Tomb Raider Gets Better After You've Beaten It

Tomb Raider gave me the worst kind of quiet at first. The game's silences were ones filled with tension and dread, interludes where my worries about getting Lara through the experience would fester.

All throughout Crystal Dynamics' reboot of the archeological adventure series, players are left to wonder how the awful mythology of its fictional island was going to chew them up and spit them out. What terrible injury or revelation would Lara have to endure next? The relief I felt after finishing the game was replaced by something unexpected: a hush filled with possibilities to uncover.

I went back into Yamatai to just fool around a bit before logging in some multiplayer. I was expecting to be bored, since all of the combat sequences had been cleared. But I wasn't stifling yawns. Instead, I was awestruck by how quietly beautiful the new Tomb Raider became after all the surviving was over and done.

The realisation hit me hard when I went back to the Summit Forest area, where one of the game's tensest sequences happened. On my first go-round, this was the part of the game where Lara was forced into stealth. I remember clenching the Xbox 360 controller nervously, trying to quietly pick off the Solarii thugs stalking me. But now, after the storyline's end, the same wooded expanse where enemies stalked me in the darkness felt full of stark beauty. Deer gambolled around me and I could climb trees unhurriedly, gathering salvage and enjoying the vantage points with no threat. One nook I'd never ventured into held the wolves that the Solarii sicced on me after I failed at staying hidden. They were still there, growling at me from inside their cages. I nocked an arrow and killed one. I immediately felt bad. These animals weren't threats anymore. The men that made them into monsters were all dead. And their whispered hate and noise went with them, replaced by bullfrog croaks and leaf rustling. Things could be different now.

The same new perspective held true for the wintry peaks of the Mountain Base or the ramshackle structures of the high-altitude Gondola Transport. I'd almost died in most of these places but now I had a weird nostalgia about them. And even more counterintuitively, I admired the ingenuity of the messed-up cultists who were trying to kill me. And not just the modern-day Solarii either.

Without bad guys firing machine guns at me, I could marvel at the tenacity of all the people throughout the centuries who were stuck on Yamatai before Lara's shipwreck. They made the island a little less cursed, planting the melancholy seeds that brings Lara into her new destiny. In the absence of violence, you could really feel how this place shaped Lara into something tougher.

Now, some of the island's locales would never feel pretty. Places like the Geothermal Caverns (where crazy prisoners still chattered at a returning Lara; I killed these guys, too but didn't feel quite as bad about that) or the Chasm Shrine seethed with the fatalist lore that gives the game its urgency. There wasn't any awe in combing over these locales. I felt only a distant sadness wading through the moats of blood, mixed with new appreciation as to how well the game's visuals were executed.

The most important takeaway might be how raiding a tomb doesn't feel like a mood-breaking indulgence, after the game's narrative resolves. It feels like Lara's true calling, like what she's supposed to be doing. It's not just modern game design busywork, like, say, hunting down Riddler trophies in Batman: Arkham City. Every tomb I figured out felt like another step toward moving Lara away from horror and towards the derring-do of her previous incarnation. Granted, she'll probably wind up somewhere between the extremes of her past and present. For now, it's nice to imagine that this quiet post-game cocoon is where the next step in Lara Croft's re-evolution is happening.


Comments

    I was about 60% of the way through and lost my save somehow :( Have to start over but don't want to have to start the story over. First world gaming problems.

      Same thing happened to me, game just crashes when trying to load the save, only at 12% so not quite as painful.

        Same thing happened to me on Xbox 360, and I fixed it. I started a new game in a new save slot, played up until the end of the cave escape sequence, and then returned to the main menu and loaded my original save. Worked fine, and never gave another error!

    Cool story bro.
    Really, I enjoyed this and can imagine doing something similar, leaning towards picking up a cheap key for this despite my reservation that it might be more Uncharted shooting galleries and little else.

    This game is incredible and I'm only about 50% done, but I don't know how they can get away with basically ripping things directly from other games. There are a ton of set pieces that are almost exactly the same from the Uncharted series and some elements are almost copy pasted from Far Cry 3.

    I mean, I love it the game, and they've taken parts from other fantastic games and mashed them together to make another fantastic game, but it just seems odd that they can get away with it.

    Last edited 12/03/13 10:49 am

      This game is 4 years in development. I promise they didn't "rip" off far cry 3 and redesign the entire game in the past 4 months. And uncharted ripped tomb raider. Who cares.

        I said I don't mind so don't act as though I'm giving the game flack for it. Uncharted did get ideas from Tomb Raider, yes, but Tomb Raider hasn't been around for a while so Uncharted because the 'default' for these types of games.

          Finished the game 100% and the only thing I felt is they get idea from Uncharted but who cares i love that kind of game. There was nothing similar to Far Cry 3 at all? Except maybe bow? But bow is in every game lately.

            You get strandard on an island and as you progress you slowly become a killer.
            You climb a radio tower and zipline down from it
            The leveling up system is very similar
            As is the gathering of herbs and hunting of animals
            You collect war time memos

            Yeah nothing similar to FC3 at all. Again, I'm not saying this is a bad thing at all, why do people not get this?

            Last edited 12/03/13 12:55 pm

              yeh I also think it feels like im playing FarCry again but both fantastic games

          You sir are a dumbass.

