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When one thinks of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft, one thinks of a voluptuous woman, with a long braid, holding pistols while climbing cliffs in short cut offs in a tiny tank top. In 1996 “Tomb Raider” was developed by Core Design, released by Edios Interactive and has since then changed developers and publishers. With ten games, two movies and a theme park ride under its belt, the franchise has gotten a little stale.
Developer Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix have teamed up to reboot the franchise in a way that will revitalize the “Tomb Raider” in a grittier, edgy new way: by making her human. The new Lara Croft adventure is a prequel that will take players back before Croft became a “kick-ass,” gun-toting adventurer; a young woman thrown into adventure who must fend for herself on a seemingly deserted island.
Along with this new take on “Tomb Raider,” Croft is younger and her body type design reflects this. It is no longer one that will be just gawked at; rather, her skills will be put on display. In the game videos Lara is seen hunting, falling from great heights, using stealth to evade enemies and surviving the elements of the island. The use of a bow and arrow is a welcomed addition as it reflects the best possible skill that Lara would need in surviving on an island. Using a gun would be too loud and give away her location to enemies. In addition, it would also scare away prey. The player would also be using a weapon not often seen in a third person adventure game. It will be interesting to see how the bow is incorporated into the gameplay as Lara acquires other weapons.
Another interesting aspect of this reboot is the inclusion of multiplayer. As a game that is heavily reliant on the single player story, it is curious that Crystal Dynamics would choose to include a multiplayer aspect to a game that did not need it in the first place. In an interview with IGN, the Creative Director of “Tomb Raider,” Noah Huges, stated that multiplayer is, “…important to establish Tomb Raider for the future […] that is part of what a reboot is about.” So far, the multiplayer will include a team vs. team mode and the bow will be available as a weapon of choice. What is refreshing to see about the multiplayer mode is, that the third person point of view adds an extra challenge that the usual first person point of view does not create for the player. The character can also swing on ropes, climb on top of structures and hang from said structures, which means the player has more options for offense and defensive strategies.
The rebooted franchise sports two editions: regular edition ($59.99 USD) and “Survival Collector’s Edition” ($99.99 USD). The collector’s edition comes in an “endurance” tin from the game, has an eight inch figurine of Lara Croft with her bow and arrow weapon, iron on patches as well as access to a weapons pack in game. In addition for those who pre-ordered there is “Scavenger Hunt” that players can access online and play to win other in game items. The scavenger hunt integrates community elements and trivia questions by having players take photos of themselves with the answer to the trivia question for that particular week.
Gamers that buy from Amazon.com will get “The Final Hours Edition” which comes with “an exclusive Art Book, In-Game Skin for Lara and a digital copy of Geoff Keighley’s, “The Final Hours of Tomb Raider” for the Kindle Fire.”
This exciting new twist on a fan favorite will be released on March 5, 2013.