Tombraider is probably my favorite AAA game this year. I know certain people took issue with the way “new Lara” was handled (Her voice actress Camille even got death threats.) but I absolutely love her! Put simply,Lara’s a believable person now. Er, more believable. I mean she’s still pretty friggin amazing! While Lara can’t do back flips on a whim and duel wield pistols she’s still plenty agile, dexterous, and light on her feet. Personally I prefer her bow over the twin pistols anyway. It just seems to fit more in line with Lara’s personality and it’s a great weapon for stealth killing, hunting, and miscellaneous other purposes.
I was actually surprised there was in fact so much plat forming and exploration. I read this Tombraider got knocked for not having enough of those things yet most of the areas are in fact rather expansive and come with their own plethora of secrets.
Puzzles are present but they are easier. On the other hand, they make sense within their environments which to me adds to the immersion factor. If you prefer Rube Goldberg hijinks I can see how you’d be disappointed but for me personally, that kind of puzzle design always seemed silly and awkward in the older Tombraider and Resident Evil games. When you have to turn two statues to face each other and put gems in their mouths just to open the door to the bathroom it bluntly reminds you “Hey Bub, this isn’t real! You’re still playing a videogame!” By contrast, none of the puzzles in this game seem surreal or out of place.
So, is there anything I dislike about this beautiful beast? Unfortunately yes and it has to do with a discussion Casey, Blake, and I had not too long ago. Tombraider has way too many goon fights. You’d think Mathias and his sun goddess cult would only have 150-200 people tops but I swear this guy has reserves that would rival America’s and Britain’s armies combined! After you kill your 300th person it gets rather excessive. Sure, a big boat or downed plane can have quite a few survivors. But the thing is Mathias also puts these folks through brutal conditioning before they earn their membership into his cult. As such he shouldn’t have thousands of henchmen, especially not on a small hidden secluded island. Worst still, the firefight physics are shit. Seriously, I had one guy survive getting hit by three grenades. There are also times a headshot with the pistol will not even have the desired result. It’s odd on account if Lara is in stealth mode and puts an arrow through someone’s head he dies instantly yet if you hit the same mark during a larger scale skirmish these same guys can soak bullets and arrows as if they’re being pelted by marshmallows. If you or I get shot point blank with a shotgun at close range we’re going down. These assholes? Nope! A certain perpetrator in particular lived through 3 consecutive shotgun blasts to his body. (Of course the above issues become less problematic as you upgrade your guns and your skills.)
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