In 1996, Core Design wowed adventure seekers in their new game Tomb Raider. It soon lost its luster, however, after the very disappointing Underworld. Crystal Dynamics is starting all over. Giving you the opportunity to see Lara's first adventure, and how she grew to become the fearless explorer she is today. But does this game suffer from severe monotony like the past iterations? Or is there hope for the future? We'll soon find out...

Lara and her crew are shipwrecked on a mysterious island. Already inhabited by a dangerous group of people, Lara has to use all that she has to overcome her obstacles. But she later realizes that there is more going on in this island. Lara is likable. She pities the deer she had to kill for food. But during the game, she grows, and does whatever she has to do for herself, and her friends. 

The island itself is beautiful. Looking at the island from a high vantage point is beholding to the eyes. It's not all just jungle, though. It opens up more as you progress through the game. Surprisingly, the game is fairly open. You're free to go wherever you please. You can fast travel to previous location if you want to explore that location more, or if you want to find some collectibles. But the game never forces you to go back to any location. There are optional tombs to explore as well. A lot of these tombs are fun to complete. They provide a little challenge in the form of puzzles. You're rewarded nicely after completing the tombs. There is a lot of set piece moments, too. These moments contain some of my favorite moments; they give Uncharted and Call of Duty a run for their money. Unfortunately, though, the game is plagued by boring quick-time-events that only requires you to press the "Y" button. I wish there is a little more variety in that area. 

The enemies are fairly lackluster, too. You're going to mostly battle human survivors. The survivors will use their bow and arrows and machine guns to attack you. Some will rush in with melee weapons. The encounters are so predictable. They're fun if you use your bow, but if you use any other weapon, you're not going to get excited. The A.I. isn't stupid, though. They'll run behind cover if they need to. A few guys will also try to flank you if they have an opportunity. 

Like I said previously, the bow is the best weapon you can use in the game. You can hold down the trigger for a charged shot, or you can just shoot them all out quickly. It's so satisfying to use! The other guns aren't as great, unfortunately. The machine gun's cross-hair expands far too much. This gives the game an unnecessary challenge. You always have to stop shooting after five shots, so you can line up your shot again. Conserving ammo is very necessary. The shotgun is very useful - especially when upgraded. At least you're able to carry all the weapons you achieve. Being able to pick up more than two weapons is always nice. The upgrades are definitely the best part. You can upgrade your bow - making it more deadly. There are other upgrades that give you more ammo after looting a dead survivor. Of course, you have worthless upgrades, too. One of those upgrades allowing you to hit people with your pickaxe. If I already have my pickaxe, why do I need to upgrade it to hit people? 

The equipment in the game is also very cool. I get a nice Metroid aroma when I unlock new equipment. All the equipment you receive are necessary. There's not one thing you won't need to use or throw away. Climbing with your pickaxe feels very good. This is the first game I've played that made climbing fun. All of the equipment is fun to use. 

The worst part about this game is its worthless multiplayer. Multiplayer was completely unnecessary. The game modes are very unoriginal Like the campaign, the gun combat is atrocious. The maps are completely unbalanced. There's always one spot someone is camping at. The best part about the multiplayer is being able to use traps. It's sad that a lot of the achievements in the game are for the multiplayer. If you want a more fun multiplayer game that's similar to this, but superior in every way, play Uncharted 2. I recommend completely avoiding Tomb Raider's multiplayer, and giving the campaign all of the focus and attention. 

I recommend this game to all gamers. If you avoid its rather weak multiplayer, you'll have a good time! Crystal Dynamics did a wonderful job with this game. 

Setting: Average 
Characters: Average 
Story: Thumbs Down
Weapons: Thumbs Up
Overall: 5/10