Tomb Raider Review - An Icon Reborn

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It's unfortunate there's a disconnect between cutscene Lara and ingame Lara but, like Susan, I'm not sure I could come up with a way to remove that without altering the core of the TR experience. Either way, I just may have to pick this up at some point.

Frankster:
I guess a good sign that a AAA game is decent is that reviews are out more then a week before the game's release? ;)

Hehe I'm thinking the same thing. It's getting to be just like the movies where generally when something is withheld from critics, there's a pretty good reason for it (aka it's most likely trash).

Hm, this actually sounds really interesting. Note I said 'sounds', cause judging by the review it's a game I'd gladly play, but judging by the gameplay video it looks awkward and clunky.

But I liked the dinosaurs from the old games. Yeah, you couldn't exactly take anything seriously, but I like a bit of levity in a sea of apathy and death.

Susan Arendt:
The Lara of the new Tomb Raider isn't the plastic princess that we're used to, she's an ordinary girl who, when thrown into extraordinary circumstances, makes the decision to live through them.

And sounds much much more interesting to play as because of that. :)

I'm glad this game turned out so well.

RyQ_TMC:
There are books? First I hear about it, and I considered myself a fan of the series.

Yup. The Amulet of Power, The Lost Cult and the Man of Bronze. Pretty good reads for a fan as well.

Susan Arendt:
[quote="erttheking" post="6.401778.16573037"]
[snip]
No-one is trying to rape you. But killing is difficult - whether it's an animal or a human - and in fact Lara is very seriously affected by the first human she kills - in the cutscene, anyway. In the gameplay, she's picking off guys left and right without any problem at all. It's the difference between the character as governed by the story and the character as avatar for the player. The two are somewhat at odds when it comes to the combat. It's certainly not a reason to avoid the game, but it does stand out.

This is my biggest concern. It really bothered me in uncharted (Drake has a kill count that is terrifying yet he act as pretty normal person), and here the difference seems even worse. I am seriously worried that taking down 6 guys with a bow and pickaxe in a minute will completely kill my immersion.

Also does Lara ever pick up a jacket? I like her new design but when I see her freeing in the rain or running around in the snow with out ever picking up a jacket from one of the, apparently, many people she has killed. Well once again it just kind of threaten kills my immersion (a nit pick I know).

Soviet Heavy:
But I liked the dinosaurs from the old games. Yeah, you couldn't exactly take anything seriously, but I like a bit of levity in a sea of apathy and death.

TBH, I'm hoping sequels bring back some of the craziness the series is known for. On the other hand, I think it's positive that such an established IP can show restraint and not bombard you with inanity and ridiculous, over the top bullshit. I'd be fine with a Tomb Raider with just one, really impressive dinosaur.

TheKasp:

IronMit:

edit. Ohh damn. check out machinima review of this game

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWQMMlCCEuU

Oh god this hurts... 'Laura Croft' Her name is not Laura.

I was just about to say this. Why do so many people get the name wrong?

Tombsite:

Susan Arendt:
[quote="erttheking" post="6.401778.16573037"]
[snip]
No-one is trying to rape you. But killing is difficult - whether it's an animal or a human - and in fact Lara is very seriously affected by the first human she kills - in the cutscene, anyway. In the gameplay, she's picking off guys left and right without any problem at all. It's the difference between the character as governed by the story and the character as avatar for the player. The two are somewhat at odds when it comes to the combat. It's certainly not a reason to avoid the game, but it does stand out.

This is my biggest concern. It really bothered me in uncharted (Drake has a kill count that is terrifying yet he act as pretty normal person), and here the difference seems even worse. I am seriously worried that taking down 6 guys with a bow and pickaxe in a minute will completely kill my immersion.

Also does Lara ever pick up a jacket? I like her new design but when I see her freeing in the rain or running around in the snow with out ever picking up a jacket from one of the, apparently, many people she has killed. Well once again it just kind of threaten kills my immersion (a nit pick I know).

The hubs where you upgrade your weapons and skills are actually little campsites where she sits by a fire. So no jacket necessary. :) (Yes, I avoided the set up for a Phil Collins joke on purpose.)

I just want to let everyone I can know that I am actually going to buy this game. When the first previews came out I was probably one of the loudest to voice my discontent with what was shown. In the end, the pretty awful previews were hiding a very good game and I'd like to think developers listened to some of the issues their consumers had with their product and did something to ameliorate it. Whenever someone dares to critisize a game, a lot of people become paranoid thinking the games industry might collapse if the audience demands better products or even just points out how future products could be improved. For the record, even if I or anyone else does rail on about what we don't like about games, it's only from a sense of true love for games.

