Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Let Down by Tomb Raider

I'm a huge Tomb Raider fan but I'm disappointed in the new game. I've played the Tomb Raider games right from the start, on the Playstation 1. I've always enjoyed them - apart from the aberrant Angel of Darkness - but I'm not enjoying this as much as I thought I would. It's not that it's a bad game, it's just not Tomb Raider.

Previously I've liked Lara Croft's solitary exploration of gigantic, fantastic tombs. It's like entering in to some sort of brilliant alternative world. Her solitude felt peaceful. So far in this game, there is nothing like that. All the tombs I've come across are small, grubby locations, put in almost as afterthought, and there is certainly nothing peaceful.

Really it's just a gigantic fighting game. You land on an island and fight your way through. There really is a lot of fighting. Sometimes it feels endless. It's well done, but it is not what I want from Tomb Raider. I'm puzzled as to why they've gone this way. Aren't there enough fighting games already? I'm sure there must be. While shooting my way through yet another horde of enemies, I keep thinking 'I wish I was in a big Egyptian tomb, exploring and solving puzzles.'

The game is annoying at the start too, when Lara is so weak. For some reason the game makers decided she needed a new origin - though Lara Croft already had an origin - and this involves making her weak and frightened. She does become stronger later, which is better, but I didn't really see the need for her to be so puny in the first place. When they make new games with male heroes, I don't think they generally make them frightened and hopeless at the start.

Sometimes with games you get moments which are just so good you can hardly believe they did it in a game. I've had that feeling playing Tomb Raider in the past. I recently had it again playing Portal. But there are no moments like that in this Tomb Raider game. Just endless sneaking and fighting. There is nothing beautiful in it, like in previous games. No astonishing graphics like recent Final Fantasy. It's all grime and dirt, and it's all the same really. And if this isn't bad enough, Lara's voice is nowhere near posh enough. I expect Lara Croft to sound like an English aristocrat, not my next door neighbour.

So I am disappointed by this game. It's high quality fighting I suppose, but it's really not Tomb Raider.

[ Character note 1 - If you're going to have a voice-over actor doing a Scottish accent, make sure he can pronounce 'Loch' properly. 'Lok' is fine for non-Scots, but no one from Scotland would pronounce it like that. ]

[ Character note 2 - They made Lara's breasts smaller. Obviously, this is a step forward for the world. As soon I saw her new, smaller breasts, I immediately thought - That's good, how dare the previous games objectify women by giving the character huge breasts. No doubt it is a great relief to everyone that they are smaller in this game. ]


  1. Anonymous9:52 am

    I haven't played this Tomb Raider yet, but just to add to the discussion, in Far Cry 3, you do start as a frightened and weak male protagonist, so it does exists for both genders in high profile AAA games.

    (Granted, after about 1 hour in FC3, you're a psychopath murderer bad-ass :) )

  2. Thanks Mr. Millar you've saved me £30 and a whole heap of disappointment. Can I recommend the Lara Croft Guardian of Light game? Great fun and a relatively cheap download from PSN.
    Mind you if it's psychopathic tendencies you require then may I also recommend Sniper Elite V2. Hours of fun and X-ray visions of the track of your round as it enters human flesh.... although this did become tedious after about half a play through. As games go it was certainly one of them.

    1. Mike, I'm not sure you should pay any attention to my opinion of the game, I am a notoriously poor critic! You might like it much more than me, I know other people did. I do have the Guardian of Light, I enjoyed that.

  3. ive played tomb raider in the past, not for the fighting or shooting but for the puzzles, there arnt enough puzzle games... for me a tomb raider game with no shooting or violence would be perfect, and completely different from all the games about... just thought i would put my pennies worth in lol

  4. Hey love your blog! Thought you might like this funny gaming comic on the latest Tomb Raider.

    Gaming Web Comic -Tomb Raider

  5. I played the Definitive Edition and well, my 60$ were wasted... I have played some before on the previous PS systems and this one was a major disappointment. The voice acting was terrible, I mean it doesn't even suit her character. This game had a very creepy feeling, I mean it could be good but the moment I started playing it, I felt like I was forcing myself to play it because of it being too dark and having a creepy feel (wasn't scared but it had an unusual feel I cant describe). I easily killed those Samurais, didn't even die once. The Tombs were non-existent.

    I think you found it different because they tried to copy Uncharted. I mean, it has copied TR but this time it was the other way around. Uncharted has been successful because of it's locations, game-play, comedy and that movie like feel, of course graphics as well. TR tried to make a movie-like game with Uncharted style twists in a creepy way.

    The major disappointment was that we had to do everything alone, more importantly the same things, press square, shoot a fire arrow, shoot a rope-arrow and pull things. That is it as far as the puzzles are concerned and the R1 ruined everything, it just gave everything away. They gave that R1 ability so that we can find the right path but working in the puzzles was making everything from easy too ultra-easy.

    This game would have been a blast if it was a full copy of Uncharted in a smart way. If it had a bright setting, instead of a dull one, then would have been more fun. The game overall is not too good and not too bad. Of-course fans would disagree with me but with all the hype it had and people going crazy like it should have been GOTY, I would hugely disagree with that as this game is a 7.5 to 8/10