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Tomb Raider
TombRaider2013
Developer(s) Crystal Dynamics
Eidos Montreal (multiplayer)
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Designer(s) Darrell Gallagher
Writer(s) Rhianna Pratchett[1]
Artist(s) Visual Works (CGI)
Composer(s) Jason Graves
Series Tomb Raider
Engine Modified Crystal Engine[2]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release date(s)
  • WW 5 March 2013
  • JP 25 April 2013
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Media Optical disc, download

Tomb Raider is a 2013 action-adventure video game. Published by Square Enix, Tomb Raider is the fifth title developed by Crystal Dynamics in the Tomb Raider franchise. As the first entry in a new Tomb Raider continuity, the game is a reboot that emphasises the reconstructed origins of the culturally influential lead character Lara Croft.[3][4] Tomb Raider was released on 5 March 2013 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

After the release of Tomb Raider: Underworld in 2008, Crystal Dynamics began development of Tomb Raider soon after. Rather than a sequel, the team decided to completely reboot the series, establishing the origins of Lara Croft for the second time, following Tomb Raider: Legend. Tomb Raider is set on Yamatai, an island from which Lara Croft must save her friends and escape while being hunted down by a malevolent cult. Gameplay elements focus more on survival, although exploration is used within the game when exploring the island and various optional tombs. It is also the first game in the series to have multiplayer and the first game to be published by Square Enix, after the latter's acquisition of Eidos Interactive in 2009. Camilla Luddington was announced to voice and perform as Lara Croft in 2010, replacing Keeley Hawes.

After a delayed release from late 2012 to March 2013, the game received much anticipation and hype.[5] Tomb Raider received critical acclaim upon release, with critics praising the graphics, the gameplay, Luddington's performance as Lara, and Lara's characterization and development, although the addition of the multiplayer mode was criticised. Tomb Raider sold one million copies within 48 hours of its release, and has sold more than 4 million copies overall.

Gameplay Edit

Tomb Raider is presented in third-person perspective, and the player takes control of the lead character, Lara Croft: the game uses an interconnected hub-and-spoke model that combines action-adventure, exploration, and survival mechanics.[6] Lara can traverse between the camps and across the island using footpaths, improvised or already-available ziplines and climbable tracks. Many of Lara's moves are carried over from the previous games created by Crystal Dynamics, with some tweaks added, such as incorporating elements of stealth gameplay. Quick Time Events are scattered at regular intervals throughout the game, often appearing at crucial or fast-moving points in the game's plot, such as two early ones where Lara has to extract a shard of metal from her side, then later escape a collapsing cave.[7] The combat of the game borrows multiple elements from the Uncharted series, with the player having the ability to free-aim Lara's bow and the guns she salvages, engage in close-quarter combat and perform stealth kills.[8] Added to Lara's abilities is Survival Instinct, a mode where enemies, collectables and objects pivotal to environmental puzzles with be highlighted for the player.[9] The game also incorporates RPG elements: as the player progresses through the game, they earn experience points from performing certain actions and completing in-game challenges linked with hunting, exploring and combat: this enables Lara Croft's skills and abilities to be upgraded in specific ways, such as giving her more storage capacity for arrows and ammunition.[7] Players can also upgrade and customize weapons using salvage collected across the island. There is also a character progression mechanic in the game: better items, weapons and equipment is gained as the player progresses, though the appearance of most of these items is closely linked to events in the story.[10] Karl Stewart said that the game's campaign lasts between 12 and 15 hours.[11] Along with the main story, players will have the chance to do multiple side quests, explore the island, revisit locations, and search for challenge tombs.

