Digging for Artifacts in the Backlog
Actually the news here might be that I finished a game. Never mind that it’s one that released 6-years ago. Tomb Raider’s reboot and first entry in the recent trilogy of titles was released March 2013. I’ve just now finished it April 2019.
It was an interesting experience. It both holds up very well and displays its age. There is the odd very low resolution texture and low poly-count objects which belie the game’s age graphically. Sure, some of the effects work also give it a dated appearance. But otherwise it still looks really good.
Climbing through one of the game’s tombs or puzzle areas, or even watching the enemy moving into position, and I think you’d be hard pressed without prior knowledge to say how long ago it came out.
What really betrays the era is the game’s almost begrudging attitude toward letting you control the camera. This simply doesn’t really happen in modern game design, but is a frequent occurrence here.
It can be a helpful pointer at times, but at others the forced perspective when you just want to take a look around can be quite jarring. Literally. It will at times continually ‘shake’ the camera back into the position the designers wanted.
The sound effects and music are excellent, but the voice overs are… Hmm. They are something of a mixed bag. Some of the voice actors are excellent, others are OK… Others you wonder who on the dev team they were related to.
But for all that I enjoyed it. It’s a short game (if you’re not a completionist after all the relics and challenges), clocking in at a little over 10 hours for me, including the 3-4 hours I’d already given it in the past. Cloud Saves let me resume the campaign that I was around 36% of the way through from way back when.
I don’t recall why I stopped playing it originally, it was likely just something else I’d been waiting on more came out.
As a Lara Croft prequel the story worked well, but I believe someone coming to the series now could well have been skipped over it and gone straight to the second entry, Rise of the Tomb Raider. I don’t know yet whether one should do that, only that one could. (I’ll know after playing Rise, which is up next.)
What I do know though from finishing this one is that you don’t need to. If you’re interested in the whole experience, know that the original game of this trilogy is perfectly serviceable today, 6-years on.