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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 5, 2013
After being forced into a corner of mediocrity and shameless attempts and polygonal "sex appeal" the Tomb Raider franchise is finally given the chance to start anew with a fresh look at the beginnings of series protagonist Lara Croft.

To keep a long story short, this series reboot showcases Lara's transformation from an inexperienced young woman in search of adventure into a strong and unstoppable survivor. This isn't the unrealistically large-breasted Angelina Jolie look-alike who runs around in short-shorts with her belly button on display to appeal to lonely fanboys. This is Tomb Raider matured and honed to perfection. Adventure, danger, suspense, terror. And all centered around a well-rounded character (yes, Lara is finally a real character now).

Visually Tomb Raider is magnificent. Sure, there's a lot of browns and grays in many settings, but when the game opens up to the island the graphics showcase the wonderful designs crafted with such care at Crystal Dynamics.

Voice acting is great. Lara's portrayal (in both voice and motion-capture) is ahead of previous games by leaps and bounds. Sound design and music are generally excellent.

Finally, we have gameplay. Tomb Raider offers a welcome mixture of shooting, platforming, sneaking, and cinematic quick time events (QTE's). Many gamers dislike QTE's, and I understand why, but I personally welcome them when they are placed sensibly within the game. Tomb Raider gets it right, using these events to keep you on the edge of your seat. One wrong move and Lara dies, sometimes rather graphically.

On the whole developer Crystal Dynamics and publisher Square Enix have crafted a gem of a game that can be enjoyed by a new generation as well as series veterans. Tomb Raider is a force to be reckoned with once again, and I pity the next big action-adventure game that tries to do better.
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on March 5, 2013
I GOT IT! Sorry I had to get that out of the way. So, back in 2012 I was entralled by the trailer for the new Tomb Raider. The graphics, the story and even the new lara were amazing. I have done this review in a few parts. Each item will be discussed in what I hope will be a fair amount of detail. Here goes!

The Play Arts Kai figure!
http://www.amazon.com/Square-Enix-Tomb-Raider-Action/product-reviews/B00A8ZD6HQ/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 (I have reviewed the figure on amazon already. (I made sure to keep it detailed and nice)

The Box, Endurance Tin.
Great qaulity, great paint and some pretty cool little details. The hinges for teh tin are broken(NEVER ACTUALLY THERE)
Its about ten to eleven inches in length, and maybe six to seven inches in width. the same for its height and depth.
The game figure and everything else fits in there nicely.

The Sound-track.
Ten songs from the game. Most are pretty great, Warning, they rip as unknown artist and song name. Everytime.
It comes in a simple, albeit pretty card-board casing. Eh.
I need to point out that the sound-track is a SCORE. All instruments.

Little Art Book.
Great pictures, thirty eight pages total. All in colour. It covers mainly just concept art of enviroments. There is a minor bio on Lara and Enixs new version of her origens. Also, there are a few concepts of the other crew members.

Poster.
Cool picture of Lara. Seen on the steel casing cover. Its pretty big. Not much else to say though.
The back comes with a map that wont help in-game. Maybe for a general idea as to what area has what type of enviroment.

Lara Picture Card.
Again its a piece of paper with Laras face. Feels very Hunger Games-y. I love the picture.

The Game(SO FAR)
The story starts you out as a ship-wrecked Lara. You are taken hostege by crazy cave people and hung upside down. After a pretty intense fight to escape the cave Lara is free(ISH).
You will go through a VERY strict pathway that will act as your basic walkthrough. Its fine enough.
After a little bit you meet the cast again. Not much there, Sam is sweet, the others are pretty untrustworthy. To me at least.
A heap ton of action will happen right in the begininnig. It will hook you pretty quickly. Great!

I will update this review as I go through the game.
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on March 14, 2013
Tomb Raider: The Final Hours - Xbox 360 version

Visual effects: 10/10
Voice acting: 10/10
Musical score: 11/10 (outstanding!)
Brutality and Gore: LOTS (probably too much for some people)
Humor: 1/10
Xbox controller usage: 10/10
Frame rate: 10/10
Software stability: 10/10 (zero crashes)
Cut scenes: 10/10 (seamless)
Load pauses: NONE (amazing!)
Boot/splash time: FAST
Internet DRM: No
Worth the $60 price: Absolutely
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on March 10, 2013
Square Enix has been pushing the envelope lately. Last year's Sleeping Dogs blended Grand Theft Auto-style driving and shooting and classic "True Crime" grit with elements of classic martial arts films, and Hitman: Absolution dropped players into the shoes of Agent 47 for the fifth time with stealthy gusto.

