through the story, we see her learn from mistakes, and turn into what we typically think of as Lara Croft. Special little nods the series' roots, right down to the origin of her signature silver pistols, add in flavor to her character, and turn into a much deeper protagonist than she has ever been. Even as somebody who loves the old character, I must say that Pratchett has actually made me prefer this interpretation of her. Full-speed ahead with this new Lara, I say; she's smart, cheeky, and powerful, which is exactly what she's supposed to be.

Fans' biggest concern about this new entry, however, was undoubtedly the gameplay. The seemingly liberal inclusion of Quick Time Events, and the deceptively linear design of showcased levels both indicated an unwelcome change. However, it turns out we were only drip-fed bits and pieces of different levels. The game itself is an entirely different matter, because it is teeming with as many secrets as the old games, if not more. While it is easy to simply follow the set path, there are numerous alternate routes to pursue in search of loot, and even entire optional tombs. These tombs are more in line with the classic puzzles we're used to, fun little mind teasers that are a great distraction for old-school fans. Whether you want to get to the point or indulge in some side quests, this game has got you covered.

As far as the gameplay itself is concerned, Crystal Dynamics has unquestionably changed the formula for the better. Platforming is now much more tight and urgent than ever before, requiring the precision fans are used to. While it is significantly easier than past entries, the sheer creativity that went into the dynamic set pieces more than make up for it, and it isn't necessarily as streamlined as the demos make it seem. Attention still must be paid at all time, and once you get past the initial 2 to 3 hours, the game stops holding your hand and expects you to dive head-first into somewhat tricky platforming, fully prepared to punish you with brutal deaths if you fail.

The biggest overhaul by far, though, is in the combat department. Now, even as a fan of the series, combat in "Tomb Raider" has always... well, it's always kind of sucked. Even the improvements in Legend couldn't quite find a way to balance platforming and shooting up enemies. However, the developers have learned from their mistakes, creating a seamless blend of platforming and TPS mechanics that must be played to be believed. There's also a leveling component that really makes or breaks the combat; your survival is dependent on scrounging for salvage and strengthening your weapons. Most games mess this mechanic up pretty badly with upgrades that are seemingly meaningless, but this is pleasantly a whole different bag altogether.

Even more impressive is how important each weapon is, some being required to solve puzzles and progress the game. My personal favorite is the bow, which can be used as a distraction, a stealth weapon, a capable frontal assault companion, or a key to burning open pathways. Oh, yes, and it can be used to choke enemies from behind. This is just one example of the versatility weapons have in this game. Heck, even the climbing axe ends up becoming a lethal tool of destruction...

Graphically, the game excels. While some may argue that the rendering power is not on par with some other AAA titles around today, it only takes one look at the brilliant art direction to sway non-believers. The mysterious island and all of its secrets are a marvel to behold, a mixture of jungle, forest, and even desert-esque canyons. Shanty towns and elaborate Asian temples alike comprise the architecture of the island, and ominous tunnels range from wet rock to a disgusting river of blood and corpses. The key word here is "variety", really, as most locations tend to not look the same one bit. Older entries had to span multiple countries in order to convey a sense of changed locale, but this time around, they only needed one island to create a living, breathing world. It's a wonder to behold, and one of the most unforgettable video game environments ever crafted.

Soundscapes are another strong point here. The background noise is convincing, with the caws of birds seemingly surrounding you, and the distant war cries of enemies preparing you for battle. You'll always be sucked right into the action, regardless of the situation. Ditto for the score, which is surprisingly similar to the early games; it's tense and dramatic, but always has an element of mystique to it. It is one of the rare video game soundtracks that doesn't simply blend in, but stands out and demands you pay attention to it.

The new voice of Lara is also wonderful, and I daresay the best portrayal done yet. Sure, we see the frightened and timid girl advertisements seem to highlight, but we get hints of what is to come with the character. Moments of wry sarcasm between her and her shipmates, as well as her cheeky observations and bold proclamations of assault on her enemies, are pure 90's "Tomb Raider." The game lets you know what to expect in future entries, and this is due in large part to this fantastic performance. Kudos to Camilla Luddington for a performance which is sure to be lavished with awards in the coming months.

As mentioned above, I was a complete non-believer with this entry. I feared that one of my favorite franchises was cashing in on cheap gameplay mechanics and a weak plot, while shedding what old-school fans adored about the games in the first place. Luckily, I was proven to be a complete fool. Square Enix has released a game that not only reminds me why I fell for Lara and her exploits, but why I love video games as well. The story is a brilliant tour-de-force, the gameplay is perfect, it's a feast for the eyes and ears, and the protagonist is one of the best in a very long time. Everything about this game, from top to bottom, is positively flawless. There is not a single ill word I can speak of the game, whatsoever.

