Tomb Raider - PS3

Release Date:

05 March 2013

Viewing UK:

Also on USA.
8.4

Summary:

In Tomb Raider, Lara will be joining her treasure-hunting mentor Conrad Roth on an expedition into the Pacific Ocean's dangerous Dragon's Triangle. But a powerful storm splits their ship in half, and when the survivors wash onto shore they are greeted by dangerous terrain, fierce wildlife, and fortune-seeking scavengers. As always, players must use a combination of exploration skills and combat to escape alive. The Lara of this Tomb Raider isn't the steely heroine from previous games, but a frightened and injured young woman who is very reluctant to kill people, but slowly builds her resolve in order to rescue her captured friends. To reach that end, gamers can make use of a variety of upgradeable weapons and tools, including torches, a bow, an axe, and a host of guns.

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In Tomb Raider for the PS3 Lara Croft the world's most famous fictional archeologist is back with a vengeance, or should we say, makes her first appearance, as this is a sort of 'what happened before' story or, as some would, say a prequel. Even that is not quite true because her origins were also charted in a previous title. Billed by the developers as 'an interconnected hub-and-spoke model that combines action-adventure, exploration, and survival mechanics' the game is played from a third person perspective and comes with a multiplayer mode.

The heroine, younger than you may remember her, but still wonderfully outfitted, is the role which you, as a player, take up. This young Lara has only recently graduated as an archaeologist and in the course of her studies she came across references to a supposedly lost kingdom named Yamatai. She comes into contact with the Nishimura family who claim to be descended from the original inhabitants this lost kingdom, and, with their encouragement Lara raises the funds and mounts an expedition to investigate the existence of Yamatai. Samantha, who just happens to be Lara's best friend and companion, is a member of the Nishimura family and becomes their representative on the expedition. Other members of the expedition are Dr.James Whitman, Conrad Wroth, Joselyn Reyes, Angus Grimaldi, Jonah Maiava, and Alex.

Whitman is a world renowned archaeologist, lately divorced and bankrupt and having a generally bad time of it. Roth was once a Royal Marine Commando who now puts his combat and survival experience to good use as an adventurer. Grimaldi is a Glaswegian Scot who is down to earth and tells it how it is. Reyes is a single mother and, surprisingly, also a mechanic, with a somewhat cynical disposition. Maiava is of a more spiritual bent and willing to believe in things without seeing very much in the way of proof, the sort who believes in ghosts. Jonah Maiava is a quiet unassuming man with an impressive physique. And last, and probably least, is the geeky looking Alex who of course is an electronics genius.

A good selection of differing personalities which of course fits perfectly with the games' requirements, and whose mixture of abilities when combined should equip them for the task in hand, but with sufficient weaknesses to make them vulnerable. So whoever, or perhaps more to the point whatever, inhabits the island of Yamatai, and if things go to plan, had better watch out. And so off they go, setting sail or turning on the engines of the good ship Endurance, to find and explore Yamatai. But all does not go to plan and against better advice they make a detour through the dangerous Dragon's Triangle and it is here that disaster befalls them in the form of a violent sea storm. The group survives and reaches an isolated island where they land and where Lara becomes separated from the rest her party and is captured and imprisoned by a hairy cave man type savage who makes her an unwilling guest in the cave he knows as home.

This is where the plot begins to get interesting and with its many twists and turns would most likely take as long as playing the game would, or perhaps that is a little unfair as there are quite a few hours of play time to be had out of it. There is an awful lot of content but certainly not a lot of awful content. Let's just use the usual get out by saying that there are many twists and turns, trials and tribulations in which each character plays much the part you would expect them to and some which you would not. And anyway too much detail would spoil it for the player and, if you are not yourself of the hairy cave dwelling type, you will get the general idea from other games you may have played.

There are of course the compulsory arsenals of wonderful weapons and marvelous skills and upgrades, but these are just incidental to the story but do, as in most games of this nature, form the main source of the action, some of it original and some not quite so. Lara herself, even in her younger days, is well endowed, well armed, and fortunately not too well dressed, as too much clothing might interfere with her weapons skills.

As expected the music is in itself a fine and fitting composition and would do justice to a quality audio system. The graphics and animations, while never quite reaching cinematic perfection, also live up to expectations.

Lara Croft fans will view this game as a must and for newcomers it presents a good introduction to the events of the earlier games in the series to which this is a useful and enjoyable prequel.

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By:

Square Enix

Release Date:

05/03/2013

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