And then came Tomb Raider. Having a video game series spawn nine direct sequels is no small feat. But to hear it told on the internet and in a couple of magazines months before its release, this would have easily been one to pass on. Lara Croft is young, naive, fragile and vulnerable, not the dual-gun wielding, ass-kicking bombshell she has been for nine games and two movies now. Let me reassure you, there is plenty to love here.

After being shipwrecked in southern Japan, Lara Croft is knocked unconscious and taken prisoner by the indigenous tribe. Her crewmates are lost. She is alone. When the dust settles and Lara opens her eyes, she finds herself bound upside down, hanging from the ceiling with several corpses. In the first five minutes of play, she escapes her bats nest, falls a good thirty feet to the ground and lands on a broken femur, which pierces her through the side. From that scene, I was hooked. Even through the stumbling and near-misses that Lara experiences in the first 10% of her journey, I found myself unable to leave her side. Her struggle through the hardship makes a bond with the player that few games can match.

The first and foremost part of this game is survival. Lara will occasionally get hungry if you aren't keeping on top of things. Fortunately, food caches are so frequent in the game and wild animals are everywhere, so this shouldn't be an issue. Stealth can be a key factor, too. A couple of stealth kills can save you a good 10 minutes of combat in the late game.

There are some areas where the game falters. Combat is repetitive as hell, and the game doesn't reward diversity in combat like Devil May Cry, nore does it really nudge you into any particular tactics. Bullets and arrows kill things, and dynamite hurts when it blows you up. That's really all there is to it here.

The multiplayer portion of the game seems unnecessary, and unless you're a bored fanatic of Call of Duty, you won't find much to please you here. Most of the DLC available now revolves around online multiplayer (weapons & maps), which seems like an oversight in a primarily single-player game, and the modes aren't very diverse. As good as the single player game was, I feel like it could have been that much better had Tomb Raider not shipped with online multiplayer.

The game's setting is a small string of islands in the Dragon's Triangle in southern Japan. The tombs are diverse, from the dark underground tunnels to the World War II testing facilities to the makeshift shantytown. The optional ones don't exactly jump out at you: the game alerts you when you're near the entrance to one, and you can either continue on with the story or search for that hidden entrance. The rewards for completing tombs are just as you'd expect: a fancy ancient relic, some insight into the island's history, or both. Just as rewarding are some of the death sequences. Should you lead Lara Croft down the wrong path she will die, sometimes in an amazingly gory fashion that would make LIMBO proud.

Tomb Raider sounds amazing. Every bit of it. The voice acting was fantastic. Lara's every gasp, whimper and grunt seem unique, as if SEE had captured dozens of hours of Camilla Luddington falling down the stairs. Her dialogue is hilarious at times. After opening a sarcophagus near the middle of the game and reaping her putrid reward, Lara blurts out "I hate tombs!" The other crewmates and villains have equally great voice acting, but the standouts are the samoan Jonah Miava (voiced by Earl Baylon) and the cult leader Mathias (voiced by Robert Craighead). Just as important, the musical score is astounding. Jason Graves (composer for the Dead Space series, Alpha Protocol and F.3.A.R.) brings the story home with a mix of tribal drums and chilling strings.

After beating the game tonight, I came away only slightly disappointed. The final boss fight turned out to be misleading, and the final sequence of the game was a QTE. Unless you're a completionist or an avid fan of mediocre online shooters, you can be done with Tomb Raider in as little as 10-12 hours. For those who take the time to explore, though, it can be extremely rewarding.
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on March 19, 2013
I am the type of gamer that is pretty loyal to my favorite game franchises - Gears of War, Bioshock, Mass Effect, Tomb Raider - and I tend to overlook a lot of problems with them because I love the stories, characters, feel. You know what to expect when you put one in and sit down to play. That being said, I feel that this effort in the Tomb Raider series was a bit unexpected for me. And even though it was fun to play, it didn't deliver all that I love about the previous Tomb Raider games.

I will start by listing what I didn't like about the game (these are in no particular order). MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS:

-It was very short. I rented this one instead of buying it and had 95% game completion in 10 days and finished it in 12 on Normal. I am a mother of 2, work a part-time job, help my daughter with homework, do house work, cook meals etc. I only play a couple hours of XBOX a night after my kids go to bed. To have 95% of the game completed in that amount of time means the game is very short. No joke.

-There wasn't enough of the puzzle aspects to the game. One thing I LOVED about the previous Tomb Raiders is when you are in a massive tomb or space and you can see all the levels of the ruins and you have to figure out how to traverse the space. A lot of climbing, jumping, puzzling over how to get where you need to go. This one was missing that. There were large spaces but they didn't have the same feel and certainly didn't have the challenge to them that previous Tomb Raiders did.