Filled with enough nods to the series' history to satiate diehards, but with enough innovation to snag newcomers, this is a game that shows Crystal Dynamics is the perfect developer for this household name series. "Tomb Raider" is an instant classic, and should be a benchmark for which all future action games are played. It is utterly perfect on every possible level, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Story: 10
Gameplay: 10
Graphics: 10
Sound: 10
Overall: 10
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on March 8, 2013
Got this collector's set and I'm far from disappointed...In fact this is the best collector's set I've ever purchased for a video game. I mean there is usually is something in one of these sets that makes me feel like, "I paid $99 for that???" In this case I feel I got my money's worth and then some. The Game itself retails for $60 (for right now) and for the extra $39 you get a beautiful Play Arts Kai figure (which can retail for $50 and up) that is exclusive to this set...a hardcover Art Book, 3 Patches, two different Download Code cards for skins, weapon packs, extra playable characters in multiplayer mode, as well as a new map, a huge poster/map, a 5x7 Lithograph (very nice), a CD Soundtrack from the game (actual CD, not a download), plus all this is housed in a large metal tin case. So for and extra $39 you get tons of swag which is a refreshing change for the fanboy or collector. I've only played about an hour or two into the game in single player mode and I can honestly is by far the most visually striking game I've played in years. ...and I've been gaming since the Atari over 35 years. Nothing to date has even come close. The controls are smooth and reactive, frame rates are incredible, Voice acting is top notch and draws you in, the story so far is extremely compelling, and the backgrounds and environments are lush, stunning, and beautiful...and there are times I find myself just having Lara stand there while I look around and check everything out. I imagine you could run through this game like a bat out of hell and go from one point to the next as quickly as possible...but why would you?? You would really be doing yourself a disservice by missing out on such a piece of video gaming art. So, 5 stars, 2 thumbs up, 3 snaps and twist...however you wish to rate it, Lara has all the makings of Game of the Year...and it's just March. I can only hope this brings Ms. Croft back to the forefront of gaming icons that has been in the need of such a reboot shot in the arm.

This my friends is as good as it gets. Just to give you an idea...My wife, has zero love for video games...none. She saw me put the disc in my PS3 and load up...and I swear I could see her sigh extremely hard. Then after about 30 minutes she was pointing out things like, "I saw something glowing over turn around...up there...grab that, right there." Then the unspeakable happened when I shut down and saved my game...I heard, "Your turning it off now?...well are you going to play it tomorrow?" after I pick my jaw up off the floor...."Yes, hon...we'll play more tomorrow." The fist pump and loud "yes!" were all in my head, but it was just as meaningful as if I shouted it out loud.'s a winner. ~ Jase
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on March 6, 2013
I've never spent much time playing the "Tomb Raider" series, but this reboot did all the right things, and it drew me right in. This modern take on the famous franchise takes inspiration from many great sources- my first impression, oddly enough, was of "Resident Evil 4" (a classic so significant, it's still influencing the gaming landscape). The early goings of "Tomb Raider" have a distinctly "survival horror" vibe that is masterfully conveyed, interspersed with just the right amounts of Quick Time Events, cinematic showpieces, character development, story telling, and gameplay tutorials. Additionally, it reminded me of the fantastic island of the TV show, "Lost" (complete with freaky natives and bunkers!).

The most striking comparison, of course, is that of the "Uncharted" series. "Tomb Raider" obviously existed long before "Uncharted", but it's equally obvious that it drew inspiration from the mechanics of climbing, combat, and cinematic storytelling of one of this generation's most successful series. And I'm not complaining at all- I wish there were more games like "Uncharted"! For the most part, "Tomb Raider" does a fantastic job implementing these elements, resulting in a game that is a blast to play and easy to pick up. Everything is very responsive, the settings are visually vibrant and interesting, and the island is begging for more thorough searching. The inclusion of TONS of unlockables is a genius notion, including documents (which help to further unfurl the mystery of the island), artifacts, and salvage (for weapon and gear upgrades), and it means crazy amounts of replay value... plus the online multiplayer aspect, if that strikes your fancy.

The only thing holding "Tomb Raider" back from five stars is that when pitted up against the unrivaled production values of "Uncharted", it falls a shade short. The characters are noticeably lacking compared to the likes of Nathan, Sully, and Elena, and the presentation just seems a bit "off". There's such an emphasis placed on (literal and figurative) darkness and grittiness, I oftentimes had difficulty seeing what was going on around my character, and it actually had something of a demoralizing effect (particlarly when compared to the bright, tropical locales of "Uncharted"). That's not to say that "Tomb Raider" is a bad game- it's not. In reality, it's a very good game- it's just not among my top favorites.

