“I hate tombs,” Lara Croft sighs as she enters a musty crypt in Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics’ bold reboot of the long-running series. The franchise had grown a bit musty in recent iterations, bogged down in clumsy shooting and silly supernatural elements like an evil Lara doppelgänger, and distancing itself from the core experience of, you know, raiding tombs. Despite a string of solid if unspectacular efforts, Lara’s star had faded considerably, and Uncharted’s Nathan Drake largely supplanted her as gaming’s top adventurer, in gameplay and graphics –until now. This new Lara has taken a page from Drake’s exploits and is officially reclaiming her throne.
In this new origin story, Lara is not a girl, not yet a woman when she is shipwrecked on a mysterious island. Separated from her crew and visibly scared, she is forced to grow up quickly when a murderous cult kidnaps her friends. Armed with a bow and arrow, she channels The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen in sheer grit and determination, gaining new weapons and abilities that open up the world as the game progresses in a nod to gaming’s first lady, Metroid’s Samus Aran.
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