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On Tomb Raider and appealing to the Uncharted crowd

Tuesday, 26 February 2013 12:59 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Comparisons between Uncharted and Tomb Raider shouldn’t put you off the anticipated Crystal Dynamics reboot, says Johnny Cullen. Similarities are there, but Lara’s revamp stands alone.

By revamping the series, Crystal Dynamics has made Tomb Raider viable to the Uncharted audience.

Next week, Crystal Dynamics, the custodian of Lara Croft since 2006, will release its anticipated reboot of Tomb Raider. The game has been compared to Uncharted since the first gameplay was shown at E3 nearly two years ago. Similarities have been noted before. When Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune first released in 2007, comparisons were made to the older versions of Lara’s adventures.

It’s obvious the new Tomb Raider has been inspired by Naughty Dog’s work with Nathan Drake, but that doesn’t hinder it. If anything, it works in Crystal Dynamics’ favour.

For example, Tomb Raider’s combat is a key inspiration from Uncharted. Fighting can get frantic, close and personal (though it does take three or four shotgun shots sometimes rather than one or two to take an enemy down) while a stealthy approach is utterly satisfying. Tomb Raider’s stealth aspect is something I consider to be better than the Naughty Dog version. There’s a forest section halfway through the game in which you need to take out a group of enemies. When stealthily murdering from behind or with Lara’s signature bow from afar, there’s something giddy about it.

Uncharted has a basic slump and die if you succumb in battle, slip up on any of Tomb Raider’s big bits and Lara can die in very gruesome and gory ways (like to see her head pierced by a tree branch during the parachute bit? Thought not).

Traversing the environment draws from Uncharted to an extent, with colour-highlighted pillars telling you where to climb. But Tomb Raider builds upon the concept by adding various ways to let you get from A to B rather than the climbclimbclimb of Uncharted, allowing you to shoot a hook onto a catchable surface to zipline down the bottom or use the climbing axe as an aid.

The one thing Uncharted and Tomb Raider are matched at is big action set-pieces. Crystal Dynamics has a heap of them throughout, from the first playable section to the last.

New map

I didn’t play the majority of the PSone Tomb Raider games, and even playing Anniversary or the post-Uncharted 2 Underworld didn’t exactly make me click with the series. But there’s plenty in the reboot for fans who’ve been around since the beginning. You can still explore tombs as an optional side (I only entered one or two due to wanting to stick to the story), and there are still puzzles in both the crypts and main game.

By revamping the series, Crystal Dynamics has made Tomb Raider viable to the Uncharted audience. I’m in love with Uncharted and Naughty Dog in the creepiest way possible, and Lara Croft’s origin story caters to the Drake fanboy in me.

But while the comparisons are easy, Uncharted was all about a big payday. Tomb Raider – which could only have been written by Rhianna Pratchett – was about building a character from vulnerability to strength out of the bleakest of situations. Crystal Dynamics succeeds in taking one of gaming’s most successful franchises back to roots it never knew it had.

A solid foundation has been set from the next phase of the Tomb Raider series. Whether it’ll revert to retellings of old installments or continue with the origin thread is unknown, but it’s unlikely Crystal Dynamics will need to look in Naughty Dog’s direction again.

Tomb Raider releases on March 5 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Read Dave’s opinion on the final code and check-out all the review scores.

Disclosure: This opinion is based on a final Xbox 360 retail copy of Tomb Raider, provided by Square Enix.

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18 Comments

  1. salarta

    “Back to roots it never knew it had” typically means it never had those “roots” to begin with when it’s on the popularity scale of Tomb Raider.

    I understand that people of the current generation want to completely redefine Lara into a completely different character, but let’s not take the whole redefine thing so far that we go back and try to make the original Lara into something she wasn’t.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. manamana

    Great article, Johnny! Can’t wait to get my hands on.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. DSB

    Good stuff. So about the shotgun bit, are you saying that the enemies are bulletsponges or that the weapons are tricky?

    I fricken hate bulletsponges, it’s the laziest possible thing you can ever add to a game.

