Tomb Raider Review – Xbox 360
Tomb Raider II was one of the very first PlayStation titles I ever purchased. It’s crazy to think Tomb Raider survived for so many years off so many mediocre titles. Years after her PlayStation heyday, we’re proud to note there’s another Lara Croft adventure worth having.
Tomb Raider opens on Lara, lost at sea near Dragon’s Triangle just south of Japan. A dangerous storm rips her entire ship in two. Separated from her friends and colleagues, Lara is swept into the bizarre cavernous home of some creepy worshippers. Covered in lacerations and impaled through the abdomen, Lara continues her quest.
There is finally a Tomb Raider game with some substance. She hurts, she bleeds, she shivers when it’s cold: Lara finally feels like a genuine character. It’s certainly the first time in a while that the player has a chance to feel for Lara Croft. Not to mention the story is delivered in a string of brilliant cinematic sequences.
Learn Survival, Hunter, and Brawler skills to prepare Lara for various dangers. Each skillset makes Lara more resourceful, lethal, and less dependent on the elements in the wild. All skill upgrades are tiered and require a certain number of entry level upgrades before the coolest ones can be unlocked (i.e. reveal all tomb entrances and map locations). Meanwhile, Lara gains access to 10 bow upgrades that upgrade strength and accuracy. The skill progression adds great replay value to the traditional single-play formula of the past.
The most surprising piece of Tomb Raider's gameplay is the bow. It's a grenade launcher, a stealth weapon, and Lara's most valuable platforming tool. It's integral to game progression and play style: execute a group of thugs one at a time or ignite them all in a fiery environmental trap.
Complete story sequences to earn experience points, which can be used for a number of upgrades. Also earn XP by killing dangerous animals or looting carcasses. Salvage can be found across each map. Salvage can be used to upgrade weapons and tools, which gains Lara access to more areas and salvage.
- Worst part about hunting: killing deer (an easy 50 XP) while they’re still hidden within inaccessible brush cannot be gutted, and Lara can’t get the XP. It's also strange that so much XP comes from killing bunnies.
There are a number of extras in Tomb Raider, too. Find hidden GPS Caches. Progress through the story to unlock new artwork. Find 54 documents like Wartime Intelligence and Ancient Scrolls: fully narrated collectibles that provide an explanation for the dead bodies, creepy shrines, and crashed vehicles Lara finds in her travels. Find 42 relics; some can even be searched to help unsolved additional mysteries.
The player can also lead Lara Croft into a number of hidden tombs. After Lara pushes through a few obstacles in the spirit of a traditional platformer, she is rewarded by finding a treasure chest loaded with salvage and the occasional upgrade. Unearthing the first tomb is a complete exhilaration, but it’s pretty much a declining event from there. None of the puzzles are particularly challenging, and the rewards aren’t varied enough to excite the player. It’s still a great addition to the game, but it isn’t as brilliant as it could have been.
The single flaw that cannot be ignored is the multiplayer. There are some games that just shouldn't have a multiplayer. After hours of online play, the multiplayer made me yearn for Angel of Darkness. It's just terribly irrelevant, takes far too long to load, and most the weapons provided are virtually useless against other weapon favorites. It's a nice try, but it's really the only forgettable piece of the Tomb Raider experience.
– Hands down the most beautiful Lara Croft adventure to date.
– This was one of the games that glitches after achievement unlocks, but otherwise runs smooth.
– Recycled gaming and story elements are delivered in an incredibly entertaining way.
- Every swoosh and swish feels satisfying, with splatting and bone crunching sounding as gruesome as ever, along with an epic orchestral score, God of War sounds immense
– Two solid playthroughs of thrills, executions, and unlocks before the entertainment starts to drip dry.
After several playthroughs, there is no doubt that Tomb Raider is a high quality game worth the attention of anyone who hasn’t picked it up already. So many titles have been a harrowing experience for the players. Tomb Raider finally puts Lara Croft through a harrowing experience that players can enjoy. It remains loyal to its adventure-first roots while conforming to modern gameplay: all this done without cloning current adventure titles. It doesn’t have the most original story, weaponry, or enemies. It reboots Lara Croft in ways Tomb Raider fans could have only dreamed.
GamerCheese Score: 9/10
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