Since it's release in 1996 it's no mystery to anyone that Tomb Raider has struggled over the years and has tried it's utmost hardest to realize it's own potential, so Crystal Dynamics had resorted to plan B.
A reboot which, fair enough it was probably the only solution left.
Well it has to be said that they've finally stopped being gentle with her and to be quite Frank it's about time to, seeing Lara delve into the unknown mysteries of a tomb and fight her way back out without so much as a scratch was wearing thin and the prominently featured texture effect whenever Lara rolled around in the dirt too much was just rather simplistic and nothing really to get excited about.
Now we get to see Lara in a more realistic view, she appears younger than in previous titles with no skills or combat knowledge what so ever, we see her get punched, impaled, and potentially molested, they've done away with the emotionless, flirty level headed explorer that she once was now she is essentially a scared, helpless girl crying for help that isn't coming, forcing her to take up arms and fight to survive anything the island throws at her.
She's not alone this time however, this time Lara has a whole team of friends this time all in need of help and want off the island that for whatever strange reason wont let them leave.
Well the first few hours of the game are not so much the start to a grand adventure, but rather a test of survival where you must hunt the wildlife to eat, where we see Lara sympathizing with her prey and apologizing for what she had to do. However hunting the wildlife may sound like an important task that needs to be carried out on a regular basis but really you will only ever need to do it once, at the beginning.
To do this Lara acquires a bow to help take down her prey silently, it may seem as though Tomb Raider is built all around survival and while that is true the bow isn't the only weapon you will be acquiring. You will find a pistol, a rifle and shotgun as well which will come in handy to take down heavily armored cult members all of which are a worthy challenge for our hardening survivor, you can take them down any which way you please but you will need to be clever about it if you decide to go with stealth because they are not always traveling alone and finding somewhere to stay out of sight until an enemy passes so you can execute a stealth maneuver can be quite difficult. Some sections of the game enemy NPC's will know you're coming to which an all out gun battle goes down which is very enjoyable, it's nice to let loose once and a while but be careful, your enemies are clever and will attack in numbers as well as throw grenades and molotovs in your direction just to draw you out into the open, so remembering to duck and dive from cover to cover is quite important but your cover can be blown to pieces to so be sure to move around a lot. Enemy cultists as said earlier, some are heavily armored so firing countless amounts of ammo is a big possibility but if aiming in the right place, providing they aren't moving around to much then take a shot. The aiming system tends to be a bit off sometimes but nothing really to complain about.
You can also evade enemy attacks an stab them in the back as sort of a counter attack but only if you have the skill to do so.
To upgrade Lara's weapons and teach her new skills and of course if the right parts are found, build new weapons you can do it at a campfire where Lara will also record events so far in a journal, these campfires can be found all over the island and also you can fast travel between them.
This is handy if there is an area on another section of the island you haven't explored whether it a cave or a tomb, upgrading your weapons and tools is very straight forward enough it will give you some options of what you want on your weapon or if you wish to strengthen them and you either accept or cancel.
For Lara's skills they are broken down into three sets, Survivor, Hunter and Brawler each with a list of different skills within their categories and by gaining experience points ensures you unlock more skills that can be learned with skill points.
Experience points are gained simple enough by killing enemies, looting their bodies and animal bodies etc. For weapon upgrades you can loot dead bodies of cultists or animals for salvage but it can also be found in lockers, wooden crates and chests.
Though it may not be open world Tomb raider gives more than enough exploration to satisfy your thirst for adventure all around are secret hidden tombs for you to discover and investigate each with puzzles to solve.
little caves will be easy to spot but it's possible something might be lurking inside and the chances of you seeing it are not all that slim, Lara now possesses a torch and can still aim while holding it.
Climbing and shimmying across walls and cliffs is still possible however Lara now has to use a pickaxe to help her climb certain rock facings which she also uses to hold onto rope zip line.
Over the years Lara has been liked by some and hated by others because of her lack of emotion and realism, which in this Tomb Raider she is full of, whatever pain and sorrow Lara feels throughout the game effects the player also she makes you want to see it through to the end and help her friends get off the island.
Here and there you will come across journal entries written by soldiers of the past or certain cult members of the present and the odd entry from Lara's friends that go into so much detail about the history of the island and the storms that come from nowhere and some to do with the sun queen, you really get a feel for it almost as if it were real. Of course without spoiling anything people obviously will die and these are tender moments and do make you feel sorry for what Lara and her friends have and had to go through, it certainly is one for the shelves and adventure of a survivor and hero will certainly have you on the edge of your seat praying you make it through.