Final note (MINOR spoilers follow): The producers of this game must be huge fans of the movie "The Descent", for there are many nods to the horror film, including Lara's affinity for the climbing axe, the "bone scramble" toward daylight in the opening moments, and the slow emergence from the red pool of ichor in "the pit". Additionally, Lara's psychological transformation closely mirrors that of "The Descent"'s protagonist. It was an excellent source to draw inspiration from, and the developers of "Tomb Raider" did a fine job of subtly paying homage to it.
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on March 10, 2013
First off, let me say that this game is a blast and I had a great time playing it. I have played almost all the TR games since the original in 1996. Also, I understand why the game received an "M" rating--the blood, gore, and language park it clearly in that category. My question is, why did Crystal Dynamics design this game with M-rated content when virtually all the other TR games were "T"? TR Underworld, the last installment in the series, was rated T16+. I have a pre teen daughter who loves Lara's character. For parents who take ratings seriously, they have blocked out a whole group of gamers who would love to play the game and experience Lara's origins. I know-and the developers know this of course--that teens will play the game anyway. While I have only played through about a quarter of it, I have gotten a good feel for the spirit of the game and for me, the "M" content--namely the added gore and the occasional "F bombs"--did not factor in how I experience the game. In fact, the factors that push the game into the "M zone" seem more like forced additions. While I am no marketing expert, I wonder why Crystal dynamics chose to go in this direction. The Uncharted games are all "T" and they are intense, thrilling games. Perhaps the creators of this new Tomb Raider want to distinguish this game from Uncharted and creat their own unique nitch instead of being labeled as "Uncharted 4." Comparing it to a movie, I would consider "M" the equivalent of an "R" rating. If it were a movie, I think a story like TR, with a young heroine trapped on an island, exploring tombs and fighting off bad guys, would be taylored toward a PG-13, not an R. I regret that the developers of the new TR decided to go in this direction as the game would have been just as fun with a "T" rating and would have been open to a teen audience which would really enjoy Lara's story.

Just to be clear, I am not offended by the game's content. In fact, it's becuase I like the game so much, that I've decided to write this review. I have played and enjoyed plenty of M rated games. It just seems that this great story of a young girl, barely older than a teen herself, being transformed by her survival experience is something worth watching and enjoying for a teen audience and I regret the game designers have, in a way, shut them out.
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VINE VOICEon January 20, 2014
Despite the games being huge when they first came out, I never played a full Tomb Raider game. I played a demo for TR2, and a demo for the first one that was on the Dreamcast, and that was it. The games never seemed that fun to me, and it felt like the only reason the games were as popular as they were was because of the main character's appearance. Something happened though when I saw footage from the 2013 reboot of the franchise. Everything I saw looked incredible. Lara Croft had a regular body type! The story sounded interesting! Gameplay looked fun and realistic! How was this a Tomb Raider game?? Last year I had a lot of other games that I was busy playing, and I ended the year by picking up TR for a stupidly low price. Very rarely do I stick to playing one game when I buy it. Usually I'll go off and finish up something in another game, be it trophies or trying to get an extra item or something. With Tomb Raider, I stuck with it from beginning to end. I don't just give out 5 star ratings for games, and I'm not anti-mainstream, but most of the major titles don't catch my interest. I'm very happy to say that Tomb Raider is a 5 star game, and one that I look forward to completing 100%.

As usual, you play the role of Lara Croft, a young adventurer who gets shipwrecked on the island of Yamatai with several other people. This is no tropical paradise- the locales carry automatic guns and machetes, dangerous animals are on the prowl, and the terrain is just plain hazardous. The main plot focuses on an ancient Japanese queen, Himiko, who led the Yamatai empire and was able to control the weather with mysterious powers. One of the other survivors, Sam, happens to be a descendant of Himiko, and early in the game, she's taken away by a man named Matthias, who claimed to be a teacher that was also stranded on the island. Things go from bad to even worse when Lara begins to explore the island while looking for her friends, and discovers the truth about Himiko and what Matthias is after.

From what I've heard, Tomb Raider plays out a lot like an Uncharted game. Unfortunately, I've never played any of those! But now I want to, given how incredible this game is. I haven't had this much fun playing a full fledged AAA title in a long time. Usually I don't have much time to play games during the work week, but this is one of those games that made me put aside a little extra time now and then just to keep going along. The story had my interest from the beginning, and I was curious to see what was going to happen next. Not only is the story good- the game is fun as heck. Lara only gets 4 main weapons- the bow, an assault rifle, a shotgun and a pistol, and each one is nice to have. As you progress, you'll find salvage parts to upgrade your weapons, although you'll also need to find specific weapon parts in boxes and on corpses to upgrade them to their full power. It's not very often that I run around the entire map looking for more parts to upgrade something, and yet that's exactly what I did with Tomb Raider because I -did- want to see everything that each weapon had to offer.

Lara gains experience from killing enemies and animals, as well as finding treasures and documents scattered on the island and in hidden tombs. It's kinda funny that raiding tombs, the main point of the franchise, is optional here. It rewards you with a lot of experience though, and each one, while not difficult, gives you a break from the action with solving a quick puzzle. Killing an enemy with a headshot nets more experience, and you can really stack up the exp points by blowing up a red barrel when a group happens to be standing by it (this doesn't happen much, unlike most action games). Hunting animals starts out by being necessary to Lara's survival, as she needs food during a plot point. Once you kill your first deer, it becomes kind of addicting to chase after other animals and take them out. I liked that killing animals or enemies with the bow lets you pull your arrows out of the body to put them back in your inventory. I also appreciated that the bow is a strong weapon, as it should be- too often in games, the bow is an underpowered weapon, when in fact, it's one of the best, strongest weapons ever made.