          Tomb Raider has been around for ever and has been consistently releasing games since 1990's

          1996 Tomb Raider Core Design PS1, Sega Saturn Windows, MS-DOS, Mac OS N-Gage First
          1997 Tomb Raider II PS1 Windows, Mac OS
          1998 Tomb Raider III PS1 Windows, Mac OS
          1999 Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation PS1, Dreamcast Windows, Mac OS
          2000 Tomb Raider GBC
          Tomb Raider Chronicles PS1, Dreamcast Windows, Mac OS
          2001 Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword GBC
          2002 Tomb Raider: The Prophecy GBA
          2003 Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness PS2 Windows, Mac OS
          2006 Tomb Raider: Legend Crystal Dynamics PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360,
          GameCube Windows PSP, GBA, DS Java ME Second
          2007 Tomb Raider: Anniversary PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii Windows, Mac OS X PSP
          2008 Tomb Raider: Underworld PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii Windows, Mac OS X DS Java ME
          2010 Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light PS3, Xbox 360 Windows iOS, Android
          2013 Tomb Raider

            No shit captain obvious, I've been playing them since the very first. Doesn't mean they still can't take ideas from others. Moron.

            Last edited 13/03/13 9:09 am

          In the last decade here is a list of the years a Tomb Raider game has been released... 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013. Please use your brain and think before you say that Tomb Raider hasn't been around for a while. As you can see.... 6 games in the last 10 years.

      I think you mean to say that Far Cry 3 ripped of bits from a bunch of other games and got away with it, as it was a fun game to play. For e.g. Skinning animals and collecting herbs: Red Dead redemtion; Uncovering map with radio towers: Assassin's Creedish; Stuck on an island: Not particularly original (see Dead Island). I could go on. So saying any game rips of FC3 is a bit rich, I reckon.

        That's how it works, though. You could do all those examples with the games you just mentioned with games that came before them. You don't go back to Genisis and say Far Cry ripped off Pong because it's a video game. You compare it to things that came out just before it. Hence why TR CAN be compared to FC3.

          Oh I agree, and that's why I'm not suprised at all that they get away with it, as long as it's a good game. I just found Far Cry 3 particularly unoriginal, so that's why I felt the need to point it out. Although the main character took making the main playable character extremely unlikable to new heights IMO.

          And first person sex scenes was pretty new for me.

          Last edited 13/03/13 1:08 pm

    Really hope they release a DLC with more tombs to raid... bit disappointed with the lack of tombs to raider in a game called "Tomb Raider"...

    "Places like the Geothermal Caverns (where crazy prisoners still chattered at a returning Lara; I killed these guys, too but didn’t feel quite as bad about that)"
    I felt the most bad about killing those guys! They were innocent prisoners, thrown in there by the cultists, who hadn't managed to find their way out and had gone crazy. Poor souls.

    I 100%'ed the game yesterday, and i really enjoyed it. The ending leaves it open to a sequel, and it also had really fun combat. My one major gripe with the game, is that at some times it feels just a bit non sensical. Like for example, why would Lara fill her pockets with all of these relics (she takes them because if you look in the container, there is nothing there) when she is trying to escape the demented island? Also, some of the stuff is introduced way too late in the game, like the is parts where you have to climp up a rope, and it takes super long, and you get a device to massively speed it up around 80% through the story. Still amazing just minor flaws. Hopefully there will be some single player DLC

      Well the one that troubles me the most was she raid tombs to take a map and leave all the golds. Who in the right mind would do that.

      About the rope pulley thing. I believe it came at the right time. I believe the developers expecting people to enjoy the game to the end and then go back to unlock stuff. You probably played the same way I did, collecting before the end of the map lol.

        Yeah, I think i did, i mean I didn't leave an area till i had gotten all I could at that point (Mountain Village was the WORST for collectibles), and i really don't get why she would end up taking a fake relic, over a giant chest of valuable gold either. Nothing major though

      The bit with the helicopter pilot annoyed me.

      She pulls a gun on him to make him land so she can save everyones life... only for him to die in a crash she caused. And she's so remorseless about it that doesn't even mention that he died.

        I didn't even really think about that.. but i mean in Lara's defense...
        Roth was killed saving her
        So you can understand

          But that doesn't happen immediately...

            Well, she is unconcious until she is grabbed, and sort of out of it still, and then when the thing happens, she is shocked by it and is up and moving

    At first I thought about that as well BUT the map she takes lists all the relics in the area and really relics can sometimes be worth more than gold.

    The map points her into the direction of priceless artifacts.

    This game is great, except for that "talking" achievement. Like in Assassins Creed 1, you have to talk to everyone at every point. This includes talking to one character until he stops talking, then collect a piece of salvage and talking to him again until he stops talking.

    Finished this yesterday and must say that I absolutely loved it the entire way through.
    It is such a beautiful game and yeah the second the credits rolled I went back to find the things I missed and it is still a great place to explore.
    So impressed by this game

    The only character I actually cared about was Lara. The character development and the characters themselves were disappointing save for Lara. Other then that it was a quality game very fun!

    Last edited 12/03/13 4:16 pm

    This is GOTY so far and I don't think even Bioshock can out do it with characterisation compared to what they wrote for Lara. I will wait and see though.

    This is a perfect reboot. I 100% it and wish I was still on my first playthrough.
    A MUST BUY GAME!

    All of the game's best and most beautiful parts happened when you weren't bogged down by firefights.

    I only regret that I beat the game before getting to earn the penetrating arrows for the bow. Beating the game would have been soooooo much easier with arrows that can penetrate armor...

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