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Tomb Raider is tops, but multiplayer feels unnecessary

Tuesday, 5 March 2013 14:40 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Tomb Raider launches today, and while it’s met with very few complaints, Brenna’s got one – she wants more, and she doesn’t want it delivered multiplayer-style.

A good multiplayer mode keeps you focused on a single game for many more hours than the single-player can. Those who lose hours to the multiplayer are more likely to feel that they got their money’s worth purchasing the game; they’re unlikely to trade the game in; and they may even splurge on ancillary DLC like cosmetic items or random drops, ensuring an alternate source of revenue.

When you fire up Tomb Raider today – and I sincerely hope you do, because I loved it – you’ll be greeted by a stylish menu screen complete with beefy audio and slick transition animations. If you’re impatient, you’ll already by hitting the button for “new game”, but assuming you like to savour your games, you may poke around in there a bit. After you’ve remembered what “invert” means to sort out your camera and browsed the locked galleries which promise spoils for skilled adventurers, your eye may wander to two mysterious menu items: downloadable content, and multiplayer.

“In the console space you need to do anything to make sure that that disc stays in the tray,” Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski wrote in a recent blog post. You can’t expect consumers to keep playing the same single-player experience over and over again, and when the cost of that experience is as high as it is, you can’t really blame them for taking advantage of trade-ins and rentals.

What you can do is give them a reason to buy and keep the game. DLC is a good way; whether it’s a series of free hefty content updates like Halo 4′s co-operative episodes, or even the promise of regular premium content drops represented by a season pass. Multiplayer is another.

A good multiplayer mode keeps you focused on a single game for many more hours than the single-player can. Gears of War, Mass Effect, Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed are excellent examples; all three were primarily single-player experiences which many doubted could make the transition to multiplayer. But they did, and have been extremely successful in terms of player numbers and hours spent. Those who lose hours to the multiplayer are more likely to feel that they got their money’s worth purchasing the game; they’re unlikely to trade the game in; and they may even splurge on ancillary DLC like cosmetic items or random drops, ensuring an alternate source of revenue.

Other games are almost certain to hit the jackpot in the same way, and you can’t blame publishers for having a go – as long as doing so doesn’t divert resources from the single-player side of things. But when it goes wrong, it really goes wrong – think of Spec Ops: The Line, which split critics for its bold narrative but was almost universally derided for its lacklustre multiplayer. Others are just a bit forgettable; we haven’t heard much about Far Cry 3, either positive or negative, for example.

The very last Final Hours episode shows
the dev team’s excitement and weariness.

If there was ever a poster boy for single-player games it is the Tomb Raider franchise. Oh, they’re great fun to play with friends, assuming your buddies aren’t of the “pull that switch. That switch. Pull the SWITCH you numbnuts it’s right in front of your face, oh it’s a candle” type. But a lone adventurer plumbing the depths of ancient caverns while woodenly flinging herself between towering structures and fleeing backwards from endangered enemies does not present an immediately obvious multiplayer hook.

So why the heck has Square Enix shoehorned it in? Well, for the business reasons stated above. It was lucky enough to have Eidos Montreal (sitting idle while waiting for Thief 4′s long overdue next-gen reveal, I suspect) to develop the multiplayer, meaning Crystal Dynamics didn’t have to make any sacrifices to get it up and running. But also because Tomb Raider’s combat is such an improvement on past entries that you may well want to do some more of it.

Lara’s moves are frequently and accurately described as brutal, and although her handling of weapons never entirely loses its amateur, clumsy feeling, it improves as she upgrades her gear. By the final hours of the campaign she’s a frighteningly efficient mass murderer and it’s kind of hard to let go of the compact but delightful toolbox of goodies she ends up with. Thanks to the multiplayer mode, you don’t have to.

Time will tell whether Square Enix’s investment was worth it. From my very cursory glance, Stace’s preview, and Eidos Montreal’s own comments, I suspect the answer may be “no”.

To invoke the games writer’s favourite cliche, time will tell whether Square Enix’s investment was worth it. From my very cursory glance, Stace’s preview, and Eidos Montreal’s own comments, I suspect the answer may be “no”. This isn’t a review of the multiplayer. I have no critique to offer beyond the fact that I simply haven’t the slightest interest in signing up to shoot more faces, despite the attraction of unusual asymmetrical modes. Neither Pat nor Dave have shown any enthusiasm, either. Maybe it’ll go great guns, suck us in, and we’ll be proven wrong; it wouldn’t be the first time.

