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The Evolution of Gaming: Tomb Raider

Michael Bigelow June 28, 2012 Featured, Games No Comments

With this year’s E3 wrapping up, it should come to no surprise that we look to past E3s and see how far the videogame industry has evolved. Remember 1996? Pokemon was blowing up, Tupac was still made of flesh and blood instead digital lasers, and videogame enthusiasts celebrated the second E3 in history. Among first entries was: the original Resident Evil, the original Unreal Engine, as well as the first StarCraft—yes all these stunning games made their debut in the same year alongside the juggernaut game known simply as: Final Fantasy VII. Fast-forward twelve years later and we’ve seen the descendents of each; two of which had new releases this year and a third I’m about to mention.

Tomb Raider, which debuted back in 1996, is finally ready for its much needed reboot. Plagued with mediocre titles  (Underworld, Anniversary, and Legend; the last of which premiered initially as a PS2 game before being ported to the PS3 in 2011, one of Sony’s staple franchises is ready to stun players as it once did years ago.

Introspective analysis of the game itself is a must as one of videogames oldest franchise must now navigate the perils of higher graphics and game play value that is only matched by the ever increasing expectation of fans worldwide—and it should!

Upon initial glance, Tomb Raider lives in close quarters with another famous Sony franchise: Uncharted—a perspective that created uproar all over the net. Much like Nathan Drake, the new Lara Croft is tested not only by overwhelming odds, but her environment often puts her in perilous positions. In one scene after freeing herself from hanging from a ceiling, she immediately falls onto a spike, an injury reminiscent to Drake’s bullet wound in Uncharted 2. In another scene her foot is caught in a bear trap. All the while she has to escape a sinking boat, survive in the wilderness, and stave off starvation. The question then really shouldn’t be how much Tomb Raider takes from the Uncharted Series, but how each developer used each other’s criteria to provided the gaming world with a much better game.

Let’s not forget, long before Nathan Drake was scaling German U-boats and crashing literally everything around him, it was Lara Croft who first donned the explorer uniform

And if you’re still convinced this new Tomb Raider is a knock off of the Uncharted series, then I challenge you to take a deeper look into both franchises history. Let’s not forget, long before Nathan Drake was scaling German U-boats and crashing literally everything around him, it was Lara Croft who first donned the explorer uniform (of course hers incorporated hot pants and a bare wife beater, but details are…well…details). But taking a deeper look, 2013’s Tomb Raider is a Lara Croft never seen before. In perhaps the best way I can describe it, this younger version explores the psyche of a woman before she inherits the inner badass bitch we all know and love. She’s more vulnerable and less experienced. In a sense, she’s merely a child thrown into a savage world with nothing but her wits at her disposal. It’s ironic that Crystal Dynamics incorporated Lara’s quote, “I hate tombs,” in the trailer. All of these examples are evidence of a game that not only evolved in terms of graphics, game play, and mystery, but there’s a much deeper sense of story development. This new Lara Croft is everything Nathan Drake accompanied with a celebrated history, bow and arrows, survival of the fittest, boobs, and hips that were made for walking.

Coming from a video gamer who played the series sparingly—and I use this term loosely, I can easily say this is one of 2013’s most anticipated games.

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