    You’re not actually challenging anyone, you’re just adding hitpoints to something and giving it a better weapon, so killing it becomes a drag.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Samoan Spider

    Yeah, I hate that bulletsponge suggestion. They talk about immersion, realism and attention to detail, and then they go and make the enemies into unnatural supersoldiers. But still, comparisons are inevitable but I’m looking forward to playing this. I enjoyed Uncharted before this and I enjoyed the multitude of Tomb Raider games before that.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. ps3fanboy

    the dlc they are gonna release for this game they can release with the game free or they can wipe their ass with it… the ps4 coming next year, it have no ps3 bc for the game or the ps3 psn. all dlc released from now is a waste of money…

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Dragon246

    I really laugh at morons when they berate games for “OH ITZ COPIZ THAT”, and not treat it on its own merits.
    Here is a fact, humans have always copied good things, because they deserve to be copied. In games, I have absolutely no problem with “coping” (better word is inspired imo), unless it iterates on the original idea and/or expand its audience. TR succeeds on both accounts.

    Btw, really liked TR-Anniversary, although I still have my reservations on rebooting, I hate them. Life doesn’t reboot.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DSB

    @6 Sure, but if you copy something, you can either come out in front, or behind.

    It’s basically the difference between Darksiders and Darksiders 2. The original feels like a clinical, uninspired patchwork of shit you’ve already done, in mostly exactly the same way, in other games, only with a bit of lava there, and a bit of ghost fog here, and a space marine who’s not a space marine.

    The second one actually takes those mechanics and hones them, applying them in a way that’s rewarding, and wrapping it in a bunch of settings that are actually somewhat impressive.

    Everything isn’t equally good. If you’re getting your ideas elsewhere, you should at least know to apply them properly.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. manamana

    @7 wise words, chapeau!

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Dragon246

    @7,
    Its subjective obviously. I can agree if someone downs a game for using same repetitive or uninspired or so on language. But just saying “ITZ A COPY OF X SO I HATE IT” is pure fanboyism.
    That is just a moot argument. You don’t need to look much far to see the examples.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. FinalStar

    I certainly agree the game is very good (finished it for a review over the week-end), but praising Rhianna Pratchett for the story and characterization of Lara, well… why?

    The plot is pretty average fare and only excells in signposting most of the major developments from miles away. And Lara constantly and abruptly switching between Bambi and Rambo never rings quite true. It’s probably not all the writer’s fault, but I fail to see why supposedly only her could have written this – because she’s a woman?

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Sini

    Uncharted sucked ass. Boring merc fights that overstayed their welcome, no thought platforming done simply to show off how well a wall texture can look when taking up the screen, and let’s not forget “puzzles” that are stupidly simplistic and there simply to break up the boring mercenary fights. Nothing more than PR bullshit and tards ate it up without looking objectively at the games(turd looked good though, I do give em crazy production values).

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Jerykk

    “I didn’t play the majority of the PSone Tomb Raider games, and even playing Anniversary or the post-Uncharted 2 Underworld didn’t exactly make me click with the series.”

    I’d love to see a TR fan’s review of the game. It seems like everyone who has reviewed it so far was never a fan of the series to begin with and thus never really cared about skill-based platforming and puzzles. The fact that the writer of this article skipped past the tombs (which really should be the focus of the game instead of killing hundreds of dudes) is quite telling.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Johnny Cullen

    @DSB – Yeah. For me it took something like two or three shots. Sometimes I was aiming for the head with it and that should be a one-shot kill (I’m not saying it should pop the head as a typical shotgun shot should do, but good god, how could you take one shotgun blast and still be standing? :S)

    But I’m willing to look the other way on it because otherwise, it really is a brilliant action game.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Da Man

    Uncharted sucked ass.
    Word.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Espers

    @1 Bravo !!

    I miss the big boobs though

    @6 Good entry, I kinda liked anniversary as an idea and graphics but hated the stupid deaths !! which plagued all of the tomb raider games and took em to failure. I can’t judge the reboot until I play it.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. reask

    Good to see you back writing for vg247 JC.

    IMO if it does a uncharted 2 type job I will be happy enough.
    uc 3 dissapointed me personally but 1 and 2 were great so if its a bit like them I am happy enough tbh.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. DaveDogg

    I’ve wondered all along how this can be a “Tomb Raider” and after reading nearly every review I’m still wondering because by the sound of it one thing you don’t do very much of is raiding tombs. Oh and the first game was a timed exclusive on the Sega Saturn. what do I want from a Tomb Raider game I want elegant platforming & levels built around intelligently constructed puzzles and a bit of mystery and imagination to the story unfortunately it seems this does neither of these so in the words of Duncan Bannatyne “I’m Out”

    #17 2 years ago
  18. TommiK

    “or the post-Uncharted 2 Underworld”

    Underworld was released in 2008, so pre-Uncharted 2.

