Tomb Raider review

A survivor is born as I play the Tomb Raider video game for the Xbox 360, PC and Playstation 3 rated 9 out of 10
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I’ve played every single Tomb Raider game since Lara Croft first appeared in all her blocky glory on the PC and PS One. Now she’s back and younger than ever in this reboot that shows how she became such a badass in the first place. I won’t go too much into the story but it’s safe to say Lara and her buddies get shipwrecked and stranded on an island full of bad people, a variety of wildlife and other goings-on that will intrigue you.

So, off Lara trots to explore the island, rescue her mates and hopefully leave this place that’s trying so hard to kill her! The first thing that hits you is the high production values. Throughout, it’s stunning to look at when it comes to the animation of Lara herself, the environment and special effects - most notably fire when it billows from torches, licks walls or explodes all around her. The island’s weather is also pretty tasty to look at as wind and rain lashes the trees and sunsets and snowy vistas are a joy to behold. Music also adds to the atmosphere with a mix of traditional score and more tribal, rhythmic percussion to set the tone nicely.

When it comes to gameplay though, at first, there are worrying signs. The first 20 minutes or so is filled with quick time events and you don’t really feel in control of Lara. Thankfully, this soon settles down and you can begin exploring the island and it really is a joy to explore. Not only do you have to get from A to B to C but there are also tonnes of items to collect and challenges to complete. As you loot boxes, bodies and animals you’ve hunted you also gain XP and weapons parts so there’s a real feel of progression as Lara gains new combat and exploration abilities. You can also fast travel at camps to go back and find items you may have missed now that you have new ways to open new paths you couldn’t access earlier.

Combat is a mix of stealth and all out action, and the cover system works really well. It’s all context sensitive so you don’t have to press a button to stick to a wall - Lara will automatically crouch behind chest high walls or sneak about if it’s appropriate to do so - it all works really well! Enemies also behave realistically and will move and flank you or run for cover if they feel like they’re about to take a flaming arrow to the face!

There are also sections of the game where you’re sliding out of control and have to avoid objects that could kill you, or running and jumping along rooftops that are falling from your feet. Like the quick time events, it would be nice to get a second chance if you miss a command - sudden deaths just feel a bit cheap but in no way ruin the enjoyment of the game itself.

Tomb Raider is a thoroughly great adventure on par with the Uncharted games. Although it lacks a little bit of the character we’d get with Nathan Drake and co, it’s by far the most solid action adventure game this year and gets a blockbusting 9 out of 10.

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