-The tombs were a joke. Come on. Seriously.

-I absolutely HATED the sequences when you had to push the Y button to prevent being killed or escape an enemy. You know, the ones where it is like you are watching a video and then the Y flashes on the screen and you have to hit it at the right time. Those are the times I died the most. Over and over again. I couldn't seem to get the timing down my first time through, although now I'm getting better at it since I'm playing it my second time. There were just too many of these sequences and the sliding sequences as well.

~~SPOILERS~~
-I thought that the glimpses of the Oni were pretty terrifying. I DREADED the time when I would have to defeat them because I knew I would. Then, in the final battle there is...ONE of them. Seriously. ONE. I do not like boss battles. I typically struggle with them. But I was seriously let down on this one. To build up the tension so much, starting with being in the monastery and seeing them dragging the big club, hearing the sounds they make then hearing the Solarii discussing how they kill people and how deadly they are and finally to thinking I would have to confront one on the bridge and having it blown off, postponing the moment of battle. All of this raised the tension and really filled me with trepidation at the thought of having to fight them. But there was ONE. I didn't even die in the battle. Not once. I kept thinking, "Was that it? That couldn't be it!" But that was it.

-This is a minor dislike but I thought that some of the scenes were just so disgustingly gory and gross. All the blood and bones and rotting deer and people. Turned my stomach at times. I'm sensitive though so maybe that was just me. But I really though it was much grittier and gorier than other Tomb Raider games.

-Finally, and this isn't really a big one, but there were so many times when I was like "Do not leave her alone!" "Stay together!" But then if the survivors of the Endeavor always stayed together then there wouldn't be much of a story, right? ;)

Now, what I liked about the game (in no particular order):

-It was fun. Just overall, I enjoyed playing it. It wasn't difficult but it was worth playing through. I didn't get bored. I wished there was more sometimes and kept waiting for something more to happen. But when I looked and was 60%+ through the game, I realized that was it. I stopped waiting for the game to start and just played.

-I like her various weapons, particularly the bow.

Ah, I'm really trying to say something else that I liked but I guess that is it...

Multiplayer:

I do not typically enjoy multiplayer games. I am not great against other players. Now, Horde mode in Gears of War is my type of multiplayer. I can handle computer baddies but I'm just not fast enough or skilled enough to take on people who play multiplayer all day every day. I get about 2-3 hours a night AT MOST to play. That being said, I did like what I did play of the multiplayer. Of course, I kept being killed pretty much instantly after respawning which wasn't very fun. But I like how there are three rounds and you alternate between being the survivors trying to get medical supplies and Solarii trying to kill the survivors and preventing them from taking your medical supplies. There are traps that you can set to trip other players up and high-powered special weapons you can find in the level. Pretty cool. If I owned the game, I could see myself playing a little more of that.

I don't like it when game achievements require you to play player v. player. That typically means that a gamer such as myself will not be able to get all the achievements from a game. That is always a bummer.

Overall, a game that wasn't very challenging but was moderately fun to play.
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on March 12, 2013
I never really played the old Tomb Raider games before this one but I knew the impact they made on the gaming world especially with having a heroine involved instead of a guy which is pretty cool actually. I watched the Tomb Raider movies but neither of them have anything to do with this game if you were wondering.

This game came to my house while I was at work and when I got home I immediately put it into my Xbox and started playing and was instantly wowed by the amazing cut scene graphics. I am also very very surprised at how good the in game graphics were. Stunning. The movements that Lara makes are very fluid and very adaptable to the environment and what happens to her throughout the game. So far I like the weapons in this game. Easy to use and easy to aim. The upgrade system attached to the weapons and the survival skills of Lara are also something I wasn't expecting but left me happy nonetheless. I love the fact that I have a handgun in the game but the fact that I can tweak and upgrade what I can do with it.

I haven't played the multiplayer mode yet only campaign. I love the campaign so far. It takes a break from the normal shoot em up games and your normal adventure looking for treasure games. The things that have happened to Lara so for in the game actually shocked me like I was watching a movie. There are times when she would get injured in a cutscene and times where she is just so emotional about the things that have happened to her and whats going on around her that just brings alot more to the game than just what you see on the screen. You feel for her and what she's going through. Like I said I haven't finished the game yet but I don't expect for a second that I'll be let down. Plus the fact that Lara is still pretty good looking even without the short shorts people are used to seeing. lol Get this game!
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on September 17, 2013
This game is definitely worth $50 or less. I bought it a while back while it was on sale for $25 and wondered why I didn't get it earlier. Overall I've enjoyed the game, world they have created and found it to be one of the more enjoyable titles I've played this year. This was hands down better than most titles I've played this year. My only gripe for the game is the use of QTEs which can be frustrating as well as sequences where you have to avoid obstacles you can barely see with minimal control (such as being carried by a current). Those events/sequences can be annoying but don't detract much from the overall experience. Fine controls are also a bit restrictive such as moving behind cover, but the game is forgiving enough that it isn't a real issue.

