Tomb Raider (Game) Review

Tomb Raider

Released: 11th March 2013
RRP: 39.99
Publisher: Squaresoft
Available on: Playstation 3, XBOX 360, PC
Rating: PEGI 18

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The Tomb Raider name is probably one of the most iconic in gaming, up there with Mario, Sonic et al. The original game released way back in 1996 is still regarded by many gamers as one of the best titles of all time, myself included.

Over the years the series seemed to lose a bit of direction and sparkle with both reviewers and gamers alike. New titles such as the Uncharted series burst on to the scene and took Lara's place in both the charts and best game lists.

But now Lara is back and this time, the series has been completely re-imagined from scratch. Yes, its still Lara, but you will never have seen her like this! Crystal Dynamics have taken Lara back to her roots, but also designed a game that's up there with anything Nathan Drake has done over the last few years.

The new Tomb Raider is simply stunning in every way! Graphically, the game is easily one of the finest looking titles of this generation. The animation, settings and especially the weather effects are nothing short of jaw dropping. The way the camera moves around Lara allows for not only full control of the character, but also for some truly breathtaking moments.

This is the first Tomb Raider title to carry an 18 rating and in places, it is simply brutal. The series has always been known for its death animations, but the whole experience just feels so real this time that when Lara suffers, the player feels her pain too. This is a large part of what makes the game so special, that immediately you feel drawn to the character, the story and the stunning island setting.

The story behind the game takes Lara back to being a young woman, before her tomb raiding days. Shipwrecked on a seemingly deserted island and feeling lost and frightened, Lara quickly finds out that all is not as it seems. If battling the various forms of wildlife wasn't bad enough, Lara stumbles across a strange sect that are hell bent on ending her stay early.

The island setting is nothing short of inspirational with so many areas to explore and hardly any back tracking, a rarity in most games these days. The dark setting feels quite moody and the island reminded me of the one from Peter Jackson's King Kong remake. Its just stunning and feels completely authentic and natural.

There is just so much to see and do that the game can take much longer than the dozen or so hours it will take to complete the single player campaign. This time around there is also a multiplayer option. Whilst this is competent enough, I think most players will be here for the single player campaign.

The combat feels spot on, the best ever in a Tomb Raider title. Using the bow is a lot of fun and by the time Lara uses her first gun, targeting enemies and popping in and out of cover feel natural.

Its difficult to find anything negative to say about Tomb Raider, such is the quality of the title. Its clear to see just how much effort has been put in by Crystal Dynamics and with a game as good as this, it really has paid off. Not only will players of the original title feel this new Tomb Raider does the series justice, it should also appeal to gamers newer to the video game scene and especially those who enjoyed the Uncharted series.

Overall, Tomb Raider is simply fantastic! A true return to form for Lara and already a strong contender for game of the year. Extremely highly recommended!

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