Tomb Raider (2013)

Tomb Raider (2013), written by Rhianna Pratchett, developed by Crystal Dynamics, published by Square Enix

I'm not a huge fan of the original Tomb Raider games. Back when they were new games, they never grabbed me, as I never really liked the gameplay they had, despite the gameplay was one of the reasons they were praised among other things. When I played it through not so long back, I didn't care for it much either and trying it again didn't really want me to go back to the other old titles in the series either.

So when I decided to get the 2013 reboot of the series, that had passed me by due to no particular interest, from a sale, I didn't expect much. Here comes the part, where I note, that this 2013 entry is my favourite entry to the series and has made me consider getting the two other sequels. And I'm not even sarcastic about it. Tomb Raider 2012 is all in all a good game and a great re-introduction of the character.

Lara Croft isn't yet the hardened globetrotter at the beginning of Tomb Raider. She is on her first expedition, accompanied by her friend Sam as well as the crew of Endurance. Their mission is to find the mysterious island Yamatai, somewhere in Dragon's Triangle. A storm rips Endurance to pieces and they are then stranded to the island, that isn't inhabited. During the years, countless ships and planes have crashlanded to the island and it is a residence for Matthias and his cultist cronies, trying to appease the mysterious queen, who controls the storms over the island. There's also some sort of zombie dragon samurais, who enter to the enemy roster in the later part of the game.

And that's the story in a nutshell, but not in its entirety. As Lara, you need to rummage the island in order to find the way out and save your surviving friends. You encounter enemies, can take part in activities like hunting animals, that doesn't really give anything to the game, and collect all kinds of collectables games are obsessed these days. There are some extra tombs to scavenge to get some of the loot, so there are a lot of non-story related things to do.

Besides killing stuff with an arsenal ranging from a climbing pick to an assault rifle, you get to solve some puzzles as well as do some light charter development as well. The puzzles are mostly environmental puzzles, asking you to find a way to one place to another or finding a way to open a way by using either your equipment or objects around. 

When you do stuff, find items, solve puzzles and kill enemies, Lara gets experience points, which then turn into skill points on level up. You can dispense these skills points on different skills, making her more of a tougher nut to crack to her enemies.

All the weapons and tools Lara has are also upgradable. You find equipment boxes scattered around, which give you stuff that can be used to make the guns more deadly or to strengthen up the tools to used opening locations. The tool part is more heavily tied to the story, so you can't make super tools from the get-go. Also, some weapon upgrades require additional parts, which can be a bit harder to come by.

Tomb Raider is more heavily story driven game than the old games were. Lara is still green behind the ears and during this adventure, she loses a lot of her innocesne, as the circumsrances take him to a situation, where she has to kill for the first time. After that, she obviously turns into a cultists sweeping action hero, but there is still genuine feeling in her story and how she changes from a first adventurer into a dual pistol fielding professional tomb excavator.

That's about it, I think. Tomb Raider 2013 is an entertaining and well-designed reboot for a series I didn't care much of before. The story is good enough, albeit turns a bit silly considering the more serious tones the writing has, the action is well designed and the puzzles are mostly entertaining and well executed.

So, go get it.