Tanner Reviews Tomb Raider (2013)


TombRaider2013When I first saw that they were creating a prequel to Tomb Raider, one of the best games of all time and staring everyone’s favorite buxom fortune hunter Lara Croft I will admit that I had my reservations.

Generally speaking and from my own personal experience I have never seen prequels to be a good thing… at all… for any media… There are some decent sequels out there, some damn good ones, and some that are so good that they overshadow the original premise. But good prequels are even fewer and far between. I rarely see a ‘decent’ one and almost never see a legitimately good one. Usually there are forced retcons and details that completely changes the whole dynamic that the game, film, TV Show, Comic Book, or whatever. I did not feel that Tomb Raider would be the exception to that rule. I thought my best expectation was that it would be like Resident Evil 0. It would be a decent game, with decent graphics, and okay play through but eventually would be lost to time and overshadowed by much better games in the franchise.

Seriously. Besides hardcore RE fans does anyone even remember who these two are?

Seriously. Besides hardcore RE fans does anyone even remember who these two are?

But then something gave me hope that this game might be better than the standard and that was the announcement of the PS4. After hearing that I realized that now we are seeing the last run of PS3 games. Game developers are going to push the PS3 to the absolute limit and give us a preview of things to come with the PS4. With this in mind I knew that Square Enix would be pulling out all the stops with a title such as this one.

Luckily this proved to be the case. Tomb Raider as been the first excellent game I have seen since the start of the 2013 year. That is not to say that everything is perfect about it, their are a few errors here and there and we will get to them. But let’s dive into the dissection and find out what this game is all about.

The Pros

Graphics

If there is one thing this game has going for it, it is the graphics. This game is beautiful just to watch. Granted graphics has always been a front that Square Enix has excelled at. To be honest if the game came out with shitty graphics it would be an absolute travesty just knowing that it came from a company like Square Enix, but they did not disappoint. This game really pushes the PS3 to the edge, I have seen very few games that have such fantastic movement and facial expressions. Granted the lips are a little stilted but that is just a minor nit pick compared to the game at large.  It is colorful and gritty. It really makes you feel like you are in this world of Lara Croft. In a way while playing I sometimes felt like I watching a live action movie instead of playing a game. Something that takes a true master of graphics to achieve.

I would love to go exploring with her!

I would love to go exploring with her!

The Good/Odd relationship between Tomb Raider and Uncharted

The scenes and plot are reminiscent of the Uncharted games. This makes for a very… odd relationship between the two franchises. It is obvious that Uncharted and Nathan Drake’s character designed was influenced heavily on the earlier Tomb Raider series and now from the looks of it, this game looks to be inspired by the recent Uncharted games… So in other words Uncharted is influenced by Tomb Raider that has been influenced by Uncharted. 

Why do I even mention? Well I find this a big positive for the genre as a whole. Uncharted and Tomb Raider are two of the best games out there. To see that both games are working off of each other and in a healthy competition with each other can only mean good things for future games. Without competition game designers could choose to ‘slack off’. But if you have two games in the same genre, people will now be constantly comparing and contrasting both games making them want to make a better product. I would even love the idea of an Uncharted/Tomb Raider crossover in the future. How cool would that be?

Level System

I personally love the fact that the  ‘leveling up’ systems are branching away from its roleplaying roots and finding homes in other forms of games. I really don’t think I have to get into why a level system is awesome. It let’s you choose how your player matures throughout gameplay and tailors your gameplay experience to your own personal gaming preference. The level system in this game is a little limited but overall it is a good addition to the game that keeps the gamer personally invested instead of just seeing it as a complete the level, move on to the next part.

Game Mechanics

I will admit that I am not a professional when it comes to game control and how mechanics flow so this will just be a quick summary of how the controls felt while I was playing.

They are good. They don’t feel clunky or painfully tedious. I felt like I had control and the game was free flowing.

Cons

The only real problem that I see with Tomb Raider is the plot is mediocre. It is your pretty standard plot that you would see in any adventure tale. People go on adventure, shit goes bad, they have to handle the shit going bad, they run into bad guys, now they must deal with bad shit and bad guys, they beat the bad guys, bad stuff, and supernatural bad stuff, the day is saved. I saw no turns, no twists, or no story arcs that I hadn’t seen before.

I feel like if I play one adventure game I have played them all. The plot simply doesn’t deviate nor do they bring original characters.

There is Lara obviously but then the rest of the characters are just mere stereotypes. You can see from their character models who they are and really there is no point of getting invested in them.

(Spoilers in the next paragraph)

It is very obvious in the beginning when the mean spirited sleezy British guy Whitman is a bad guy. It is obvious that Roth the grizzled marine is Lara’s mentor who is going to die in some heroic fashion. You have an independent black woman, a nerdy guy who wears glasses, a fat guy, and an Asian reporter. (Which for the life of me I will never understand how Asian Reporter became a stereotype).

CONCLUSION

Tomb Raider is a great game. It is enjoyable to play and has tons of replay value. Sure the plot is stereotypical and expected, but still it is a tried and true plot that does not distract from the game at large.

Overall I can see Tomb Raider to be one of the top games of 2013.

Final Score: 4.5/5

That is it for another Tanner Reviews. If you enjoyed reading like and subscribe my blog to see more reviews and videos.

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