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on November 21, 2015
The Overall:
I really enjoyed this game overall. I found the physical control of gameplay to be realistic and easy to adapt to, even using a PC keyboard. Lara’s animations for shooting, running, jumping, and climbing are all spot on, and have the right feel to them. Her movement through the environment is the star of this gaming experience (and not just because she’s attractive). The story is solid, but a little predictable. The tertiary characters are a little flat and one dimensional at times. Lara is definitely the star of the game, and she’s alone through much of the game.

The graphics are very good when played on high settings, and they’re not bad even if your system requires you to back off some.
I liked the story and the sneaking around nature of most of the gameplay. It, like other Lara Croft adventures, reminded me of an interactive Indiana Jones movie. The gun play is efficient and weapon upgrades are plentiful. It was especially fun to silently approach enemies and dispatch them quickly, before comrades noticed or could come to help. None of the gameplay was difficult, but some of the situations required a little thinking to solve. I would say the difficulty was good, but on the easy side of the scale.

The Bad:
On the downside, I did have moments when my suspension of disbelief was challenged; such as, why are there so many zip lines all over this island? This crew of adversaries has mostly undeveloped living conditions, but they had time to construct zip lines in even the most remote locations of this island? Also some of the bosses, one in particular, only had one way he could be killed. A shotgun blast couldn’t do what a handheld climbing pick could do?

I also found it disappointing that the game is pretty much completely over once you reach the end. The enemies don’t respawn, so a trip back to a previous battle location is pointless unless you’re just going to collect a few missed artifacts. I would love to repeat some of the battles or just roam around hunting bad guys, but it’s not possible without a replay of the campaign.

One last thing, the game is very linear. While this is not always a bad thing, this game would be so much more awesome in an open world environment.

It was definitely worth the money. I enjoyed it a lot, but a few changes could have made it so much better for me.
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on October 6, 2014
This is the first Tomb Raider game I have ever played. Overall it was fun. Not really my kind of game but in the end still a quality and fun piece of entertainment. As always my reviews are split into 3 categories, story, gameplay, and characters.

Story: 7/10
The story is pretty basic. Good but basic. Really reminded me of an Uncharted storyline. Basically you are shipwrecked on a mystical island and come to find out there are other survivors. You end up going on a perilous mission to rescue your friends and escape the island. The story keeps you going. It is entertaining...but it does begin to drag on a bit. If you didn't explore and went straight through and only did story you could probably beat it in about 12-13 hours. It took me 16 because I wanted to do a bit extra. Really I think this should have been about a 10 hour game. And the story is quite predictable as well. Nonetheless, it was an adequate story that did keep you going through the game.

Gameplay: 8.5/10
Like most shooters and survival games, the gameplay is really the star of the show. The shooting mechanics are fantastic in this game IMO. Climbing, jumping all the basics are superbly done. All of the survival minigames are done well as well. And the death scenes...wow...just...wow are they dark. But well done. Finding the artifacts and diaries are also really fun and help unlock some of the mysteries of the island.

My issues with the gameplay are all very minor but they add up. First, besides a few little optional dungeons, there aren't really any sidequests that take you off the beaten paths to do some cool exploring. The optional puzzle dungeons are fun but the rewards were often not much more than a bunch of scrap. No cool weapons or artifacts...just more scrap.

Characters 7/10

First off, they did Lara extremely well. Nice backstory. Nice development. Really great. Roth was also a quality character. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast was little more than back drop and not really that interesting. Alex and Whitman were memorable due to the parts they played in the stories. But really what carries this is the great job Squeenix did with Lara Croft. After all, she is the one you are playing.

Overall: 8/10
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on September 7, 2017
I believe Rise of the Tomb Raider is everything it was meant to be. My grand kids love it. Me? I seem to be having problems getting out of the first stage, the poor girl keeps getting killed by some cannibalistic (I think) character that's chasing after her. One of these days I'll ask my grand kids how to get her out of there.
NOW, about the download to my computer. It comes from Steam, who normally sells it for $79.95, that's why I pulled the trigger on Amazon and not Steam. To begin with, the download takes forever, nearly three full hours. The first download had something missing and it wouldn't function at all. But after close to six hours, Steam got it right on the second try. Mind you, I've got an i7-5820K six core on an EVGA X99 FTW K mobo with 64 gigs of ram. Everything is top of the line, a CM HAF932 case, EVGA 850 watt PSU, a pair of EVGA GTX 970 FTWs in SLI, Samsung 500 gig 850 EVO SSD, a pair of WD black 500 gig HDDs, a CM Hyper 612 v2 for the 2011-v3 socket, and the list goes on. So there shouldn't have been any reason for a faulty first download.
As far as the game goes, it looks great across three 24" Samsungs in NVIDIA Surround, couldn't be nicer, and the effects are rather convincing too.
If you're into the Tomb Raider series, this is the best I think I've seen the kids play, and recommend it. . .
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on July 5, 2015
The reboot of the Tomb Raider series took some unexpected turns and I had some unexpected feelings about them. All in all, it was a very solid game. It didn’t exactly know what it was and what it wanted to do, but I did know exactly who it wanted Lara Croft to be and knew exactly how to approach her as a character. At the beginning of the game, Lara is taking an expedition with her crew. The ship crashes on an island and Lara wakes up in a tomb by herself, tied up and left for dead. The feeling that I got in the first bit of the game perfectly encompasses the feeling that I got in every other mission; that no matter how awesome I think I am, I do not want to be Lara Croft. In the first 30 minutes of game-play, she goes through more than I have ever seen a main character go through in a video game, and she takes it like a man.

