The Tomb Raider reboot’s tomb problem.
Last year’s Tomb Raider was definitely a hit for new and old fans of the series. In fact I liked it enough to rank it as my favorite from last year. It was absolutely amazing to watch this new version of Lara grow from a timid, inexperienced young scholar into the bad ass heroine we all know and love.
The game is a shinning example of the modern action-adventure genre of games. Its only fitting that the series which originally defined the genre and influenced games like Uncharted is once again at the fore front and even uses the new ideas from the very series it helped inspire. The intense action sequences, great platforming and wonderful set pieces are all tied together by a great story and great protagonist.
I don’t think I’ve talked to anyone who played Tomb Raider and did not enjoy the game immensely. With all this success it only makes sense that Crystal Dynamics will make a second game and that is indeed the case. But this of course raises the question, with the first game garnering heaps of praise from both players and critics alike, what do you do as a follow up?
Well I think there are several things Crystal Dynamics can do to build on the previous experience. The biggest thing they need to do is just remember what game they are making. Tomb Raider was a great action-adventure game with a lot of great action and some good platforming and puzzles, but not enough. The six Hidden Tombs Lara could explore were very exciting to discover and added some very nice extra detail to the story. The harshest critique is that while these tombs were well done, they were extremely simple to solve. And this is representative of the larger overall “problem” with Tomb Raider. (I say problem loosely, it is an amazing game.)
As previously noted, the action scenes in Tomb Raider are fantastic. It has wonderful shooting mechanics and its novel approach to the cover-shooter is quite good. The game play is extremely fluid and smooth and just fun to play. And there is a lot of action in the game. But I did find myself missing the long stretches of puzzle solving and platforming that the older games were full of.
In the next Tomb Raider I want to see more exploration of actual tombs and more puzzles to solve. It was so cool to see Lara almost pause and look around at all the ancient artefacts littered around the island as you got to explore and I want to see more of that. There is no doubt that Lara is bad ass, but it is important to remember that she is also a very, very smart archaeologist. So while I see no need to tone down the excellent combat the first game had, I want to see more of the actual tombs and puzzle solving the earlier games were known for.
So while adding more tombs is important, it will also be very important to pick a great location. The series has always visited some great locations with long, long histories such as Egypt. I was thrilled that the newest game chose to visit part of ancient Japan. It could be fun to revisit some of the locations Lara went to in the older games but at the same time it would amazing to visit new places. Perhaps it is time for Lara to visit Israel or if the little teaser at the end of the game is anything to go by, she could be on her way to the United States.
I have my own hopes for the next Tomb Raider but I am confident that whatever comes I will be loving it just as much as I did before.