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Tomb Raider Successfully Excavated

A survivor was certainly reborn last week! On Tuesday March 5th Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix finally launched the hotly anticipated “Tomb Raider” reboot. So far reports are rolling in that the title has already broken the “one million copies sold” mark (in just two days!) which by all accounts pretty much proves that Ms. Lara Croft is officially back. (One can only imagine the amount of savage partying going on behind the scenes as Square Enix right now).

In this installment we’re treated to a newly envisioned take on the character that dates back to when she was just a spry young lady fresh out of college ready (or not?) to tackle her very first tomb. Joined by an entourage of fairly forgettable faces (let’s just say Elena, Chloe, and Victor “Goddamn” Sullivan have nothing to worry about) Lara boards a sea vessel known as the Endurance as she sets off with her party in tow to discover the mysterious lost city of the Yamatai. A place where according to legend an ancient Japanese sun goddess once ruled the land with unimaginable power. While at sea, things take a turn for the drastically worse when the ship travels directly into a massive storm, effectively ripping the ship in half and crashing it into an island unlike any other…. Now shipwrecked on the island Lara must use her wits and intellect to survive the dangers at hand as she traverses locales in a quest to unravel the island’s dark secrets. Without so much of a moment to catch her breath, Lara is knocked unconscious upon arrival and taken captive by local natives, and it’s here where the game truly kicks off.

So far the game has been receiving plenty of praise for being an engaging, solid, well-put-together piece of software (as long as you ignore the tacked-on mediocre multiplayer portion). Taking a few cues from fellow treasure hunter Nathan Drake has helped modernize the new Tomb Raider, but it still does a fantastic job of distinguishing itself from Naughty Dog’s premiere “half-tucked” hero. In contrast, Tomb Raider focuses far more on resource salvaging, and experience building (two areas Uncharted has never explored), and gun-play never truly reaches the excess of Sony’s flagship series (although it does come close periodically). However, not all gossip has been positive as many individuals have griped over an inconsistency between the innocent young Lara from cut scenes, and the blood-thirsty axe-wielding psychopath they’re actually put in control of. Not sure where all this animosity comes from since last time I checked Lara Croft was always the type to shoot first, and ask questions two sequels later…. (“Look!! We’ve encountered living dinosaurs in an uncharted lost city! This is the greatest discovery in human history— *in comes Lara Croft guns blazing* BANG, BANG, BANG!!). Furthermore, it’s clearly demonstrated that Lara’s knee deep in a “kill or be killed” situation, so why people are stressing this issue so extensively is just as mysterious as the game’s island setting.

“Nitpicking” aside, it’s still an excellent game that shouldn’t be missed. It’s been a long rocky journey for the gaming vixen and the developers at Crystal Dynamics who have struggled with the franchise after taking up the reins from original creators Core Design after a streak of disappointing sequels on the original PlayStation. Congratulations, Crystal Dynamics. Your hard work has finally paid off, and I for one can’t wait to see what’s next in store for this wonderfully executed genesis of tomb raiding bliss.