    #18 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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  • Game of Thrones: Episode 2 -The Lost Lords arrives in February – video

    Release dates for Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series have been announced. A new video offering a “first look” has also appeared. Below is the story synopsis, which you may want to skip if you haven’t played Episode One. House Forrester is in disarray. Their liege lord and his heir are dead, and Ironrath […]

  • The open beta for Nosgoth has gone live

    Consider this a friendly reminder: the Nosgoth open beta has started. Announced last week, the open beta can be accessed through the official website. Once you link your Steam account, just log into the service and start downloading the client. Everyone that plays the tester will receive double XP through January 28. More information is […]

  • First gameplay footage of Homeworld Remastered Collection being shown this weekend

    Homeworld Remastered Collection news and the first gameplay footage of Gearbox Software’s remake will be revealed at PAX South this weekend. The news and video will be shown during the Inside Gearbox Software panel at 10.30am CST on Sunday. It will also be streamed on Twitch. Gearbox is hoping to have Homeworld Remastered released by […]

  • Latest Final Fantasy Type-0 HD video delves more into combat

    Square Enix has released its latest Orience News video for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, and it provides insight into character combat styles and techniques. In the video you will see the elite combat force of Class Zero going deeper into battle to improve their skills. Combat is party-based and each of the three characters in […]

  • Something really cool happens when you finish Resident Evil HD *spoiler*

    Those who finish Resident Evil HD will be met with a really nice surprise at the end. If you wish to find out what it is on your own, DO NOT head below the break. You have been warned. According to images posted by Reddit user omeganemesis28, a thank you message from Resident Evil creator […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain release date “should be” announced soon

    A release date for Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain “should be able” to be announced soon, according to the latest Kojima Station webcast. New information on the game will also be announced at the Taipei Game Show on January 31, per Game Spark (thanks, Gemtasu). “I know you’ve all been eagerly await for […]

  • Punch-Out!!, more Throwback offerings arrive on Nintendo US eShop

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Punch-Out!!, Citizens of Earth and Part Two of the Throwback Sale. Here’s the entire update: Nintendo eShop releases Punch-Out!! (originally for Wii) – also 50% off until January 29 Citizens of Earth – introductory price of $11.99 until January 27 Breezeblox (Wii) Midnight (Wii […]

  • The Witcher Battle Arena has arrived on the App Store and Google Play

    The Witcher Battle Arena, CD Projekt RED and Fuero Games’ mobile MOBA, has been released. In Battle Arena, two three-hero teams fight it out as they try to capture and hold conquest points. The game features “no pay-to-win elements”, instead it contains a “player-friendly monetization system.” Every item and functionality can be unlocked entirely through […]

  • Second wave of Star Wars titles arrive on GOG, third wave next week

    The second wave of Star Wars titles will arrive on GOG.com today with more coming January 27. Today you can pick up the following: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D (digital distribution premiere) Star Wars Rebellion (digital distribution premiere) Star Wars Empire at War: Gold Pack On January 27, the final three games of this wave […]

  • If Microsoft is serious about PC games, Xbox One should be the real Steam Machine

    Forget the magic space goggles. Maybe Valve doesn’t have the wherewithal to realise PC gaming’s TV dream, but Microsoft holds all the keys. If Microsoft really wants to get into PC gaming full-time, it needs to get around the table with Mr Newell and its platinum chequebook. “It’s time for us to talk about gaming […]

  • Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 releases on Steam next week

    Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 will be released on Steam for PC next week. The PC version of the was announced earlier this month and contains upgraded graphics, runs in 1080p, and has both Japanese and English audio. It will release on January 28 for $14.99. Fairy Fencer F and Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 also coming […]

  • Take a look at the controls and special abilities in The Order: 1886

    The Order: 1886 has a new trailer available that highlights the game’s controls and reveals the two special abilities the main protagonist has at his disposal. The game uses a similar control scheme to other shooters, but just in case you wanted to see more gameplay, we’ve got just the thing. The most interesting parts […]

  • These elderly people are better at GTA 5 than you’d expect

    Do old people get video games? Namely something known for its violence like GTA? Well, you’re about to find out. The latest REACT production sits a few elderly men and women in a room and lets them play GTA 5. The results are not what you’d expect, they start off getting a feel for the […]