The adventure aspect is overall stunning, and the gameplay is fantastic. The graphics look mind-blowing, and Lara as a character will surprise you. It’s a great game, and is arguably one of the most under-appreciated games of the generation. Overall, Tomb Raider was an excellent reboot with plenty of spine-chilling moments and is complete with a stunning main character. It will give you at least a solid 12 hours of enjoyment, and you won’t leave unsatisfied.

Story: 12/15 Visual Appeal: 9/10
Characters: 12/15 Audio Appeal: 9/10
Gameplay: 10/15 Machanics: 7/10
Atmosphere: 13/15 Congruency: 8/10
Cost: $19.99 Worth: $24.99

Overall: 80%
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on April 25, 2017
One would be remiss to expect a deep and thought provoking story from this game. What you do get is a crazy over the top action/platformer that is definitely worth your time to play. Fast paced combat with a sense of urgency, coupled with a decent weapon variety keeps fights reasonably fresh and exciting as you continue on. During the platforming bits you'll find yourself evading rock-slides and explosions aplenty, kind of like what you find in a Michael Bay movie. It's an absurd kind of fun, but changing environments keep you on your toes for an enjoyable challenge. The graphics are absolutely gorgeous and will probably give your machine a workout if you aren't at the higher end of midrange specs these days. With two 650 Ti's in sli I managed to run it well at mid-high settings, when I upgraded to a 970 I got about 45-55 fps ultra, but without hair-works steady 60 fps was easy to attain.
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on November 4, 2013

1. Amazing graphics. Easily some of the best I've ever seen in a video game of this type. Faces, bodies, environment, all of it is extremely well done and the atmosphere has a grittiness that you can almost feel. The graphics are so good in fact that I actually thought the screenshots were just concept art. No, that's what the gameplay actually looks like. It's really amazing. One expects for cutscenes and box art to look much better than the game play itself. What one doesn't expect is for the cutscenes and box art to be an accurate representation of what the gameplay actually looks like and that's basically what this game does.

2. The cutscenes are blended seamlessly into the action. So you don't find yourself cutting away to see a scene and then cutting back to game play, you do your thing, the scene blends in smoothly and then blends back go gameplay. This is one of the first games I've ever seen do that and its a pleasant change from being jarred from the action into a mini movie all the time.

3. The save points are done generally very well so even if you mess something up, you aren't kicked back too far to try again.

4. Voice work, sound etc are all very well done.

5. The game is extremely immersive and addictive. You can get into it very quickly and once you do, its hard to put it down.

6. The story really grabs you. It has a very similar appeal as the TV series "Lost" and there are a lot of mysteries and questions and as you go forward, some mysteries get solved and other questions and mysteries pop up in their place. At times I felt as if I was almost on some parallel version of "Lost" and since I liked that show, it works for me.

7. Really nice character development. You learn a lot about the characters as you go including Lara Croft who clearly is not some superhuman sex hero as in the movies and previous games. She's just a smart, tough girl who has to suck it up and find her strength in order to survive. They do a great job of showing her inner conflicts and struggles with overcoming challenges as she progresses.

8. There are times when theres an urgency and you really have to move fast and its very exciting. There's other times when you can just take your time, look around, solve puzzles and take in the atmosphere. So its a good mix that works well.

9. The game has a good sense of humor when appropriate. It definitely has its funny moments.

10.I like how information is often revealed simply by listening to the conversations that the enemy guys are having. It makes things a lot more realistic. I also enjoyed how its not just hack and slash everything. Sometimes you need to be stealthy, sometimes you have to be a little patient and wait for the enemy to turn his back and other times you can find better ways to kill them like going to a higher vantage point.

11. Puzzles, especially for optional tombs but also other areas are challenging enough that you have to stop and really think about things, but not so ridiculously hard that you wouldn't enjoy them. It hits the perfect sweet spot of fun challenge without too much frustration.