But what I actually did want, as soon as the credits rolled on Tomb Raider, was more of what I’d just had. It’s far, far too early to start nagging Crystal Dynamics for a sequel, and I hope the team takes another five years or so if that’s what a finished product of such quality requires – but that other menu item, downloadable content, certainly has my attention. My wallet is ready, Square Enix; what are you going to do to keep the disc in the tray?

Tomb Raider is out now on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It has reviewed very well so far, although it’s worth noting that PC code has not been made available.

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19 Comments

  1. tmac2011

    im getting it after work, i cant wait to plAY it i could have got it last night but was to lazy to drive into town….

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Karooo

    I was just going to point out the duplicate para but it was fixed :(

    Great writeup, I felt the same way about the multiplayer, so pointless.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Moonwalker1982

    I don’t agree with this. I’ve had the game since last wednesday and the MP is actually heaps of fun and i didn’t expect that. Great map design and lots of places to go, traps are fun and overall it’s just FUN!

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Lengendaryboss

    Looks like multiplayer is dragging Tomb Raider fantastic origin story down. I Guess all the people claiming multiplayer is not needed in games seem to be right.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. OrbitMonkey

    So because a whole heap of journo’s don’t want to sully their precious time with Lara, by competing, the mp is *unnecessary*?

    Though they said the same about Mass Effect Mp & that turned out ok.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. ps3fanboy

    don’t need the mp its half arsed and here’s why…

    the mp part could have been great. but they had to split it up in pieces and sell it as dlc. the mp that comes with the game feels unnecessary and half arsed, because the good mp experience is missing. they can blame their own greed for ruin the mp…

    when i am finished with the game now i am gonna trade it in. had they included all of the dlc in the game when you bought it first time, i would have kept it.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Espers

    tomb raider !! multiplayer ?! seriously !! Oh please ! they could have released it by now !! … hopefully next ps4 x86 friendly will make dev times shorter

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Hellhound30x

    Allow me to clarify, but doesn’t most multiplayer feels unnecessary?

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Rafa_L

    when I found uncharted 2 would have MP, I didn’t care much and assumed I wouldn’t try, ended up it was what I played the most the last few years. I don’t have great expectations for Lara’s MP, I don’t even game that much today, but I hope to have some fun with it, and wouldn’t say it’s unnecessary, it’s always great to try to add value.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Red Demon

    @8 I agree a little bit with you, but Don’t think it is fun to play with friends you know in a team against other people. For example Call of Duty has multiplayer and it fun to play with people even though I am not a big fan of it. I am going to get this game tomorrow, because I can’t today I’m excited for this game.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Hellhound30x

    @10 dude, I’m totally burned out on Multi player… and for the most part it always feels tacked on unless its built with MP at its core…

    #11 2 years ago
  12. deathm00n

    If it is in any way like the MP of uncharted I will spend a lot of time in it :)

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Talkar

    I don’t plan on trying the multiplayer in the game, so i don’t really care if it is good or not. I play Tomb Raider for the reason i’ve always been: To lock the butler in the freezer! Seeing as you can’t do that i’m just gonna stick to the single player :P

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Sini

    piss poor first impressions. Too much fucking brown, QTE events all over, idiotic shaky cam, hate her voice and want to start killing people when I hear it, idiotic conversations with colleagues.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. CPC_RedDawn

    Why are people hating on this game? Coming from a studio that made the abysmal Underworld game this is a freaking masterpiece.

    Yea sure it has QTE’s but they are only really in the beginning when you have no weapons and its not as if the other games didn’t have these either.

    The story is pretty crap sure and the acting from the other cast is poor, but the connection you make with Lara during the first two hours of gameplay is awesome and even more than you ever did with Nathan Drake in three whole games.

    The game drip feeds you new weapons, abilities, hundreds of collectibles, hidden tombs, and upgrades along the way make for a pretty beefy game.

    The combat is both brutal and fun. It really deserves that 18/M rating on the box from shotgun blasts that echo and tear through enemies to flaming arrows and environmental kills. It all feels natural, yea sure it would be good if Lara once in a while spurted out lines that made her character feel a little more remorseful but it still as you mow through countless enemies but after all its still a game and I am the one controlling Lara so I don’t want to play as a wimpy character who wont kill anything. Although it would of been good for it to have taken a little longer for Lara to become the killing machine she becomes so quickly.

    One more thing, I would of preferred a better cover system too the current one has her auto crouching when near enemies. I should decide weather or not to crouch, not the game.

    ALSO people saying this is an Uncharted rip off… wait a minute… what did Uncharted rip off again?

