Game Review: Tomb Raider (2013)

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As promised, here’s a very brief review of Tomb Raider, the 2013 reboot to the Tomb Raider Franchise.

The game was praised by critics and holds a Metacritic score of 86 for the PC, which is not bad at all. It’s true that it follows the mechanics and philosophy of other Tomb Raider games, but Crystal Dynamics did a superb job at bringing the franchise up to date. Graphics are good, sound is good too, and gameplay is pretty modern and decent. If you ask me if this is the best Tomb Raider game ever, I’d answer that I’ve only played a few, but probably yes.

The problem with Tomb Raider is that it borrows a lot of elements from other games, stories and gaming trends while not innovating much. It provides a cinematic experience. A father-like character dies and that forges part of her character (see Spiderman’s uncle), she faces rejection from some of her friends (more Spiderman, for example), they try to uncover a hidden civilization (countless movies similar to Indiana Jones), etc. In the gameplay you have fast-travel (many modern games), bonfires (Dark Souls comes to my mind), new gadgets, weapons and abilities that are discovered as game progresses (I just reviewed a Batman game and the similarities are remarkable). Being a reboot, the main character is not original either.

So yes, it’s a superb mix of things. It simply lacks a bit of punch. Some other high points: collectibles force you to explore levels but are not a burden for completionists, and weapon upgrades are just-hard-enough to get and very rewarding, in my opinion. Some other low points: controls are not optimized for the PC. Lateral movement keys do not strafe except if aiming, and looking around doesn’t change the running direction. The game begs to be played with an XBox controller, which I fortunately have.

A global score of 8 or 8.5 should be enough and it’s also close to the Metacritic score.

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