Susan Arendt:

Tombsite:

Susan Arendt:
[quote="erttheking" post="6.401778.16573037"]
[snip]
No-one is trying to rape you. But killing is difficult - whether it's an animal or a human - and in fact Lara is very seriously affected by the first human she kills - in the cutscene, anyway. In the gameplay, she's picking off guys left and right without any problem at all. It's the difference between the character as governed by the story and the character as avatar for the player. The two are somewhat at odds when it comes to the combat. It's certainly not a reason to avoid the game, but it does stand out.

This is my biggest concern. It really bothered me in uncharted (Drake has a kill count that is terrifying yet he act as pretty normal person), and here the difference seems even worse. I am seriously worried that taking down 6 guys with a bow and pickaxe in a minute will completely kill my immersion.

Also does Lara ever pick up a jacket? I like her new design but when I see her freeing in the rain or running around in the snow with out ever picking up a jacket from one of the, apparently, many people she has killed. Well once again it just kind of threaten kills my immersion (a nit pick I know).

The hubs where you upgrade your weapons and skills are actually little campsites where she sits by a fire. So no jacket necessary. :) (Yes, I avoided the set up for a Phil Collins joke on purpose.)

Obviously you lack camping experience :p (also you have to help me out on the Collins joke because I have no idea what you are talking about)

JudgeGame:
I just want to let everyone I can know that I am actually going to buy this game. When the first previews came out I was probably one of the loudest to voice my discontent with what was shown. In the end, the pretty awful previews were hiding a very good game and I'd like to think developers listened to some of the issues their consumers had with their product and did something to ameliorate it. Whenever someone dares to critisize a game, a lot of people become paranoid thinking the games industry might collapse if the audience demands better products or even just points out how future products could be improved. For the record, even if I or anyone else does rail on about what we don't like about games, it's only from a sense of true love for games.

This is good to hear. It is also possible that the 'changes' were always there, you just hadn't seen them yet. :D

Tombsite:

Susan Arendt:

Tombsite:

This is my biggest concern. It really bothered me in uncharted (Drake has a kill count that is terrifying yet he act as pretty normal person), and here the difference seems even worse. I am seriously worried that taking down 6 guys with a bow and pickaxe in a minute will completely kill my immersion.

Also does Lara ever pick up a jacket? I like her new design but when I see her freeing in the rain or running around in the snow with out ever picking up a jacket from one of the, apparently, many people she has killed. Well once again it just kind of threaten kills my immersion (a nit pick I know).

The hubs where you upgrade your weapons and skills are actually little campsites where she sits by a fire. So no jacket necessary. :) (Yes, I avoided the set up for a Phil Collins joke on purpose.)

Obviously you lack camping experience :p (also you have to help me out on the Collins joke because I have no idea what you are talking about)

He has an album called "No Jacket Required." :)

And there is no way on god's green earth you will find me camping. You know why? There are BUGS out there. And they will crawl all over you if you let them. GAHHHHHHHHHHH.

I can put up with a lot, but I draw the line at bugs.

Copper Zen:

Lara unearthing fire breathing dragons?

...

Lemme guess: They did that somewhere, didn't they?

It's called Tomb Raider 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcAZAJH-e7Y

Never played a Tomb Raider game and never really cared to play one since it just did nothing for me. The only interaction I had with the series is watching the movies (they were kinda stupid but fun), and owning the soundtrack to the first one. That's it.

However, I was really hoping that this game would turn out well since it looked like it was trying to do something with an old franchise and I can respect that. Glad it turned out great and I will be definitely getting this.

I am glad that it's apparently good, but I'm still sad that it exists... if that makes any sense.

Simply put it's not Tomb Raider, not in the same sense it used to be. The review talks about Lara Croft murdering people dual pistol style like its a hallmark of the series, but in the first game there's a grand total of one, 1, human enemy you fight and he's a rival tomb raider out to eliminate his 'competition' so to speak. Even then it was pretty forgettable and while many of the later games did indeed begin to involve more combat, that's never what Tomb Raider was meant to be about.

Tomb Raider was at its best when it was just you alone in these massive labyrinth landscapes full of puzzles and dangers. You could play for hours and not hear anyone save the occasional bit of dialogue from Croft. It was all about the immersion, the experience of exploration and puzzle solving.

This... shoot shoot shoot cutscene quicktime optional puzzle shoot shoot shoot quicktime cutscene.

