Author Topic: [Video Game] Tomb Raider (2013)  (Read 2188 times)

MiniVanMan

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[Video Game] Tomb Raider (2013)
« on: March 07, 2013, 11:39:41 AM »
Even as a huge video game enthusiast, every year I grow increasingly apathetic toward the onslaught of triple A titles. I feel it's justified, given that the majority are touted to be bombastic, epic, over the top productions that rival the best of what Hollywood is capable of offering... and more often than not, they turn out to be completely over hyped homogenized exercises in adolescent fantasy that completely betray everything the series had previously been known for in favor of attracting legions ADD riddled, hormone fueled, immature new fans who will certainly buy the inevitable yearly rehashes because their friends are doing it.

See: Hitman: Absolution.

Tomb Raider has never been a series that had a stake in my interest, aside from Tomb Raider: Legends which I bought for $5 on a Steam sale on a boring Sunday afternoon (and thoroughly enjoyed). What caught my interest in this reboot of the series? Well, for one thing, it's developed by Crystal Dynamics, the same people who made Legends and brought the Tomb Raider franchise back from the brink of demise, and for two, it was getting some very positive reviews from some very negative people.

So, I bought it.

And I'm impressed.

It's definitely similar to the Uncharted games in a lot of ways, mostly the cinematic aspect as well as the over the top set pieces, but it's also significantly deeper than the Uncharted single player campaigns.



From skill customization to combat to the fairly open-ended nature of your path between objectives, Tomb Raider does what too few modern games do - teaches you a set of skills, offers you a set of tools, and lets YOU decide how you want to approach situations. That's a great quality that needs to be taught to more game developers. That's the very aspect that was removed from games like Splinter Cell: Conviction and Hitman: Absolution, two games that were abominations when compared to previous entries in their respective series.



Yes, there is some hand holding going on, but a lot of it is merely the means to teach you something before letting you loose.

Quick Time Events are a staple of modern games, and they make an appearance here, and they're STILL just as bad as they've always been, somewhat worsened here by the fact that it's never the same pattern of buttons between different events, so instead of focusing on the action and reacting instinctively to it, you're training your eyes on the button prompt. That's one area that Uncharted gets right - it's always the same two buttons for the QTE's, and after the first few, you automatically know what to do and don't have to look.



Lara Croft is a much deeper character this time around. She's a young woman out for adventure, and gets thrown in way over her head when her ship wrecks and she's stranded on a mysterious island inhabited by some form of cult. She's a much more fleshed out character this time than in any previous game, and it's easy to feel her pain, sadness and fear.



She also gets run through the wringers this time around. They pull no punches - Lara gets bruised, bloodied, and beaten, as if she's a female version of John McClane. She's constantly finding herself in increasingly precarious situations and the game at least makes a fleeting attempt at depicting her transformation from innocent 17 year old girl to survivor who will do whatever it takes to stay alive, but that moment comes and goes rather quickly. It's a small bit of suspension of disbelief, but not one that should ruin the game for you.



The game is very beautiful and runs extremely well at Ultra settings on my older PC. Even as a console port, CD did a fantastic job optimizing the game for PC, giving a healthy menu of graphics options. It controls well with a keyboard and mouse, probably the only hitch being the quick time events which require button mashing, and keyboards aren't really meant to stand up to that type of abuse.



Sound and voice acting are excellent all around, though Lara is the only character you'll really care about. That's more due to the writing than the acting, however.

The story is linear, and you can play the game by simply traversing from one point to the next, either engaging enemies in combat head on or waiting for them to isolate themselves so you can quietly dispatch them individually with an arrow to the neck or by sneaking up and choking them out (or shoving them off a cliff), but there are also hidden Tombs to explore which contain the clever puzzles you expect to be in a Tomb Raider game, most of which are physics based but nonetheless rewarding to solve. There are also tons of hidden extras and collectibles hidden throughout the game world, so exploration is definitely worth it, and exciting at times as well.

Overall, not a perfect game, but if you're looking for a solid single player game with plenty to see and do, and one that for the most part just lets you approach situations your own way (mostly, not always), then check it out. I'm truly enjoying it, and I will be playing it for a while to finish collecting everything I missed.

8/10

dotCom

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Re: [Video Game] Tomb Raider (2013)
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2013, 07:40:22 PM »
The last Tomb Raider I played was Tomb Raider 2, which will still be my absolute favourite. I never really thought much of the franchise before or after that game, especially since they seemed to get worse and worse after that story-wise, but this one actually looks really cool. I know there were parts in 2 that scared the fuck out of me (floating islands, for one... creepy ass cult dragon monster shit). In terms of attachment to the game, would you say that you really got into it?


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MiniVanMan

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Re: [Video Game] Tomb Raider (2013)
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2013, 09:35:11 PM »
I wasn't super engaged with the story, but it is definitely interesting. I was really getting into the survival stuff of the first half hour, and when the wolves showed up I was like "aw shit it's gonna get all The Grey up in here", but it kinda dropped that and went to more standard gameplay. Still a lot o fun but not nearly as engaging. I think you should rent this, at the very least.

dotCom

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Re: [Video Game] Tomb Raider (2013)
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2013, 10:03:23 PM »
I went back to find your reply, but I went to the Video Game thread instead of the Review thread. I was like, "WHERE IS MY REPLY" for a good five minutes :lol: :lol:  I'll talk to the roommate and see if he has any interest in it, we might go halvsies.


