A year ago Square Enix showed us the new Lara Croft on the Xbox 360’s showcase at E3. When I had first seen the demo I was surprised and it was one of my most anticipated games from E3. However I noticed that Tomb Raider had apparently upset some people since it was more similar to Uncharted now. Now that it is here how does it stand to Uncharted though? In ways it is better, and in other ways they cannot be compared. Just keep reading and you will learn why.
The story starts off With Lara Croft and other archeologists who are on a boat (Endurance) for the search of the lost kingdom of Yamatai which once existed. This leads them to the horrific world that changes her life forever, the Dragon's Triangle. The story is very personal, graphic, menacing, dark, gory, and touching all at the same time. This is where you cannot compare Uncharted with Tomb Raider. While Uncharted is a light hearted story with laughs throughout the game Tomb Raider is a dark story that will have you on the edge of your seat at times with this very mature title. The island is almost human but as you learn that the Yamatai still exists and that there is no escape of the Dragon's Triangle there is a feeling of desperation and sorrow for Lara Croft and the other characters. The atmosphere and tempo is nothing less than perfection. There is many times throughout this game when Lara is put in a dark menacing situation that I will not spoil for you, but it will strike fear upon you at times. The voice actor of Lara Croft who is now Camilla Huddington also was nothing less than superb. The story it’s self is nothing to miss out on. Days after the completion of this game still had me thinking about the horrific island and the dark feelings that had risen in me during this game.
The gameplay is a little more comparable to Uncharted but much expanded on. There is more options in Tomb Raider and even an expansion over being completely linear. The world is actually an open world and you can journey through the world at any time to do side challenges, find relics, hidden tombs, or even to hunt animals for food. However there will always be a sense of linear gameplay through the story even though it is open world. To me I find this to be brilliant and it is the first shooter that I have seen take this approach and successfully do so. Lara unlocks many new abilities throughout the game as she becomes more experienced and new items to keep the game from being repetitive. You will also be able to upgrade her equipment by finding the material to do so. This brings me to the bow you see Lara Croft using. The bow is one of the most fun weapons to use on any game whether you want to set someone on fire or silently take out a yamatai by either shooting him or stabbing him with an arrow. All of the weapons feels great in fact and you will be learning new abilities for all of them throughout the game with exp. The game will never feel repetitive with this RPG like element. The platforming was also done with great ability from sliding down ziplines to climbing up mountains with your hiking axe. There will be puzzles throughout the game and at times you will have to think without any kind of guidance other than your own brain. All of this said this is where Tomb Raider has advanced over Uncharted. Having more option and great shooting mechanics has made this shooter and action/adventure the best of the market in todays time.
The graphics just pop out with beautiful atmosphere, textures, and scenery. The dark island would not have been near as menacing without these beautiful graphics. To this day I’d say Tomb Raider is one of the most beautiful games that I have ever played. It really almost shocked me at how good it looked. We have talked about in the past how 1st party games like Halo 4, Killzone, and Uncharted has all been the graphic kings of this generation but with recent releases like Far Cry 3, Crysis 3, and Tomb Raider I think it can be heavily questioned that 3rd parties has outdone first parties. This isn’t even mentioning how good they look on PC.
I have to be honest with this, Tomb Raider completely blindsided me with how good it actually was. I know it gets criticized by Uncharted fans, but coming from a big Uncharted fan, Tomb Raider should not be over looked. It has surpassed Uncharted in many ways. Now if you like a light-hearted story more than a mature personal story I can see you saying you like Uncharted more but other wise Tomb Raider wins in many categories and opinions will change with stories of course due to preferences. This has been an absolute joy to play and one of the best games I have played this generation.