I highly recommend this game, definitely going to be one of the top 5 games I've played this year.
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on March 6, 2013
I played a few of the Tomb Raider games and really didn't get into them much, i'm not sure if it's because I was playing as a girl? Not to sound sexist, or i just preferred Indiana Jones, and Drakes Fortune over her. I really enjoyed the Uncharted games and could probably go through them again. I think this game is actually better in different ways. Graphically I do find it to be better, and Square Enix have always been known for great graphics and atmosphere. One of my favorites being Just Cause 2. The game mechanics are smooth as silk, the aiming and shooting accuracy are much better than Drakes Fortune, along with the controls. Not to discredit those games, but this game seems more plausible (for a game), and has more of a humanistic side to it. You really feel what Lara is going through, and it has a lot more emotional in a survival sense. This game is more staying alive then just searching for things and shooting people. Although there is a lot of that as well. The hunting is great, even when your just doing nothing you can simply shoot rabbits, deer, birds and wolves to gain skill points. And find salvage to upgrade simple things like a knife or axe. Even though i'm somewhere in the middle of the game, i don't see my opinion going anywhere but up, but it's already as far as it can go.

This game, much like Drake, Resident Evil, Dead Space etc. is "extremely" engrossing, and just a joy to play. Without having some of the tedious tasks that the for mentioned games have. Yes there are many quick time events, but they are easy, and not nearly as frequently annoying as say Resident Evil 6. Save points are all over the place, and the autosave does more than enough so that you don't have to continuously repeat a task over and over. And the game is "fairly" easy. On another note when i say Mature i mean it, this isn't the innocent Lara portrayed in the other games, or even the movies. The is the rated R version. There is LOTS of violence, cursing, and other elements that make the game for adults. Which is great. It's about time we have an adult platforming adventure game, without going so overboard it's not enjoyable. Well this is the game. The graphics as i said are just amazing, i have it on PC, so i could test out my rig, then got it for 360, to enjoy sitting on the couch in front of the big screen with surround sound. Both look amazing, but of course the PC has higher resolution, and the detailing while amazing, can make it, well, almost unrealistic looking. Also platformers are much more fun on consoles IMO. I use my rig for FPS mostly. So pick this game up, there is plenty of gameplay time, and even downloadable content to keep you busy for many hours. I rarely buy "new" games, i always get used or wait till the price comes down. But Tomb Raider is definitely worth it. The only other game i plan on purchasing "new" is Bioshock Infinite, which looks also to be amazing.

Other perks
Using the bow, climbing, scaling cliffs, weapon upgrades, the thrill of the kill, the will to survive, and oh yeah. This is one of the hottest versions of Lara to date. You're just wanting a scene to watch her bathe, even though she's a bunch of pixels and polygons. HA. Maybe that will come later, or we'll have the Naked Raider DLC. Either way, incredible game, which i'll probably go through again, sometime in the summer. ;o) Play on!!
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VINE VOICEon March 6, 2013
This is the most fun I've had in a while. There have been some fantastic games to come out lately, but even some of the best lacked focus in some areas. An example: Far Cry 3. I love that game...it has fantastic gameplay, an engaging story (and great acting), and a huge open world filled with fun stuff to do. But, probably because it's open world, unless you followed the story, it could lack focus. And although I had fun doing everything I did in that game, there were times when my attention "wandered" because there was just so much to do.

Tomb Raider is a great example of a focused game. It does what it does really, really well. In fact, I haven't seen a game like this since the last Uncharted...and I'd argue that, while Uncharted 2 is my second favorite game of all-time, TR is better than U3 was...yes, it's that good. And, in many ways, it reminds me of the Uncharted series. Very linear but done in a supremely focused way that allows for excellent story-telling. The gameplay isn't quite as refined as Uncharted, but it's still pretty darn good.

It's one of the best looking games on the 360, and it's just plain fun. The acting is excellent, the writing (despite what one joker said in his review) is great, and the pacing is really well-done.

When they first started talking about this "reboot", somehow the term "survival horror" got thrown around, and consequently I had zero interest. I hate survival horror games. Fortunately, that's not remotely how I would describe this game. Basically, I'll say this...if you liked Uncharted, you'll like this. Similar kind of story-telling, similar kind of action gameplay, similar exploration and collection, but adds an upgrade system. If you didn't like Uncharted, well...you may not find this to your liking. As for me, I'm enjoying every minute of it.
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