Raiding Tombs with Lara

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BY DEAN MOSES

Whether you’re crawling through collapsing caves, wading through murky rivers or balancing on fallen trees over majestic waterfalls there is always something to do in Tomb Raider, and you always feel good doing it. You play as Lara Croft, an English archaeologist who first appeared in video games back in 1996. Developer Crystal Dynamics has taken her even further into the past with this prequel for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Lara is on her first archaeology expedition with a rag tag group of fellow adventures to an island in the middle of a place called the Dragon’s Triangle. Their ship hits hash waters and all hell breaks loose. Lara is shipwrecked, then kidnaped by one of the islands inhabitants and taken to a cave filled with human remains. That’s where the spooky fun begins. Lara is scared, alone and pursued by the mysterious people of this island. She is forced to become the heroine that we have all come to love in previous games but you have to help her get there. You must hide, run, jump, shoot and solve brilliantly conceived puzzles to survive your journey. But first she must hunt for food with a bow, which gives you experience points and allows you to upgrade Lara’s abilities.

The further you progress the more tools you can unlock and upgrade for new ways to advance through the gigantic island that feels like a character of its own. However, Tomb Raider is not without its problems. The game packaged with an online multiplayer mode, which is a nice idea but sadly it is not executed well. The first issue is that a different developer handled this mode, so it plays differently to the single player. Also the style of play, which is just a battle between other players, feels out of place with the rest of the games grace. But the worst is still to come. The time you spend playing online and how well you do at each game will accumulate points to your ranking.

A number indicates your rank so you start at rank one and progress from there. There is a big problem that occurs, if your game freezes or if your console shuts off in the middle of playing your rank can be erased. Then it’s back to level one. This is a problem for gamers who love to collect all of the achievements or trophies. For instance, I was trying to gain the achievement for reaching level 60 but then my game froze and I was forced to shut off my Xbox.

After restarting my console, I was horrified to see that my rank, which was only moments ago level 51, had now transformed back to level one. Hours of my life wasted. Publisher Square Enix has promised an update for the future to prevent this from taking place, but once it has happened there is currently no way of getting your rank back.

Overall even with some technical issues, Tomb Raider is a great game. But beware if you are buying it for a younger friend or family member, the game is rated M for mature and with good reason too. It’s riddled with violent death scenes and bloody action that can leave your mouth hanging open in shock.

Tomb Raider is an excellent adventure that you will not want to miss even if you find yourself shipwrecked on an island.