Tomb Raider 2013

I just finished the latest version of Tomb Raider. It tells the origin story of Lara Croft and its the best adventure yet. I’ve been playing Tomb Raider games since they started in 1995 and played every one of them. This is the best one, both story wise, graphics and play ability, The only problem with this game is sometimes the controls in key scenes are a extremely unforgiving, but fortunately that doesn’t happen too often.

The story is kind of a Lost type adventure where Lara and some friends are shipwrecked on a island full of strange and mysterious happenings. Old military installations are side by side with ancient ruins and there are lots of crazy homicidal folk on the island trying to kill our hero, though why they’re doing it is a mystery for most of the game. The action scenes are really great and the game is extreme fast paced.

Crystal Dynamics made this one, they redesigned the whole game from ground up so Lara can do a lot more than she ever could and its way more realistic. If you’re a fan of the Batman Arkham games it uses a similar open world type set up but huge island. Think Far Cry meets Lost Meets Arkham City. Over all its very fresh and a lot of expected stuff happens.

Great fun.

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  1. I suspect another Tomb Raider will turn up on the next-generation consoles despite the sales issues with the current title…

    They did 3 releases this past generation for at least PS3 (XBox 360 got an exclusive level pack for Tomb Raider: Underworld) — Tomb Raider Underworld, Tomb Raider Trilogy (a repack of Tomb Raider Underworld with HD remakes of Tomb Raider Legacy and Tomb Raider Anniversary aka Tomb Raider 1 remake — PS3 exclusive although the 360 did get ports of all the games in this pack; Legacy and Anniversary were originally developed for the PS2), and Tomb Raider.

    However, the early reports are that the latest Tomb Raider failed to sell enough copies to break even on console… I’m hearing 3.4million actual sales (to stores, not physical customer sales) versus 5million needed for break-even.

    Just goes to show the cost of game development has sky-rocketed beyond sanity if 3.4million copies isn’t enough to show at least minimal profit!

    Early word is that Sony learned its lesson with the PS4 and went back to its design philosophy on the PS1 — keep it simple stupid, and focus on gaming development. (It’ll still have all the bells-and-whistles of PSN marketplace AND be Blu ray/DVD compatible… Sony is keeping Blu ray as the game media, too.) They sort of lost the point with the success of the PS2 (horrible system to develop from what I understand but still the best-selling console in history to date) and exacerbated the situation with the PS3 because of the even-more-complex chip set-up and “exclusive technology” (not Blu ray; that went down in price quickly) that pushed the system manufacturing costs through the roof. There’s no discussion of backwards-compatibility anymore… It’s totally dropped to save costs and because most people with a brain that actually like their old games will keep their old systems. (Besides, people have proven they’ll buy games all over again to get a “superior” HD remake.) Game stores never pay more than a pittance for systems once they reach about 2-years-old. I can’t imagine they’re paying much more than $50-$60 now for any of the current consoles (excepting the newer Wii U).

    I still liked the PS3 myself; being built like a stealth fighter didn’t make it less reliable than the far more failure-prone XBox 360. That said, neither Sony or MS (with all the overheating issues that have plagued earlier production runs of their consoles) touch Nintendo in the reliability department… still won’t save Nintendo in the end this cycle, though. I suspect the Wii U might be Nintendo’s swan song in the home console business despite the sales on the Wii. Wii U sales are not doing well.

    (The Wii software library ultimately turned into the biggest, worst pile of shovelware that I can remember… And I’ve played most of the game systems released in the US since the Atari 2600 days. Even game systems that seemed to have lifespans of 3 weeks had larger numbers of GOOD games. Most of the Wii stuff seemed geared towards very small children with no gaming ability whatsoever and a lot of it I heard played like tech demos or beta builds of games. I sure wasn’t impressed by what I saw; I can only take so many Mario games and re-releases of Super Mario Bros. I can’t imagine the bad taste left in even casual gamers’ mouths (the people who bought the Wii) are helping the Wii U at all. Myself and many other hardcore gamers saw the Wii for what it was — GameCube Mk II with a gimmick controller to fool people and distract them from the realities that Nintendo couldn’t match Sony’s or MS’s technology AND that Nintendo had no ideas left. Freakin’ joke and I still can’t believe that many people fell for it!)

    Nobody’s backing Wii U solidly and the PS4 currently has the PR lead even though neither PS4 or XBox 720 (early joke name for the next XBox system) has been shown in prototype or priced yet!

  2. I believe – being as big a TR fan as anyone I know of – that this title isn’t selling over 5M simply because it’s way overpriced for a game competing with other titles that offer a far longer gaming experience, have loads of replay value and include online/multiplayer capability. Since there’s no impetus to get the game ‘soonest’ – i.e., there’s just no urgency to have it in order to join others online (like Halo, CoD, etc.) – I know I won’t be spending money on it until it’s at the $29.99 level or below. Just can’t justify this price. I’m sure I’m not alone in this assessment.

    • Unfortunately, there’s still my assessment that too many games cost too much and when you don’t sell enough copies it sort of defeats the whole development process.

      We are seeing the same problems movies have had since the beginning of THAT industry pop up more and more in this big-budgeted “blockbuster” games — ie, scripting/storytelling problems, visuals at the expensive of everything else in the game, perceived lack of entertainment for the dollar value (little “bang for the buck”), and a malaise and feeling that too much of a game has already been done before. (Gee, doesn’t Super Street Fighter IV: Infinite Upgrade feel a lot like Super Street Fighter IV???)

