Tomb Raider Review

Developer: Crystal Dynamics / Publisher: Square Enix / MSRP: $59.99 / Played on: Xbox 360 / ESRB: Mature [Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language]

Tomb Raider comes with a bold set of promises from the franchise’s longtime developer, Crystal Dynamics. Beyond just rebooting and modernizing the character of Lara, they have the ambitious task of retelling her origin story. In a way, you know Lara is going to end up as the badass action hero she’s known to be. This is a game that wants to show you how she gets there. But this begs the question of “how do you do this while making a fun game?” It’s one that Crystal Dynamics wasn’t willing to answer. Instead they rely heavily on genre tropes and high action to carry what little character development there is. The game is filled with disappointingly one dimensional characters, lackluster combat, and jarring disconnects between action and story that make even the biggest explosions hard to care about. Though they are nice explosions.

As with most origin stories, Lara is involuntarily flung into a crappy situation. As a young archaeologist, she’s part of a research expedition to the Dragon’s Triangle, an area of the Pacific Ocean just south of Japan. Lara and crew find out the hard way that it’s infamous for its brutal storms and they end up shipwrecked on a mysterious island. And it’s a good thing the rest of the crew has Lara with them because they all seem pretty incapable of accomplishing anything other than complaining and getting captured by the not-so-friendly group of cultists that happen to be inhabitants.


It’s here Crystal Dynamics attempts to tell (or retell) the origin story of famed series protagonist Lara Croft. Up front she is painted as an inexperienced adventurer who must overcome adversity and the elements to discover what she is capable of. The problem is the overwhelming disconnect between events of the narrative and the actions of the player. In a moment early on Lara balks before cutting open a deer she killed. However, this was immediately followed by me killing and opening three additional deer without so much as a peep from Lara. Shortly after that Lara is forced to kill her first human out of self defense. Any emotional impact of this traumatic event is completely washed away when five minutes later Lara is ducking behind cover and shooting large groups of enemies in the face like a trained military combatant. Tomb Raider is full of jarring transitions between narrative and gameplay like this. There’s a perpetual disconnect between what you’re doing as a player and what Lara is experiencing in the cut scenes to the point where it feels like they were designed separately and pieced together at the last minute. Tomb Raider’s narrative never really recovers from these huge deficits in its flow.


This criticism is not particularly unheard of for the action/adventure genre. The lighthearted tone of the Uncharted series often feels directly at odds with the murderous rampages of Nathan Drake. But there’s a difference here. In Uncharted it’s easy to be swept away by the charm of Drake and forget what he’s doing. Lara and the rest of Tomb Raider’s characters lack any of the endearing qualities of other popular action heroes. In fact, the most interesting Lara ever gets is with her action-hero physical accomplishments. Maybe she’s afraid to climb a tower? But then she manages to climb the tower. Ultimately, it becomes difficult to feel invested in the game’s exciting or dramatic moments with such flat characters.

This point is especially disappointing because on a surface level Tomb Raider does have some visually impressive moments made up of well-constructed set pieces. The game is filled with epic scenes of Lara ziplining from a burning building or narrowly making jumps across large gaps. While there is very little that resonates emotionally here, it’s not difficult to appreciate them from a technical perspective. In fact, that goes for the entire game. The environments of the island look gorgeous and are constructed in a way that’s makes it easy to forget they are crafted by a person. It all looks very organic.


And you’ll spend more time in these environments than you might expect from a modern third-person action game. Tomb Raider isn’t quite open but it does allow you to go back and explore parts of the island you visited previously. Taking a page from Metroidvania-style games, Lara picks up weapons and items that allow her to access different, blocked-off sections of the world. These usually end up being optional tombs or areas you can score salvage to upgrade your weapons at bonfires.

Of course you’ll be upgrading these weapons for combat. And much like its narrative, Tomb Raider’s combat makes some promises up front it fails to keep. Early on you’re taught a few key lessons: “stealth is a viable option” and “use cover.” But often this advice seems like a form of (unintentional) misdirection. Enemies tend to be very aggressive about rushing you and using fire bombs and grenades to draw you out of cover. But Lara is pretty fragile and the encounters tend to be designed to occur in tightly confined areas. This means you’re rarely afforded the tools or space needed to deal with these encounters in a strategic way. They are never particularly difficult but often my successes and failures through them seemed entirely random.


There are other elements of Tomb Raider’s game world that seem to react just as inconsistently. Like stealth, for example. More often than not it’s a useless and misleading mechanic. In only a few instances where all the enemies of a certain area were spawned before Lara encountered them (an uncommon occurrence) did the stealth mechanics really shine in any meaningful way. And their contextual nature frequently implies it’s time to go stealth when it really isn’t. Layer on top of this the occasional insta-fail stealth sequences (which aren’t clearly communicated as such up front) and you start to wonder how late into development his mechanic was shoehorned in.

Along these same lines are enemies that frequently defy the logic of the game world. Later in the game you’re able to upgrade Lara’s bow so that it shoots napalm arrows which, naturally, causes enemies to go up in flames. The problem is that many enemies would refuse to catch fire until they were hit with three or four arrows. While other enemies of the same type would catch fire immediately. This might sound like a small complaint but this poor communication in Tomb Raider’s design feels indicative of the entire product.


When you’re not fighting against Tomb Raider’s design, you feel like you’re just going through familiar third-person adventure motions. As you may expect, combat encounters are broken up by largely straightforward environmental puzzles. These usually involve figuring out how to apply the set of upgraded weapons or items that Lara has acquired through the game. On top of this, Tomb Raider is overblown with quicktime events. They are often used to pull you up from a ledge or open a door. They aren’t inherently bad but I often felt removed from the on screen action when all I was required to do was a press a single button to perform a death-defying maneuver.