    #15 2 years ago
  16. salarta

    @16: I’ve been checking Twitter and Metacritic throughout the day, and it seems like everyone loves this game and the representation of women through it. It’s pretty much seen as video game Shakespeare. It’s only a few people that have leveled any criticism about the game, everyone else considers it perfection incarnate.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. CPC_RedDawn

    @17 THANK YOU

    The game is beautifully made, and Crystal Dynamic have finally shown what they can do when given the right publisher behind them.

    I hope this spawns a new trilogy of games. If we can have this game series and then the Isometric Tomb Raider series as well that would be great.

    I hope for a new film too, I think Mila Cunis would make a great Lara but thats just my dirty little mind at work ;)

    #17 2 years ago
  18. salarta

    @18: It’s already been confirmed that they’re making a new film based on this game. This game is more what they can do once they completely change a character to fit what society wants nowadays than anything else, but meh.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. ez-haz-34

    Crystal Dynamics + Square Enix needs to get rid of this stupid useless Multiplayer(My Biggest Disappointment) its a waste of my time..stick to the single(solo) story like the original. I have played the very first Tomb Raider all the way the very last one made. Tomb Raider 2013 is AWESOME but its really too short please Crystal Dynamics NO MORE MULTIPLAYER just SOLO ONLY!!

    #19 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Vive manufacturer HTC said that it hopes to see Valve games, including Half-Life, on the virtual reality headset. Speaking to the BBC, HTC chairwoman Cher Wang said that Valve is keen on having its games available on the VR headset. “I think Valve’s best game is Dota, right, and Portal and [Team Fortress] and I […]

  • Make money easily in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

    If you’re looking to buy a fell set of armour for your character in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate but keep falling short on Zenny, this video will show you an easy way to make lots of it. Arekkz Gaming has a very handy tip for all Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate players: how to make Zenny […]

  • This is how you claim free Xbox One games from your Xbox 360

    Microsoft is giving everyone the ability to claim their free Xbox One Games with Gold titles from their Xbox 360 console, even without owning an Xbox One. If you don’t yet own an Xbox One and want to make sure you don’t miss out on all those free Games with Gold games, you’ll be pleased […]

  • Destiny weekly reset for March 3: Heroic and Nightfall detailed

    Bungie has reset the weekly cap of Crucible and Vanguard marks and added new Heroic and Nightfall strikes, now with burn. From now until next Tuesday, the weekly Heroic strike will be The Devil’s Lair with Heroic and Lightswitch modifiers. As for the Nightfall, you’ll be fighting Sepiks Prime with the help of Arc burn. […]

  • Few Mass Effect FemShep cosplays are as elaborate as this one

    The internet is full of Female Commander Shepard cosplay from Mass Effect, but very few are as terrific as this one. Visual artist Freya Willia has spent over two years painstakingly creating the perfect suit of armour and the best weapons to make her cosplay of Female Shepard as authentic as possible, Omni tool and […]

  • Deals with Gold: Assassin’s Creed Unity, Red Dead Redemption and more discounted

    This week’s Deals with Gold titles for Xbox Live subscribers is a good mix of modern games and old favourites. The list of discounted games through this week’s Deals with Gold is live with discounts on Assassin’s Creed Unity, Amazing Spider-Man 2, Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne 3, and more. The deals are live now […]

  • Destiny guide: how to maximise your Grimoire Points

    Destiny players regularly compare the size of their Grimoire Points. Learn how to make yours the biggest. Destiny guide: how to earn Grimoire Points In Destiny, earning most Grimoire cards is just a matter of playing the game, maybe a little more attentively than usual. You’ll either need to complete a certain number of actions […]

  • Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows will let you play as a baddie

    Shovel Knight owners will benefit from the generosity of Kickstarter backers quite soon. Because Shovel Knight was overfunded during its Kickstarter campaign, developer Yacht Club Games committed to releasing free content updates. The first of these, Plague of Shadows, has now been detailed. The expansion stars baddy Plague Knight, who turns on his former allies, […]

  • GTA controversies, from Hot Coffee to PR manipulation

    GTA has a long history of controversy. The latest Did You Know Gaming tells the full stories behind the sensational headlines. Grand Theft Auto is such a byword for controversy that it’s easy to forget the full context of what actually happened to bring mainstream press, politicians and interest group awareness to the Rockstar series. […]

  • Infamous 2 one of five new PlayStation Now additions for March

    PlayStation Now will expand to the tune of five new games this month. The March PS Now additions are Infamous 2, Twisted Metal, R-Type Dimensions, Alone in the Dark: Inferno and Operation Flashpoint: Red River. PS Now will set you back $20 per month or $45 for a three month subscription. It offers all you […]

  • Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster gets PS4 release date

    Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster hits PS4 in May. The PS4 release date for Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster is May 12 in North America and May 15 in Europe. Gematsu reports a special pre-order bonus calendar with art by Yoshitaka Amano is available through the Square Enix Store and participating retailers. In Europe, pre-ordering […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare getting 15 new Prestige levels

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players can now aspire to the ranks of Grand Master Prestige. Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games will add 15 more Prestige levels to the latest Call of Duty, giving players at max XP a chance to grow even further. According to the Sledgehammer Games blog, when you enter Master level […]

  • Destiny: Crota’s End recreated in Minecraft

    Destiny’s toughest challenge gets even nastier if you throw Creepers into the mix. The ultimate Destiny challenge – for now – is the Crota’s End raid. Taking place in an alternate dimension accessed through the Hellmouth on the Moon, the Raid takes Guardians through a pit of darkness to the resting place of Crota himself. […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3D trailer introduces the Heir to the Monado

    Xenoblade Chronicles 3D protagonist Shulk is the Heir to the Monado, his distinctive red sword. Let this trailer fill you in on what that means. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D releases for New 3DS on April 2 in Europe and April 10 in North America. As well as all the content of the Wii original, it has […]

  • The Elder Scrolls: Total War mod covers Morrowind, Oblivion and more

    The Elder Scrolls: Total War is a terrific mod allowing you get get intimately involved with the history of Bethesda’s detailed fantasy universe. The first release of The Elder Scrolls: Total War dropped on the weekend, giving players their first chance to try out LoRdNazgu1‘s creation. This version runs from 3E 427 to 4E 45, […]

  • Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 out now on Steam

    Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 is out now. Yes, we’re surprised too. You can grab Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 on Steam for $8. Developer Scott Cawthon really doesn’t mess about; the game was only announced in early January. Here’s the blurb: Thirty years after Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza closed it’s doors, the events that took […]

  • EVE Online heister makes off with $13,000 worth of goods

    EVE Online is a hotbed of villainy, espionage and backstabbing, but one intrepid corporate thief has made waves even in this setting. The thing about EVE Online is that it’s a true sandbox: the game’s rules are very loose, and allow players to make careers out of theft, piracy, assassination and espionage in addition to […]

  • Marth Amiibo getting a stock refresh in North America

    Nintendo of America has announced a fresh supply of the difficult to find Marth Amiibo. The Marth Amiibo will be back in stock in the US in late April, the platform holder said on Twitter today. Planning to pick up Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. and don’t have a Marth amiibo? More are headed to stores in […]

  • Skyrim beta update upgrades creation kit file size

    Skyrim has been granted a new beta update – more than three years after launch! – to improve the experience for modders and those who use them. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim released in November 2011. I think that’s worth noting before we discuss the beta update that dropped today, even as Bethesda is working […]

  • Paradox’s next epic RPG is, uh, Knights of Pen & Paper 2

    Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is very serious business so please enjoy this very serious trailer. “Return to the dicey world of Knights of Pen & Paper for a new turn-based adventure, where players get to take on the role of players, and also of the game’s encounter-designing, rules-laywering GM in a fully customizable […]

  • Amplitude looks amazing in new gameplay trailer, has a team multiplayer mode

    Amplitude may have been delayed but we still get something this March: a fine new gameplay trailer. Amplitude is coming to PlayStation 3 and PS4 sometime in northern summer. It’s a reprisal of Harmonix’s classic rhythm action game, a forerunner to its later efforts with Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and was crowdfunded. Update: Turns […]

  • DayZ creator’s “crazy”, “esoteric” next game developed with Improbable

    DayZ creator Dean “Rocket” Hall has dropped the first vague details of his new game project. “I do not want to make safe games. I do not want to make games the way we have been making them. What if the most experienced video game staff in the world collaborated on the most esoteric and […]

  • Battlefield Hardline will support AMD’s Mantle

    AMD has confirmed what most Battlefield fans thought. Battlefield Hardline will indeed support Mantle. Battlefield Hardline will support Mantle, AMD has confirmed. Some players weren’t sure whether the retail version of the game will support AMD’s API, due to its absence from the recent PC beta. AMD did not say whether the feature will be […]

  • Unreal Engine 4 GDC 2015 sizzle reel shows what the tech can do

    Unreal Engine 4 is a pretty versatile bit of tech, as this new sizzle reel shows. As one of the more ubiquitous engines, Unreal will be on show at GDC this week. Developer Epic produced the following sizzle reel to quickly demonstrate what it can do – cutting edge graphics (there are very few games […]

