Tomb Raider 2013 Game Review


Tomb Raider 2013 Overview:

A reboot of the original series looking at the origins of Lara Croft. You will start the game struggling with basic skills but by the end of Tomb Raider 2013 you will be an arrow shooting mass-murderer (who of course is on the side of justice).

Tomb Raider Review:

As a massive fan of the original Tomb Raider games I was kind of excited about the thought of a new one with more modern graphics and game play. The fact that it was an origin story was kind of ho-hum because it meant a lot of grinding to gain skills that you were just used to having when playing as Lara, but still the thought of Tomb Raider 2013 filled me with excitement. That said, with the price of it and the various reviews, I didn’t end up buying or playing this game until 2015.

Here’s the thing about playing games on Steam (or most modern systems) compared to the old days of CD’s and the like. Steam tells you how long you’ve played a game. Even with my 100% completionist mentality and refusal to leave the forest until I’d found that one last charm, I have clocked exactly 16 hours in this game. Story finished.

Most areas cleared of most collectables (one or two exceptions that I just gave up on because they really weren’t making collecting things worth the effort). I will admit I only unlocked half the achievements, again because they just don’t seem worth the effort it would take to do it.

16 hours. I put 49 into Plants vs Zombies before I gave it up as entirely repetitive.

Tomb Raider 2013

This isn’t really saying there is anything wrong with the story, or the game play, or the visuals, or anything else, but when I purchase a game, particularly an adventure game, I kind of expect to be adventuring for a bit longer than 16 hours. So that’s my major issue with this experience on the table.

However, this issue stems from a slightly deeper issue. The game is too easy. I openly admit to not being good at computer games. I enjoy them, but I die, a lot, even in games that aren’t Dark Souls. I died once while playing Tomb Raider. Once. And that was because of outside interference (cat jumped on keyboard).

Okay, there may have been a second death when I missed a quick time event. If I’m smashing through this game with almost no challenge, there’s a real issue with the difficulty of the game. The original Tomb Raider games were brutal (or at least for my skill level). Death could occur at any time and it could come from the most pathetic sources imaginable (though mostly lack of depth perception and timing).

Nonetheless, this game isn’t bad. It looks great, the controls are responsive enough, there’s a variety of settings even though you are essentially stuck on an island, and you upgrade weapons and equipment at a steady enough pace so you don’t feel like things are being withheld for the sake of it. At the same time, upgrades might be too easily accessible and I never really seemed to run out of items or have to look hard for them.

Lara is a little bit of a hard character to like. She isn’t the confident and overly cocky character we knew from the old games but is finding her way there. At various points she seems to take charge and tell the other survivors what they are going to do or volunteers to be the one to do something when you have to wonder if there is any reason it has to be Lara other than she’s the protagonist. Still, it is kind of awesome watching her find her feet in the situation she finds herself in.

As to the actual story itself, it works. It does. I just can’t recall what the overall point of it was because it was also fairly forgettable. Mostly you are on an island and stranded but the other inhabitants of the island keep kidnapping and trying to kill you or your friends. There’s a greater mystery that Lara is trying to unravel but that is really all there is to the story and it’s not that great a mystery.

I think fans of the original games will get a good nostalgia trip with just enough novelty to make this worth while, but you need to go in knowing this is not a challenging game nor is it going to be one you can settle in to play for months because the story is going to come to an end and replay value is minimal.

What are your thoughts on this game?

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Karandi James

20 thoughts on “Tomb Raider 2013 Game Review

  1. Hi,
    I really liked the game, a good entry into the franchise. I played it when it originally came out and have very fond memories of it. From the story to the combat. I did my own review of the game on my blog, and I do rate it highly.
    I have just reached my 50th follower on WordPress, I just wanted to say thank you for following me and my blog. I hope to converse more with you in the future, I really how you have set up your blog.

  2. I played this one on Xbox 360 when it came out, remember that I enjoyed playing it, but have not completed it. The visuals looked fairly decent to be fair, and I kind of liked where the storyline went, but otherwise I can’t remember much about it. Still 16 hours does sound short, especially seeing that you also went for the collectables. Great post, brings me back to my old gaming days 😀

  3. I’ve heard a lot of discussion about this game in a sense “ruining” the series. The whole “soft reboot” approach along with changing the personality of Lara and making the game more accessible to casual players was a backstab to hardcore fans of the original series. Almost like the new Star Wars, but many are more lenient on that… probably because it’s Star Wars.

