Over the years we've seen many Tomb Raider games, The franchise as a whole remains one of my favorites. One of the first games I can remember playing is Tomb Raider II, it was the game that made me love action adventure games. The series has changed a lot since then and the current direction of the franchise divides fans. I've even heard people say Angel of Darkness is better than the new game, which is quite frankly an insane notion. So I'm putting it to rest now.
So let's raid the past and find out if the new direction the series is taking honors the franchise.
So first of all we have to start before the beginning. Lara Croft's origin stories. Yes, plural. Because remember, Tomb Raider was rebooted twice, We'll get back to that later.
So in the Original six games, Lara's roots describe her as being from a rich aristocratic family from England. One of Lara's first adventure was with the renowned Archeologist, Werner Von Croy, who (spoilers by the way) later becomes an antagonist. During her time at boarding school, she takes up archery as a hobby, (So using a bow would make sense for a character who did archery in their teenaged years.) At the age of Twenty-One, Lara is in a plane crash in the Himalayas, and is the soul survivor (Now why does that sound familiar?), upon returning home, Lara was unable to cope with the claustrophobic conditions of her upper class upbringing, Lara turned to a life of adventure. Her parents, disapproved of this lifestyle and disowned her. Needing money to finance her adventurous ways, Lara wrote Travel books, and detailed accounts of her travels.
So, let's examine a couple of key points, (These will only be the points that are important for later.)
Went to Boarding school
Is fond of Archery
And had a mentor who later became an enemy
Was stranded at the age of Twenty-One
Well, that's one Lara down. Two more to go.
So, some people don't realize this, but the Lara Croft who appeared in the Legend series was a different Lara Croft from the one in the original games. After Angel of Darkness, Core Design were taken off Development of the Tomb Raider series, which was handed to Crystal Dynamics, who were then best known for the Legacy of Kain series. Let's examine her origin.
Within these games, Lara was born to Lady Amelia and Lord Richard Croft, the latter of which was a renowned archeologist. After a plane crash in the Himalayas' aged, Nine this time, Lara's mother disappeared. After she was rescued, Lara spent the next six years by her father's side, receiving private tuition, whilst traveling around the world to various dig sites. All the while Lara's father tried to figure out what happened to his wife. At the age of seventeen, Lara's father disappeared. His body was never recovered, thrusting Lara into a legal battle with her relatives over the Croft estates in order to receive her inheritance.
All right so once again, let's look at key factors that will be important later.
Is the daughter of an archeologist
Traveled with father as a child
Both of her parents disappeared
Okay with two continuities examined so far, let's examine to most recent version of Lara Croft.
As a child Lara traveled with her parents to archeological dig sites. On one of these digs Lara's parents disappeared and were presumed dead. Lara was sent to boarding school as a result. When time came for Lara to attend University she decided against using her inheritance to pay her way, not wanting to be accused of simply living off her father's name. As a result Lara ended up working multiple jobs, to pay for her tuition and rent Lara had an idol in the form of Dr James Whitman, who (spoilers by the way) later becomes an antagonist. At the age of Twenty-One, embarked on her first expedition, to find the lost kingdom of Yamatai. Where she is shipwrecked along with the rest of her crew.
Now, let's look at key points from the survivor series, and how they fit against the two earlier continuities.
Is the daughter of an archeologist
Traveled the world with her parents
Both of her parents disappeared
Attended boarding school
Stranded at the age of Twenty-One
Had an idol who later became an antagonist
Uses a bow as her primary weapon
So, there is actually a quite a bit in common with both earlier series for the rebooted Lara. As a matter of fact The reboot seems to pay homage to both previous series quite well, whilst still retaining it's own identity as a game.
Now that we've established that the reboot isn't so different from the earlier games in terms of narrative, lets talk about the gameplay.
Among one of the many complaints I've heard is that, Tomb Raider was never about survival. Well it's well established that Lara was in fact stranded in both previous continuities. So the theme of Survival fits previous Tomb Raider lore. The hunting add's quite a bit of value to salvaging and hunting for Experience, to upgrade weapons and skills, the skills in particular fit the theme of survival, as many of them fit together, giving the true feel of being a person who has to toughen up and become a fighter.
Another thing I heard a lot of people dislike about the game were the weapons. Everyone and their grandmother who complained about this game, complained that you couldn't use dual pistols. Once again let us remind ourselves, this game is an origin story, in this sense, Lara has yet to become, the super deadly badass she's known for being, and let's face it, No one could simply lift two guns and be proficient with them immediately. No one. Yes it is stated in game that Roth gave her weapons training, but I don't think Lara would have taken it too seriously prior to being ship wrecked. So provided this continuity is like the classic, Lara did Archery in Boarding School, so she would use the bow primarily, as she would be most comfortable with it.
I will grant that the people who complained that there weren't enough puzzles, do have a point. The series was best known for being very puzzle heavy, and the amount of puzzles in game was significantly less than fans were used to. However I'm willing to let this slide.
As well as this, the relics and collectibles have information given about them, and some even contain their own secrets, unlike other games, which simply had you pick objects and never explain anything about them or why they might have been there, especially if they didn't fit in with the location of the level. I'm looking at you Tomb Raider II dragons.
On a constant basis, Multiplayer is listed as being part of what's wrong about the latest game. Most games nowadays have some sort of multiplayer mode, and Tomb Raider is no exception. I personally enjoyed the multiplayer modes, as a matter of fact, Tomb Raider is the game that made me like playing competitive multiplayer again after Call of Duty destroyed any kind of compassion I had for it. It was a lot more team based than most online multiplayer games. Sure you could be all Rambo in Free for all but what game can't you do that?
So overall is the new Tomb Raider a bad game? That would be a monumental, No. It's a fantastic game. The Tomb Raider franchise has been given new life. It is superbly acted, with a great story and dialog. And I couldn't be more excited for the sequel...Although I am rather confused as to when Lara. joined the Assassin order.
I understand that the game may not be everyone's cup of tea, but just because you don't like it, doesn't make it bad. And you shouldn't simply write it off because it's not the same as it used to be.Also If you want to play a game that's the same as it used to be, and always will be the same...then you don't want to play Tomb Raider. You want to play, Call of Duty.