Monday, 27 October 2014

Tomb Raider Definitive Edition (Xbox One) - Thoughts

I know what you'll be thinking. This game has been out for ages and I have only just (literally five minutes ago) completed it. You've probably read everything about it (or everything you want to anyway) but I just wanted to stick my two cents in.

Overall I really enjoyed this game. My brother and I used to play Tomb Raider on the first PlayStation together, well we mostly just locked the butler in the freezer and dicked about in the gym in Lara's mansion, but hey we had fun! So when the new one came out on the 360 we both bought it straight away. I never got around to playing it though and when we got the One we found Tomb Raider for like £15 so we picked it up on that instead.

Graphically it is pretty good. I find the faces are the worst part of it really, with mouths barely moving and some really over the top facial reactions at times, or of course no reaction at all. The world is quite stunning though and I like the little touches, like Lara's hair blowing in the wind. She also leans into the wind in a pretty realistic way which is quite cool.

The story of this game is alright. It's not brilliant but it is certainly not bad. My biggest bug bear with it is that throughout the dialogue Lara bemoans all the senseless killing, but then in gameplay she remorselessly pummels umpteen men to their death. It is not the killing that winds me up about it, it's that there is no parity between the character and the gameplay - even a few soundbites of Lara sounding remorseful would have made for less jarring gameplay. Or a cutscene where the player sees Lara accept what she has to do to get her and her friends to safety would have been nice. I know I'm nitpicking, but hey I guess it's kinda my job to do just that!

Another thing I didn't like so much were the noises that came from Lara. I have to say I tolerated her voice at best and found it grated on me quite a lot, but the moans and screams whenever she died were unbearable and didn't really tie in with what was happening on screen. At one point I think I'd thrown her down a river or something and her throat had been impaled on a huge wooden spear sticking up out of the water. I think that warrants more than a slight moan, right? Or when I threw her off a cliff face and instead of screaming each time she hit a rock, she just moaned a little bit as she floated down into the murky nothingness below. Very lacklustre.

At first I loved the bits where the camera would change view to make it all claustrophobic, in tunnels and squeezing through small spaces, but after awhile they feel a little forced, as do the quick time events. And the amount of times Lara falls and you have to direct her away from sharp objects is quite high. That isn't to say these bit aren't fun though, but if you're not a fan of the old quick time events then you may find this game a tad annoying.

This game does do pretty well with atmosphere and I have to admit I was really frightened of the wolves. I don't feel like they featured nearly enough really, although I have to say I found the game easier to play without them. They move to fast for me to get a steady shot off against them and I find myself mindlessly running to the nearest ledge, crying out for someone to save me. But still there could have been a few more. After a bit when I realised that there weren't that many of them, I found I was much less tense. I'd much rather run into a big gun-toting maniac than a wolf.

As I said though I did enjoy this game. I particularly enjoyed playing with the bow, and have found that up to now in my Xbox One collection this is the only game that allows me to do so until the long awaited release of Far Cry 4 next month (God I am so excited for that). This game tided me over nicely and I will be picking up the sequel as and when, but honestly, I don't think I'll find it to hard to wait for a price drop.

At the price this game is currently at I'd say you'd be daft to miss it. It's one of the cheapest games you can find on the Xbox One and it certainly doesn't feel like the cheapest. Ignore the disparity between gameplay and narrative and you'll enjoy it just fine. The game mechanics in themselves are good. But prepare for a lot of climbing. Seriously this island is all on an incline!

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