An Unbiased Review of Tomb Raider (2013)

Three Things that Sucked:

1. Bosses (or lack thereof)

There’s only one enemy in the whole game I’d classify as a real boss, and it’s not even a major boss, just a regular one that shows up out of nowhere. There are maybe two or three mini-bosses. Other than that you’re just facing foot soldiers, which is quite disappointing in light of some past Tomb Raider bosses.

2. Collecting shit

Scrap metal, antiques, gps caches, weapons parts, there’s just way too much shit to look for. Worst of all, it falls in that annoying middle ground between necessary and optional. Either you screw up the pace of the game or you keep chugging ahead and risk being severely underleveled. Oh, did I mention this is the kind of game that teases you with treasure that’s inaccessible until you’ve leveled up much later in the game? Nothing says “fun” like climbing up a cliff and jumping off a few dozen times until you’re absolutely convinced you can’t get across without some hypothetical future upgrade.

I get that not every game can be pure action. You need to break it up with something, like puzzle solving, exploration, or mini-games. I also get that game designers are cocky assholes who want you to explore every last cubic inch of the environments they put way too much effort into creating.

3. The handgun

The bow, rifle, and shotgun were all great weapons. Once you obtain them all, the handgun becomes the odd man out. I don’t think I used it once in the second half of the game. It was probably only there in the first place as a Tomb Raider staple.

Three Things that Rocked:

1. Lara Croft

Lara starts out as a total mo├ęblob. You just want to dress her up in something frilly and feed her tea and cake until she starts doing an uncoordinated dance. By the end of the game she becomes a fearless killing machine well deserving of a firm pat on the ass.

2. The graphics

As far as I can recall, this is the only console game I’ve ever played to completion within a year of its release. I haven’t seen the XBox One and PS4 in action. Nor do I usually care about graphics. In short, my perspective may be a bit skewed here, but this game was gorgeous. Everything was fluid and detailed. I had a hard time telling when the cut scenes ended and when the gameplay began.

3. The bow

When I first saw Lara with a bow, I assumed it was a shameless ploy to leech of the popularity of The Hunger Games. It probably was. Same deal with the game taking place in Japan Yamatai. Definitely not a sales ploy.

Anyway, the bow was a damn cool weapon. Flaming arrows, ropes, distractions, silent kills, whatever you need, the bow does it.

Final Grade: ++

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I jumped off a cliff 7 times before realizing I needed an upgrade

  1. TheWalker says:

    I am pretty fascinated by the evolution of the character, model-wise. It seems that the third iteration is a gross caricature with a pencil thin waist. It managed to self-correct over the years to its current iteration it seems. I wonder why you are fond of the older bosses? Could it be the fact that it has a flare that only a certain type of giant predatory lizard can achieve? Also, would you dress Laura up in some sort of Lolita attire as you fed her tea and cakes? If so, what kind?

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      Jeez, didn’t think I’d be called out by the first comment. I must admit I’ve never actually owned any of the previous Tomb Raider games, just played them at friends’ places a few times. The dinosaur is the only boss I remembered.

      I’d give Lara one of those tiny tilted hats that need to be strapped on because they don’t do what hats are supposed to do (i.e., cover your head). Then I’d give her one of these lacy, porous umbrellas that don’t do what umbrellas are supposed to do (i.e., protect against the elements). Then I’d give her a giant skirt that could be used as a parachute more effectively than the umbrella.

  2. gedata says:

    Unrelated, but have you ever gotten around to the Last Of Us?

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      Not yet, but it’s on my list. I’ll play it when the price drops. What madman pays $40 for a video game? I snagged Tomb Raider for $15 on Black Friday. In the meantime there are plenty of older, cheaper games I can distract myself with.

  3. Karuroso says:

    Interesting points in your review as always but I thought you would say something about that wound Lara got at the beginning, I mean realistic speaking (and i asked my sister since she is a doc) thats not some kind of small wound that makes you able to run in a forest avoinding bullets and fighting samurai zombies, well i guess you will know what i mean when you play The Last of Us.

    and a bit off topic =X as a fellow yuri connoisseur I’m curious to see your opinon about Sakura Trick

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      Yeah, but the same could be said of Lara (and Nathan Drake) taking multiple gun shots and being perfectly fine after hiding for 10 seconds. Didn’t think much about it.

      Haven’t seen Sakura Trick yet. Waiting for reviews.

  4. glothelegend says:

    Ive been replaying this lately and it’s still the shit. Apparently the graphics in the new XBONE version are WHOOPADITY YEEE good but whatever. I don’t have one of those. So fuck it.

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