by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Not just a shooter (cntd)
The controls work superbly too, making it easy to move Lara to her destination. Again, as is the case with so many games these days, the controls seem to have a console flavour, with one key being used for all context sensitive actions. Movement is fluid and makes handling Lara a breeze.
The weapon controls are pretty standard, despite Tomb Raider not having an overabundance of weaponry. Throughout the game, Lara (who starts bare handed) will only collect four weapons, five if you include her climbing axe. All can be upgraded though and each serves a purpose. Also, whenever there are enemies nearby, Lara will automatically crouch down into a cover position whenever you she moves behind large objects such as walls. The context sensitive cover system works extremely well, and I wish more games in future would adopt this feature, rather than having a ‘cover button’
Tomb Raider also has a useful auto-save feature. Scattered throughout the island are small campfires that Lara can sit down and take a brief break. These base camps act as save points for the game. Whilst at the camp, Lara can use the XP she has gained for increasing her skill set or can trade in the salvage parts to upgrade her weapons and equipment as previously mentioned.
Tomb Raider, just like Lara herself, is gorgeous. The tropical island covered with lush forest and mountainous areas are all stunning to look upon. A couple of times I decided to turn in a 360 degree arc just to have a look at the vista. The Japanese villages and the world war two remnants fit the scene brilliantly as well enhancing the wonderful story with the detailed graphics. The villages give the impression that they were once well populated, but that is no longer seems to be the case.
And along with the gorgeous scenery, Lara complements it beautifully. Every detail has been intricately taken into account, from the way she gets dirty to the way the rain washes off the grime and blood from her body. I almost felt like a pervert at times, watching as she squeezed her lithe young body through a crevice into a cave.
The music and sound effects are first-rate as well. As you approach an area stealthily, you can listen to enemies as they discuss certain mundane topics. You may not be able to see them, so it certainly helps to give an indication that there may be some bad guys around and you can then load up your bow. Using your bow means that the quiet kill can go undetected, whereas using a louder weapon will get the attention of more unscrupulous types. The twang of the arrow and the gasp of death as the arrow passes between a henchman’s eyes is quite rewarding, especially if those around him don’t notice he’s fallen to his knees until you’ve lined up the next target. The wind through the trees and the sounds of the wildlife also enhance the feel of the island environment.
If I was to have any gripe about the game, it would be the quick time events. Although they make sense within the storyline, I found them a bit of a chore. It may stem from the fact that the quick time events accounted for the bulk of the deaths I incurred. Even one of the early events involving a wolf had me frustrated for five or six attempts. But having said that, it’s only a minor gripe and the minor annoyance they gave were quickly diminished as Lara moved on to the next quest.
In love with Lara
It is always a concern when developers attempt a reboot or remake of a classic game, and whether or not it will live up to the high expectations that gamers of the original have. Tomb Raider is one of the few that have lived up to the expectations. The wonderfully presented story and the modern take on the original gameplay works extremely well. Lara again does it all – running jumping, fighting bad guys and solving puzzles, all in breath-taking surrounds. And it is all these elements joined together that make Tomb Raider an unforgettable experience, one not to be missed.
Visually stunning, great controls and a great story
Some of the quick time events can be frustrating