With the much anticipated reboot of the legendary Tomb Raider video game franchise coming in less than a week, let’s take the opportunity to see what Crystal Dynamics is doing to shake up the formula as well as keeping the classic Tomb Raider feel for Lara’s journey in 2013. Hopefully this will put the franchise back on the map as a must play series just like its previous incarnations.
As much as I liked the Tomb Raider games in the past, the series hit a snag and its interest depleted. With so many games on the market, unless you were a die-hard Tomb Raider fan most of the story might have started to become either confusing or incoherent. Thankfully, with the reboot treatment that Tomb Raider is getting this year, players have the perfect opportunity to become reacquainted with Lara Croft. Set during Lara’s early years, she is traveling on the ship Endurance commanded by Conrad Roth with her friends. She’s trying to finally make her mark as the great globe trotting explorer players have come to know her as. Sadly, the Endurance is struck during a violent storm and this forces Lara on a journey to not only survive the deadly Dragon’s Triangle region, but also to save her friends along the way. Lara will be tested during her journey as she will have to learn how to kill for survival for the first time in her life and ultimately be transformed into a capable fighter.
The island that Lara and her friends end up getting trapped on is large and offers many areas to explore, giving players the first open world Tomb Raider game to date. Lara has always been an avid explorer in the past and always knew her way around her environment, with Tomb Raider, players get to see Lara develop her exploration skills. The island, however, is not deserted and animals bandits, and other animalistic enemies inhabit the island that will force Lara into dangerous situations that she will gradually have to learn to adapt to if she wants to make it out alive.
Lara’s Arsenal and the Environment
Besides the few ballistic weapons that Lara will have the opportunity to use, she will also have a handy bow and arrows to use , which are replacing her signature dual pistols for this entry in the reboot series. Along with her weapons, since Tomb Raider will be an open world entry many of Lara’s environments give her many options on how to tackle situations. Play it stealthily or go all out, take a different route here and maybe a different scenario will play out. Tomb Raider is setting up to be one of the most unique entries in the series to date.
With less emphasis on Lara Croft being a sex symbol compared to her past incarnations and the fact that Lara is experiencing dangerous environments as well as learning how to kill for the firs time, Crystal Dynamics is gearing up Tomb Raider to be one of the most emotionally invested games in the series. Lara isn’t the perfect acrobat from past games and will get cuts and bruises from her time maneuvering through the island. Lara will try to quietly calm herself down if she is trying to cross a dangerous obstacle that could lead to her painful death. Lara will gradually learn to accept the fact that she has to kill in order to survive and save her friends. Players will experience these moments along with her and will gradually get to see an evolution in her as a character into a strong capable women who can take on all situations that can be thrown at her.
If the massive single player campaign of Tomb Raider surprisingly dosen’t offer enough content to keep players engaged, they also have the option to play the series’s first stab at multiplayer. Players will either play as the survivors or as the scavengers through various vertical-friendly maps with access to the same arsenal and world maneuvering abilities available in the single player campaign. The multiplayer component will also feature various maps with emphasis the importance of moving through the environment since player set up and activated booby traps play a large part in the multiplayer. Tomb Raider’s multiplayer will also sport three game modes such as Team Deathmatch, Rescue (survivors hunt for medical supplies while the scavengers try to stop them), and Cry for Help, which focuses on discovery and location. While most might hate the idea of multiplayer added to a series usually known as single player games, multiplayer is always a good opportunity to add further interest in a title after players have beaten the main campaign.
Crystal Dynamics looks to be succeeding at their goal of bringing Lara Croft back into the spotlight with the newest entry in the Tomb Raider franchise. Setting it up as a reboot to reintroduce a fan favorite character, taking away the linear world of past games in favor of an open world experience, giving Lara a more emotional enticing sense of character and struggle, and adding multiplayer to the formula to keep players interested long after the much promising single player campaign. Tomb Raider is looking to be the most ambitious and promising entry in the series and hopefully players are just as excited to dive into it as I am.