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Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is a 2013 action-adventure video game published by Square Enix. Tomb Raider is the fifth title developed by Crystal Dynamics in the Tomb Raider franchise. As the first entry in a new Tomb Raider continuity, the game is a reboot that emphasises the reconstructed origins of the culturally influential lead character Lara Croft. Tomb Raider was released on 5 March 2013 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and on 23 January 2014 for Mac OS X.

After the release of Tomb Raider: Underworld in 2008, Crystal Dynamics began development of Tomb Raider soon after. Rather than a sequel, the team decided to completely reboot the series, establishing the origins of Lara Croft for the second time, following Tomb Raider: Legend. Tomb Raider is set on Yamatai, an island from which Lara Croft must save her friends and escape while being hunted down by a malevolent cult. Gameplay elements focus more on survival, although exploration is used within the game when exploring the island and various optional tombs. It is also the first game in the series to have multiplayer and the first game to be published by Square Enix, after the latter's acquisition of Eidos Interactive in 2009. Camilla Luddington was announced to voice and perform as Lara Croft in 2010, replacing Keeley Hawes.

After a delayed release from late 2012 to March 2013, the game received much anticipation and hype. Tomb Raider received critical acclaim upon release, with critics praising the graphics, the gameplay, Luddington's performance as Lara, and Lara's characterization and development, although the addition of the multiplayer mode was criticised. Tomb Raider sold one million copies within 48 hours of its release, and has sold more than 4 million copies overall. An updated version, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, was released in North America on 28 January 2014 and in Europe on 31 January 2014 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One containing all features and DLC.

Tomb Raider Plot

The game begins with Lara setting out on her first expedition aboard the ship Endurance, with the intention of finding the lost kingdom of Yamatai. By her suggestion and against Whitman's advice, the expedition ventures into the Dragon's Triangle, east of Japan. The ship is struck by a violent storm and shipwrecked, leaving the survivors stranded on an isolated island. Lara is separated from the others and captured by a strange, savage man. She manages to escape while her captor is killed as the cave collapses due to her actions. As Lara tries to locate the other survivors, she finds more evidence that the island is inhabited, such as strange carvings, dead bodies, and animal sacrifices. She eventually finds her friend Sam and a man called Mathias, who claims to be a teacher who was shipwrecked on the island. As Sam tells Mathias the legends of Himiko, Lara passes out; when she wakes, Mathias and Sam are nowhere in sight. When Lara regroups with the other survivors, Whitman decides to go with Lara and search for the still-missing Roth, while the rest of the group (Reyes, Jonah, Alex and Grim) set out to find Sam and Mathias. As Lara and Whitman explore, they discover that the island's inhabitants are worshipping Himiko, confirming that the island is Yamatai. Upon discovering a shrine erected in Himiko's name, they are captured by the islanders and taken to a settlement along with several other survivors from the Endurance. When the survivors attempt an escape, the captors turn on them. Lara is separated from Whitman and tries to hide, but is found by one of the islanders and forced to kill him. She fights off the remainder of the attackers and reunites with Roth, saving him from a wolf attack.

Lara manages to activate a radio tower and call for help, but the plane that answers the call is struck by a freak storm, and Lara hears a mysterious voice saying "No one leaves" in Japanese. Unable to save the surviving pilots, Lara is contacted by Alex and Reyes, who reveal that Sam has been kidnapped by the islanders, a violent cult known as the Solarii Brotherhood. Lara tries to rescue her, but is stopped by Mathias, leader of the Solarii, and ordered killed: she is saved by an attack from samurai-like Oni. Escaping the ancient monastery where she is taken by the Oni, she hears from Sam that Mathias is going to put her through the "Ascension", a "fire ritual" to find the next Sun Queen that will burn her to death if it is unsuccessful. Lara follows them to the Solarii fortress and is aided Grim. The Solarii take Grim hostage, but he sacrifices himself to so Lara can escape. With Roth's aid, Lara infiltrates the fortress and sees the ritual begin. When the fires are lit, a great wind blows them out, showing Sam to be the next Sun Queen. Lara escapes again and reunites with her friends, forming a plan to rescue Sam and escape. Aided by Whitman—who has managed to negotiate some degree of freedom with the Solarii—Lara returns to the palace to rescue Sam as Roth commandeers a helicopter to get them out. Lara succeeds, but persuades Sam to escape by land when she sees another storm gathering as the helicopter approaches. As Lara tries to force the helicopter pilot to land, they are brought down, with Lara nearly dying. Roth revives Lara, then takes a fatal blow from Mathias meant for Lara. While mourning Roth, Lara accepts that the storms are not natural, but are somehow connected to the Sun Queen and designed to prevent anyone from leaving the island.

