Brutal, bold and – at least in the first hour anyway – a little too heavy on the quick time events, Crystal Dynamics’ much mooted Tomb Raider reboot is hugely successful origin story and quite possibly the finest Lara Croft adventure we’ve had years.
Sure, it’s a little too self-indulgent for our liking in the opening act as the developers and writer, Rhianna Pratchett, attempt to inject as much character development as possible into this deliciously dark yarn by putting her through the wringer, culminating in her first kill, but once they’re done with it the game swiftly thrusts you into a series of bombastic set pieces on the luscious playground island the San Francisco Bay Area developer has concocted for you.
While a little light on actual tomb raiding (a bizarrely entirely optional gameplay element) and puzzles, Tomb Raider’s greatest strength is its expertly crafted combat system. Whether you’re shooting or silently taking down an enemy from afar with her nifty bow and arrow, Crystal Dynamics has nailed it, and nailed it thoroughly. It looks beautiful too, complemented further by excellent animation and a genuinely engrossing performance by leading lady, Camilla Luddington.
However, the same can’t be said for her daftly underdeveloped co-characters and the game’s most pointless addition: multiplayer. This first-time feature in the series is a mere afterthought marred by annoying loadouts, a complicated levelling system and poor combat. Here’s hoping it’s sidelined for the inevitable sequel to what is otherwise a truly excellent adventure. Welcome back, Lara. We missed you.
Reviewed by Sebastian Williamson