Multiplayer Edit

The fourth episode of The Final Hours of Tomb Raider, which went live on YouTube on 8 January 2013, announced that the game would have multiplayer features.[12] The multiplayer mode was created by Canadian video game development studio Eidos Montreal, known for making Deus Ex: Human Revolution.[13] In each multiplayer match, there are two enemy teams: four survivors and four scavengers,[13] and there are three types of games for multiplayer to compete in, played in five different maps: the modes are Team Deathmatch, Private Rescue and Cry for Help.[14] The first mode is a simple PvP combat scenario, with teams pitted against each other, and the winning team being the one to kill of the opposing team in three separate matches. In the second mode, the "survivors" team must take medical supplies to a specific point on the map, while the "scavengers" must reach a certain number of kills, both within a ten-minute time limit.[13][15] The third mode, Cry for Help, involves the "survivors" exploring the maps and retrieving batteries for defended radio beacons while being hunted by the "scavengers".[9] Across all three modes, weapons and destroyable environments from the single-player campaign are carried over.

PlotEdit

The game begins with Lara setting out on her first expedition about the ship Endurance, with the intention of finding the lost kingdom of Yamatai. By her suggestion and against Whitman's advice, the expedition ventures into the Dragon's Triangle, east of Japan. The ship is struck by a violent storm and split in two, leaving the survivors stranded on an isolated island. Lara is separated from the others when she is captured by a strange, savage man and trapped in his cave home. She manages to escape while her captor is killed as the cave collapses around them. As Lara tries to locate the other survivors, she finds more evidence that the island is inhabited, complete with strange carvings, dead bodies, and ritual sacrifices of animals. She eventually finds her friend Sam and a man called Mathias, who claims to be one of the passengers. As Sam tells Mathias the legends of Himiko, Lara passes out; when she wakes, Mathias and Sam are nowhere in sight.

When Lara finally reunites with the other survivors, Whitman decides to break off from the main party with Lara and search for Roth, who is still missing, while the rest of the group (Reyes, Jonah, Alex and Grim) set out to find Sam and Mathias. As Lara and Whitman explore, they discover that the island's inhabitants are worshipping Himiko, confirming that the island is Yamatai. Upon discovering a shrine erected in Himiko's name, they are captured by the islanders and taken to a settlement along with several other survivors from the Endurance. When the survivors attempt an escape, the captors turn on them. Lara is separated from Whitman and tries to hide, but is found by Vladimir, one of the leaders of the inhabitants. Vladimir attacks Lara, but she fights back and is forced to kill him to save her own life. She fights off the remainder of the inhabitants as she desperately works her way up the mountainside to meet up with Roth. Eventually, Lara locates the injured Roth, and using his equipment, she sets off for a communications relay at the very top of the mountain, in hopes of contacting the outside world and calling for aid.

After successfully hailing a plane that was searching for the Endurance and setting a signal fire for them to follow, Lara witnesses a fierce storm materialise out of a clear sky and strike the plane down, accompanied by a mysterious voice saying "No one leaves" in Japanese. Feeling responsible for the fate of the pilots, Lara is powerless to stop the island's inhabitants from killing them. Lara is contacted by Alex and Reyes, who reveal that Sam has been kidnapped by the island's inhabitants, a violent cult known as the Solarii Brotherhood. Lara, who is closest to Sam's position, tries to rescue her, but is foiled by Mathias - now revealed to be the leader of the Solarii - who orders her killed. Lara is saved by the intervention of strange samurai-like creatures—referred to by the islanders as 'Oni', demons in Japanese folklore—and taken to an ancient monastery in the mountains. Escaping again, Lara stumbles onto a ritual chamber, where she learns that a "fire ritual" was used to choose the Sun Queen's successor as part of a ceremony called the "Ascension". A terrified Sam manages to contact Lara and informs her that the Solarii intend to put her through the fire ritual, which will burn her to death if it is unsuccessful. Lara makes for the Solarii fortress, meeting up with Grim, but the Solarii capture the latter and threaten to murder him unless she surrenders. Grim attempts to overpower them, but is killed in the process. Roth then arrives, and with his support, Lara is able to infiltrate the palace, where she witnesses Mathias putting Sam through the fire ritual. Lara tries to save Sam, but she is overpowered by Mathias and his men. The ritual continues, but Sam is not harmed by the flames, which are extinguished by a great gust of wind, marking her as the rightful successor to the Sun Queen's throne.

