With the recent release of Rise of the Tomb Raider on PS4, I decided to replay the definitive edition of the 2013 Tomb Raider. But after three years does the game still hold up?
Tomb Raider begins with Lara and the rest of her expedition crew find themselves shipwrecked on an island off the coast of Japan. The crew soon finds that the island is shrouded in mystery; once someone is on the island, they are unable to leave because of storms on the coastline. In addition to Lara and company, the island is also populated by mercenaries who are also trying to leave the island by attempting to resurrect an ancient queen to stop the vicious storms. This entry in the Tomb Raider franchise is much darker and more mature than previous games. Lara goes through a lot of physical and mental change as the story progresses. In the beginning, she feels conflicted when she has to kill her first animal to survive and feels even worse after she is forced to take another human life. As the game progresses, however, she adapts to her lawless environment and realizes that the only way she will be able to get herself and her crewmates off of the island alive is to embrace her newfound violent tendencies and pair them with her Nathan Drake-like intuition. Lara is an interesting character, and it’s truly great seeing her change from an innocent 22-year-old girl to a person that will do anything to survive. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters are not as interesting and they have very little character development throughout the story.
Tomb Raider borrows several gameplay elements from the Uncharted series. Lara can climb many things in the environment. The player must climb walls and cliffs in order to reach their destination. There aren’t many puzzles in the game and the ones that are in it are not very difficult to solve. Seeing as this game is called Tomb Raider, one would assume that there is a lot of tomb raiding going on. But that is the most disappointing part about the game. The tombs are not part of the main story and are optional for the player to do, making them seem like an afterthought that was shoehorned into the game to justify the title. Throughout the game, Lara has access to five weapons, each of which can be upgraded to become more lethal. There is a handgun, shotgun, assault rifle, bow, and a pick ax. The pickaxe is used for climbing mostly but it can also be an effective melee weapon. Every other weapon can be upgraded beyond the way it looked originally. For example, if the bow is upgraded enough, it can shoot arrows that explode on contact. In order to access weapon upgrades, the player must raid tombs to find weapon parts. As mentioned earlier, these tombs are enjoyable, however, they are too easy to complete and seem like a last minute addition.
Tomb Raider The Definitive Edition is the same great game that came out on the PS3 and Xbox 360. If you played the game when it was first released then there is no reason to play it other than trying to get the trophies or achievements again. The visuals have been improved but other than that there is nothing new here. But if you never played it before then this is the best way to experience the game.