It took me about an hour before I really got the hang of things, getting used to the mechanics of the game, like QTE sequences and realizing that I was controlling Lara during certain parts, like when she's sliding down waterfall. Tomb Raider caught me by surprise when I learned that you actually get to control what Lara does 99% of the time. I figured this out near the very end of the game, when I thought to myself, "I'm surprised the game doesn't just do this part for you".

All of the animations, voice acting, music and visuals are outstanding. There were many times where I wished there was a way to view the world in first person mode, just to see details better. And you gotta love how Lara keeps her wounds as the game goes on. The poor girl gets messed up big time early on, and it just gets worse from there. When she sees her reflection for the first time, that's really when what she's been through sinks in.

I can't say you'll like this game if you love the older Tomb Raiders. As I mentioned earlier, I've never played any of them, or any of the Uncharted games. Maybe that's part of why I loved TR so much- it was something genuinely now for me. I've always wanted to go on an adventure somewhere and explore the land freely. Maybe it's time for me to go back a little and try out the Uncharted games, and maybe even get the Tomb Raider Trilogy to see how those games fare. Now that the price has dropped on TR big time, you don't have any excuses to not play it. Had I bought this for the original retail price when it came out, I wouldn't have been disappointed. 5 stars all around- an instant classic.
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on November 29, 2013
I don't really know how to review a videogame, so I'm just going to make points about the things I liked and disliked.
Graphics: Stelar. The best I've seen in some time. The animation was great too. But it was motion capture, and I don't you can really mess that up. My one nitpick (there will be a lot in this review) is that her ponytail was really out of control. It was whipping around like crazy, even when there wasn't any wind. They also have a simulated camera effect. When Laura is in the water it gets wet, when she is shot it gets blood on it. At first I thought it was weird, but it grew on me. It was a unique feature.
Premise: This is a prologue. I've never played any other TR games (well, I can't really remember, there was this game on the gameboy...) but I feel like this game didn't do that good of a job of explaining Laura. I still have questions; mainly: What happened to her family? How did she get this job (it seems pretty prestigious for a college grad)? How did she become a mild bad ass (this game does follow how she progressed into a super bad ass, but never explained how she got other skills like hunting, making a fire or climbing with a hook)?
Setting: An island off Japan. I wonder if this is in any way historically accurate. Oh well. Also on that note, yes this game is like Uncharted. You wander around in the jungle, sometimes fighting, sometimes finding priceless artifacts. But I mean that in a good way, because Uncharted is an awesome game.
Weapons/Skills: Throughout the game you gain skills and weapons that let you get to new areas and make you even more of a bad ass. You find salvage from looting bodies or in salvage crates. I really admire that the gamemakers made the bow a useable, and even my favourite weapon. Usually things like that are the starter weapon, that are then discarded once you get a "real" weapon. But the bow was awesome, especially after you purchase upgrades.
The skills are earned when you "level up", but your stats don't change so its not really a level. There are skills like taking less falling damage or getting a kind of kill cam when you kill people close range. There are skills to find the collectibles more easily, an initially I thought that was kind of cheating, but the game was still pretty hard.
Plot: (spoilers, duh) It was okay. I feel like the supernatural element wasn't fully explained. So what I understand is Methias wanted to Sam to be the next vessel for the Sun Queen so he could... leave? control the island? If it was the former he should have just destroyed the Queen's body like Laura did. If it was the later I really don't understand. Why would Himiko care about him? Either way I don't understand why it had to be Sam. She's related to the Sun Queen (probably), but so what? If you collected the journals, one set followed a priestess who was to be the Queen's next vessel. But she was just a priestess, not the Queen's daughter or even a cousin. The plot line that I was kind of hoping for was the Queen coming back, but rejecting (probably killing) Methias because he's a man. In the beginning their society gave off a sort of Amazonian vibe, and I'm sure they said Himiko's top people were only women. That would also mesh with the fact that the protagonist is indeed a woman. I think they tried to make Laura less sexy and more of a person, and I'm extremely grateful for that, no matter what the fanboys say. (Actually the upset-ness of the fanboys amuses me, but thats for another time).
Violence: I'm sorry to sound like a sissy, but this game is really violent. Sometimes I wonder why games get the ratings that they do... not this one. I'm probably desensitized to violence to other people, especially when its done by me (in games okay! I'm just being honest), but the violence against Laura really bothered me. Whenever she died they made sure it was in a really grisly way. Why? I can't figure out what the purpose of that was. Did they want to punish you for messing up? Did they want to appeal to masochists/sadists (are you Laura?)? It just bothered me.
Extra stuff: The tombs were really cool. They weren't part of the main game, so you didn't have to play them if you're stupid and don't know how to play a video game. All of them contained a puzzle (that were quite puzzling, I liked it) and usually a treasure map. The map revealed all the locations of the relics, documents and GPS... things in the area. Yeah, I really didn't care about those things. The Documents were cool because they gave you back story, and the relics just looked cool, but the GPS things... why? Occasionally you unlocked a gallery when you found them all, but that was it.
As I said earlier, initially when I found out about the treasure maps (especially when I found them in cheap locations) I thought it was kind of cheating. But every area also had one or two additional set to collect, like burning posters or exploding mines. This was actually hard, because they never appeared on any map, I only finished some sets (the completionist in me was crying).
Research Base: I just want to make a note that this was the worst area in the game. So many glitches. Thats what I get for straying from the PC.
DLC/Multiplayer: idk. I didn't do either.
TLDR; this game was really fun, and you should get it, especially considering how cheap it is new.
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on June 12, 2014
Finally got around to playing this game and I can say I could have waited a big longer. I'll just hop right into this review and hope you enjoy it! Or hate it, either way, it's all my opinion. Finished the game in a surprising 8 hours and completed it to 68% (A lot of the tombs I stopped bothering with. I'd get the "DINGDING TOMB AHEAD!" pop up but I didn't even bother with 'em after I think 3? of them I found, more on that later). I've not read a single review for this game on here or elsewhere, so if I'm beating a dead horse, I apologize. I don't even know it yet These are just my points. Sorry if it's long

