Please support Game Informer. Print magazine subscriptions are less than $2 per issue


How To Play Tomb Raider Like A Professional

by Jeff Marchiafava on Apr 05, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Want The Next Issue In Your Mailbox?

Subscribe now

Every now and then I try to impart some of the wisdom I've accrued from my distinguished career as a professional gamer to the common men and women out there who enjoy games merely as a hobby. I look at it as one of the responsibilities that comes with my natural talent, and my guides for Skyrim and Far Cry 3 have undoubtedly lifted countless players out of their once-accepted mediocrity, even if none of them have had the decency to thank me for my help. Today I'm back with a list of tips for surviving Lara Croft's latest adventure.

For each entry, I outline how an amateur gamer might handle the situation. If that description sounds like the way you're playing, don't be ashamed; we can all get better. Well, except for me – but that's where the pro descriptions come in. They explain how I personally handled each situation, so study them well to be more like me.

Situation: While scrambling to get out of a collapsing cave, a demented madman grabs you from behind.
How an amateur handles it: Follow the onscreen prompts to shake him off and escape.
How a pro handles it: Lackadaisically wiggle the analogue stick out of contempt for quick-time events, getting crushed by a boulder in the process. Wiggle more vigorously the second time, but overlook the button prompt at the end of the sequence and get crushed by the same boulder. Wiggle your way through the sequence a third time, then hit the button as soon as it appears onscreen, not realizing it has to be a timed press. Get crushed by the boulder. Again. Play through it a fourth time while muttering to yourself how stupid QTEs are.

Situation: After escaping the cave, you come across a campfire.
How an amateur handles it: Sit down to save your game and upgrade your skills and gear.
How a pro handles it: Try jumping on top of the campfire to see if it's possible to burn yourself. When you take damage, continue jumping and rolling through the flames to see if you can actually take enough damage to kill yourself. Upon dying, wonder if psychologists have a name for whatever mental condition makes you do the things you do.

Situation: You enter a wolf den in search of a radio.
How an amateur handles it: Forge ahead. After finding the radio, fight off the alpha wolf by following the onscreen prompts.
How a pro handles it: Inch along inside the cave, jumping at every scripted noise while simultaneously feeling stupid for falling for them. Freak out when the wolf jumps on you as if you were a six-year-old seeing Gmork from The Neverending Story for the first time. Spend 20 minutes after the fight googling pictures of Gmork for comparison (I swear they're related).

Situation: Your quest for Lara's fellow crew members brings you to a new location.
How an amateur handles it: Activate Lara's Survival Instinct mode to locate your objective and other items of interest.
How a pro handles it: Scour every inch of your new surroundings, breaking pots and jumping at nets that are clearly out of reach while wondering what they're for. Startle yourself by stumbling into a thorny bush and taking damage, then stand underneath a hanging lantern and jump repeatedly because you find it funny when Lara hits her head.

Situation: An enemy has become trapped under some rubble and pleads with you to spare his life.
How an amateur handles it: Take the high road. After all, it's Lara's humanity that separates her from the savage inhabitants of the island. To sacrifice that for a cheap moment of revenge would make her no different than the despicable lowlifes she's –
How a pro handles it: Oh, you're totally shooting that guy in the head.

Situation: You come across a canyon full of ledges and islands designed to take advantage of Lara's rope-bridge ability.
How an amateur handles it: Set a nav point on your map and use Survival Instinct to make your way towards it.
How a pro handles it: Shoot ropes everywhere until you become horribly turned around. Stumble into areas you've already been, then fall down a waterfall. Look for a ledge to throw yourself off of in hopes that you'll respawn back by your objective. Eventually give up and resign yourself to the long, arduous trek back up to the top.

Situation: While attempting to cross a river, Lara gets swept downstream.
How an amateur handles it: Slide back and forth to avoid obstacles and use your shotgun to clear debris in your path.
How a pro handles it: Get stabbed through the head by the same damn metal pole 10 times in a row because, as it turns out, it's hard to see what the hell is going on when the whole freaking screen is shaking. Finally make it down the river only to segue into a parachuting sequence, then get impaled on a tree branch 10 times. Vow never to go whitewater rafting or skydiving in real life.

Situation: You enter a tomb in need of raiding.
How an amateur handles it: Use your Survival Instinct to locate important objects in the environment. Listen to Lara's observations for more clues.
How a pro handles it: Wander around the tomb like a clueless idiot because you want to figure out the puzzle without using any hints. Fail miserably at solving the puzzle, then try the same solution 10 more times. Pause and take a good long look around the tomb, then try the same failed solution one more time. Realize you missed a really obvious piece of the puzzle, then continue on in silent shame.

Situation: A stream of enemies is closing in on your position, brandishing a variety of different weapons.
How an amateur handles it: Use an equally diverse assortment of techniques to handle the situation. Snipe faraway enemies with your bow and switch to your assault rifle and pistol to dispatch mid-range enemies. Fend off ambushes with your shotgun and counter melee attacks with Lara's axe for quick kills.
How a pro handles it: You realize you have fire arrows, right? Light every enemy on fire regardless of how close they are to you or how close you are to flammable explosive barrels or gas vents. Because fire arrows.

Situation: You've completed the story mode and are ready to jump into the multiplayer.
How an amateur handles it: Play a few casual matches to get used to the differences of the two factions before tackling ranked matches. Customize your classes and perks to suit your play style, and purchase weapon upgrades between rounds.
How a pro handles it: There's a multiplayer mode?

Have your own humorous Tomb Raider tips? Share your experiences in the comments below.