Tomb Raider (2013) Review

With the new Definitive Edition of last years Tomb Raider, this game is a reboot of the Tomb Raider series bringing a new origin story to the games.

In this game you play Lara Croft in here early days of archaeological discovery. She sets off by ship with a crew and another archaeologist to discover Yamatai, a lost Japanese island that was said to be home of a shamanistic empress known as the “Sun Queen”, who could control storms. While doing so her vessel is ripped apart by a storm and she and the crew become shipwrecked. After getting captured by a strange cultist group she finds some of the others and decide that they need to get off this island.

Game World

The island you are on is quite large and expansive with so much to explore. The island feels very much like a real island you might find off near Japan. Everything from architecture to plants fit properly. Japanese buildings and areas surrounded by cherry trees full of blossoms show how thought was placed into how things were placed. The caves and crevices you must occasionally traverse have an organic feel to it instead of the prebuilt pathway in an underground setting so many other games use. Along with the outside there are multiple tombs to explore and discover which hold treasures for those who can find out how to get through them. Traversing such a large island you use more than walking zip-lining and rock climbing are two of the ways you will have to get around. There is of course though a fast-travel system if you do not want to make it back to an area “on foot”. The fast-travel is great for those completionists who want to go back and find everything that is in an area.

Controls

The controls to this game were a little odd, and not completely what I am accustomed to. One of the reasons I found it odd is that the game uses the Y button to attack while I am used to it traditionally being the X button when fighting with a stand alone melee weapon. Switching weapons was assigned to the D-pad which worked well, but threw me off the first couple times as I am used to using such as the Y button to cycle through weapons. It almost felt as if they were trying to mesh the controls of a First-Person Shooter with a Roleplaying game which was very odd from the start and took getting used to. Another interesting thing having to do with the controls was the quick-time events which generally consisted of shaking the right thumbstick back and forth for a few seconds before having to press Y, while the only other quick time events commonly used seemed to be you needing to press X if you are falling. Even though I normally hate quick-time events due to long button combos this game makes it simple and allows for a more immersive cinematic experience. After a couple of hours of playing I got used to the controls and the quick-time events and was able to go through the game without to many issues do to the control scheme.

Gameplay

The gameplay of this game is one of the areas it shined. It was fun and exciting with various things to do. The puzzles I think are what really helped this game. They allowed a break in combat and tension and made you think about what you are doing. I also could not find a puzzle that if you did something wrong made it unsolvable which was very enjoyable considering how many games I have played where if one or two things get out-of-place or done in the wrong order I have to restart it all from my last save.

Combat is exciting and keeps you on your toes while you fight with the weapons you have. Although the game is 3rd-person shooting and such had a more 1st-person feel being able to aim down the sites of your weapons. The bow is my personal favorite and is the beast for long-range and still does very well in both mid-range and short-range but is not something you want to be forced to use in close-quarters. The assault rifle is good for mid-range, short-range, and ok in close-quarters but has too much recoil for much in the way of long ranged attacks. The shotgun rules close-quarter combat taking out most enemies in a single shot and even works well short-range but cannot shoot over a very large distance and thus is best used when melee enemies get close to you. The pistol is your jack-of-all-trades being able to shoot well to almost the same distance as the bow and is easy enough to use when an enemy is approaching you to melee the trade-off however is that the pistol does not do nearly the same damage as the other weapons and I only used it when I was out of ammo on my other weapons. When in combat you will need to find ways to make best use off all of these weapons as your enemies also have many similar weapons.

Throughout the game you can gather scrap and weapon parts which can be used to upgrade weapons to make them much more effective.Scrap can be found in crates an boxes around the island, and also can be found on enemies just as ammunition can be found in ammo boxes and on enemies. Restocking on ammo is essential if you want to make it through most fights.

There is also a leveling system in the game which awards skill points that can be spent to gain many extra abilities. Skills range from increasing weapon damage, to increasing your maximum amount of ammunition you can carry to pointing out different areas and items in the game. Gaining specific skills at certain points in the game can become very helpful later on.

Graphics

The graphics in this game are amazingly done. You can see many details very well from the pores on Lara’s face to the petals of the cherry blossoms. The game uses colors well to where things have an abandoned almost post-apocalyptic feel while not being drab or dreary.One thing I found nice was how the graphics in both gameplay and cut-scenes matched up adding an extra level of immersion. The colors and textures of everything worked very well to help continue in the games survivor based kind of theme.

Christian Values

This game is very violent and although the violence is not as graphic as some games may affect certain people. The only very graphic thing that I ran into really did not like was a river of blood you have to make it through at one point in the game. Magic also is included in the game although it is not very prominent. There are magic storms which prevent anyone from leaving the island that are occasionally seen during cut-scenes, although the storms look like normal thunder clouds. Magic is also seen at the very end of the game by one of the “bad guys”. Overall I think it could be a little much for younger gamers, but based on their maturity level I think it would be ok for some older teens and definitely fine for mature gamers. I personally do not think this will affect most people’s walk but I cannot speak for every individual.

Verdict

The story of the game is very exiting an keeps you wanting to know more. The island you are on is quite large and expansive allowing for lots of exploration. The controls may take some getting used to but after a couple of hours of playing it is you get accustomed to them.There are quick time events but they help add to the immersion rather than force you to attempt endless strings of button combos. The gameplay is enjoyable with a great combat system and enough puzzles to solve and collectibles to find that help you not get tired of when you do get into combat. The graphics are well done with great details and the right colors in the proper amounts to make the game more immersive and add to its unique feel. The game is violent and is a little graphic with blood here or there. It also has some uses of magic. I would recommend this to more mature gamers and believe that it should not negatively affect most people in their walk with Christ.

The story of the game is very exiting an keeps you wanting to know more. The island you are on is quite large and expansive allowing for lots of exploration. The controls may take some getting used to but after a couple of hours of playing it is you get accustomed to them.There are quick time events but they help add to the immersion rather than force you to attempt endless strings of button combos. The gameplay is enjoyable with a great combat system and enough puzzles to solve and collectibles to find that help you not get tired of when you do get into combat. The graphics are well done with great details and the right colors in the proper amounts to make the game more immersive and add to its unique feel. The game is violent and is a little graphic with blood here or there. It also has some uses of magic. I would recommend this to more mature gamers and believe that it should not negatively affect most people in their walk with Christ.

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