The creators of the Tomb Raider game series bring a new instalment for the Christmas season this year, offering us the chance to delve further into the life and past of our iconic heroine, Lara Croft, as soon as “Rise of the Tomb Raider” hits the shelves.
Through ten games, spanning nineteen years, we’ve been treated to thrilling scenes and suspenseful actions, with eerie but exhilarating music alerting the player to something incoming, warning you to have your guns ready.
The game developed and maintained a solid cult following since its 1996 release, with players always waiting eagerly for each new installment. The older games, with the beloved and boxy Lara, are definitely classics which most people enjoyed at one point or another over the years.
However with the release of the new game in just four months, the focus is definitely on what is to come from the series.
Tomb Raider, the 10th game released in 2013, garnered positive reception after a long-awaited, and long overdue, reboot.
In this game, we saw Lara, new to adulthood, begin her 19 year journey that would eventually take her to scour the pyramids of Egypt, scale the rooftops of London and glide in a gondola through the canals of Venice. Almost always shooting at something.
As with any game that was created almost two decades ago, the graphics have improved immensely, with every feature, shadow and crevice of the game so much more enhanced.
To those unfamiliar or indifferent to the Tomb Raider game series, the graphics would appear to be what has changed the most. Understandable, seeing as the Lara of 1996 is unrecognisable in comparison to the Lara of today.
But to the more dedicated and loyal Tomb Raider fan, it is clear that the most noteworthy changes have been made with the game’s core elements.
Always a game known for pushing the limits, it’s strange to see the creators jump on the bandwagon and incorporate a more significant amount of violence into the scenes.
In the older games, there was always a small element of violence with regular shooting challenges, whether it was a person, animal or something more supernatural and sinister.
With the new game, it appears that game-makers have become more inventive with the violence component. They attempt to ease the player into this new element early on in the game, when the player is instructed to direct Lara’s hands to remove a large shard of metal from her abdomen. An instruction, and ability, that is brand new to the Tomb Raider series.
Taking this into account, they have made the game somewhat more realistic. No longer can Lara hop up, seemingly unscathed, from a reign of bullets. Now, she must duck for cover and aim at her enemies, ensuring a kill and conserving precious bullets. That is, when she’s not using her new cross-bow, exclusive to the new and improved Lara.
At one point, we see Lara take refuge in an abandoned plane, where she must burn an arrow and cauterize her own bleeding wound. The screen changes, we see the plane from afar and hear Lara’s screams, rousing birds from the surrounding trees. No more medi-packs for Lara these days.
We have the opportunity to witness/control something incredible; Lara’s first kill. More incredibly, we witness a new sentiment from Lara; Remorse. She laments at being forced to take a life, but quickly falls into the warrior role of the Lara we all know and love.
Sequels are usually disappointing, old is often perceived as classic and, in general, nobody likes change. However it seems that Tomb Raider has broken this mould and is one of the rare exceptions to produce new, remarkable and entertaining content, continuing to offer players the chance to travel with Lara through her stimulating journey. A journey that can be experienced over and over.