So while I'm glad its apparently turned into a good game, you'll excuse me if I take a moment to mourn the loss of Tomb Raiders once unique design because if this game is successful, it's something we'll likely never get to see again save in little indie titles like Spelunky.

Awe, No mention of the "Rape" controversy? I was curious as to how that would play out.

Dahemo:

Blood Brain Barrier:

Susan Arendt:
When you think of Lara Croft, you probably think about her trekking through the jungle, cartwheeling her way through trap-riddled tombs and gleefully picking off bad guys, twin pistols ablaze.

Yep, and I'm perfectly fine with that. I'm 95% sure before I play this that it will be focused on giving us an origins story of Lara instead of good puzzles, and this will be purely a self-conscious reaction against the criticism of Lara's plastic image.

Who cares about the characters and the story? I don't. TR is about the platforming and the puzzles. Why change?

You don't, so nobody else could? Intriguing.

Nothing wrong with reinvigorating a character, especially one who has been so one dimensional for so long before this! If the idea doesn't appeal, borrow my N64 and my copy of Super Mario, amazing platforming, some puzzles and only the barest of plots. Your idea of heaven.

Also, and sorry to twist the knife here, but you're 95% sure there won't be good puzzles because of the character focus? Did you read the review? Or did you just wade in here to spout off? Someone call the Heavy Rain dev team! They're doing it wrong!

Someone who wants "reinvigorated character" SHOULD be playing Heavy Rain. Why are they playing Tomb Raider? The game has never been about story or characters but pure action/puzzle platforming.

Also, Mario is garbage.

Other Tomb Raider titles have focused on bits and pieces of Lara's personal history...

When I first read that sentence by brain injected the word "anatomy" and then got confused when the words "personal history" showed up instead.

Blood Brain Barrier:
Who cares about the characters and the story? I don't. TR is about the platforming and the puzzles. Why change?

Answer to first question: lots of people.
Answer to second question: follows from answer to first question.

Able Seacat:

TheKasp:

IronMit:

edit. Ohh damn. check out machinima review of this game

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWQMMlCCEuU

Oh god this hurts... 'Laura Croft' Her name is not Laura.

I was just about to say this. Why do so many people get the name wrong?

Yeah that drives me nuts as well. Also why does everyone keep referring to the original TR as a PS1 game? The original was a PC game you fecking twits!

[Edit: Ooops. Wikipedia says was on Sega Saturn first. Ball of shame.]

Blood Brain Barrier:
The game has never been about story or characters but pure action/puzzle platforming.

There was a time when "games" were 2D and only appeared in Bars. If it wasn't for people pushing the boundaries you wouldn't even have your precious Tomb Raider.

If everyone thought the way you did, we'd still be stuck playing PacMan down at the Pub.

Guy Jackson:

Other Tomb Raider titles have focused on bits and pieces of Lara's personal history...

When I first read that sentence by brain injected the word "anatomy" and then got confused when the words "personal history" showed up instead.

Blood Brain Barrier:
Who cares about the characters and the story? I don't. TR is about the platforming and the puzzles. Why change?

Answer to first question: lots of people.

Lots of people care about no-fuss action/puzzle platforming too, and despise the kind of forced "depth" they are trying to add to a game whose depth was never in story or characters but elsewhere.

Answer to second question: follows from answer to first question.

So we cater to one set of fans and ignore the other? Great.

Well, if it sells then it's justified...and it will sell.

wulf3n:

Blood Brain Barrier:
The game has never been about story or characters but pure action/puzzle platforming.

There was a time when "games" were 2D and only appeared in Bars. If it wasn't for people pushing the boundaries you wouldn't even have your precious Tomb Raider.

If everyone thought the way you did, we'd still be stuck playing PacMan down at the Pub.

See, the problem is that I don't see how dumping a dramatic backstory over the main character is "pushing the boundaries". Just like I wouldn't see adding a story and characters to a crossword puzzle as an evolution but actually a devolution.

And Pacman is a good example. Just like Mrs Pacman the new TR will sell, just because it's different - or so claims to be. It didn't add anything to the original except for a new sheen, and yet it was the biggest selling arcade game even in the US.

But let's face it - TR hasn't sold well in the last few incarnations. How to evolve the franchise? Better puzzles. Unique gameplay. But that's hard work and design teams that can't be bothered always take the easy way out.

Proverbial Jon:

Susan Arendt:
The Tomb Raider games aren't RPGs, they're not about stat development.

Yeah, we learnt that lesson with Angel of Darkness.

