I never played Tomb Raider growing up, but that’s not to say I didn’t know what it was. It was just one of those franchises that escaped my youth when I owned a Playstation. I had two friends who loved Tomb Raider. My first friend, Tony, I grew up with throughout elementary and middle school and he would talk to me in class about this game called Tomb Raider. It peaked my interest and on a few occasions I would go over to Tony’s house and watch him play it. I remember one time in particular, Tony had zoom in the camera perfectly to see Lara Croft’s (the main character) tits. Now they were blurry and pointy like triangles but to two 10 year old boys, we thought it was the coolest thing ever. My next encounter with the franchise was right out of high-school with my other friend named Ethan. We both worked part time at a hospital while attending college and naturally we did NOTHING in our office throughout most of the day as our door had a passcode on it so we knew when someone was coming. This led to long talks about video games and what we liked playing. Ethan, informed me that he liked Tomb Raider growing up and discussed his memories with it. He still had it and invited me over to play it with him, so after work we went to his house and briefly played it. So, when it was announced that Tomb Raider was being reintroduced as a franchise in 2013, it peaked my interest to play it.
I don’t know what the other stories in the previous Tomb Raider games were, I just know that the first four were critically acclaimed and then when the jump to PS2 happened, the franchise went down the drain. This time, however, there was a lot of excitement for the rebooted Tomb Raider and I could see why. I knew a few fans that loved that franchise and were eager for a new chapter in it. The franchise was a tomb of treasure just waiting to be raided by consumers. So, did I find treasure in it?
You start off as an inexperienced Lara Croft, non of this I’m Indiana Jones stuff, Ms. Lara Croft seems pretty innocent as the game starts out. Soon, the ship you are on is wrecked in the Dragon Triangle (similar to the Bermuda Triangle but only in the Pacific Ocean) and you wind up on a island near Japan. You and most of the crew from the ship survive, and now are stranded on this mysterious island that has claimed countless other ships. Lara meets up with some members from her ship and another man named Mathias who says he was shipwrecked before your crew was on the island. (Red flag)
The majority of the game is spent exploring the island, finding out the mystery of it and trying to find a way off the island. Sometimes you are accompanied by your crew but most of the time you are off on your own. There are caves a.k.a. tombs on the island in which you can go into and raid it for treasure. I really enjoyed the upgrade system in the game. The most experience you gain, the more upgraded to your weapons and fighting you can do. One feeling I loved, was being completely engulfed in the jungle with nothing but your bow and arrows and the enemy. You later learn that you aren’t alone on the island with mercenaries and others trying to complete some kind of ritual. But there was no greater feeling than being in the jungle at night, with you and a mercenary hunting each other. The arrow kill and later the flaming arrow kill were some of my favorite way to take care of the enemy.
So what was that ritual I was talking about earlier? Well, turns out Lara has crashed landed on an island that was once home to the Sun Goddess. She could manipulate weather, and when she turned angry she made it rain.
Her powers were suppose to be transferred to another young woman’s body through a ritual but the woman committed suicide before the ritual, leaving the Sun Queen’s spirit trapped inside her own body, forever making her angry until she found a new body. Well, gee, who is a young woman on the body roaming around? You guessed it, Lara, makes a perfect candidate to have the spirit of the Sun Queen transferred to her body. The ritual will be led by non other than your new pal Mathias. Long story short, after meeting Mathias on the ritual platform above the island, the new Tomb Raider pays homage to the old Tom Raider. Pulling out two pistols, Lara, shoots Mathias repeatedly as he falls to his death off the platform. Lara and her crew reunite and they are able to leave the island on a cargo ship.
Overall, I enjoyed the story, the graphics were so-so especially in combat with the body mechanics. But it was quite the experience to see the transformation of Lara Croft from innocent archaeologist to cold blooded killer. Her entire psyche changes as well as her appearance. In fact, she looks like someone who just got done mud wrestling for four and a half hours. Don’t believe me?
It was cool to see a character change before your eyes, but it was even better when the story, and game play works with it. Tomb Raider was rebooted and it’s here to stay. The franchise proved once again that it can compete with the best of the games on the market. Lara Croft is a star again and I eagerly await her next adventure. It was a good first step back into the gaming limelight for Lara Croft. Overall, I give Tomb Raider a 8.5/10.