Video Review: Tomb Raider (PC) – A faithful remake, and a great game too

Tomb Raider

By and on March 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Crystal Dynamics’ reboot of one of gaming’s most beloved franchises left us with a quandrary: do we review it from the point of view of the new audience it was intended for, or as the hard-core fan who has been with Lara since the start? So here at games.on.net, we decided — why not both?

While we wait for it to encode with our GONplayer, here’s an embedded version from our YouTube mirror. You can also download it in HD from our file library.

Good:

  • Very impressive graphics and great PC support
  • New Lara is down-to-earth and more genuine
  • A clever, respectful remake
  • Well-written plot and strong characters

Bad:

  • Entirely too many (poorly explained) quick-time events
  • Only about 10-15 hours of gameplay, not much replay value
  • Lara’s transition into hardened warrior isn’t so believable

Our apologies if you’ve been waiting on the review — PC code didn’t unlock before launch, so we weren’t able to get our review up until now. Thanks!

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18 comments (Leave your own)

Good review, pretty much what I thought of it. It’s a great setup for a rebooted series, but I’m really hoping there’s a bit of free or very, very cheap DLC to extend the gameplay a bit more, particularly some more extensive puzzling and platforming.

From the sound of it, I think I’m the only person playing with TressFX on :) I think it’s actually pretty reasonable for a first attempt at using it.

 

I thought it wad a terrific game, and I’m sad that the online isn’t played more because it is fantastic. I do agree that her transition wasn’t that believable and I have to say for such a tiny body she can sure take 60000x the punishment mine could, I thought they went a little over the top with the type of abuse she suffers and can still fire her bow and arrow and weapons extraordinarly well.

 

Yeah I switched of TressFX for pretty much the same reasons given here. It just looked silly. The QTE’s had me swearing at the screen a few times. I especially remember the “parachuting down a cliff side through trees – you have to dodge them but we’re not going to tell you how” sequence which had me screaming insults for quite a while – how hard could it have been to put a message on the bottom of the screen saying “use direction keys to dodge” or somesuch thing?

Oh yeah and the rope ascender – I had to jump on Google to figure out how to get that to work. And that nice icon they use to indicate a middle mouse button press – what the hell is that supposed to be?

Otherwise yeah, I’ve been enjoying it. I’ve been going back through the levels and finishing stuff like the obsessive completionist I am, and having a great time. A great reboot!

 

Took about 18 hrs for my full 100% challenge/collectables/upgrade run.
It does indeed very much go with Uncharted’s ‘over-the-top-hollywood-action-set-pieces’ segments and run with it.

I would have to disagree with a few things like the confusing labels on several QTE’s/Actions, I was taught at the beginning of the game that the hand icon was ‘e’, and I’ve been mashing ‘e’ to pull my rope arrows throughout the game now – the rope ascendor merely being an extension of that upgrade shouldn’t have been too much of a stretch of the imagination of what to press -_-
(however as a pc game – yes we should just outright have the keys rather than icons I can agree on)

My disappointments lay in the fact that the optional “tombs” that were talked about and commented on leading up to this turned out to be literally nothing more than a >Single< puzzle which took anywhere from 2-5 minutes to identify and solve – seriously I was expecting 20 min- 1 hour long dungeon crawl romps when I first heard about them…

That and the absolute lack of survivalism…Total biscuit also commented on this; was there any point anywhere in the game where anyone was actually out of ammo? Honestly? This was on the "Hard" setting too… constantly stumbling over ammo boxes that I can't even loot since it's quite impossible to run dry.

I would like a patch/dlc/update that gave us a 'survivor' mode – force us to craft arrows (would make the 'more salvage' upgrades quite useful), do away with that horribly consolized Regenerating health and make that whole hunting wildlife mechanic somewhat useful – make Lara 'live off the land' as it were by forcing healing via hunting for food/cooking hunted food.

Worth it enough for the $29.50 I paid – Though way to easy I felt. Maybe I'll actually give that tacked on Multiplayer mode a go.

 

IGN said that the supporting cast was shallow…. GoN said there deep… WTF is with you lot always saying the opposite of IGN…. Or do you do that on purpose?

Oh, and can you guys PLEASE do something about the volume on the reviews… they always seem to quite…

 

Please do not confuse the words “remake” and “reboot”.

“Remake” is taking basically the exact same story and doing it again with changes. The original 1996 release does not have the same storyline as the 2013 version. Tomb Raider: Anniversary (released in 2007), does.

Tomb Raider 2013 is a “reboot” of the series.

 

I didn’t find the supporting cast that memorable or well utilised. You had a brief glimpse of them in the intro movie and the backstory snippets were too late for me to give a real damn. Maybe, just maybe, the game could’ve started on the boat before it get wrecked. That would’ve allowed for some interaction and backstory with the other characters? I don’t think the pace of the game would’ve suffered.

 

the content of the review is great. for future reviews is it possible to improve the quality of the voice over? I’m not sure whether its poor balancing or microphone quality…but i found it quite jarring.

constructive feedback :)

 

I agree, the volume needs to be higher on the voiceovers, particularly Tim’s voice. I could barely make out what he was saying on the system I was using to watch it.

 

Yeah I tend to agree with the general feed back, the voice seems a little muffled or flat, which makes it hard to distinguish. Other than that good review, and thanks again for using Youtube, it tends to be far better for avoiding the buffering pauses of other methods.

Reminds me I have Anniversary and really should play it one day.

