Find out how it all started
The gaming world has few female characters, you usually have to fight with war hardened grunts and sometimes this gets a bit unrealistic.
Lara Croft is one of those names that stick for these virtual heroes. The newest title of the Tomb Raider franchise brings a new Lara Croft, a character that’s closer to reality.
It comes as a prequel and we get to find out just how Lara came to be obsessed with archaeological mysteries and how she got to be a bad-ass which can dual-wield pistols.
The new Lara Croft is a young girl, with innocence written all over her. She still lives in the shadow of her father and her character is built gradually as the game unfolds.
Lara’s and her group set on a quest to find a famous Japanese empire (Yamatai) ruled by an even more famous queen (Himiko). They run into a violent storm which wrecks their ship on a lush mysterious island filed with vestiges from different epochs. The group is taken prisoner by the islands inhabitants and it is up to Lara to save them.
The interaction between the characters, the dialogues with the NPCs and the cut scenes are all meant to create powerful emotional bonds, but the result is the only two of the characters are well played. Out of all the members of the group, only Roth is the more likeable character type along with the massive Jonah. The rest of the cast are pretty dull, maybe due to their passive tones… They don’t make such a big impression even when they are out of the picture for good.
The story unfolds evenly, but it might lack some details or coherence here and there. This is how the story is built and you’re supposed to search every nook and cranny for pieces of the big puzzle. The artifacts you collect help you get a better understanding of the regions culture and how it manages to keep on going for hundreds of years.
The Bow Is Your Best Friend
Since pretty much anything that moves on the island has a bone to pick with you, the first weapon you use is the improvised bow. It’s good at killing wolves and soldiers and it’s silent. If you haven’t played Crysis 3 yet, but you the like silent assassins types of games, you’ll probably love using the bow.
As you progress through the story, you eventually get a pistol, a machinegun, a shotgun along with a “tomahawk” (Assassin’s Creed 3 reference here) which you can use to open stubborn crates and doors. Each item you use will get upgrades as you move through the game and collect salvage and there will be more options available if you find components. It’s not that clear how you come across these parts, but they can be found in crates, in tombs or found on dead enemies.
The bow, which starts from a piece of wood with a string, gets to be a composite bow able to shoot fire arrows or explosive ones. You can even use it as a makeshift grappling hook for special puzzles which allow Lara to safely traverse deep crevasses and is also useful in certain physics based puzzles you run across in the game. There are no spoilers in this review, so you’ll know when you reach these puzzles to try the bow.
Firearms also get upgrades and small tweaks in their functioning. The magazine size can be improved; the accuracy and efficiency of each weapon can be tweaked. The shotgun can easily break wooden obstacles while grenades do a great job with metallic ones. Almost everywhere there are explosive barrels which can ease your path through the levels.
As the game progresses, the bow becomes more and more inefficient, but still remains the best choice for silenced weapons. Lara can execute enemies with the “tomahawk” as well for some boss fights and Quick Timed Events.
In A Nutshell
The game is well designed and the fact that you can use abilities and customize weapons is a big plus. The fighting mechanics are well thought of and the reinventing the main character comes as a breath of fresh air for today’s gaming world.