  • More major Microsoft titles will be coming to PC

    Microsoft will bring more of its franchises to PC. Following on from yesterday’s big Windows stream, Microsoft has released a full recap on Xbox Wire. In the blog post, the firm hid a small bit of news revealing that Fable Legends will not be the only title to come to PC. “Today we announced that […]

  • Someone is attempting to recreate Dark Souls’ Lordran in Minecraft

    Lordran, the land of the ancient lords will soon be explorable in Minecraft thanks to a passionate modder. Davweed is a talented modder attempting to recreate the entire world of Lordran in Minecraft. Lordran is the land where the entire Dark Souls game is set. The goal is to make it a 1:1 scale of […]

  • Elite: Dangerous is getting Community Goals with update 1.1 – all the details

    Patch 1.1 is Elite: Dangerous’ first major update. Developer Frontier has detailed Community Goals, the big change coming with the patch, and more. We were told last week that big additions are coming with patch 1.1, due in February. Today, we learn in more detail what those features are. Namely, what the developer is calling […]

  • Sunset Overdrive, Skyrim and Dead Rising 3 highlight this week’s Deals with Gold

    A new week, a new set of deals for Xbox Live Gold subscribers and we’ve got the full list. Major Nelson posted the deals which are live now and run through Monday, January 26. Highlights include Sunset Overdrive, Dead Rising 3, Skyrim, Final Fantasy 13-2 and more. Check the full list below. Xbox One Dead […]

  • Survarium: 10,000 FREE Premium account keys to give away

    We have 10,000 codes to give away for MMOFPS Survarium, granting the player a Premium account for 24 hours along with 5,000 Silver coins. Each key gives the player a Premium account for 24 hours along with 5,000 Silver in-game currency. A Premium account gives you 50 percent more experience, income and reputation for 24 […]

  • “I don’t like people thinking we’re doing underhanded, dirty shit,” says Evolve dev

    Despite what it looks like, Evolve developers did not intend to give out the wrong signals when it comes to the game’s DLC plan. Evolve creative director Phil Robb spoke to Destructoid in an interview that was conducted late last year about the studio’s approach to DLC, map packs and more. Robb’s idea is that […]

  • Clock Tower spiritual successor Night Cry gets first screens

    Night Cry is coming along nicely and today we get our first look at it. Ever since the announcement of Project Scissors (at the time) last September, and then the name change to Night Cry, we’ve been waiting to see what the game looks like, especially since it’s developed with mobile platforms in mind. Today, […]

  • Tekken X Street Fighter is still happening, 40 people working on it

    Tekken X Street Fighter is definitely not vaporware. A team of 40 developers is currently working on it, according to director Katushiro Harada. Harada was interviewed by Polygon. In the interview, he touched on many topics, one of which is the status of the seemingly-never-coming-out Tekken X Street Fighter. “It’s very difficult to talk about,” […]

  • From Game of Thrones to Borderlands: all of Telltale’s adventure games rated

    Telltale Games has an impressive back catalogue of licensed adventure games to its name, and we have opinions about all of them. Note that this rundown doesn’t include bundles, the non-adventure games or games published by Telltale but created by other developers. It’s also got a fair bit of speculation in it, since at least […]

  • There is probably a new Battletoads game coming

    If you’ve watched last night’s Windows presentation you knew you recognised that logo on Phil Spencer’s t-shirt. Wearing a t-shirt with a logo of an upcoming game is an antic we’ve come to expect from Xbox boss Phil Spencer now. Based on that, we wouldn’t be alone in predicting that a new Battletoads game is […]

  • Here’s a short, 60fps trailer for DmC: Definitive Edition

    DmC: Definitive Edition has a new video available that shows the game running at 60 frames-per-second. Capcom has put out a short new trailer for the Definitive Edition of DmC: Devil May Cry that takes a look at different stages and boss fights. The video begs to watched in 1080p60 quality, if your connection can […]

  • Xbox One to PC streaming targeting 1080p, 60fps

    Microsoft has revealed that it’s looking to achieve 1080p resolution at 60 frames-per-second when the Xbox One game streaming launches later this year. The question of what final resolution and framerate Xbox One game streaming will operate at was on a lot of people’s minds when the demo was shown. Thankfully, Microsoft’s Mike Ybarra has […]

