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Tomb Raider Review

xpghax Feb 25, 2013

  1. xpghax

    xpghax Gold Section Mod/Uploader
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    The new Tomb Raider goes back in time to create a character arc for Lara Croft, attempting to reboot and redefine one of gaming’s legitimate pop culture icons. With this goal in mind, the game tells a deliberately crafted story between tightly controlled, death-defying action sequences defined by breakneck forward momentum, bloody battles with man and beast, puzzles solved through manipulation of your physical environment, and open areas to explore and master.

    It’s a highly enjoyable, often skillfully executed game exhibiting all the traits of a modern blockbuster. Adherence to established tenets of contemporary game design often pays off in an impressively detailed world, thrilling action sequences, and a sense of growth enabled by experience points and equipment upgrades. The way forward is often indicated by way-point markers--when it’s not straight ahead through a breakneck set piece--but it’s refreshing when you’re let off the leash, and the mysterious island you’re marooned on is beautifully convincing and has an appreciable sense of interconnectedness.

    Trekking the treacherous path of the triple-A action game doesn't lead to any fatal missteps, but there a few stumbles, and one particularly surprising pratfall. In spite of the developer’s intentions and the vulnerability displayed by the heroine in cut scenes, the game struggles to render her as believable human character.
    With her friends kidnapped, and after suffering grizzly and sometimes interactive physical trauma, Lara must avoid confrontation early in the game. Her hands are literally tied during her first encounters with the island’s violent and menacing scavengers, but the moment the player is handed a gun, this frightened would-be explorer instantly transforms into the alpha predator of “ head shot island.”
    This isn't the first time that a likable hero has snuffed out countless lives in the name of adventure, but the sheer repetitious viciousness involved in slaughtering hundreds of shipwreck survivors-turned-sinister-cultists pushes the material beyond pulp or even exploitation cinema toward unintentional comedy.

    Lara feels preternaturally skilled at killing, and while she’s clearly emotionally shaken when she’s first forced to kill her first animal, subsequent killings treat furry bodies and human skulls like pinatas filled with experience points. When you kill animals not because Lara is hungry, but because you’re hungry to level up, and when a precise shot to the head or a brutal execution literally earns you a bonus, the gravity with which the story treats Lara’s character growth becomes a joke with all the carefully plotted nuance and drama of flicking on a light switch.

    Of course, as long as you’re inured to virtual violence, it’s still quite fun. Tomb Raider gives a comfortable, precise feel to aiming your weapons, and a simple but satisfying dodge mechanic enables highly effective counterattacks. Ammo is everywhere, and you can use a combination of stealth, timing, and marksmanship to masterfully come out on top of just about every situation. You have some choice over when you unlock specific weapons and skills, but once Lara gains the ability to swing at enemies with her climbing axe and starts to McGuyver up her weapons using scrap iron and animal parts you've pried from the environment, the challenge can start to lag.
    When it comes to violence, Lara not only deftly deals it out; she can certainly take it. The severe physical abuse the game heaps on her when the story calls for it is nothing short of gratuitous. However, her physical ability is only hampered during very brief, story-dictated moments, and more than a survivor, she ultimately feels superhuman--she's a video game hero, after all, and one with regenerating health. Just watch out for large, sharp objects.

    Tomb Raider continually emphasizes violent conflict, with the vast majority of Lara’s upgrade able skills and gear modifications meant to make you a more efficient killer, or else simply increasing your loot-earning efficiency. You’ll also find yourself gradually acquiring new tools that allow you to reach new places, bypass obstacles, and create new paths in your environment using your bow and a bit of rope. Fire plays a big role as well, with frequent prompts to light something up. The necessary ability to teleport between campfires to reach previously visited areas is convenient, but notably less impressive.

    Your gradually increasing mastery of the island landscape is one of the game’s biggest thrills, but while the satisfaction of finally being able to get where you want to go is tangible, the rewards you’ll find in previously inaccessible places--documents, relics, or pointless GPS collectibles--feel like throwaways. Finally, the handful of optional tombs feature some of the game’s most interesting puzzles, but really there isn't a whole lot to them. But while it’s a minor element, Tomb Raiding is compulsive and a welcome break from head-shotting… even if the treasure chest at the end holds nothing more interesting than an above-average chunk of XP and salvage.
    A few things about the new Tomb Raider come across as wasted effort. The story of Lara’s transformation is sabotaged by the gameplay, and is frankly a little dorky, with an after-school special style multi-ethnic cast filled by lame stereotypes like angry black woman and scrap-happy Scotsman. Likewise a multiplayer mode, which nobody familiar with Tomb Raider would expect or even think to ask for, is competent but utterly unremarkable and requires under powered newbies to grind for more effective weapons and perks to level a wonky playing field.

    The payoff from this pre-packaged drama and live-target online practice barely amount to the value of a single, raid able tomb, and it’s easy to imagine the resources spent on these being better utilized to bolster the game’s strengths. The road to the triple-A summit hasn't been reached in a single game, but there’s hope that Lara could reach greater heights in the inevitable sequel.

    Reviewed on Microsoft Xbox 360


    my verdict: this game is immense,one of the best of this year by miles, a clear 10/10
     
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  2. XPGBuSh

    XPGBuSh XPG'S FIFA KING XPG Retired Staff
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    Absolutely in love with this game

    10/10 GOTY
     
  3. Hoofdletters

    Hoofdletters XPG GFX Artist Lifetime Gold
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    Sounds like a game I can not miss! Thanks, will check it out now!
     
  4. NaCLy AF

    NaCLy AF Lifetime Gold Lifetime Gold
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    I'm in love with Lara <3 10/10


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  5. romanzad

    romanzad Newbie
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    This game is fantastic!


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  6. omegaultimo2

    omegaultimo2 Lifetime Gold Lifetime Gold
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    Good game,Havent finished it yet but i can see me doing all the side missions on this :)
     
  7. IIEvolution85II

    IIEvolution85II Gamerscore Wreckage :) Gold Subscriber
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    It's Absolute pants i don't know how people can play this game.

    I CANNOT STOP PLAYING IT AS ITS TOO ADDICTIVE AND IMMENSE MWUHAHAHHAHHA ;P
     
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