The Missing Elements of Tomb Raider

I would not argue that Tomb Raider is anything less than a great game. It is simply a reboot in the way reboots should be made, totally different to actually refresh the series but familiar enough that it "feels" like the original.

There are some things that I think could have been done better though.

Firstly, you might have read that the first section of the game is loaded with cut scenes and QTEs. That is true. It is over relatively quickly and serves as an introduction into the story, but fades away later and lets you run wild. But really, I hated the game for 30 minutes and was sorely disappointed. I get the intro part and why they did it, but come on, why make the game what it isn't to introduce it? Surly it could have been done differently.

The controls really are top notch (especially since Tomb Raider has a history of wonky controls). They are fluid and natural. But the cover system, or technically lack thereof, is strange. I actually like how they did it for the most part, but I still feel something is missing. Firstly, there is no actual cover system. You don't press a button to go into cover, nor to come out of cover. You just walk up to stuff and naturally hide behind it. There is no "snap in" or anything to pin you to the cover either. I actually like that. It really kept the smoothness there and pacing in the fast scenes dead on. But it was lacking in that I wish I could control if I wanted to take cover or not. And sometimes I didn't know if I was really hidden or not. Popping out to shoot could get odd if you are not directly behind the object too.

The game is not open world. They tout it as open world, and you can travel back and forth between areas, but there is no reason to. Granted, I am not the biggest fan of open world games because I tend to like action/adventure games and it doesn't lend to that very well (or can be done wrong too easily). I like my story to keep moving, and being open always interrupts the flow. They did a good job of keeping it open so it feels bigger, but it really is just a linear story with basically no side missions (there are "Tombs" you come across to explore but they are small and short so they are hardly a side quest). So for me, I like how the game is linear, but the concept of making it open-ish is good and I wish they explored that more.

There are elements that are added for no reason. For instance, early in the game Lara is hungry so you have to go shoot a deer to eat. Cool, they basically introduce you to the bow and how to use it. That is the purpose. But there are animals throughout the game and you can hunt them at any time. You get some XP for it, but there really isn't a reason for it other than achievements/trophies. It would have been cooler if they used it as an energy or stamina filler. Need to climb that mountain cliff? Well, better make sure your stamina is full first. That sort of thing.

The "side quests" they have you basically have to stumble upon. There are challenges to fulfill in the game, such as lighting the torches of 8 statues scattered around the level. The statue one is pretty obvious because they are big and all over the place. There are less obvious ones though as well. Like the first level has 10 items you need to find and shoot down. The options menu simply states "Ghost Hunter" x/10. So you know you need 10 things, but you have no idea what they are. Well they are these things hanging that look like a mix between dream catchers and wind chimes. But unless you shoot one just for the heck of it, you really don't know you are looking for them. There are others just like that as well. It just isn't intuitive unless you are a person who likes shooting everything just for yucks.

Lastly, the game succumbs to one of my video game pet peeves. The end boss battle is not a full control game. I worked so hard getting through the game, I don't want a cut scene at the end. I want an epic battle where I fight with this character I built up since stage 1. Don't give me a QTE or something simple, give me a game.

So again, while I think there are some things to critique, I love the game and it pleases me as a Tomb Raider fan. It also pleases me as an Uncharted fan that it isn't Uncharted. It is a clean reboot and although I hate that it is an origins story (which has been done multiple times now) the story is actually good and hearkens back to the original games. but uniquely different and fresh.