Lara narrowly escapes captivity once again and doubles back to help her friends, whose attempts to reach Sam have resulted in their capture. Aided by Whitman—who has managed to negotiate some degree of freedom with the Solarii—Lara returns to the palace to rescue Sam as Roth commandeers a helicopter to get them out. Having witnessed the storm that forced the search plane to crash, Lara sends Sam to escape by land and tries to force the pilot to land as a second storm brews up, striking the helicopter and forcing them to crash. Lara is nearly killed in the accident and is revived by Roth. However, Mathias and the Solarii arrive, and Roth takes a fatal blow meant for Lara. While mourning over Roth, Lara accepts that the storms are not natural, but are somehow connected to the Sun Queen and designed to prevent anyone from leaving the island. She meets up with the other survivors, who have evaded the Solarii long enough to secure a boat for escaping the island, provided that it can be repaired. They are joined by Whitman, who claims to have escaped, though Lara begins to suspect him of working with the cultists. Lara heads for the wreck of the Endurance to meet up with Alex, who had previously gone there to salvage the tools needed to repair the boat. She finds him trapped under wreckage and, as she attempts to free him, they come under attack by the Solarii. Alex decides to trigger an explosion and sacrifice himself so that Lara can escape with the tools.

Finding an account of a World War II-era Japanese military and National Socialist scientific expedition to the island that sought a way to harness the power of the storms as a weapon, Lara decides to explore an ancient tomb on the coast, where she finds the remains of a high-ranking samurai who had committed seppuku. It is revealed, in a message he left, that he was the general of the queen's Stormguard, the Oni that defend the monastery, and that the Queen's successor took her own life rather than receive the Sun Queen's power, leaving the Sun Queen trapped in her body after death, and her rage has manifested as the storms. Lara realises that the Ascension is not a ceremony to crown a new queen, but rather a ritual that transfers the original Sun Queen's soul into a new body, and that the process will destroy the host's soul. Himiko's spirit wants to escape its current body, and Mathias plans to offer Sam as a new host. Lara returns to the survivors on the beach to find that Whitman has betrayed them, abducting Sam and handing her over to Mathias. Lara, Jonah and Reyes give chase, heading up a river to the monastery, with Lara arriving just in time to see Whitman killed by the Oni. After fighting her way through the queen's guards, Lara arrives at the top of the monastery in time to see Mathias start the Ascension ritual. She works her way to Mathias, confronting Solarii and guards alike. Lara kills Mathias when she shoots him from the roof of the monastery using two pistols, before destroying Himiko's remains to save Sam. With the storms dispersed, Lara, Sam, Reyes and Jonah leave the island and are picked up by a cargo ship. As she and her friends sail home, Lara decides that there are many more myths to be found and resolves to uncover them, stating that she isn't returning home just yet.

DevelopmentEdit

Following Tomb Raider: Underworld, Crystal Dynamics was split into two teams; the first beginning work on the next sequential pillar of the Tomb Raider franchise, while the second focusing on the newly created spin-off Lara Croft series (debuting with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light in 2010).[16] Following pre-announcement media hype while the game's title was under embargo, in November 2010, Square Enix filed for trademark of the slogan for the new Tomb Raider game; "A Survivor is Born".[17] On 6 December 2010, Square Enix announced Tomb Raider had been in production for nearly 2 years; "Square Enix Ltd. is excited today to announce Tomb Raider, the new game from Redwood City based studio Crystal Dynamics".[18] Studio head Darrell Gallagher said, "Forget everything you knew about Tomb Raider, this is an origins story that creates Lara Croft and takes her on a character defining journey like no other".[19] Game Informer website and magazine ran a world exclusive cover reveal in its January 2011 issue, as well as exclusive coverage of emerging details directly from Crystal Dynamics from 12 December 2010.[4] Tomb Raider was the first game in the series to receive a M rating in the United States.

