Tomb Raider is another franchise that has gone down the reboot-hole recently, albeit still being developed by Crystal Dynamics (the development house who took over TR duties after Core Designs), who have technically for the 3rd time redesigned the vision of what Tomb Raider is (Tomb Raider Legends was first, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was 2nd, despite being an intentionally smaller, downloadable title).
So what is Tomb Raider? While it wouldn’t be unfair to say it has drawn inspiration from the Uncharted series, it also includes some exploratory aspects most attributed to the ‘’metroidvania’’ style of game, which means Lara’s only option isn’t just to push the stick up to move forward, but that she can go back and collect stuff that may or may not end up assisting her progression. There was a lot of initial fear as to where the franchise was heading, with people worried that Tomb Raider would lose most of what made that brand what it is, but Crystal Dynamics have managed to make a very enjoyable game that visually looks quite nice and while it certainly won’t win any points in the story department, I will certainly say it tries to emulate the storytelling style that the franchise is known for, for better or worse.
There is a multiplayer mode, which works as intended, although longtime fans certainly weren’t (and most likely still aren’t) very attached to the idea, so it should definitely be considered an afterthought to the main single-player experience, which as before stated, definitely is worth the (current) price of admission alone.
I look forward to seeing where Square-Enix/Crystal Dynamics intends to head with the Tomb Raider series, hoping that they capitalize on what made their latest title well acclaimed among the gaming populace this year (and next year if you’re one of the folks getting the PS4/XB1 version).
Top 10 Runner-up: The Last of Us
I imagine there is some shock as to why The Last of Us didn’t manage to reach the actual top-ten and instead had to settle for a runner-up spot in my list. Allow me to try and give some explanation:
The Last of Us is a very nice looking game by Naughty Dog, who are well-regarded as an excellent dev team, but who also seem to sniff out a good idea for an IP, and then milk that until it starts to feel stale before moving onto the next big thing. I hope that doesn’t happen with The Last of Us, although I’m sure neither Sony or Naughty Dog wants to waste all that time spent concepting this universe for a single title, which is more a problem with modern game design in general than just Naughty Dog/Last of Us.
Now about the game itself, The Last of Us dwells in the now popular-if-slightly-stale ‘’zombie’’ market where many recent videogames have tried their luck to strike it rich. It tries to present a more down-to-earth feel for the scenario, meaning that fights with either the undead or actual humans feels tense at all times, and thus gung-ho mentality doesn’t always pay off, if at all.
The story is a very major focus, and with that the relationship between Joel, the main character, and Ellie, your companion through most of the game. Their relationship makes for a very touching, though also grim story, followed-up with some great musical pieces and some very nice visuals, especially since it’s pushing out of a 7-year old console at this point.
The gameplay isn’t super engaging if I’m honest, and I wasn’t huge on the multiplayer, which is why Last of Us has to accept a runner-up spot for now, although if you have a PS3, you should certainly give it a shot.