Have You Played… Tomb Raider (2013)?
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.Tomb Raider’s reboot hit us the same year I started university, so emotions were already riding high, but as soon as I dove into Lara’s world once more I felt a little more at ease. I don’t think she felt more at ease, due to all the horrific deaths I accidentally put her through, but I really needed to hang out with an old friend during a massive change in my life, so her re-appearance was a welcome one.
This new entry explorers yet another origin story for the daughter of a rich man turning into an icon. It seems the children of rich men always turn to a life of fighting the big bad, so it was probably either become a hardened adventurer to unravel the secrets of Yamatai or turn into a British member of the Batfamily. We see Lara cry over killing a deer one minute and then absolutely not caring about slaughtering five men in one go the next. To be honest, while it’s not incredibly coherent, it is a big mood.
The re-reboot focuses on Lara not quite being the tomb raider we all know and love, and certainly not the same one from 2008’s Underworld. She’s a girl in over her head trying to rescue her friends and escape an island that seems out to get them, all while being hunted by a seemingly unstoppable cult. Not too dissimilar to my time at university, then. It still has much of what you expect from a Tomb Raider game, namely puzzles and exploration, but has a primary focus on survival and stealth, which was something the reboot brought in fresh, and set the tone for the two follow up entries.
I was apprehensive about another Tomb Raider reboot, but I remember the warm and fuzzy feelings I got from spending time with a more real Lara Croft. She shows more vulnerability than I ever remembered encountering in previous games, and I don’t just mean the absolutely horrific deaths, which I do think were on the border of A Bit Too Much.
As origin stories go, I think this is one of my favourites. It’s a story that has stuck with me for a long, long time, and I’m going to play Shadow Of the Tomb Raider some time soon, I promise. Lara’s one of my dearest friends, and one of the reasons I felt comfortable getting into games, as I’ve always wanted to be a badass explorer. Actually once, I was an explorer. And explorer scout, sure, but if you use your imagination a little bit and maybe squint, they’re basically the same thing.