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Tomb Raider (2013) 3-Years Later Review



As I said at the introduction, this is the first Tomb Raider game I have played, so it is possible some things important to the previously established lore will be lost on me. Considering this game is a reboot for the franchise, maybe that is a good thing.

Tomb Raider begins as a story for survival, with your ship, the Endurance, having been destroyed in a storm, leaving you and others wrecked on a mysterious island. Your hope was to find the lost kingdom of Yamatai where Himiko, the Sun Queen ruled. You first heard the story of Himiko from your friend Sam, who is one of her descendants, and are not dedicated to finding it. Coming with you is Conrad Roth, who is apparently an old friend of yours that tends to act like a father figure for Lara. At first you do whatever you can to get to him, because he will surely know what to do.

As you traverse the island to find the others and means of escaping, the story changes and focuses more on the legend of Himiko. The island has a curse on it that prevents anyone from leaving and will kill those who come trying to help others. You also encounter the Solarii Brotherhood, led by Mathius who is obsessed with Sam and some ancient ritual. The brotherhood is comprised of various people who have been shipwrecked on this island and all are very willing to kill to obtain their goals. These are not the only inhabitants of the island though as there are also the Oni, who exist to protect the Sun Queen, and will kill the Solarii and you without hesitation.

As you play the story can get a little confusing because the island has a long history of people coming to it for different reasons. Some just happened upon it by accident while others came intentionally, to learn what powers the storm. The confusion comes from possibly mixing up the different contexts for the clues you find for the island's past. It is still a cool story, but just be sure you keep in mind where some of the information is coming from as you gather it.






This next paragraph could imply some spoilers, so be aware of that if you choose to read it.

One issue I have with the story is that for the bulk of Tomb Raider there was a theme of sacrifice. A number of characters die to protect you and trying to rescue you and the others, which Lara takes quite hard. At one point Roth tries to explain to her the difference between sacrifice and loss, because she knows the latter but not the former. This got me ready to expect a sacrifice to be made at the story's climax, but that did not happen. While I can be quite hard on stories for something like this, not paying off on expectations, I am not going to do that here and for a reason I think is good. It would have made the ending, for a game meant to reboot a beloved franchise, really dark. Dramatically I do believe the ending could have been better, but this game needed to be a good game more than a good dramatic story.

Overall the story is good. It does not necessarily reach very high, in my opinion, but it does exactly what it needs to do and I enjoyed experiencing it. It gives you an interesting motivation to explore the island and become the hero you need to be, and really, that is what it needs to do.


  1. Tomb Raider Review - Introduction
  2. Tomb Raider Review - Graphics
  3. Tomb Raider Review - Story
  4. Tomb Raider Review - Gameplay & Additional Gameplay Media
  5. Tomb Raider Review - Conclusion
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