Video Game Review: Tomb Raider

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an avid lover of Tomb Raider. Growing up, I dabbled in the usual Nintendo wares and always enjoyed the games immensely. They were fun, they were addicting, and they passed the time until my parents came home. However, no other game truly spoke to my emotional personability quite like Tomb Raider did. The second I discovered the game, I begged and begged my parents to buy me a Playstation. They eventually obliged (after many quite convincing powerpoint presentations) and thus began my lifelong love affair with Lara Croft.

To say I was obsessed was a mere understatement. I wanted to be an archaeologist, a cave spelunker, the next female Indiana Jones (which I was also obsessed with). I set out on mini adventures in the woods behind my house, imagining I would discover the next great hidden artifact. I bought all the game guides and read them over and over again. To kid Melissa, I was Lara Croft. And always would be. I fell in love with a game series that was imperative in shaping me during prime personality development years. My top role models consisted of Lara Croft and Buffy Summers; in other words, I was born to dream of being a badass.

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Which is exactly what you feel like, playing through this game. I of course have played the many sequels and other games that have been released throughout the years following the inception, but none since have even come close to the experience I had while playing this new Tomb Raider.

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The Lowdown

Story: The story in Tomb Raider is definitely what makes it stand out amongst the rest; most gamers are aware of some of the motivation behind Lara Croft and what her personality is like. However, finding out how she got there and what made her become THE Lara Croft has always been quite the mystery. This story centers around just that – and its utterly fantastic. You actually experience the transformation taking place – from her initial hesitation to maim and kill to her unadulterated rage and acceptance of doing what needs to be done to save herself (and solve the mystery!). The game’s also pretty funny at times; one part in particular is when she first ventures into a tomb and you can clearly hear her muttering “I hate tombs.” HILARIOUS. The story’s not entirely unpredictable, but it’s absolute perfection for a prequel of sorts. That last bit at the end where she receives her you-know-what had me literally screaming out loud in excitement. Add to that her quote after the credits and BAM – the new Tomb Raider just etched a permanent spot in my heart.

Gameplay: The gameplay here isn’t anything too unusual for a Tomb Raider game, but you do get to experiment with a range of different weapons. Including, of course, the much-symbolized bow and arrow. I personally loved having her use this – it’s a great ‘ninjasneak’ weapon that’s very effective when used correctly. (And all those super nifty upgrades. Exploding cultists, anyone?) It’s no shotgun, but you can get that later, too. With that said, however, one of the more annoying aspects of the game was the fact that THE ENEMIES ARE OUT OF CONTROL. I swear to god, they’re made of triple bulletproof armor or something. Not only that, but they attack in extremely high numbers. One minute everything’s fine and you’re lighting up statues, the next – boom. What seems like hundreds of cultists are swarming your way – over pretty much nothing.

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Graphics: All I can say about the graphics is that they are STELLAR. Really, the landscape Lara traverses in is marvelously beautiful – even the caves look superb. There’s the one moment towards the beginning where you zipline down from the communication tower and you’ve got pretty much the greatest view in the entire game. Needless to say, I might have moseyed in that area for longer than necessary. Might have taken a few snapshots here and there. Might have instagrammed it. What.

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Overall: The new Tomb Raider gets a solid 9.5/10 from me, and not just because I’m a biased TR enthusiast. My expectations were high, my excitement levels brimming and this exceeded both – in spades. Even though Bioshock Infinite kind of overshadowed the release of Tomb Raider, it should by no means be overlooked. Even if you don’t love the old Lara, you’ll fall in love with the new one. Mark my words.

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