  • Survarium’s latest patch removes limit on battle ammo, rebalances experience gain

    The latest Survarium patch has readjusted the value of experience and reputation points gained and removed the limit to the maximum amount of ammo you can use in combat. Survarium developer Vostok Games has released patch 0.27a to the public, having recently finished testing it. The patch is a major one and covers changes to […]

  • The Hunt Begins in new Bloodborne TV spot

    Bloodborne is so close you can almost smell its coppery tang on the wind – and also you can watch commercials for it. Bloodborne arrives on PS4 at the end of this month (March 24 North America, March 25 Europe, March 27 UK) so excitement is starting to build. Sony isn’t helping keep us calm […]

  • World of Warcraft: you’ll soon be able to buy game time with gold

    Blizzard will soon allow World of Warcraft players to exchange in-game gold for game time and vice versa. Blizzard has announced a new system that will launch soon for World of Warcraft. The system is called WoW Token. Using this system, players will be able to buy game time using in-game gold. Here’s how it […]

  • 3D Realms’ Bombshell returns with the first gameplay trailer

    Remember 3D Realms’ Bombshell? The isometric ARPG that was announced last year? Well, it’s back, and we get to see gameplay footage. The game stars Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison, a bomb technician turned mercenary with a mechanical arm. She will embark on a quest to rescue the president and save Earth, all while shooting aliens. The […]

  • Unreal Engine 4 is now free for everyone to use

    Epic Games has made Unreal Engine 4 available for anyone to download and use, for free. Unreal Engine 4 is now free. Anyone can download it and start using it, the developer announced today in a blog post. The download features the the full set of tools used by Epic, and includes 100% of the […]

  • Call of Duty European Championship winner announced

    The winner of the European round of the Call of Duty Championship has been announced. This past weekend, 28 teams representing UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, the rest of Europe and Middle East attended the final of the European round of the Call of Duty Championship. UK team Epsilon eSports was crowned […]

  • GOG brings back Insomnia sale with discounts up to 90% off

    GOG.com is bringing back its Insomnia sale event with even more games. GOG’s Insomnia sale is back with double the amount of games. This year, there will be two sets of games available at once. The sets are seasoned classics and fresh new titles. Each set will feature games with discounts up to 90% off, […]

  • 2K is shutting down NBA 2K14 online servers, won’t affect career save files

    2K will be shutting down the servers for NBA 2K14 this month. The publisher revealed yesterday that online servers for NBA 2K14 will be turned offline on March 31. “You will no longer be able to play ranked games/online association,” reads the announcement. NBA 2K14 relied on online servers to store save files for MyCareer […]

  • One Dead or Alive tournament organiser is proposing ban of “over-sexualised” costumes

    A Dead or Alive tournament organiser has suggested a soft ban on some of the game’s “over-sexualised” costumes, and not everyone is happy. Tournament organiser “The HuBBs” took to the FreeStepDodge forums to suggest a list of rules that other offline tournaments can follow. The list goes over stages, characters, moves, which is certainly in […]

  • Destiny: all the news from Bungie’s open house Q&A

    Bungie hosted an open house Q&A session with the community last week and lots of exciting news have come out of it. Arekkz Gaming has gathered all the information that came out of Bungie’s open house Q&A in one handy video. The list is massive, going over Exotic weapon balance, upcoming events, PVE, Crucible rewards, […]

  • Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen to honour Nimoy with in-game memorials

    Developers behind space exploration games Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen will honour the memory of Leonard Nimoy through in-game memorials. The develops of both games have confirmed separately that in-game memorials will be established to honour the memory of the late Star Trek actor, Leonard Nimoy, famous for playing Spock. Elite: Dangerous executive producer Michael […]

  • Deal: get a PlayStation 4 + three exclusives for $399

    Amazon’s latest PlayStation 4 deal is not one to miss. With purchase of a PlayStation 4 console from Amazon in the US, the online retailer will throw in digital codes for Infamous Second Son, Killzone Shadow Fall and The Last of Us: Remastered, all for the same MSRP of $399. The Last of Us Remastered […]

  • Destiny: this is how one player predicted House of Wolves details and Xur’s inventory

    The method one Redditor possibly used to leak some details from Destiny’s House of Wolves was the same one he used to predict the inventory of Xur: Agent of the Nine. Last week, Reddit user Megamanexe4 leaked a few pieces of House of Wolves expansion content. The leaks included strikes, new Crucible mode, and a […]