In January 2012, when asked if the game would be available on Nintendo's Wii U console, Crystal Dynamics global brand director Karl Stewart responded there are no plans to have the game available on that platform. According to Stewart, the reason for this is that "it would not be right" for the game to simply be ported, as the developers built the game to be platform-specific before the Wii U was announced, and goes on to mention that if they started building the game for the platform "[they] would build it very differently and [they] would build it with unique functionality."[20] In May 2012, it was announced by Darrell Gallagher, the studio head of Crystal Dynamics, that the game has been delayed and is now due to be released in the first quarter of 2013. He said: "We're doing things that are completely new to Tomb Raider in this game, and the additional development time will allow us to put the finishing touches into the game and polish it to a level that you deserve. We believe this is the right choice, and I guarantee it will be worth the wait."[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Yin, Wesley. Mirror's Edge writer Rhianna Pratchett announced as Tomb Raider lead writer. Eurogamer. Retrieved on 13 July 2012.
  2. Stellalune (29 December 2011). New TOMB RAIDER 9 Announced for 2013!. Tombraiders.net. Retrieved on 29 May 2012.
  3. Cullen, Johnny (6 December 2010). Square announces Tomb Raider. VG247. Videogaming 247. Retrieved on 6 December 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Makuch, Eddie. "Next Tomb Raider to be origin story", GameSpot, CBS Interactive, 6 December 2010. Retrieved on 6 December 2010. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Marie, Meagan (14 May 2012). Tomb Raider release date shifts to 2013. Official Tomb Raider Blog. Retrieved on 14 May 2012.
  6. Tomb Raider: Large Hubs Allow Non-Linear Exploration, But 'Not Open-World'. NowGamer. Retrieved on 9 March 2013.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Iain Wilson (4-Mar-2013). Tomb Raider guide: 10 essential tips for becoming a survivor. ComputerAndVideoGames.com. Retrieved on 20 June 2013.
  8. Johnny Cullen (26 February 2013). On Tomb Raider and appealing to the Uncharted crowd. VG24/7. Retrieved on 20 June 2013.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Evan Narcisse (25 February 2013). Tomb Raider: The Kotaku Review. Kotaku. Retrieved on 5 August 2013.
  10. Carolyn Petit (June 5, 2012). Will Tomb Raider Venture Off the Beaten Path?. GampSpot. Retrieved on 5 August 2013.
  11. Phillips, Tom (26 November 2012). Tomb Raider story will last you 12-15 hours, dev says. Eurogamer.net. Retrieved on 22 December 2012.
  12. Final Hours of Tomb Raider #4: Surviving Together. YouTube (8 January 2013). Retrieved on 16 January 2013.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Shipwrecked: Hands-On with Tomb Raider Multiplayer. IGN (9 January 2013). Retrieved on 16 January 2013.
  14. Tomb Raider Multiplayer Details. IGN (3 January 2013). Retrieved on 5 August 2013.
  15. Stace Harman (8 February 2013). Tomb Raider multiplayer: is Lara better-off alone?. VG24/7. Retrieved on 5 August 2013.
  16. Walton, Mark. "Tomb Raider sales fall short, Eidos shares plummet", GameSpot, CBS Interactive, 9 January 2009. Retrieved on 6 December 2010. 
  17. McElroy, Griffin. "Square Enix files trademark for 'A Survivor is Born'", Joystiq, 27 November 2010. Retrieved on 9 December 2010. 
  18. Baker, Elyas Gorogo. "The Return of Tomb Raider", World Gaming Network, 6 December 2010. Retrieved on 6 December 2010. 
  19. Robinson, Martin. "New Tomb Raider Unveiled", IGN, News Corporation, 6 December 2010. Retrieved on 6 December 2010. 
  20. Sinclair, Brendan (26 January 2012). Tomb Raider skipping Wii U. GameSpot. Retrieved on 28 May 2012.

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