Tomb Raider 2013, first impressions and such

After my school’s Stage 2 assessment, I felt like I deserved to enjoy myself after some grueling  weeks.
Just for a little while.

So I got my hands on Tomb Raider 2013.
I’m playing Sims 3 University too, so I haven’t gone far in TR yet.

To be honest, I was not expecting much from Tomb Raider 2013.
The last time I played Tomb Raider games was when I was a kid and had a PS1 that came with a bunch of Tomb Raider games.

tombcapaTomb Raider II [U] [SLUS-00437]

I barely played through it because I remember being quite bored with the game play, and sometimes a little scared.
But hey, I was like 7~9 years old, so I was a horrid judge in game quality.
I do know it’s a great series, but I just wasn’t into it back then.

But seeing that the whole look was revamped and looked stunning from the trailers, I gave TR2013 a chance.

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And I do not regret it. I was definitely not let down.
The game is just really visually beautiful.
(I’m playing on Ultimate graphics setting, so I’m probably seeing the best the game has to offer.)

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From the gorgeous makeover of Lara Croft herself, to the details and clarity of her clothes and blood textures.
The hair was rendered really well onto Lara. Though the hair has it’s silly moments (I’ll get to it later),
it still looked great on her and really helped make the character feel more alive.
However, I’m sure you’ll notice how the hair is kind of ‘repelling’ away from the body in the above screenshot.

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I won’t start spoiling the story, but there will be some scenes of video footage from the video camera that show some insight into the relationships of the characters.
I think it’s a nice touch, but it’s amusing when you remember the video camera survived Lara’s adventures like swimming in the water or falling down from great heights,
yet it still plays fine.

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As Lara learns to adapt to the harsh conditions of the island, it acts as a tutorial to understand the basic controls too.
You’ll be introduced to a bow and arrow when you have to find food. This will be your first weapon! And it still remains my favorite even later in the game.

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Though the game auto-saves frequently, meaning you have infinite lives, you can auto save at a Base Camp too.
In the base camp, you can add skill points into different categories of skills in Survivor(salvaging/climbing etc)/Hunter(bows & guns)/Brawler(melee).
You can also upgrade your weapons by using your Salvage parts to add modifications. You are able to upgrade your weapon model too, by finding more weapon parts.
For example, from finding more rifle parts in the game, you can automatically upgrade the WW2 rifle you found into an assault rifle.
Sometimes Lara will voice her journal entry as well, making you understand how she feels about the situation.

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You’ll also come across relics that you get to look closely at and find any sort of clues on it.
I like this feature because I get to REALLY look at the relic I just found. Rather than a ‘Hey! You just got this! -puts in inventory and it shows a still image-‘

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You can choose from a small set of outfits for Lara to wear! (I have the DLC so I had the Aviatrix skin on Lara in the screenshot)
There’s the Aviatrix, Guerilla and Hunter skin. You can watch a video with the outfits here.
I still preferred the original skin so I stuck to that.

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Tomb Raider wouldn’t be called Tomb Raider without being able to raiding tombs!
You’ll encounter ‘optional tombs’ along your journey that you can complete to get a nice amount of EXP and some items.
They’re much smaller than the older games and you actually have to find them. The main story won’t bring you into all of them.

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There are many moments in the game that will make you feel like stopping to enjoy the view.
(Despite Lara’s difficult position. Imagine her waiting for you to make her move, at such high heights.)

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Ah, the hair issue. There are some times when Lara’s hair just go really wonky, and she ends up bald/has a really tight hair-bun for awhile.
I understand that technology isn’t so perfect yet, but it provides some laughs during the course of game play.
Other than the bald moments, Lara’s hair seems to be always ‘slippery’ from her body. The hair dynamics are really amusing, but still really good considering it’s played on current gen consoles.

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Conclusion:
Overall, it’s a great game. To me, it has the right amount of exploring and combat. Very fun.
To have the tombs optional and rather small though, may not please some older fans I think. But this makes the game more ‘open’ to new fans.
There are some disturbing/violent death scenes, but being a gore lover, I do admit to intentionally dying again to re-watch the death. :D
The pacing is really good as well, and many times you’ll feel just like Lara; excited, scared, relieved, and various other emotions she’ll go through in the journey.
I think this is helped by the great voice acting for every character too.
I loved the thrill of running out of a falling village! However, there are some times when QTE moments kind of annoy me. Perhaps it’s just because I have slow reactions.
There is great character development for Lara, who learns to fend for herself and survive in such a dangerous environment. You can see and feel what she felt, when she had no choice but to kill for the first time.
The game did justice for the series and Lara Croft herself and I have greatly enjoyed myself so far.