Tomb Raider Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Tomb Raider Box Art
System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360*
Dev: Crystal Dynamics
Pub: Square Enix
Release: March 5, 2013
Players: 1 Player, Online 2-8
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore Intense Violence Strong Language

Whether swinging, using zip-lines, parachuting, or climbing steep cliff faces, it’s undeniable just how beautiful this game is. The environments are presented in a crisp and stunning manner; rolling jungles, ancient temples, ship-littered beachfronts, and World War II bunkers are all brought to life with extreme detail and painstaking realism. What emerges is an island with a character all its own, steeped in multiple eras of history which are represented by several architectural styles stacked on top of each other like layers of a cake. As you explore the island, you gain an understanding of the history that has transpired over the many tumultuous years. Additionally, the character models are insanely detailed and seem to continually evolve throughout the game with each gunshot, cut, scrape, and impalement suffered by the crew. In short, there is a lot to see.

Lending ambience to the already excellent visuals, the weather and environmental effects during gameplay are excellent additions. Sloshing around in an underground cave causes water droplets on the screen, wind effects in narrow canyons visibly blow debris through your path and obscure your vision, and blistering snow makes it difficult to maneuver and see atop steep mountains.

Tomb Raider Screenshot

Visual hiccups are few and far between, though there are a few bouts of screen tearing and the occasional animation skip. Overall, though, the game does an outstanding job of transitioning between cutscenes and gameplay. Honestly, if I hadn’t been looking for visual issues, I probably would not have noticed them due to the frantic onscreen action and dramatic events unfolding in front of my eyes.

Completing the package, the audio delivers on all fronts. The disheveled survivors are brought to life by a cast of brilliantly character-invested actors. Weapons sound as they should, and you can even hear the tension of your bowstring each time you draw it back. Add to that the sometimes somber and always intricate orchestral score and you have a Hollywood-level production value soundscape on your hands. The signature three-key piano tones will be playing in your head long after the credits roll on this one.

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Tomb Raider delivers an evenly paced, action-packed, evolutionary tale that explains the genesis of one of gaming’s most beloved heroines. Along the way, we are treated to top-shelf visuals, a soundscape that rivals a Hollywood blockbuster, and gameplay that is both thoroughly engaging and aesthetically varied. It may not be perfect, but it delivers a must-play gaming experience for action adventure fans everywhere. Welcome back, Lara, you've been missed.

By
Joshua Bruce
Contributing Writer
Date: February 25, 2013

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.5
Graphics
Visuals are top-notch. The remote island of Yamatai is gorgeous and chock full of eye candy. Character models are vividly detailed and progress throughout the game, evolving due to harsh conditions.
4.3
Control
You can’t always do what you want to do, but the control scheme and gameplay are excellent overall.
4.6
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The soundscape of this game really shines. It’s a full package of excellent voice acting, believable sound effects, and an outstanding score.
4.5
Play Value
Crystal Dynamics crafts a game that modern action adventure fans will thoroughly enjoy, while still retaining a good helping of the original Tomb Raider flavor we remember.
4.4
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Hunt or Be Hunted: Evade, outsmart, trick and kill the mysterious enemies that hunt you as prey.
  • Survival Action: Brutally attack and defend yourself as you fight to survive through visceral one-on-one melee combat.
  • Strategic Weapons: Gain an advantage in combat by finding an array of different melee and ranged weapons including a variety of guns, and the hunter's ultimate weapon, the bow.
  • Creative Survival: React and adapt to the island by using only that which you can salvage from the environment like climbing axes, rope, and machetes that can be used to unlock new traversal and combat gameplay options.
  • Free Movement: Scramble up a vertical cliff wall, sprint and leap across a huge chasm, steer mid-air to land a misdirected jump: There is no one right way to traverse, survive, and explore the harsh environment of the island.
  • One Cohesive World: The diverse multi-region island is an open playground alive with creatures, weather, and natural events.
  • Origin Story: The new Tomb Raider concept reboots the franchise by exploring Lara Croft's transformation into a hardened adventurer as you unravel the story behind the island's mysterious past.


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