Tomb Raider Lara Croft has not always been an archaeologist to take up arms. There was a time I felt fear, cold, pain and struggling for survival. Crystal Dynamics shows the origins of the myth after three years of development, but we assure you that the wait was worth it.
Tomb Raider just got a major over haul. The Saga that prevailed in the past generation and have renewed their classic approach to adapt to changing times. This release, which is the first chronologically presents a completely different Lara then what we have come accustom to.
During an expedition to the South Pacific in search of an ancient civilization, our ship is sinking in the Dragon’s Triangle , on an island near Japan. Our heroine goes to a nearby beach to find herself trapped by individuals. From this moment our long journey begins in which Lara goes from being a simple library archaeologist to a survivalist .
How would you react to an extreme survival situation? What kind of person do you become? Lara spends most of the adventure being beaten, injured, hungry, cold and facing impossible situations . But as our mentor Roth tells us, our last name is Croft, and we become responsible for saving the rest of the survivors of the hostile inhabitants of the island an many other hazards.
A New Lara
The first thing that our attention was the inclusion of an improved system for Lara and her equipment. In the various camps we found while exploring the island, we can spend our points to acquire new skills. We have three branches of learning: Survivor , hunter and fighter , with a total of 24 improvements. We can improve our precision with weapons, the number of objects to receive or investigate the effectiveness of our survival instinct, just to name a few.
We also have a detecting vision, that turns the screen black and white, (similar to Assassin’s Creed an Batman Arkham) highlighting the objectives an items around us, like animals, enemies, ammo or objects to interact with. You will want to use it to find hidden objects.
It is true that we can analyze the environment, giving us a significant advantage in combat and exploration, but we can only use it when we are not moving, which limits the use.
The survival plays an important role in the plot, although contrary to what might appear at first, we do not have to hunt to survive or anything like that. The health regenerates itself, although the plot requires us to find a medicine cabinet or at certain times.
The hunting of wild animals such as deer, wild boar or birds, only serves to gain experience. None of the animals are dangerous, and where placed more for entertainment than as a challenge of our expertise. Of course, we can not spend the whole game hunting to level up like crazy.
The Unchartizacion of Tomb Raider
Much has been made of the new style of the series, especially on the “resemblance” with the series Uncharted . True, this new installment shares many of the mechanics of the adventures of Nathan Drake , but has its differences. The action level and style of fighting is quite similar.
The battles are quite common. In some areas we can go unnoticed destroying our arch enemies, but most of the time we finished in the middle of heavy gunfire. The level are spectacular an the battle are brutal, although we warned that the artificial intelligence of the enemies is pretty simple (even while playing it on Hard). The intellectual level of the enemy, however, does not affect the campaign.
The exploration is much more open than Uncharted. Without being an open world, and although there are many passive moments, most scenarios have a number of secret paths and areas to discover, in addition to being much more open. Once we overcome an area we will have to visit it again using our new skills that we have acquired so we maybe able to complete the mission 100%. (replayable aspect)
The skills which Lara possess while exploring are varied. We cling to all kinds of protrusions. With our ice axes and climbing vertical walls can also use our bow to launch an arrow with a rope and nail it in certain areas, creating a zipline.
The scenarios are full of collectibles . There are 13 main levels. In all we have to find treasures, relics GPS caches. In addition, many graves have options (which will be discussed later) and with only minor tasks, like finding mushrooms in a forest or illuminating 10 statues with our torch.
Although much of the adventure is spent jumping from here to there and shooting at anything that moves, there is also time for Lara to use her brain with a few puzzles . They are not as numerous as in previous installments, but are much better designed, thanks to the impressive physics engine which boasts the new Tomb Raider.
All puzzles are solved using the physical environment : burn boxes and then drop them in another area being open burn step, balancing a giant bell to destroy a wooden door, etc … Do not want to skip any of them as they are fun and satisfying, the best of the entire saga.
Although we have talked about the survival instinct that highlights those parts of the stage that we can manipulate to solve the puzzles, the game does not give us any hints about what we need to do (unlike her friend Nathan), something that is very much appreciated . Besides the puzzles themselves from the main plot, we have seven tombs , which we can optionally loot.
Although other deliveries has looked more up front, we do not mean that, but the spectacular technical ending of the game. The animations of Lara deserve a full stop, especially with how well they adapt to the environment around us. The facial expressions make us empathize (first time) with Lara. The camera is always placed in the ideal place to make everything more dramatic, but also more playable.
The scenarios , full of detail and particle effects have captivated and invite us to keep playing if only to see them. The weather effects are also bestial, rain, snow, lightning, sunsets, … The physics engine (as mentioned before) is really realistic, special the recreation of the fire.
The end result of the adventure is outstanding . The gender mix is well balanced, although some lack action and thrilling moments. And is that Lara thoughts about exercise a sort of inexplicable attraction scenarios about to crumble. It seems implausible, repetitive (and maybe it is) but the real fact is that, surprisingly, it works.
The exploration of the scenarios is quite rewarding, with dozens of collectibles that await us after discovering how to reach them. We have only a small criticism, and that is when we get all skills (an have completed the game 100%) their aren’t to many enemies on which to use them. Scenarios do not repopulated enemies (sometimes you may find two guys to revisit an area, but nothing else). This works perfectly to allow easy explore levels, but loses a little excitement with out a fighting.
The multiplayer mode , in which we could only take a few items we have found an interesting addition, but nothing revolutionary. There are only 4 game modes : all against all teams, rescue (like a capture the flag) and call for help. The last two are the most interesting, since the difference between playing with a survivor or one of the natives of the island, is much greater.
Although we also have the typical level increase , weapons unlocks, ammunition and weapon upgrades, new characters, etc … (In a style very similar to Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3), there are only five scenarios available, none very large. Hopefully the supply of both scenarios as ways to grow with future downloads, free if possible. Short content, but the main campaign lasts about 10 hours (15 if we catch it all).
The puzzles are great, the physics engine, the frame, the new look of Lara, how she moves, how she suffers, what makes us want to avoid, fighting (despite facile), the general technical section, and by many other things that I am sure we’ve forgetting, Tomb Raider has becomes one of the best adventures of recent times .