"My arms feel stronger now!"

Seriously? (I still secretly love that game though, even if it was broken as all hell)

Oh...thanks for bringing back those memories xD
Even as a kid I knew it was laughably stupid...but yeah, it's probably my favourite Tomb Raider game *hides*

OT: I was really hoping this would be good, so this review pleased me. But heck, i'll buy anything with the words "Tomb Raider" on it...

wulf3n:
Awe, No mention of the "Rape" controversy? I was curious as to how that would play out.

There's no rape, nothing close to rape, it's such utter claptrap I saw no reason to clutter the review with it.

Blood Brain Barrier:

See, the problem is that I don't see how dumping a dramatic backstory over the main character is "pushing the boundaries". Just like I wouldn't see adding a story and characters to a crossword puzzle as an evolution but actually a devolution.

It's about going beyond what has already been established and explore new ideas.

You're basically saying "I'm afraid of what's different, don't change anything ever!"

Blood Brain Barrier:

And Pacman is a good example. Just like Mrs Pacman the new TR will sell, just because it's different - or so claims to be. It didn't add anything to the original except for a new sheen, and yet it was the biggest selling arcade game even in the US.

Your ideas regarding consumerism and the spending habits of the masses may or may not be correct, but they are completely irrelevant in the current context.

Blood Brain Barrier:

But let's face it - TR hasn't sold well in the last few incarnations. How to evolve the franchise? Better puzzles. Unique gameplay. But that's hard work and design teams that can't be bothered always take the easy way out.

You're implying the new Tomb Raider doesn't have better designed levels and puzzles amongst the more evolved characterisation.

Blood Brain Barrier:

wulf3n:

Blood Brain Barrier:
The game has never been about story or characters but pure action/puzzle platforming.

There was a time when "games" were 2D and only appeared in Bars. If it wasn't for people pushing the boundaries you wouldn't even have your precious Tomb Raider.

If everyone thought the way you did, we'd still be stuck playing PacMan down at the Pub.

See, the problem is that I don't see how dumping a dramatic backstory over the main character is "pushing the boundaries". Just like I wouldn't see adding a story and characters to a crossword puzzle as an evolution but actually a devolution.

And Pacman is a good example. Just like Mrs Pacman the new TR will sell, just because it's different - or so claims to be. It didn't add anything to the original except for a new sheen, and yet it was the biggest selling arcade game even in the US.

But let's face it - TR hasn't sold well in the last few incarnations. How to evolve the franchise? Better puzzles. Unique gameplay. But that's hard work and design teams that can't be bothered always take the easy way out.

Wait, easy way out? Adding character development and doing something different as opposed to doing the same shit over and over again is the easy way out?

This makes me glad I have my pre-order in. Sounds like the makers of this game learned some lessons from Uncharted, which was a Tomb Raider clone in the first place. That's exactly what I'm looking for in a new Lara Croft game.

Susan Arendt:

wulf3n:
Awe, No mention of the "Rape" controversy? I was curious as to how that would play out.

There's no rape, nothing close to rape, it's such utter claptrap I saw no reason to clutter the review with it.

That's fair enough. I'm still curious to see the responses of those who made such a kerfuffle over the trailer :P

wulf3n:

Blood Brain Barrier:

See, the problem is that I don't see how dumping a dramatic backstory over the main character is "pushing the boundaries". Just like I wouldn't see adding a story and characters to a crossword puzzle as an evolution but actually a devolution.

It's about going beyond what has already been established and explore new ideas.

You're basically saying "I'm afraid of what's different, don't change anything ever!"

Am I? What they are doing is adding the same festering "spoiled hero goes through hell" storyline that is the last resort of the failing franchise. It's not a new idea at all. It's a very old theme and been used and overused in literature and movies for ages, and just happens to be fashion at the moment in games (think Far Cry 3). If I didn't want "change" I would probably love the game.

Blood Brain Barrier:

And Pacman is a good example. Just like Mrs Pacman the new TR will sell, just because it's different - or so claims to be. It didn't add anything to the original except for a new sheen, and yet it was the biggest selling arcade game even in the US.

Your ideas regarding consumerism and the spending habits of the masses may or may not be correct, but they are completely irrelevant in the current context.[/quote]

The quote wasn't about that but what is really 'evolution'. But regarding consumerism - like it or not, what they are doing with TR is commercially motivated. You can't ignore that in any discussion of the game, or indeed, any modern AAA game.