She meets up with the other survivors, who have evaded the Solarii long enough to secure a boat for escaping the island, provided that it can be repaired. They are joined by Whitman, who claims to have escaped, though Lara begins to suspect him of working with the cultists. Lara and Alex find parts for the boat in the wreck of the Endurance. They come under attack by the Solarii and Alex triggers an explosion, sacrificing himself so that Lara can escape with the tools. Finding an account of a World War II-era Japanese military and Nazi scientific expedition to the island that sought a way to harness the storms as a weapon, Lara decides to explore a coastal tomb, where she finds the remains of a samurai general who committed seppuku. It is revealed in a message he left that he led the Queen's Stormguard, the Oni that defend the monastery, and that the Queen's successor took her own life rather than receive the Sun Queen's power, leaving the Sun Queen trapped in her body after death, and her rage has manifested as the storms. Lara realises that the Ascension is not a ceremony to crown a new queen, but rather a ritual that transfers the original Sun Queen's soul into a new body: Himiko's spirit wants to escape its current body, and Mathias plans to offer Sam as a new host. Lara returns to the survivors on the beach to find that Whitman has betrayed them, abducting Sam and handing her over to Mathias. Lara, Jonah and Reyes give chase, heading up a river to the monastery, with Lara arriving just in time to see Whitman killed by the Oni. After fighting her way through the Solarii and the Stormguard, Lara arrives at the top of the monastery where Mathias is performing the Ascension ritual. Lara kills Mathias when she shoots him from the roof of the monastery, before destroying Himiko's remains to save Sam. With the storms dispersed, Lara, Sam, Reyes and Jonah leave the island and are picked up by a cargo ship. As she and her friends sail home, Lara decides that there are many more myths to be found and resolves to uncover them, stating that she isn't returning home just yet.

Tomb Raider Gameplay

Tomb Raider is presented in third-person perspective, and the player takes control of the lead character, Lara Croft: the game uses an interconnected hub-and-spoke model that combines action-adventure, exploration, and survival mechanics. Lara can traverse between the camps and across the island using footpaths, improvised or already-available ziplines and climbable tracks. Many of Lara's moves are carried over from the previous games created by Crystal Dynamics, with some tweaks added, such as incorporating elements of stealth gameplay. Quick Time Events are scattered at regular intervals throughout the game, often appearing at crucial or fast-moving points in the game's plot, such as two early ones where Lara has to extract a shard of metal from her side, then later escape a collapsing cave. The combat of the game borrows multiple elements from the Uncharted series, with the player having the ability to free-aim Lara's bow and the guns she salvages, engage in close-quarter combat and perform stealth kills. Added to Lara's abilities is Survival Instinct, a mode where enemies, collectables and objects pivotal to environmental puzzles will be highlighted for the player. The game also incorporates RPG elements: as the player progresses through the game, they earn experience points from performing certain actions and completing in-game challenges linked with hunting, exploring and combat: this enables Lara Croft's skills and abilities to be upgraded in specific ways, such as giving her more storage capacity for arrows and ammunition. Players can also upgrade and customize weapons using salvage collected across the island. There is also a character progression mechanic in the game: better items, weapons and equipment is gained as the player progresses, though the appearance of most of these items is closely linked to events in the story. Karl Stewart said that the game's campaign lasts between 12 and 15 hours. Along with the main story, players will have the chance to do multiple side quests, explore the island, revisit locations, and search for challenge tombs.

Reception
The game had sold more than 1 million copies in less than forty-eight hours of its release. In the United Kingdom, Tomb Raider debuted at number one on the charts, and became the biggest UK title launch in 2013, surpassing the sales of Aliens: Colonial Marines, before being overtaken by Grand Theft Auto V. Tomb Raider set a new record for the franchise, more than doubling the debut sales of Tomb Raider: Legend. Furthermore, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Tomb Raider set new week one records as the fastest-selling individual formats of any Tomb Raider title so far, a record which was previously held by Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness. Tomb Raider also topped the charts in France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States. In the United States, Tomb Raider was the second best-selling title of March, excluding digital download sales, only behind BioShock Infinite. In Japan, Tomb Raider debuted at number four with 35,250 units sold. On 26 March 2013, Square Enix announced that the game sold 3.4 million copies worldwide at retail, but has failed to reach predicted sales targets. However, on 29 March 2013, Crystal Dynamics defended Tomb Raider's sales, stating the reboot had the "most successful launch" of any game this year in addition to setting a new record for highest sales in the franchise's history. On 22 August 2013, Darrell Gallagher, head of product development and studios for Square Enix, announced on Gamasutra that the game sold more than 4 million copies worldwide. On 17 January 2014, Scot Amos, executive producer of Tomb Raider, revealed that at the end of 2013 the game achieved profitability. On 3 February 2014, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, a re-release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, debuted atop of the UK charts.


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