Since the release of the first game in 1996, there have been eleven Tomb Raider games and two films. Most recently, the franchise was rebooted in 2013 with the title named Tomb Raider, which takes place before all the other games and sets the origin story for Lara Croft. It also remains to be the game with the most copies sold worldwide, hitting the one million mark within forty eight hours of release.
Highly praised for it's graphics, gameplay and character development, the game featured Lara Croft as a young woman on her first adventure to find the lost island Yamatai. However, when her ship is struck by a storm, her and her friends become stranded on an island over-run by a violent cult who worship a Sun Queen. The story focuses primarily on survival, with the player constantly searching for more ammo and upgrades for their weapons, and trying to find their group.
The entire game seemed to have been plucked right out of an action film, with quick-paced action sequences and cinematics contrasting the tense and emotional undertones. With quick-time events dropped into cinematics (which some players love and some players hate), it's almost as though you're participating in your own action-adventure film.
Lara Croft (voice-acted by Camilla Luddington) starts off as very innocent and ambitious, eager to uncover her first discovery. However, as the game progresses and she sees the horrors of the island, she slowly starts to become the battle-hardened survivor that fans know her for. The writers did a good job of keeping her human though, offering short sections of the game where she struggles with fear, grief and guilt. This makes the narrative more interesting, making the player feel connected to Lara and the other characters.
As the game progresses, the player is offered snippets of information and conversations that allows them to piece together what is happening on the island. Nothing is fed to the player, it's a game where you really have to think and work towards your goals. Artifacts and documents give you the history of other main characters, background to the main story and cultural information. However, they're not essential for gameplay, but offer a more rich experience for those willing to find them all.
The game doesn't just encompass the action-adventure genre, but includes snippets of other genres too. Dark, bone-filled caves and tombs give parts of the game a horror feel; searching for supplies gives it it's survival element; optional tombs and large levels make it seem like an exploring game. All of these elements added the experience, making the game to enjoyable to almost anyone who likes games.
The graphics and open landscapes also contributed to the game's wow-factor. Each area of the map was designed with care and detail, making it all the more realistic. Landscapes were beautiful, life-like places that immersed the player in the game. In certain parts of the game, the player even needs to stop, if even just for a moment, to simply take in their surroundings and appreciate how far video game graphics have come over the last twenty years.
This game is certainly equally epic and beautiful. If others in the series follow the example of the reboot, the franchise will be going for a long time, and fans can look forward to more great Lara Croft games.