Blood Brain Barrier:

But let's face it - TR hasn't sold well in the last few incarnations. How to evolve the franchise? Better puzzles. Unique gameplay. But that's hard work and design teams that can't be bothered always take the easy way out.

You're implying the new Tomb Raider doesn't have better designed levels and puzzles amongst the more evolved characterisation.

Yeah, but only because the review seems to imply that.

It feels like Far Cry 3 meets Assassin's Creed. Personally, I'm not too sure I want to do both of those again at the same time.

Daystar Clarion:
Hm, might pick it up then.

Anyone hear anything about the PC version?

Is it a good port?

From what I've heard not only is it a good port, but it has a ton of graphical effects not present in the console versions like tessellation and bokeh depth of field.

Blood Brain Barrier:

Am I? What they are doing is adding the same "spoiled hero goes through hell" storyline that is the last resort of the failing franchise.It's not a new idea at all. It's a very old theme and been used and overused in literature and movies for ages, and just happens to be fashion at the moment in games (think Far Cry 3).

It may not be new in the sense it's never been done before ever, but it's new for Tomb Raider, remember baby steps.

Blood Brain Barrier:

If I didn't want "change" I would probably love the game.

So why are you opposed to the only change they made?

Blood Brain Barrier:

The quote wasn't about that but what is really 'evolution'. But regarding consumerism - like it or not, what they are doing with TR is commercially motivated. You can't ignore that in any discussion of the game, or indeed, any modern AAA game.

The "motivation" is irrelevant regarding our discussion. We're not talking about why things change, merely that not changing is bad.

Blood Brain Barrier:

Yeah, but only because the review seems to imply that.

Really? Did we watch the same review? Because I got the impression that the level design had been refined and improved.

Frankster:
I guess a good sign that a AAA game is decent is that reviews are out more then a week before the game's release? ;)

Well im sold, *goes to preorder on steam*.

Regarding the problem of ingame lara being a natural sharpshooter, i suppose one way they could have done it is make it rpgish with a stat system determining how accurate you were with certain weapons, so lara would be a terrible shot at the beginning of the game and an eagle eye shot by the end of it.
Granted most people seem to have hated in it in mass effect 1, but maybe here it would have been more fitting?

There's actually a reason for Lara's skill with a bow and gun. Lara was a part of the Sisters of Artemis club, which was basically an archery club at her uni. I asked the devs this myself after the teaser trailer was released where she had a mug with the logo on it, and was told this. They're actually selling SoA gear in the TR store. I know a lot of people complained about why she picked up the bow and was suddenly a sure-shot, but in the game she's been practicing archery for years.

I really like that background tidbit. It's cool to relate Lara to the goddess of the hunt.

Anyway, as a long time fan, I'm really excited for Lara's new focus on story, but the gameplay is a little worrisome. I will get the game, but not until the price drops down a little. I went to preorder and I wasn't able to get any bonuses at all, and was going to have to pay twice the amount than any other country. This is what happens when you live in New Zealand, I guess, only now I'm not going to stand for it. I will support you Lara, I promise, just a little later than I would have done, if it wasn't for blatant price fixing!

EDIT: Oh, and also, people calling Lara "Laura" is my biggest pet peeve. They aren't even pronounced the same, or are even the same name.

Blood Brain Barrier:

Guy Jackson:

Other Tomb Raider titles have focused on bits and pieces of Lara's personal history...

When I first read that sentence by brain injected the word "anatomy" and then got confused when the words "personal history" showed up instead.

Blood Brain Barrier:
Who cares about the characters and the story? I don't. TR is about the platforming and the puzzles. Why change?

Answer to first question: lots of people.

Lots of people care about no-fuss action/puzzle platforming too, and despise the kind of forced "depth" they are trying to add to a game whose depth was never in story or characters but elsewhere.

Answer to second question: follows from answer to first question.

So we cater to one set of fans and ignore the other? Great.

Well, if it sells then it's justified...and it will sell.

Pretty much, yeah.

I feel for fans of the series... but not that much. I mean there's been like eight TR games or something? I'm used to getting shafted by the needs of the "broader audience" on the second or third game in a franchise. Count yourself lucky! ;p

Susan Arendt:

Crazy Zaul:
So how much platforming is still in it? Cos I hate platforming.
A lot of the last Tom Raider game I played was running up to a ledge and pressing jump and shouting FFS WHY DIDN'T SHE FRAKING JUMP?!!

Did you read the review? I felt like I covered that pretty thoroughly...

No, just listed to the video. While playing a game and not paying much attention.
I read it now. Can I haz cookie?

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