Lara Croft is one of the strongest female leads in the gaming industry. Over the years of her career, the developers made her more and more like an object that gamers were attracted to, often including unneeded jokes. Lara became more and more arrogant and resistant to emotions. All that has changed now that Crystal Dynamics have taken over to provide a true, full Tomb Raider game.

Tomb Raider (2013) is a prequel, bringing Lara Craft back to a novice, vulnerable and scared young girl with little experience of how things are done in her own world. She is quite fragile near the start but becomes more and more brave as the player progresses through the game. Crystal Dynamics have refrained from using distasteful jokes and filler material and the game is all the better due to it.

This is the first true high-quality HD Tomb Raider game, with visuals comparing to those of the fantastic looking Uncharted series. Crystal Dynamics have done an excellent job in making this game look spectacular. The environments and backgrounds featured throughout the game all look beautiful and the lighting within the game is superb, making the game the first modern-looking Tomb Raider game, the previous (Underworld) having been released on previous-gen and current-gen, resulting in more of a ‘meet-in-the-middle’ graphical affair.

Back to the story; Lara is adventuring into her first exhibition, the task of finding a lost city, Yamatai, in the treacherous waters of a region called the Dragon’s Triangle which lies off the coast of Japan. Naturally, the island is packed full of all types of dangerous landscapes, violent enemies and attacking animals. Lara must escape the island and her quest to do so is what bestows the courage, experience and confidence we see in later times upon her.

Lara takes many cuts and bruises throughout the story, all displayed upon her body once damage occurs. It all shows the way in which Lara, an innocent girl must transform into a brutal, gutsy fighter in order to survive and make her way off the island. Crystal Dynamics and the supporting developers really do an excellent job of pacing the storyline and demonstrating this progression. It is easy to see they have studied the series so much in order to develop enough expertise to craft the outstanding story which this game features.

The map layout is very clever too. Many of the levels seem to be open world, but they are in fact linear and only really allow one path. They may have many branching or circular areas, but they all end up back in the same place. It really adds the nice feel of an open world game while still leading you along the correct level path. The XP leveling system is done well too, with kills and headshots contributing towards Lara leveling up and unlocking new things. Ammo and supplies are limited, so you will find yourself becoming very conservative when playing Tomb Raider.

The game plays excellently. Lara’s character and progression are memorable, the exploration of the island is a very fun and enjoyable experience, the environments look stunning and the game truly is one of the best entries, if not THE BEST ENTRY into the Tomb Raider series yet. The multiplayer is not fantastic, however, the campaign is what you will be buying this fantastic title for.