Afterthoughts: Tomb Raider

When Square Enix released Tomb Raider earlier this year, I was too far buried beneath my own backlog to drop $60 on it. I stocked up on games during Black Friday and the holidays, so I figured I’d wait. From a financial standpoint, I’m glad I did (I scored it from Best Buy for $20 a couple weeks ago), but the gamer in me wishes I’d played it the day it came out.

The Tomb Raider 2013 reboot is a fantastic new addition to the Uncharted family, and I mean no disrespect to TR13 when I say that. It just plays like Uncharted–hardly a bad thing. I wouldn’t call TR13 an Uncharted-ripoff; rather, TR13 is to Uncharted what Banjo-Kazooie is to Super Mario 64. Just as Banjo-Kazooie incorporated SM64’s controls and gameplay into a more exploration-based world, Tomb Raider does the same. It still has the fast-paced, story-driven adventure that you’ll find in the Uncharted trilogy, but with more treasure-hunting and environmental puzzle-solving. TR13 also adds some new weapons and techniques that make gunplay, stealth segments, and climbing feel fresh.

tombraider-cleave

Lara, I swear, I like you for your gameplay…

I’m drafting up a review for GameFAQs.com that should be up within the week. I’ll link to it once it’s posted. For no extra charge, I’m posting the draft’s intro below. Seriously, it’s on me–I expect nothing in return. Just enjoy the intro and the charitable mood I’m in…

Let’s get one thing out of the way: It’s impossible for me to discuss the Tomb Raider 2013 reboot (TR13) without comparing it to Uncharted. TR13 offers plenty of guns, treasure collecting, climbing, and other Uncharted staples. But that’s not a bad thing–we clear? Great. Now that that’s out of the way I’ll say that up until E3 2012 the Tomb Raider franchise never interested me. While the early games in the franchise received favorable reviews and sparked the PS1’s game library, I never bothered to play them. Lara’s character design had a lot to do with it—I figured if the games were good, they wouldn’t have to star a floozy with two Ion Cannons tucked under her tanktop. On top of that, a couple of my buddies admitted the gameplay wasn’t as hot as the chick on the box. So I took a pass. But as for the 2013 reboot? Glad I didn’t. It turns out TR13 is phenomenal from a gameplay standpoint—every bit as gritty and sexy as the cover girl this time around.

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