Tomb Raider(2013)

9 Overall Score
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 9/10

Amazing Graphics | Fantastic Controls

Reliance on Quicktime Events | Ammo Placement

It all starts with a ship, a storm, and a 21 year old woman who is fresh out of college. When Lara Croft lands on an island filled with animals, cultists, and the dead bodies of scientists before them, she is thrown out of her element. It is perceived that she was given some instruction on survival by her ship’s captain, Roth, but has never practiced it in an actual situation. Upon finding herself in the most dire of moments, Lara is forced to use her survival skills and hope to live another day. Fighting against men with machine guns and dynamite, she attempts to get herself and her friends off the island in one piece.

For me, it was not the allure of a female protagonist that drew me to the game; it was the promise of mechanics much like Assassin’s Creed. That promise was easily delivered. The physics of flying down a zip line and flawlessly gliding to the next, and climbing high to a third have struck me dumb. Lara’s ability to wall scramble and struggle to grapple onto the ledge above is an exciting fight to get to the next catwalk. On the Xbox 360, a pull of the left trigger button aims your weapon, and the right shoots it. This makes for an easy way to not waste any ammo; simply letting go of the left button allows you to rethink shooting the enemies. An automatic crouching system activates when enemies are nearby and releases once you finish the last of them off. This allows for optimal use of cover, and as long as you do not draw your weapon, you can remain hidden.

The AI of the opposition is actually rather impressive. You do not have men running into walls, and standing out in the open, but you have some that actually find cover near you and chuck dynamite. Once it touches down you only have a few seconds to scramble away and break cover, rushing back only when the fires have burned out. They will notice that your back is not protected and run around obstacles to catch you off guard. If you are quick enough, and have mastered the right skills, you might be able to dodge a few times and kill them with your axe, but if you are like me and panic a lot, you will be killed fairly quickly.

Speaking of death, it is a very prevalent aspect to the game. During many events, one false move and next thing you know, you are being impaled through the head down a rushing canal. The ways to die are surely numerous, yet it is why you die that gets me every time. Quick time events are my absolute pet peeve in video games. It is the only thing that can get me to rage quit and never come back. Tomb Raider is chock full of them. This means you either have a quick hand or enough patience to get through each step, die, and then try again. Truthfully, it is the other parts of the game that keep me going, even if I have to retry a scene four times before I can proceed.

One thing that holds my interest would be the tombs. If you are near one, you will be notified, then you look for the markings of the sun, and there you have it! Once you have made it inside, you must deal with a puzzle of one sort or another, some are so simple you over think it, and others are increasingly difficult. Once you get to the end, the reward pay out does not seem like much at first, but the salvage is worth it. You must use this to improve any weapons you may have, and if you have run out, you may be too weak to handle enemies easily.

Weapons are acquired through the story automatically. Finding parts will upgrade these weapons and salvage offers different bonuses. It is possible for a player to successfully upgrade at least two weapons to completion if you are willing to spend the time in the tombs and around the island to find all the boxes and crates. By doing this and also hunting animals along with fighting off the cultists, a player will attain skill points. Again it is possible to master each skill so long as the player finds time to do so. Mastering these skills will allow for new maneuvers, killing strikes, and map highlights. A specific skill allows you to find ammo in many different places, especially off those you have killed. It should be noted that ammo is also very plentiful in the game; however it tends to be for the wrong weapon at the wrong time. You will find grenades when you need them, but also six shotgun rounds when you have yet to touch the weapon since you got it. The lack of ammo for the rifle and especially the pistol is quite hindering, but one can always fall back to the bow and retrieve arrows from the dead bodies, so long as they have not disappeared by the time you have gotten there.

There is quite a lot to talk about with this game, and I can quite see it taking off in the multiplayer. All of the future DLC (Downloadable Content) for the title is dedicated to the multiplayer mode. This review will not cover multiplayer, as the content of the single-player game is vast on its own. Personally, it does vary with the players available and the skill to each, so it is quite hard to review such an aspect. I encourage you to try it on your own and make a formulated opinion in that manner.

Due to the nature of the rating for this title, it is not recommended for younger audiences. On the PlayStation 3, I recommend either the Uncharted series or even the Sly Cooper series, both of which are adventurous and sneaky. On the Xbox 360, the Lego series is just as adventurous without all the hassle of blood.

This game has received a letter grade of A-, due to its amazing graphics, fantastic controls, but over reliance on quick time events and strange ammo in the worst places. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves adventure and a nice change of pace in gaming.

The author of this review kindly requests any questions, opinions, or other issues be placed in the comments section or emailed to her at


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