Lara's Story-After this game, I'm convinced that the writing and dialogue and all the aspects of this game's story would make a decent movie but a overly linear game. It's too dramatic and takes itself too seriously. I found myself laughing at parts of the story where I'm supposed to feel tense or worried for Lara, (She jumps into the river of blood and pops her worried little head out, had me smiling from ear to ear. That's the kind of thing that would happen in a cartoon.) while other times I felt nothing as Lara mourned over her friends death. "OK, Lara. Knock off the emotional garbage of your friend's sacrifice and let's get back to the story.. even though this is the story."

Characters-The characters are boring and forgettable. They introduced me to all of them at once and I couldn't remember their names, faces, or how they even knew Lara or what they were even doing with her! Filming a movie or something I guess, I have no idea. If it's explained more in the game through the journals found or something I probably didn't find them. There was no build up of the characters for me to form any sort of opinion on them, other than the shady Doctor who was the only character other than Lara to actually have some sort of screen time to show me who they were.

Mythology-In terms of the actual history or mythology of Yamatai I quite liked it! I was however disappointed with how little it was shown and how overshadowed it was. I was interested in Himiko and what was going on with the storms and the Oni! I wanted more! Sadly, it's so overshadowed by gunfights and awkward but safe platforming. I wanted more and more from the story and I really wish they did more with Himiko and the Oni and mythology surrounding Yamatai. I thought that finding the journals from World War Two or people writing about the crazy storms was fun, I liked finding those.. however I think some spent too much time describing one aspect of the island, like a couple were just about how it was scary that no one could leave and 'something' was keeping them there. I got that point after the second journal, no need to keep reminding me that something is keeping us here.

The Oni/Stormguard-One thing that really set me up and made me excited was the Oni. The first encounter with them slaughtering your foes and then just POOF! Gone. That was awesome. I enjoyed that! I feared them. I'd have Lara manhandle some goons over the Oni any day. For the lack of Oni experiences after the first was disappointing. You don't see them again for another forever, but this is when you actually sneak past/fight them despite hearing multiple conversations from Goons talking about The Oni being nearby. Where'd they go? That's what I wanted to know! I wanted them to pop outta a wall and kill some people or just be seen or heard.
Then you finally see them again and this is what disappointed me most. The Doctor being lead by Mathias and Sam. "Go talk to them! We have their Queen now" or however the dialogue went. The Oni were just standing there, having a smoke break. What? These are the warrior samurai I was fearing? Two of them are just standing around waiting for trouble to happen! I thought they'd have some big entrance! A cloud of smoke! Something mystical or magical or something after all! These people have the power of living forever apparently but the Queen didn't give them any sort of cool and amazing powers or abilities? That's a let down. I stopped fearing them at that point. They're just more Goons to take down, nothing more.

Overall-At the end of this game, I don't even know why they bother slapping 'Tomb Raider' on the cover anymore. There was barely any actual Tomb Raiding going on. Tombs shouldn't be 'side' things to explore.. Tombs should come naturally. You don't run around on a beach and BAM! Tomb to go in! No! Tombs are what you find along the way! They hold something or have a purpose to them. Not for XP or parts, but for something to help evolve the story. In any case, this game was about Lara Croft and her melodramatic journey on Yamatai.
The sequel looks the same way too! What was the trailer about? Lara in some therapists office. Lara shooting some guy with an arrow. It's Lara again, and she's back! Ready for more gunfights, obvious dramatic falls and scrapes and bruises and BAM! She's where she needed to go! Seriously, in this game did Lara even not fall down a cliff or river and not end up where she wanted to go in the first place? To me, this wasn't about Tombs or finding anything to do with history or mythology surrounding the island, but more about Lara, her friends, her survival, and after all that it's back to her again.. while she stumbles upon a tomb she finds and stays for a couple minutes before she's shot at or something falls or explodes or something. Preteen adult Indiana Jones with lady parts and 007 explosions and braindead goons.


Platforming-The game's platforming was a lot better than CD's previous LAU. White ledges were sometimes more hidden or they were blended in with the craftwork of a shack or a plane or something. The jumping to ropes or off beams felt awkward but safe. I felt like I had too much control of Lara and her featherweight body in midair but she homes in on ledges and things so it doesn't matter. She'll usually find what you're making her jump at...but all that removed the danger of it. It was too safe. There never was a time I thought "Oh wow, can I make this jump?" because it was either obvious I could because there's no where else to go or it's a small jump, just like in LAU.

