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Tomb Raider, A Good Game That Could Have Been Great

It’s been a while since Tomb Raider came out, the reboot was met with much praise from across the media. Print and digital media called it the humanizing of Lara Croft, her rebirth if you will. Being a gamer I was excited, however, I was never a fan of the old Tomb Raider series, the puzzles were too smart for me and for some reason I just never got into it. Didn’t like the movies either. I thought the movies were a bit over the top for my taste. But none of these things mean that they were bad games or movies. On contrary the series is one of the most successful ones in the history of gaming, the movies weren’t too badly rated either.

The reason I wrote that as an intro is simple, I wanted to convey how skeptical I was going into the game. And I didn’t buy it the first day, in fact I waited a whole month. The more I read about the reviews and watched the videos and gamecasts and the more I saw the game the more I was convinced that it was no longer ‘Tomb Raider’. Sure you could raid tombs but they were mostly optional. The first impression I saw was the same impression I had when I saw FarCry 3 trailer for the first time, your objective is simple. Survive, find your friends, rescue them. There is a tribe, there are crazy sacrificial rituals and so on.

Tomb-Raider

Tomb Raider, to its credit, is a good game. It was well worth the money and I am sad to hear that it still didn’t meet its target. But its not as nearly as good as it could have been. It could have been GoTY material with very slight changes to the way its played.

Instead of making a scared teenage girl a murderous bloodhound, making her genuinely scared of the tribe would’ve made it much better. Instead of making her a psychotic cold blooded murderer as soon as she gets a gun. And I know this is something that every reviewer spotted when they reviewed the game, but if you ask me they could have solved this whole problem and give the game a true sense of survival if they made stealth a bigger part. Give the player the chance to hide in the shadows, slipping through the dark.

The first kill you do in Tomb Raider shows Lara truly being scared, scared of what she’s done, scared of what she’s become. But the psychological facet ends there. Soon she is running at Tribesman yelling “Try and get me bastards!”.

The setting was there, forests provide the perfect opportunity for stealth, imagine jumping from tree to tree ‘stunning’ your enemies, sort of like Batman but with a bit more.

The opportunity for something truly great was there, the story(although quite predictable) was there, the location was there, and the character was there, but it will always be remembered by me as a game that came so close to being great but ended up being good.

Agree? Disagree? What would you change about Tomb Raider? Let us know in the comments or maybe you just want to say hi? then drop me a line at  gvindyb@ordinarygamer.co.uk or hit me up on twitter @DualShockGam3r

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4 comments

  1. My fondest memory of Tomb Raider is playing the second on my computer. Going into the mansion and trying to shut the butler into the freezer, and just generally abusing him. I think that’s all I really did in that game – I was a tad too young to understand the puzzles at the time, and didn’t like being chased by wolves.

  2. I agree the character development was kind of weird. I mean, we see Lara as a really vulnerable person at the start, taking someone’s life at the start to survive.

    And then she evolved into some kind of mass murderer rampage through her time on Yamatai. The fact that there was little reward nor need for stealth basically made it a straight-on shooter. But I love the game, it’s fantastic.

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