Crystal Dynamics are arguably responsible for the Tomb Raider franchise’s finest era – while the original PSX series started brilliantly enough with the first game, the second entry was underwhelming, and the less said about the rest, the better. Crystal Dynamics have given us the brilliant Legend, Anniversary and Underworld, as well as a superb spin-off in Guardian of Light. Recently, they rebooted the franchise with 2013’s Tomb Raider.
The game starts with a worryingly long cutscene. I can’t honestly remember what happens in it as I was using my phone while it played, but I think it lasted for about ten minutes. Eventually an interactive scene is presented. Tomb Raider games traditionally begin by presenting the player with a long platforming sequence to allow accustomisation to the controls. This time Lara is tied up and hanging upside down, and the player is limited to pushing the left analog stick to make her swing back and forth until she hits some fire, which burns through her restraints and facilitates her escape. Incredibly, this somehow managed to be clumsy, as the directions in which the analog stick is pushed don’t correspond directly to Lara’s motion.
As soon as that task is completed, there is another short cutscene. It is unclear why this entire sequence isn’t simply one unbroken cutscene, allowing the player to begin the actual game without being interrupted within ten seconds. Once this cutscene is finished, it appears that the player is finally given full control of Lara on the ground. This turns out not to be the case, as you are forced to walk slowly against a strong wind, which actually prevents the character from moving properly. I assume that the game continues after this part, but I doubt that it gets any better.