Lara- Oh my god, my biggest gripe of all is Lara and her movements. She (and everything she interacts with) feel like nothing. Everything is made of styrofoam and feathers and falls over/rolls away when you exhale. That big crate there hanging from that rope? Jump on it and watch it swing as if Lara is either 200lbs or the crate is literally filled with nothing. Lara herself moves so melodramatically it's insane. Jumping in place even! She hops up, flails her arms and lifts her feet up. Why flail the arms? Is she unsure of how high she can jump in the air? And there's no pre-jump movement. She doesn't squat down even a little to give herself more of a push off the ground like how real people jump, she just uses her feet to do all these leaps and jumps from beam to rooftops to cliffwall. She's so responsive and quick she's like a supercar. Everything she did in the game was extremely jolty and quick. I say jump, Lara says "How far and which way in mid air should I sway?"

Interactables- I feel like the phrase "Good in moderation." was never used in this game. Crates full of XP? They're everywhere. Animals I can hunt if I want because I only fed Lara once? They're everywhere. Things to light on fire? They're everywhere. Bones of thousands and thousands of previous people? They're everywhere. Enemies willing to shoot anyone on sight or have a 2 minute conversation with each other? They're everywhere. Explosions? They're everywhere. Things falling apart when Lara steps on them or someone tries to kill her? They're everywhere. Collectables to which there's no real reason to collect them? They're everywhere. Campzones only a mere couple of feet away from danger or enemies OR other campzones? They're everywhere. Was there ever a point of instant travel? Most of the campzones were so close to each other that it'd take less than a minute to go to the previous one. I can see wanting to instant travel between Campzone D to A, I understand, but what's the fun in that? Instant travel should've been unlocked after completion of the story.

XP/Salvage-This is what ruined my experience the most I think. I wanted to be on an adventure but I'm constantly reminded of XP or finding salvage or upgrading Lara or her weapons to which after a good couple of hours I stopped caring about it all. I finished the game with over 3000 salvage to use. I didn't want to upgrade my guns because it just ruined the immersive atmosphere of the adventure to me. I hated being constantly reminded I was in a game. DING DING XP!! DING DING SALVAGE! DING DING TOMB AHEAD!

Overall-I can't say the environments were bad. They looked good! I enjoyed them. I never got to explore them though since every couple of feet is a battalion of goons armed to the teeth ready to fight me.
Wow, look at the mountainside! THERE SHE IS! GET HER!! *gunfire from multiple directions*
Wow, this area is kinda creepy.. *Random goon conversation about his boss/his job/his wife/his fears/his goldfish/his dinner/The Oni/Grandma*. Most the time I couldn't listen to their talking anymore and I just went in and shot them in the head. *HEADSHOT XP* If I wanted to play Call of Duty, I'd go play that.
Wow, this temple area looks cool! Love the architec... THERE SHE IS! GET HER!! *gunfire from multiple directions*
From what there was, the level design was good! Could have been a lot less linear.
The tomb with the wind and the shutters on the windows blowing all around was my favorite. I enjoyed that a lot! Felt mystical and dangerous to me. Should have been a lot more ancient sites along the way and not just things to experience.
Her environments changed way to quick. In the beginning after she escapes her first cave and ends up on the cliffs, she somewhere slides down a hill and it's all dark and stormy out in a matter of seconds. Kinda bad transition.. or maybe it's purposeful to show Himiko's powers? I don't know, just something I noticed.


Overall-I don't know about everyone else, but I played on PS3 and the sound consistently got choppy or completely went away for short instances. Some sound effects felt out of place. Some cave I was in featured a dripping water sound but there was a steady stream of water falling from the ceiling.. that's not drops of water.. that's a stream. I don't know if anyone else noticed this but I'm aware of level design to an extent and the atmosphere it projects. Sounds and lighting really can make or break a cave feeling.


My rating would be a 4.5 out of 10 stars. As a game, it's pretty meh. Nothing really sets it apart from any other game out there. It's got the XP thing. It's got the multiplayer thing. It's got the melodramatic story thing. The scripted gameplay thing. It's following what a lot of games are doing and it's not setting itself apart from them. Why should I buy the next one? What makes it unique? Or is it going to be the crap I can get in other game, only done better? I feel that Tomb Raider as a franchise is going through it's awkward teen years of finding itself while being peer pressured into things from it's friends and what they're doing. It's not making it's own mind up anymore, TR is following suit of what handfuls of other games are.
In all honesty, I don't think I'll be picking up another Tomb Raider from this point on. If this is what it's evolving into, I don't want any of it.
Going into this game, I wanted Adventure and Danger, Mythology and History, but out of all of those I only received Danger and that was only in the form of constant gunfights.
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VINE VOICEon December 16, 2013

+ An enjoyable 'gritty reboot' of the Tomb Raider series
+ Borrows gameplay elements from Batman: Arkham Asylum and the Uncharted games
+ Upgradable skills and weapons for the main game and multiplayer mode


- Tomb puzzles are almost too easy
- Several missable trophies which can require another playthrough
- Multiplayer mode is unbalanced


Our introduction to Lara Croft isn't the battle-hardened Lara we've come to accept over the years - this is an origin story. It's her first journey, on the ship Endurance. Ignoring the advice of her companions, The Endurance heads into the Dragon's Triangle. The ship is pulled apart by a violent storm leaving the survivors stranded on an isolated island. Lara is separated from the others and wakes up in a room filled with human remains, but manages to escape while a cave collapses around her. As Lara emerges on the side of a cliff, she sees the skeletal remains of ships on the shore below.
She's wounded, tired, and alone...and her adventure is just beginning.