 If MMORPG players were around when God said, "Let there be light" they'd have called the light gay, and plunged the universe back into darkness by squatting their nutsacks over it. - Luke McKinney

MiniVanMan

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Re: [Video Game] Tomb Raider (2013)
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2013, 10:21:17 PM »
:lol: yeah I didn't expect to do a review so soon, but it's one of those games that I can't put down once I get into it because I want to see what's coming up next. It's also hard to resist putting the hurt on an army of bad dudes when they keep saying shit like "She's just a girl, how tough could she be?" Bonus points for shooting an arrow in his throat before his finishes his sentence :lol:

Oh, watch this:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCe8-1dbXZc" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCe8-1dbXZc</a>


dotCom

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Re: [Video Game] Tomb Raider (2013)
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2013, 10:35:16 PM »
She saw a handbag and got distracted :lol:


 If MMORPG players were around when God said, "Let there be light" they'd have called the light gay, and plunged the universe back into darkness by squatting their nutsacks over it. - Luke McKinney

Kalgorn

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Re: [Video Game] Tomb Raider (2013)
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2013, 11:54:10 PM »
Just finished this tonight.

I consider it to be extremely overrated. Reviews made it out to be this magnificent game but I found it to be a pretty generic action/adventure. It was good and very much worth a play-through but I'm absolutely sick of these quick time events. It's fucking constant. I don't want to mash a button to pull a lever or pop a door open every couple minutes. QTEs don't immerse me in a game in any way. I don't feel like I'm really there because I'm smashing my E key over and over again.

The challenge was so-so. I play every game on "normal" because that's how the game was designed. The only times I died from combat were strictly because I didn't realize what was happening and enemies were coming out of nowhere. Regenerating health is becoming a nuisance. It's making games way too easy. I can just go hide behind a wall until the dark/red/black & white/whatever screen goes away. The majority of my deaths were just poor platforming in certain spots.

Visually, the game looks fantastic. It's colorful when it needs to be but dark in appropriate places. Lara is modeled very well and her animations are fluid and life-like. There were a few model glitches but nothing major.

I'm also sick of these hard-to-believe cutscenes that force the main character in to a predicament. Six guys charged at me and I obliterated them with just a crude bow. Cue cutscene, Lara fires off one shot, then just fumbles around like a fucking retard as a group of guys grab her and beat the shit out of her. Or what about when your friend is being held hostage (happens multiple times) and you just stand there chatting? It's not realistic based on what I've been doing so far. A cutscene like this is what made me stop playing Assassin's Creed III. Get surrounded by 30 guys, kill them without a scratch to you. Cue cutscene where you're standing near two guards and one of them smacks you in the head and knocks you out. No thanks.

The skill tree was pretty stupid as well. There's only like 25 skills in the whole game. You're forced to take X amount of skills across the three skill trees (two for the first part of the game) until you unlock the next tier of skills. By the time I finished, I had all but one skill and the last few I took were completely useless and strictly for show (finishing moves for different weapons). I don't even really feel that I went out of my way to gain extra XP to get those skills.

On that note, Nick, I can't agree with you that the game lets you play how you want to play. If you want to use stealth, most situations only allow you to get one or two kills in before you're guaranteed to alert everyone else. In most situations, I was forced in to standard combat.

Probably by biggest gripe? The final "battle". MINOR SPOILER AHEAD It's basically just one cumbersome event after another until you reach Mathias. Kill a couple guys, cutscene where something breaks/falls down, walk forward a bit, repeat. The transitions between cutscenes and action scenes were terrible as well. Lara would go from auto-walking, to me controlling her walking, then she's running, then it dumps to a cutscene, etc. Just kind of piss poor. However, ultimately, what the fuck happened to boss battles? My only real issue with Farcry 3 is that I felt no accomplishment with "killing" the bosses because it's just a QTE-based cutscene. Tomb Raider suffers from the same affliction. Push some buttons when instructed, click the mouse a few times, a cheer in boring agony as you "defeat" the final boss.

6/10 from me. As I said earlier, worth a play-through but it's completely overrated. I like the new direction of Lara Croft and I look forward to seeing what changes Crystal Dynamics makes for a sequel.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 11:54:40 PM by Kalgorn »

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MiniVanMan

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Re: [Video Game] Tomb Raider (2013)
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2013, 07:52:00 AM »
I think if you re-read my review you'll see that we more or less agree... But the issue with stealth.. I don't know, maybe you just need to try again? Aside from the big action battle sequences you're pretty free to sneak through areas and quietly kill off enemies as long as you do it in a certain order.

Kalgorn

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Re: [Video Game] Tomb Raider (2013)
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2013, 08:05:12 AM »
But that's what I'm talking about. There's a lot of battles that you're forced in to because the story throws you right in to them. I could clear areas just fine as stealth but story-progression stuff is straight-up action.

It doesn't matter much anyway since the skillsets you're given don't really boost any stealth abilities. That's one of the other reasons I said the game doesn't let you play the way you want. Skills don't matter a whole lot. If you took my Lara vs your Lara at the end of the game, they're probably 95% the same thing.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 08:05:35 AM by Kalgorn »

2002 Silverado | 1995 Talon TSi AWD | 1989 Prelude Si 4WS