      I agree with you, btw, on price. I spend a lot more time with the little money I can spare looking for deals on titles and end up doing more shopping online than I used to.

      Granted, I’m a curmudgeon and I honestly don’t think this generation of gaming console has been particularly great despite the technical advances. There’s been far too much shovelware — but it’s been nowhere bad on the two hardcore consoles (X360, PS3) as it was on the Nintendo Wii. The Wii may have the most miserable software library of any console in recent history; I believe the weak sales the Wii U are due in part to this.

      I like Blu ray and once in a long while someone actually uses 3D well BUT so many games have little repeat entertainment value and after you’re done with them you just don’t feel like picking them up again and feel empty or cheated… The reason some titles become replayed classics is because of simple but clever design and rewards. The best Star Wars games for the past few years (and among the best platform games in recent times) have been the LEGO Star Wars games. Those levels and characters you have to work for to unlock are generally worth the extra effort. The game are so addicting that I can’t stop playing them until I unlock everything and get that 100% percentage achievement. There just aren’t many other games like that on the market…


      To be honest, I’m NOT an RPG fan nor do I particularly buy a lot of shooters (outside of the basic Doom package; the glitter on the new FPS shooters can’t disguise the fact gameplay hasn’t evolved all that much; I’m also not into trash-talking and frankly could do without all the cussing kids online). I’m a basic meat-and-potatoes gamer whose favorite era was the mid-1990s with the ill-fated, underrated Sega Saturn, and, in particular, all the wonderful Japanese-developed games that never were released in the US. That was a great time for me to be a gamer but at the same time it illustrates how NOT to run a company in the US; that’s been the only system I’ve owned where I felt importing was justified and the price wasn’t TOO insane like it is today for PS3 titles despite the fact I no longer have install a mod chip or buy a special cartridge to play Japanese games on a US system. I just loved that era of Sega games (Model 2 arcade games like Daytona USA, Virtua Fighter 2, Sega Rally, Fighting Vipers, Virtua Cop series, House of the Dead series, Panzer Dragoon series, Crazy Taxi, and the Dreamcast-specific titles) at that point of time.

      The only other era I can remember in my lifetime where a company developed so many great games in a short frame was the late 1970s/early 1980s when many of the Atari classics (Missile Command, Asteroids, Tempest, the original Star Wars Arcade game, Battlezone, Centipede) debuted.

      Those innovative periods happen only once in a great while; maybe about every 10-15 years it seems in the gaming industry. Unfortunately, for me, a lot of those eras have coincided with the downfall and withdrawal of companies from the home console market. It’s very, very difficult to stay on top in any industry for any length of time without both good management and good creative people. Companies just don’t survive for long periods without both as Atari and Sega found out and as is Nintendo is discovering now, too.

      My money is still on Nintendo exiting home console HARDWARE development during or after the next home console cycle… they’ll stay a software developer where they’ll sink or swim as has every former hardware developer has. Their main danger is fading and becoming even more irrelevant as has been the case with other companies: 3DO (completely dead last I heard), Acclaim (gone), Factor Five (disbanded after the last Rogue Squadron title on the GameCube), Atari (reorganized every 2-3 years and not really the same company it was during its golden age in the late 1970s/early 1980s), and Sega (to a large extent despite being a publisher for other software developers and constantly re-issuing older generation console Sonic titles on newer consoles). They just can’t match the technology of Sony or Microsoft. Third party developers aren’t beholden to Nintendo anymore since Sony released the first Playstation system and many of them have been able to weather not developing for Nintendo much during whole console life-cycles.

      Also, Nintendo has been fighting the whole “MAINLY for kids” perception since at least the Super NES era. That has worked against them as many older, hardcore gamers don’t even take a second glance at Nintendo anymore. As retread as say Street Fighter may be, the sameness of Super Marios Bros is worse IMHO and the Mario games are no different from when I played those games a quarter-century game… and I was tired of them back then, too.

      • GC’, if you’re seeking bang for your buck, some good laughs, over-the-top silliness and… okay, maybe a little more cartoon gore than is really necessary… try Borderlands, if you haven’t. I put it off for years and have enjoyed it enormously (note: I use an XBox 360 w/a XIM3 mouse/keyboard setup, so YMMV if you use a controller). It’s a FPS/RPG hybrid that (IMHO) gets the best of both – much like one of my favorites long ago did: Outcast. I haven’t played Borderlands 2, but from the look of it, the producers of that title understand how to do a sequel. Bottom line: they don’t take themselves as deadly seriously as other game companies, and they focus more on game play than photorealistic graphics requiring a video card upgrade every 18 mos.

        I think your assessment is pretty accurate, FWIW. And I beleive that problem is due to the fact that, for some reason, these outfits seem to think pushing the limits of graphical capability and gimmicks (like “affordances”, ranking, etc.) is more important than a playable game. In terms of game play, I’d disagree that games like MoH and CoD haven’t evolved – IMHO they’re not nearly as playable and fun as the early versions, they’re only prettier. And that’s to say nothing of the manner in which the modding / dedicated server community was totally cornholed and then abandoned altogether, which basically killed the FPS/PC market. So, as with so many things these days, one is paying for style, not substance.

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