As with other games in the old series, Tomb Raider is presented as a 3rd person adventure game, with some stealth elements. When we first start out, we have no weapons, no special skills, and no tutorial level to practice jumping in Lara's mansion, as we had in the 1996 version. No, we're put right into the action here. We have to learn how to hunt, find weapons, and scavenge for upgrades.

Lara can upgrade 9 different survival skills, 8 hunter skills, and 7 brawler skills. Throughout the island, there are hidden tombs which hold treasure maps, and other goodies.

Some areas are inaccessible until we unlock certain upgrades (such as the shotgun for blasting through obstacle blockades, or the rope arrow to access certain areas).

In combat, we can either use long range weapons such as a bow or a shotgun, or we can get up close and personal with a pickaxe or a well-placed arrow to the knee. There are some Quick Time Events during battles which allow Lara to perform finishing moves, or special attacks to weaken her opponents.

The Quick Time Events also happen during cutscene transitions - so Lara might have to dodge a tree limb, avoid falling over a cliff, or punch someone with a well-timed press of a button. No rest for the weary.

Lara also has an ability called Survival Instinct - with the push of the L2 button, Lara can perceive nearby animals, hostiles, and even collectible items.

This is the first game in the Tomb Raider universe which offers a multiplayer mode. There are three campaigns:

(1) Team Deathmatch, a player-versus-player combat mode which lasts up to three separate matches.
(2) Private Rescue, where the survivors have to take medical supplies to a specific area, and the scavengers need to reach a certain number of kills, all within 10 minutes.
(3) Cry for Help, where the survivors search around and retrieve batteries for defended radio beacons while being hunted by the scavengers.


There are 51 trophies to earn in this game. Most of them revolve around collecting items like GPS caches, upgrading all your skills & weapons, finding all the hidden tombs, hunting certain animals and using specific weapons to rack up kills.

**NOTE: If you're a trophy collector, 3 of them are missable in this game, so be sure to look up the requirements before you start playing!**

15 of the trophies can only be earned in multiplayer mode. They run the spectrum from killing two people with one explosion, to reviving a teammate, to buying all upgrades & character models.


I wasn't sure what to expect with a 'gritty reboot' of the Tomb Raider series, but I was very pleased with the result. I was able to identify with this character much easier than her 1996 counterpart. In that game, Lara was shooting bats and bears with her two-handed pistols (and their infinite ammunition) before 10 minutes had passed. Here, I didn't even start with a knife!

This game uses the same dynamic as Batman: Arkham Asylum. When you first start out, you're not the battle-hardened Lara - she's scared, and she's inexperienced. I got killed more times than I care to admit. But while the game progressed and Lara became more accustomed to using her skills, I found myself becoming a more skilled combatant, which lead to me enjoying the story all the more.

In the Uncharted series, we've been able to see all our collectible treasures in a separate window, and Tomb Raider also lets us do this. We can rotate the items or reread documents at our leisure, just like Drake. The folks at Crystal Dynamics clearly saw what worked for the games by Rocksteady Studios and Naughty Dog, Inc., and brought those elements together for an enjoyable Tomb Raider experience.

I liked the upgrade system here. You have to gather experience by either hunting, exploring or combat. You can also use salvageable materials to fashion better weapons. I upgraded my survivor skills first to live off the land and gain experience faster, but there are excellent benefits to becoming a more efficient hunter or brawler.


Firstly, I didn't find the tomb puzzles very complicated. Many of them require the player to pay attention to elements like timing or weight-distribution. A seasoned Tomb-Raider player from the 90s might find them overly simple, but for a person that's never played any of the previous games, these puzzles will present a few challenges. However, once you solve one, the others are very similar.

Next, the trophies. A few of the trophies can only be earned during the single-player story. Because this game auto-saves, if you complete the game and miss your opportunity, you'll have to start the game all over again. There are three confirmed missable trophies, but thankfully, there's more than enough guides online to walk you through getting them. If you're not a trophy hunter, this isn't too big of a problem.

Finally, the multiplayer mode. In my experience, this mode was horribly unbalanced. The first few times I played, I was matched up with opponents anywhere from level 31 to level 60, while I was a lowly level 1. My enemies had perfected their skills of jump-shotting around corners and under bridges, and could take out enemies on a rope slide with one arrow.
But me? I was having trouble figuring out basic elements like swapping between my rifle and my grenades!

