It’s been 5 years since the last Tomb Raider. Those 5 years seem to have been well spent. Between Legend, Anniversary and Underworld…they came out so close to each other that it was easy to tell there wasn’t enough time for that polish.
This new game is polished to an amazing degree. Even at 720p, this game is beautiful. Lara has never looked better (not even when Angelina took on the role). The environment is utterly amazing. When I had to cross a fallen tree like a balance beam and looked down, the vertigo effect was so convincing I kinda got woozy myself.
That is also the most intense first 10 minutes I have ever had in a Tomb Raider game. Scratch that. That is the most intense first I have ever had in a game…including Mass Effect 2 where in it’s first 10 minutes the Normandy was destroyed and Shepard went EV. I mean…that was freaking INTENSE! And it hasn’t really let up since then.
However…there is one problem. It only vaguely feels like a Tomb Raider game. You have the ledge grabs, the shimmies, the jumping and grabbing. But that’s only a small part of a Tomb Raider game.
The puzzles feel less like getting through ancient death traps and more like figuring out ways to escape a cult hideout and survive in the wilderness.
The battle system is nice. It’s always thrilling to keep getting headshots. But even that seems vastly different from every other Tomb Raider I’ve ever played. And as realistic as they’ve tried to make this game…these people are taking a lot of shots (that aren’t headshots) before they finally drop. Unless they’re all on PCP (which doesn’t seem unlikely to be honest)…they should be dropping after far fewer shots.
But that’s all really nitpicking. Because maybe what Tomb Raider’s been needing is a complete overhaul. It could be argued that Tomb Raider Legend was supposed to be that overhaul…and it was. But it was a more minor overhaul. It gave Lara a few new abililties and updated her movements from being a tank on a grid to something more fluid. But combat and over all gameplay seemed very much the same.
Here, there’s still a few things that say “Tomb Raider.” Not much, but they’re there if you look for them. And this is probably the first time in the past several games where I picked it up and it didn’t just feel like more of the same
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