Hello, Strormer here and this is the redbox review for the 20th of August, 2013. Today's subject is Tomb Raider for the PS3. The first thing I want to comment on is actually a problem that I'm noticing for just about every game I see these days. The moment I put in the game it needed to be patched to version 1.03. I want to say that I totally understand that if there's a problem that presents itself after release it should be addressed and I'm grateful that we live in an era where such problems can be corrected easily, I'm just a little put off that a relatively brand new release needs to be patched as soon as I pick it up.
Moving along, once the game started up I found the menu visually generic. There wasn't much there and what was was the kind of thing you'd expect from any game in this genre. Still, don't judge a book by it's cover, right? I started up the new game and, summarizing, I have to say I quite enjoyed the cinematics starting off the game. It worked to set up a quality tutorial and give me a feeling of impetus that segued quite well into the overall tone of the game.
The tutorial went quickly and only introduced skills I would actually need for the beginning portion of the game, taking time to teach other skills later on as they come into play. The game play was quite intuitive, though Lara still handles as well as she ever has. It's like she's got some horrible inner ear problem causing her to stumble around rather wildly. I had little trouble getting used to her, though, and soon found myself navigating the island with ease.
There is a strange feeling that you're supposed to be moving around with some degree of stealth, but as you play Lara crashes through walls, causes several massive explosions, and generally destroys the ruins that dot the landscape. She regularly draws the attention of many foes, which come in increasingly large groups as the story moves forward. Still, there are plenty of opportunities to sneak up and stealth kill foes if that's how you like to do things. (Like I tend to.)
The story itself is fairly trite, but well done. The character of Lara actually feels like a human, or at least a Hollywood human. The moments where she shows fear and doubt are genuinely moving and, if you've played the previous games in the franchise, you can see quite clearly how she could become such a badass. The supporting cast is mostly worthless and the enemies are such generic and obvious mooks that it's practically laughable to kill them. This compounds the break in suspension of disbelief when Lara, who had only just freaked out at being forced to kill one person, starts mowing down hordes of foes without batting an eyelash.
I managed about half completion, according to the game's internal tracker, though I could have easily managed more if I hadn't stopped to explore. The truth is, though, that the exploration is the best aspect of this game. There are dozens upon dozens of collectables and challenges in each area of the island, and they do a great deal to remind you that this is, after all, a Tomb Raider game. The best aspect of this element lies in the hidden tombs that are spread across the map. These puzzle dungeons are a fun break from the expected cover-based shooting that makes up most of the story mission.
Lastly, there is a multiplayer mode that is so incredibly generic it could be pulled from any modern shooter from the past decade. Still, it is at least as good as you'd expect and if that's what you're looking for in this game, you get at least a marginal nod, though if this mode is what you're playing for there are plenty of other games that do it the same or better that might work better for you.
Overall though, I really enjoyed Tomb Raider and have officially put it on my to-buy list so that I can complete the story and find all the little collectables. I've given a lot of thought to how I'm going to rate these games, and I've decided that I don't want to use any numerical system, so take this for what it is. If I had the money to spend, I'd buy Tomb Raider, but I can expect to be selling it after I've completed the challenges because I see very little here for replay value. Still, that's an endorsement by my estimate.
Game well, my friends.
Alright, so this post was actually supposed to go up quite a bit earlier, but due to problematic internet connections and various time-consuming issues it's going up now.
I am beginning a series of intermittent game reviews called the Redbox Reviews. These reviews are pretty simple to understand. I'll pick a game currently available in my local Redbox, rent it, and play it as much as I am able for the one day I have it. I will return it before 9pm the next night and then I'll review as much of the game as I was able to get through.
I have no intention of rushing through any of the game and I will play at my own pace, which will probably be slightly slower than an average gamer as I like to explore and take my time through each area. This may or may not factor into my review, depending on how much game I actually play. My focus will be on the gameplay itself, the narrative, and any additional modes which deserve note (such as a multiplayer deathmatch mode).
I have no schedule to these reviews, but I will try to post them regularly, depending on the time I have to put towards a day spent playing and if I have the two bucks to spend that week (which I should, really, I mean, it's only $2).
I hope these are enjoyable.
I am a marketing creative specialist with a BA in Anthropology and Creative Writing. I am married to the love of my life and am the proud parent of an exceedingly hyper jack-lab puppy and a pair of neurotic kittens. I enjoy gaming, movies, writing, mythology, archaeology, fencing, and super-villain-esque monologues. When I am not working or wasting time in one of my various digital escapes, I attempt to get myself published in literary magazines and eat various kinds of sushi.