  • Microsoft is looking at offering PC to Xbox streaming

    Having announced Xbox One to PC streaming as part of its Windows event last night, Microsoft said that making the process a two-way street is on the cards. Microsoft’s Phil Spencer sat down to do a group interview following the Windows event and talked a little bit about the firm’s plans for streaming, including a […]

  • Watch John Romero play Doom

    John Romero made DOOM, and now you can watch him play it, dropping many a delightful gem of insight regarding one of the most important shooters of all time. This video was organised by Double Fine as part of its Devs Play series, a thing I only just discovered and now want to marathon all […]

  • World of Speed has gotten fairly pretty over the past year

    World of Speed has produced a new trailer, showing off the racing MMO’s progress over the past year. Announced one year ago, World of Speed is looking pretty damn shiny now. Check it out in this trailer, which introduces the Mountain Spiral Road location and teases several yet to be revealed. World of Speed comes […]

  • Minecraft user data leaked in plain text – change your passwords

    Minecraft users should change their passwords and those of any accounts using the same log-in details. Minecraft’s user data servers have apparently been compromised, with user names and passwords leaked online in plain text. 1,800 Mojang accounts were affected. The news comes via German source Heise and The Guardian and has been treated quite seriously […]

  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter will commence filming in August

    The sixth Resident Evil movie is back on track. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter will begin filming in August, having been delayed to accomodate star Milla Jovovich’s pregnancy. In a Facebook post, Jovovich said she’s currently being very mindful of gaining enough weight to ensure a healthy birth for her second child, without the risk […]

  • Nintendo bosses “do not really understand modern gaming”, says former executive

    Former Nintendo executive Dan Adelman has provided frank insight into the Japanese platform holder’s inner workings. Adelman, who was one of Nintendo’s most important developer liaisons, left in August 2014. One of the first things he did was say that Nintendo had issued a gag order on his social media use, and shortly thereafter called […]

  • Sony’s 10% apology discount doesn’t apply to pre-orders

    Sony has updated the terms and conditions of its apology discount to exclude pre-orders. PSN members have been offered a 10% discount voucher as an apology for downtime over the holidays due to DDoS attacks. In an update to the PlayStation Blog announcement post, Sony clarified that you can’t use this for pre-orders. So. That […]

  • 343 to beta test Halo: The Master Chief Collection matchmaking fix

    Halo: The Master Chief Collection is still broken, believe it or not. The next Halo: The Master Chief Collection update is, like most of the others so far, designed to resolve the shooter collection’s ongoing matchmaking woes. 343 Industries is determined to get it right, apparently, as it’s gone so far as to elect to […]

  • Here’s the release schedule for Star Citizen’s story and first-person modules

    Star Citizen lead Chris Roberts has shared release windows for several modules of the space simulation sandbox. Star Citizen was the focus of a BAFTA Masterclass presentation yesterday, during which Roberts outlined the game’s current development milestone goals. Polygon captured the details. The first person shooter, planetside and social elements on the game are expected […]

  • Destiny: Crota’s End Hard Mode has already been beaten

    Destiny’s toughest challenge got extra tough today, but a troop of willing Guardians stepped up to the line of duty. Destiny developer Bungie has verified the identities of the first Guardians to beat hard mode for the Crota’s End raid, which launched earlier today. Bungie User Research has confirmed the World First finishers for the […]

  • All maps and modes for Battlefield Hardline detailed

    A third map and mode has been announced for Battlefield Hardline which means all modes and maps have been revealed. The new mode is Crosshair, a second competitive mode in which a former criminal “turned state’s witness” is on the run. His former buddies, who are criminals, are trying to kill him and the cops […]

  • Alien: Isolation has sold over 1 million copies

    Alien: Isolation has sold over 1 million copies, Creative Assembly and SEGA announced today, and probably in joyous fashion, although PR mails never denote the writer’s mood. The quote included from creative lead, Alistair Hope does sound as though he is super pleased with the milestone. “It has been fantastic to watch the reviews come […]

  • Fable Legends launching on PC alongside Xbox One with cross-platform play

    Fable Legends was announced for PC today during Microsoft’s Windows 10 event, along with the news it would contain cross-platform play with Xbox One. The game will allow you to play with up to four of your friends online across both platforms. A video from the team at Lionhead, which goes into more detail, was […]