    I’ve kinda tossed and turned as to whether or not I want to play this, but reading this review encourages me to not play it, so I appreciate the input (my wallet also thanks you). Would you say the original games are better?

    1. In terms of challenge, the original games are definitely better. This game is visually impressive and the story (what there is of it) works well. But Lara is definitely not the Lara you remember so that nostalgia doesn’t really hold. Between being short and far too easy it makes it difficult to recommend unless you are in the mood for a quick adventure game where your bow and arrow are more effective than any other weapon you are likely to come across.

  4. yeah, i played this game through once and never came back to it. your 16 hours are impressive because i only clocked 10. speaking of steam, what’s your id? 😀 mine is marthaurion as always

    i also never expect qtes, so i died quite a few times because i was paying attention to something.

    1. My steam account is shared in the house, so sorry, I don’t give out the id.
      Quick Time events are always painful. I just don’t see the point. There’s no skill involved. Its just pay attention and hit the button and this wonderful animation we’ve prepared will play. Its like the paint by numbers approach to gaming.

  5. I enjoyed the game quite a lot, but I would have appreciated a more diverse set of bad guys. Just dudes and wolves the whole time. I wanted to fight more animals and supernatural creatures like mummies and stuff.

    1. There are a lot of wolves on this one tiny island really. One has to wonder what they normally eat when there isn’t a handy group of shipwrecked survivors around.

  6. It’s been a few years since I played this but this post made me want to go back and play it again (although I’d probably pick up the sequel at this point…. if not for Zelda, Persona and so many other games coming out all at once. :x).

    It’s certainly not a challenging game but how good it feels to play made up for that in my mind (plus so few AAA games are really challenging these days unless it’s specifically designed that way re:Dark Souls). It still has what may be my favorite bow controls in a game ever, or at least it’s up there.

    The length was also perfect for me as someone who has limited time to play games these days. Unless it’s something like Zelda or Persona where I’ve been anticipating them for years and they’re among my favorite franchises I probably don’t want to put more than 20 hours into a game max. If I can finish a game in that time then it’s all the better, and so few AAA games truly surpass that length unless you’re a collectables-type person. I do understand that my mentality towards length isn’t shared by everyone though.

    I’m also that idiot who’s probably put upwards of 250 hours into Overwatch since its release. :p

    1. See I normally plug about 200 plus hours into a game and still don’t actually finish it. Skyrim, Dark Souls, Grand Theft Auto, etc. I play them for years off and on and just keep revisiting and finding things to do. Even my current replay of FFX that I started last year I am up to 35 hours and I’m not even really trying to do much other than play the story.
      You are right in that it was quite fun. And it was kind of satisfying to get to the ending. I just kind of feel that for the price, a few more hours of game play was in order.

      1. And that’s totally fair! I definitely put over 20 hours into GTA and Skyrim (and although those games came out at a different time in my life I’d probably still try to do it now). It’s not a hard-line rule. For these types of single player story-driven action/adventure games I do have a limit though. It takes a rare game to make me want to pour hours into it, usually coming from Nintendo or Blizzard. (And it’s at this point that I realized I need to think about this more because my ideas are all muddled… maybe I’ll write about this on my own blog).

  7. I’m currently playing it now, but dropped it for a while…. will resume playing this weekend.

    Like you, I’m a completionist, I try to get every little thing I can get my hands on, including shooting little innocent birds and deer just to gain a few points. However , I don’t think it’s repetitive. Each new scene surprises me. The only thing that annoys me is the the fact that Lara is forced to battle so many enemies. I stopped playing at that point where she ‘s fighting an army of samurais. The heck . Seriously ?

    1. Glad you are enjoying it. I didn’t really get the point of all the hunting (I get she’s supposed to be surviving and all that but mostly it just felt like yet more filler to a fairly short game). Still, what there was in the game was pretty fun.

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