12. You go through a varied environment. From snowy mountains to swamps, shipwrecked beaches to forests and caverns. The environment changes up a lot from area to area so you don't get bored by seeing the same thing all the time.

1. A lot of cutscenes. I have this complaint about a lot of games to be fair, but still, it seemed that I spent a lot of time watching the action rather than playing it.

2. While I love the idea of seamless cutscenes, my complaint with it is that there were times when I wasn't quite sure when the cutscene began or ended and I was suppose to take over and start playing again. That made things a little awkward at times.

So as you see, almost all good, a couple little issues but nothing major. Overall an incredible game that I enjoyed immensely and I'm usually pretty harsh and critical of games too.

I hope that when they go to do the next one, they remember all the things that made this one great and really put in the effort to continue to create a quality experience. Considering I paid around $10 for it from Amazon when it went on sale, that made it an even greater value.

As for purchasing this, definitely go for it, it's well worth it, lots of game play, I put in about 31 hours on it and that was to do almost everything. Great game!
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on January 7, 2014
The last game I played was F.E.A.R. 3, so this is the most current game I have played. The visuals are amazing and the worlds are wonderful. I really like the overlap of levels where you can't access certain areas until later when you come through again. I finished with a 100% completion having found all the relics, documents, and tombs. You really feel like the survive the island and crazy inhabitants. The game is longer then any of the F.E.A.R. series games, yet still can be completed fairly quickly.

The game is buggy! I got stuck zip lining down a mountain because a seagull was sitting on a branch! Only solution was to let go and die. Next time I had to kill the seagull before zip lining. There was another odd bug where Lara looks possessed and wouldn't move, but reloading the check point was no big deal. I really liked the ship wreak beach and the animations for the crashing airplanes. Climbing to the top of a radio tower was amazing.

Sadly I don't have a fast enough computer to have enjoyed the graphics on to top settings, but hopefully I will get a new computer soon enough to play this again. At the very end, the climax was so intense and there was so much going on that my computer could not handle it. I could not complete the end level because my key presses were not registering. I had to put all the settings from normal to low and reduce the screen resolution. This made the game smaller and have black borders, but I was able to finish in this state.

Over all I am really impressed at how amazing this game is. You really see Lara progress to becoming an adventurer. Maybe next time I play it I will try it using one of the adult skin mods available for it.
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on September 24, 2013
*Played on PC*

I was never a Tomb Raider player prior to this game, so I don't have any notions of what Tomb Raider and Lara Croft "should" be to stay true to the classic games. As a newcomer to the series however, I was pleasantly surprised by this game. In a lot of ways it's a rip-off of PS3's Uncharted series (though to be fair Uncharted ripped off the old TR games first), but that's not a bad thing, and in some ways it's actually better than the UC series. This game is basically a third person action-adventure with a lot of platforming, some stealth, some exploration, and some light RPG elements such as basic skill trees and weapon mods.

The voice acting is excellent and the sound it very good overall. Graphical performance on my PC was excellent. I was able to max out most of the settings while still generally getting decent fps with my hardware (i5-2500k, ATI 7870, 8gb RAM). The much vaunted AMD "tressFX" hair physics didn't work well on my machine however, so I had to turn that off.

The mechanics are quite competent. I found the shooting to be satisfying, and the bow adds a lot to the stealth portions of the game. The platforming is very good in most places. The skill tree and weapon modification elements are a nice touch, but ultimately felt a bit meaningless as I was able to max everything out by the end of my playthrough, so there ended up not needing to be much picking or choosing between skill paths or what weapons to improve. The open world was also nice, though again it's a bit misleading since the missions themselves are very on-rails; the open world parts are not huge and are really only there to facilitate finding various treasures hidden around the map. The one mechanical thing I really disliked was the common and annoying quick time events. Why game developers continue to use this frustrating, immersion-breaking, outdated game design concept is beyond me. In a game like The Walking Dead it fits. In most other games, including this one, it's just bad, especially on PC where the QTE's are poorly optimized.

Not to spoil the story, but it is...well, from what I hear it's par for the course for a Tomb Raider game, but personally I think it veered deep into eye-roll territory a few too many times. Again, similar to Uncharted, except that Uncharted at least tries to give itself an out by usually spinning some sort of pseudo-scientific reasoning for why various events in the games happened. This game pretty much just says "because magic" and leaves it at that. It's not a bad story; I just found it harder to suspend disbelief for. A single playthrough on normal took me about 15 hours, though I took my time and gathered almost all of the collectibles. If you just played through the story and ignored the bulk of the side quests, I think this would be a 10ish hour game. That's still better than most single player experiences these days however, and replayability is moderately high. I didn't bother with the multiplayer and so can't give an opinion on that.

