Tomb Raider Review (finally)


Tomb Raider BoxI am thrilled to introduce the brand new Tomb Raider game! Of course, I couldn’t resist getting myself the Collector’s Edition. Let me just say that I absolutely LOVE this game. It’s like no other TR game ever. This is the game that Tomb Raider was supposed to be. Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix did a brilliant job in bringing out the true Lara Croft. I truly believe that they succeeded in giving us the real Lara, the way her creator (Toby Gard) whose vision for Lara was “a female character who was a heroine, you know, cool, collected, in control, that sort of thing” [visit Wikipedia page here]. Props to you Toby, who wanted to create a female gaming character that could become the hero and role model for many gaming girls, and not just some sex object to get more guys to play a company’s video games. Did I mention that Core Design wanted to market Lara’s sex appeal, and wanted Toby to implement a nude code into the game, but he refused? Later, Core took away his creative control and he was given a choice of making a Tomb Raider port for the Nintendo 64 or working on Core’s sexed up vision of Lara, but since neither option appealed to him he left the company.

In this game Lara is, while still very attractive (and I’m female with a boyfriend, so that’s saying something lol), not anywhere near as sexed-up as her previous self. She’s not yet a “cool, collected, in control” heroine in this game, which takes place in the beginning of her archeological career before she was ever known as a tomb raider. I found it quite amusing, for in the very beginning you found Lara saying how she “hates tombs”. I am very pleased with the game, and I hope that future Tomb Raider games are just as amazing.

It all starts on the Endurance, a research vessel, where Lara and a small research team can be found in the search of the lost island of Yamatai, home of the Sun Queen Himiko. Himiko is said to have control of the sun, and she controlled everything the sun touched. But no one has been able to find it in centuries. On a hunch of Lara’s, they head into the Bermuda Triangle (they call it the Dragon’s Mouth). They get dragged into a storm and are thrown into an island. After almost drowning and going down with the Endurance, Lara is washed onto the shore where she finds her other team mates, who are higher up on the beach than she is. She calls out to them, but is knocked out by an unknown person and she then wakes up in a cave, tied up and upside down, surrounded with other corpses. Determined to not meet the same fate as the others, she swings her bound body into some lit candles, thus freeing herself and sending herself plummeting to the cavern floor, falling into a metal barb. After ripping it out of her side, she stumbles through the cave, wary of the voices she hears around her. The cave starts to give way, collapsing around her. Lara rushes through tunnels, and after pushing away a strange man that says he’s “trying to help her”, finally emerges onto an open cliff. Lara manages to get down off the cliff and into the woods, where she camps out for her first night, alone, stranded, wounded and cold. She sits by the fire and you are introduced to the abilities system.

The rest of the game is just as thrilling and engaging. You find yourself pulling off stealth kills with your bow, climbing mountainsides with your climbing axe, fighting off wolves and the mad, sick and twisted inhabitants of the island. Lara quickly learns that to survive in this harsh and dangerous environment, she has to make hard choices. You go through the motions with her as she fires a weapon into the face of an enemy for the first time, and afterwords feeling sick over what she had done. Through the entire thing your captain and father figure, Roth, walks you through the rough times via walkie-talkies. After you find your team again you are sent into an old World War 2 era fort to try to get out an SOS signal, finding that you must climb high up to the top of a tower to get any signal at all.

After fighting every single day just to stay alive, running away constantly and dying fairly gruesome deaths multiple times (the game is pretty difficult, even on the easy setting) you and Lara become hardened to the violence, and your only objective is to find your friends and get away from the seemingly cursed island.

The environment is extraordinary and wonderfully open. The player is free to roam about in search of hidden tombs and relics, food and salvage to upgrade your weapons. It challenges you every step of the way, and just sucks you into the universe of Lara Croft as she learns about the island and the ancient Sun Queen, and all the while, slowly turning into the Tomb Raider we know from previous games. The game isn’t mainly about platforming, though as you make progress you find yourself climbing more and more objects and jumping from surface to surface as Lara becomes more adept and in tune with her environment.

Tomb Raider is, in truth, nothing like any of the previous games. It’s much, much better. It’s not just about jumping from platform to platform and solving simple puzzles. It’s about survival, and discovering Lara’s inner raider. This is the new Tomb Raider, the new Lara…and I sincerely hope that they keep her around for years to come.

Now that I’ve gone on and on about the game itself, let’s have a look at the Collector’s Edition items. 🙂

Tomb Raider box

Everything was packaged in a Survival Tin made to look as if it’s fresh off the Endurance itself. Upon opening you are greeted with the lovely game that you’ve been waiting for since, like, forever.

game

posterUnder that is the promotional paper for your free Gold trial for Xbox live, along with a CD soundtrack of the game, the lithograph, and a double sided poster (one side a map of Yamatai, the other a picture of Lara from the game cover).

tr_badgesLift up the cardboard holding those, and you will find the 3 iron-on survival badges and the one and only Lara Croft figurine. Complete with weapons. 🙂

There was a lot of detail put into Lara, from the torn clothes to the dirt on her skin. Her joints are fairly flexible, though I found it hard to get her to stand up on her own without wanting to topple over one way or the other. But no matter, I’ve just got her leaning slightly against my monitor on my desk.

lara

Her weapons are amazing. She comes with the shotgun, her famous pistol, her climbing axe (useful and deadly), and the awesome recurve bow (complete with arrow). The amount of detail in these alone are outstanding. If only I had a camera good enough to capture it all 😦 but i did my best lol.

recurve collage

Here’s a link to a gallery page for all of the images: Click Here

I’m in love with this game, there’s not much else I can say about it really other than I really, really love this game. Square Enix did a wonderful job on it, and I’m glad that Lara has become the true heroine she was meant to be. I hope that girls all over the world can now look up to Lara as their hero and role model, for her strength, dignity, courage, and will power.

And I’d like to give a shout out to everyone who had a hand in creating this game…thank you all very much. I’ve been waiting for this Lara for years.

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