As I slowly improved, I found that 95% of my quick joins to multiplayer put me into Team Deathmatch, which seems to get the most traffic. It's hard to get a bead on someone when they're jumping around like Peter Cottontail, and when you're a low-level player, this means your weapons will have a slow reload you'll be used as target practice for the more experienced players.


Thankfully, my game experience had very few glitches.

In one sequence, Lara had to fix an elevator. When I fixed it, I couldn't get inside the elevator without instantly dying for no apparent reason.
My next glitch came in the Summit Forest, Lara's Survival Instinct stopped working and I had to reboot the game to fix it...going back to the main menu didn't correct the issue.
The last glitch was at Shipwreck Beach...everything was in slow-motion when I arrived. I had to reboot the game and thankfully this didn't happen again.


I thoroughly enjoyed this gritty reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise. The main story was pretty linear, but there was more than enough backtracking to pick up missing objects and optional challenges to give it an open-ended feel. The combat was easy to adapt to, the music was epic, and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking.

I didn't care for the multiplayer modes, but I would highly recommend this to adventure gamers, especially folks who like the Uncharted series.

Rated M for blood & gore, intense violence and strong language. Several of the death scenes are very graphic in nature - parental discretion is definitely advised.
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on March 7, 2013
Tomb Raider: The Final Hours Edition for PS3 was what I preordered and got on release date. I liked what the game had been marketed as, and since Uncharted got me to like this genre of videogames more, I decided It'd be worth the preorder price to pick it up, boy have I been pleased. Tomb Raider offers a fresh reboot to the series. I never really played much of the original Tomb Raider series, whenever I picked them up, they just weren't my thing. I don't know why, but this one I could play easier. What I love about this game is that you get to see Laura grow, and feel her pain. She's not the typical hero in other games that can run through explosions and not get a scratch on her, she gets hurt, and it really hurts, and you have to deal with those problems. The acting is great. The graphics are great. It plays like an interactive movie, with third person shooting. I prefer the bow and arrow the most, and I enjoy all the rpg elements that are brought to the table. This involves collecting "salvage" and upgrading weapons with said "salvage" and leveling up Laura to unlock certain skills. Its enjoyable, and fun. I think the one quote from myself that can explain how I feel about the game that I posted on my facebook account the other day sums up what I feel about this game.

"Tomb Raider is a rather great game. Never have I played a character that is more "human" in a videogame, what I mean by that is she feels pain, gets hurt realistically, and her fragility and determination is what makes her a strong female lead. Never have I liked a Tomb Raider game, and this one is a great revamp." -B

5/5, pick this up an enjoy playing!

I also suggest if you play through this game and loved it, and want "something along this quality", have a PS3(or Vita) and pick up one of the Uncharted Titles that are out for those systems. They are pretty good in their own right.
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on March 20, 2013
I chose the Best Buy edition of the game, for the comic book and I preferred the aviatrix skin over the other exclusive offers, only because it reminded me of Katniss from the movie Hunger games.
The comic book actually exceeded my expectations, my last experience with a collectors edition comic book (e.g. Infamous 2 Collector's Edition), did not add anything to the game experience, so it was a nice surprise, mostly because it fleshed out the characters of the crew.
If you have to choose between editions, in my honest opinion I would choose Best Buy, for the comic book.
Everything about the collector's edition was a nice surprise, as other reviewers has stated, I've never been so satisfied with a collector's edition.
-Play Arts Kai, 8" action figure, very highly detailed figure, dried blood stains and dirt covers Lara Croft. I've also not seen the type of attention to quality before, and I collect mostly NECA action figures. The figure alone sells for about the same price as the game, a good deal.
-Physical game soundtrack, I was not bowled over by the game soundtrack, this coming from a person who enjoys listening to game soundtracks (Skyward Sword, Catherine, Infamous 2, God of War), to me it sounded generic, but still appreciated.
-DLC weapons for multiplayer from the Hitman game.
-Shanty Town stage for multiplayer.
When I try to force myself to play multiplayer, I have not been able to find other players (maybe everyone is too busy enjoying single player, I wouldn't blame them).
-It also comes with 3 iron on badges, at first I thought that they would be sheets to iron on a T-shirt, but these are physical patches or badges that can be iron or sewed on to whatever cloth material you'd like.
-Lithograph artwork of Lara, that I'm proud to display on my dry-erase board.
-All of these are housed in a metal container, other unboxing from youtube I noticed the cover of the container can be separated, but mine came hinged, another pleasant surprise.

The game is gorgeous, I've played a lot of games to a point where a family member who happen to walk by are completely not aware, this is the game I've played in a long time, where a family member would stop what she is doing, to watch me play the game, because the environment is amazing, and the character is a strong, smart female lead. I was unaware that they hired an actress for Tomb Raider, I started to remember the Tomb Raider game "actresses" they've hired in the past, this new actress is definitely a nice change of pace, and I hope that they sell enough copies to acknowledge their amazing work and decisions so that they can keep making these type of games. The story and gameplay is very well balanced, and overall package of the collector's edition is the most well thought out, that I've experienced from a collector's edition.
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