 

v4moose:
the content of the review is great. for future reviews is it possible to improve the quality of the voice over? I’m not sure whether its poor balancing or microphone quality…but i found it quite jarring.

constructive feedback :)

vcatkiller:
I agree, the volume needs to be higher on the voiceovers, particularly Tim’s voice.I could barely make out what he was saying on the system I was using to watch it.

mearehear:
Yeah I tend to agree with the general feed back, the voice seems a little muffled or flat, which makes it hard to distinguish.

Thanks dudes :) Yeah the microphone we were using was a bit crappy, and so I toned the volume down to minimise the pops I wasn’t able to edit out. Turns out I cranked it down too much! I’ll get a better mic for the next one, I hope.

Thanks everyone for the feedback, always appreciated.

 

Nice review, I really liked the format, I think Team work video reviews work quite well with you two :D

Pretty much mirrors my thoughts on the game, I’m really enjoying my time with it.

Mostly, moar team video reviews!

 

I totally appreciate the wait until you guys could get your hands on some PC bits before you started giving your thoughts on the game.

I pretty much agree with all the points raised and they’re all the same things I noticed – the PC port is fantastic, TressFX is interesting but not very realistic (and it cuts my frame rate in half just by itself), QTEs are even more annoying than in most games and Lara goes from sobbing over her first kill to shooting a guy in the head executioner-style too fast and the game is too short, but really rather good while it lasts.

Nice game and great review too. Thumbs up!

 

makena:
Nice review, I really liked the format, I think Team work video reviews work quite well with you two :D

Pretty much mirrors my thoughts on the game, I’m really enjoying my time with it.

Mostly, moar team video reviews!

Can be GONs version oh Hex and Bajo? :) Does add something to a video review when it is more than more person for sure.

 

While I enjoyed the game immensely, it does have huge gapes where it falls down. As previously mentioned, puzzles are almost a non issue. There are certainly none of the titanically difficult puzzles from earlier titles. Difficulty is a non issue. Hard is pretty basic, I can’t even imagine how simple “normal” must have been. Annoying QTE’s, although I consider things like the “stab key before you lose your grip” to be an understandable type of QTE that doesn’t really bother me.

The supporting characters are all shallow cliches. (minor non specific spoilers) The wise mentor who dies, the angry person who becomes a fan, the smarmy prick who thinks he knows everything, the useless twit who serves no other purpose than to provide a poignant death etc. The exist to provide entirely predictable plot “twists”.

I do also agree that Lara’s transition from a somewhat naive teen to a survivor to a one woman army of death is also a bit jarring. I kinda expected TR to be a bit like earlier iterations where the guns tend to come out during exceptional circumstances (ie. velociraptor attack) as opposed to being the default for most of the game. Lara is supposed to be capable rather than a master of all forms of combat.

MP is a bit of a non event in that you just cannot find a game. Apparently vanilla owners can’t join games which have the DLC and with the completely automated/crappy way of connecting, I have yet to even get in a game.

Lastly, I find the gory ways Lara can buy it to be more reminiscent of Dead Space than Tomb Raider. I’m not adverse to gore when used appropriately, ie. some of the environments she has to traverse filled with corpses etc have a suitably horrific feel to them, but seeing her impaled/shot/mauled by wolves etc seems a bit over the top since the series has typically been closer to action adventure games.

 

The gory Lara deaths don’t seem to bother me so much, probably because they usually happen at the end of a failed QTE so I was too busy raging at the game rather than paying attention to the fatality that was happening on screen. I’m guessing it would have more impact watching somebody else fail and see wolves chew out her throat or getting shot in the face or impaled on a tree or…

I remember in the original Tomb Raider (PSX edition) I’d quite happily jump to her death when I was getting frustrated. My favourite was jumping on Midas’s hand and watching her turn to gold. Hmm now I think about it maybe I might need to seek psychological help for that. O_o

 

vcatkiller:
The gory Lara deaths don’t seem to bother me so much, probably because they usually happen at the end of a failed QTE so I was too busy raging at the game rather than paying attention to the fatality that was happening on screen.I’m guessing it would have more impact watching somebody else fail and see wolves chew out her throat or getting shot in the face or impaled on a tree or…

I remember in the original Tomb Raider (PSX edition) I’d quite happily jump to her death when I was getting frustrated.My favourite was jumping on Midas’s hand and watching her turn to gold.Hmm now I think about it maybe I might need to seek psychological help for that.O_o

Lol, perhaps.

I dunno, from the first time I screwed up the “leg stuck in a trap/shoot the wolves bit” (damn wife distracting me), I was a bit surprised to see Lara getting her throat torn out.

Then I bungled the male attacker QTE and half her face disappears due to a gun shot wound. More realistic, sure, but it just didn’t feel like the original series where death was frequent but always a bit understated.

Side note, it’s funny how her perfect face never gets marred but from the neck down she’s a mess of scars and cuts by the end of the game. =)

 

jagji:
IGN said that the supporting cast was shallow…. GoN said there deep… WTF is with you lot always saying the opposite of IGN…. Or do you do that on purpose?

Oh, and can you guys PLEASE do something about the volume on the reviews… they always seem to quite…

With regards to IGN versus GON, it seems they have different opinions, it happens.
I assume when you wrote “GON said there deep” that you meant “they’re” as in “they are/were”? Agree with you about the voicover volume, that it was too “quiet”. Not quite, quiet.

 
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