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Tomb Raider Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . After nearly two decades, Crystal Dynamics finally gets it right. Tomb Raider is an action-packed thrill ride full of amazing set-pieces, sharp writing, a fun science fiction story and tons of enemies to gun down. Tomb Raider is a game worthy of the Croft name! Rating: 85%
Tomb Raider
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  • A-
When first demoed for the press, Tomb Raider's brutality took many by surprise. The tone was considerably darker than past installments and it felt like the game was taking some sort of sadistic pleasure in the torture of a young Lara Croft. The whole thing left me extremely nervous about the direction the series is headed and hoping for the best.

As I tore into this late-generation reboot, I was struck by how different Tomb Raider was from my initial expectations. While this is no doubt a grittier take on the source material, it's certainly not the orgy of torture porn some had feared. Instead it's a solid action game that finally does justice to the Croft name.

It all begins with a nasty shipwreck in the middle of the ocean. The good news is that Lara has survived and washed up on what appears to be a deserted island. Unfortunately she's not alone. Lara is immediately kidnapped and strung up from the ceiling. But don't worry; Ms. Croft knows how to get out of sticky situations. It doesn't take long for this iconic character to get free and begin solving the many mysteries of this island.

Tomb Raider (Xbox 360)

Her first objective is to find the rest of the survivors, hoping to work together to figure out a way off this stormy rock. It doesn't take long for Lara to realize that this is no ordinary island; it holds a series of secrets that verge on the supernatural. To make matters worse, the island doesn't seem especially keen on letting people leave. With no way off the island and no communication to the outside world, Lara Croft is officially lost.

The well-paced story sends our hero all across the island fighting "Others," battling the elements, climbing huge mountains and, yes, raiding tombs. You'll visit the rocky shores, where you can see wrecked ships dating back hundreds of years. There's an old military base on the island, a relic from decades ago. The shantytown suggests that people may have lived here for a long time. And don't forget the monastery in the mountains that may hold the answer to the island's power.

But even with the odds stacked against her, Lara knows a thing or two about surviving. She has all the right moves and plenty of firepower to get out of even the hairiest situations. She starts out the game with a simple bow and arrow, before eventually picking up handgun, assault rifle and shotgun. Each of these weapons can be improved and upgraded over the course of the 12 hour adventure, giving the player more than enough incentive to loot every single body and seek out hidden treasures.

Tomb Raider (Xbox 360)

Most weapons have a dual purpose. Not only can you use them to kill "Others" and wild animals, but they can also be used to access new parts of the island. The bow and arrow, for example, allows Lara to create zip lines and open certain types of doors. The shotgun will allow you to break down specially marked walls. The assault rifle can be equipped with a grenade launcher, which can clear rocks to create new paths.

While older installments focused on complicated puzzle solving, this reboot is all-out action. In that sense it feels more like a Hollywood blockbuster movie, not unlike Naughty Dog's Uncharted series. In fact, Tomb Raider takes more than a few cues from Nathan Drake's adventures, making this a much more cinematic experience. As somebody with only a mild interest in the franchise, I found this game to be compelling from start to finish. However, I can see how some loyalists may be turned off by the emphasis on explosions over puzzles.
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