I’m a rarity in the gaming world in that despite some two decades of gaming I have never played the Tomb Raider series before. Except for the utterly forgettable movies, I had no pre-conceived notions or opinions about the franchise that would make me gloss over glaring faults or scream “What the hell did you do to my favorite game?!” because of changes to the controls or blatant changes to the back story.
So, clean slate for a game that is generally perceived as homage to all that made the series great a decade ago rather than just another sequel. Seems fitting.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; first a recap for those who lives under a rock and have never heard of Tomb Raider at all. You control a cartoonishly well-developed woman through an endless series of tombs, caverns and generally maze-like scenarios where you spend most of the time jumping around pulling levers and finding keys or objects, which in turn opens the door to the NEXT maze. Lather, rinse, repeat.
You also have the occasional encounter with wild animals and the like, at which point you pump them full of lead while jumping around like a monkey on speed to avoid getting bull-rushed and knocked over.
This may sound dull and repetitive, but it’s actually quite interesting, especially since there’s a bunch of bonus items and unlockables that encourage exploration beyond the on-rails experience.
The game spans across Peru, Egypt, Greece and other locales, battling increasingly difficult puzzles, traps and baddies. The interface is an exercise in minimalism; you don’t even see the health bar unless you get hurt or pull your guns.