All in all though, this is a great game and I'm excited to hear that Square Enix has greenlit a sequel. I think I still slightly prefer the Uncharted games as a whole, but since I can't get those on PC this is a great alternative.
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on July 20, 2013
First, let me start by saying that i'm in my 40's and was around since the original Tomb Raider. The original set the bar for games back then to a level that was not matched for years, and now I believe I've just seen the bar reset again for the 1st time in 10+ years.

The original TR was the first true 3D games to use Polygon 3D rendering physics in an actual story mode. Sure there was Wolfenstein and Doom, but I said STORY. This was the game that pushed the medium. With its openGL graphics, it became the reason to buy a video card.

I have since watched many TR's flop along with other games as well. The Bar for story based games was reset by Snake Blitzen and then Drake finding his fortune. The game market has only seen rehashed games since.

Then this game comes along, I didn't know much about it, didn't buy it when it came out. Just got it actually. I only bought it because i was able to grab it for $15. If i knew it was this good, i would have grabbed it in March for whatever it cost.

What makes this game so amazing to me is that it tells a compelling story, pushed through great camera direction, great voice overs, and that one intangible that set the bar for me. That is 3D. I've played several 3D games but they suck. That's all i need to say. The 3D in them sucks and the game usually does too. The 3D in this game is just mind altering amazing. If you're lucky enough to have a playstation 3d Display with active matrix, you can run this in a kind of 3D that can only be seen to believe. crawling through a scene with fire all around is just scary. Tracer bullets make you wince, and jumping (which this game does alot) was ALWAYS meant to be in 3D, at least now that i've seen it. I always hated the overuse of jumping, well not anymore.

By the way, the PS3 display is a diamond. It cost over $500 when it came out. It has amazing specs but it didn't catch on. You can usually find it under $200 now. A 24" monitor with a 1980 resolution 2ms refresh and active matrix 3D (1080 in each eye). Passive monitors only do 540.

Being nostalgic, i'm so happy that if any game reset the bar, especially for 3D, it would have been Tomb Raider. I didn't even know it had 3D. I played half the game without it just based on story addiction alone.
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on May 1, 2013
I have been waiting years for Lara's return. And while I'm not a fan of reboots nor origin stories, it's Tomb Raider, a brand I've invested in for many years. When I purchased a Playstation 3, Underworld was the first title I bought and I've ran Lara through many locales since the PS1. So as a fan I admit that this is a harsh turn for the adventuress. That's not a negative, per se. And while the formula is tried and true Tomb Raider, this story is much darker and ominous than the girl's previous outings. There is gore, from environment design to combat (where Lara has finishing moves involving a climbing axe and an enemy's head). The locales and character models are amazingly detailed (one reason I opted to go PC on this title instead of staying with a console version) and the story is engaging. Controls are sharper than they've been in the last few iterations and though we are introduced to a new setting and new supporting characters it still feels like Lara doing what she does. Interesting, instead of the premise being delving into tombs as the main objective, this spelunking has been scaled down to side missions. I'm not sure if that will be a new direction for the franchise but I have to admit that having Lara pursue a greater goal (in this case, escaping the island she and friends are marooned on) and entering tombs only if you want to is kind of interesting. They are simple puzzles that don't take you far off the main path but are challenging enough for you to want to do them.

My problems with the game is how "on rails" it seems at time. While the "cut scene" button mashing scenarios was a varied part of previous games (PS2 era Tomb Raider), and that I enjoyed games like Heavy Rain, something about Tomb Raider makes me want to maintain control of Lara. Ever so often (quite often) having control taken away from me to witness an interactive cut scene took me out of the game. At times, these are hard. Very hard. You'll die a lot trying to hit the right direction or button combinations (as a caveat, being a Playstation player and playing this on the PC with an XBox controller may have attributed to my confusion... both have Xs though in different layouts, etc). Perhaps it's just an aging gamer's concept of playing a level, watching a cutscene, going to next level. The skill trees are fun to mix up her skills along the way, lends a bit for replayability, though I don't think changing her skills up alter the game too much. But after a playthrough or two, the jungle settings feel a bit claustrophobic after you've explored every nook and cranny looking for salvage, secrets and tombs. For completists, the challenge of finding hidden idols and such is engaging and the quick travel from campsites is a must to find everything. But the story is straightforward, rather cliché with bland, stereotypical NPCs. But Lara's new voice is fine and her character is quite well fleshed out. She's all we care about anyways, right? Though completing the game twice, I haven't tried any online portions.

If you're a fan of Tomb Raider, this should feel like coming home. For new players, this should be a great introduction to Lara and her day job. Here's hoping for many more in the series
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