Tomb Raider’s multiplayer is a largely forgettable, but inoffensive, experience. It’s of course filled with a string of unlockable gear that can be used to build custom load outs along with all the bells and whistles you’ve come to expect from a modern multiplayer game. The moment-to-moment gameplay respectfully attempts to integrate elements from the single player. So you may have a moment when you step on a trap and must shoot enemies while upside down or can blow up an explosive barrel near an enemy to take them out. While it’s a novel idea to try and make this part of the game stand out, these mechanics feel there just for the sake of being there and don’t provide any interesting gameplay benefits.


It’s really hard to be excited about the future of Tomb Raider after this game. It fails where more successful films and games of its kind succeed: in its characters. The way in which Lara goes from inexperienced to full-on action movie hero survivalist is so jarring that it’s near impossible as a player to remain on the same emotional wavelength as the story. Because of this the rest of the game falters. It’s appeal is grounded in intense, exciting action moments. But these are impossible to care about with the poor handling of Tomb Raider’s star character.

- Flat and inconsistent characters

- Jarring narrative

+ Intense action moments

6 / 10

  1. I thought this would be at least 7/10.

  2. Damn, a 6? :( I was really excited for this too.

    • Check out some other reviews. Machinima is the lowest rated review on metacritic. Tbh recently they’ve been pretty bad at doing reviews at Machinima.

  3. Problem with how quickly she recovered from killing that dear and that man? Weren’t you paying attention? This the origin story of Dahmer’s daughter. The sequel will show us how to effectively make love to the piles of carcases. She’s a killer in the making. And she’s still hungry… for MORE!

  4. This review is EXTREMELY outnumbered, the majority of the scores for this game is 9 and higher. Not listening to this review at all.

    • So what if it’s outnumbered? It’s not like ALL reviewers have to give the same score to the same game while using the same opinions, right? Besides, neither you nor I nor anyone else here haven’t even played the game yet, so for all we know he could have a valid point.

    • Who cares about the number?
      Read the review and if you don’t like it, then don’t listen to it.

  5. 6 what !!! O.o ign 9.1, ga,espot,8.5,the scapist 5 out of 5 ,game informer 9.25,euro gamer 8.destructoid 8.5,game trailers 8.5,digital spay,5 out of 5,aus gamer 9

    • I think it’s called “individuality.” Or did you expect every reviewer to give the same scores?

      • Every other gaming site reviews the game highly and one site has to be different just to get more views. Shameful, but it works.

      • Esmeralda Portillo

        What people tend to forget is that a game reviewer cares more about their honesty in relation to a game’s execution than they do page views and hits. Billy gets nothing out of the site getting more hits.

      • Care about hits huh? Does that mean even though others gave it a better review in order to get hits you don’t think this website won’t do it as well by giving it a bad review?

      • not the same but similar i think .

      • Matthew Cascio

        I can’t say I disagree with the individuality idea for this particular reviewer, but I would offer just one piece of advice to gamers looking for different points of view on the game. If you notice through his whole review, he cites the disconnect between gameplay and narrative ruining the experience for him as the major flaw in the game. Now I’m not necessarily saying hes wrong (its an opinion, it can’t really be WRONG lol) but I can say I played through a good chunk of the game and feel quite the opposite towards the topic and the game on a whole. It’s not to say hes not entitled to his own personal view of the game, just take it with a grain of salt, that’s all, don’t let one bad review sway your decision to buy what I think is a fantastic experience.

  6. Oh well, I’ll still pick it up. Too much of a fan to let this one go.

  7. Don’t listen to this review the only bad one out of the 30 others

  8. strange rest of the reviews are giving 90%+ or 9’s kotaku gave it a big Yes kind of hard to take this seriously in under those circumstances :/

    only bad thing about the game from the masses is the MP apart from that they say this is apparently breath of fresh air after the last 3

  9. It sounds like the folks at Machinima spent the time and energy to give this game an honest review. I would not so easily discount Machinima based on the disparity between its review score and the review scores given by the majority of other review websites.

    Machinima’s analysis of the game may prove to be surprisingly accurate.

  10. Why do people feel the need for all reviews to be exactly the same? There would be something wrong with the world if everyone like everything equally.

  11. After looking at other reviews, once again i distrust this sites review capability.

    • The reviews here are even worse after you play the games compared to the scores they give.

      They are basically review scores tied to editorial and trailer buys done by the publisher, including some access to game during development.

      The perfect storm of this was Halo 4, which was reviewed by Kovic at Microsoft press events. Hmm?

  12. Really machinima? 6/10? oh dear, I give up with this website I really do XD

  13. Metascore

    Generally favorable reviews based on 29 Critics
    Critic score distribution:

    Positive: 28 out of 29
    Mixed: 1

    The only mixed review out there, I will buy this game

  14. “Don’t listen to this review the only bad one out of the 30 others”

    That’s why this is exactly the only one that i’m going to listen to. As predicted, it’s bad.

  15. Did anyone actually read the review or just look at a number? Mostly sounds like what I expected out of this game, gonna pass.

  16. I’d be a bit more skeptical about all the reviews that seem to give a good score actually.

    Except Eurogamer. *shrugs* Oh! That means my key on GMG should be out. Great.

  17. I like this review, it doesn’t try to sugar coat anything.

  18. Calm down, guys. It’s just one opinion/review. With reviews, you have to take them with a grain of salt.That doesn’t make Machinima a bad reviewer

  19. the cake is a lie, this review is a lie

  20. NARRATIVE: The dissonance between Lara’s vulnerability and the fact that she ends up killing a bunch of guys. Several reviewers call it out as well, so valid point there. Other reviewers consider this a minor issue, but Billy thinks it’s more important. Okay, to each his own. GAMEPLAY: Billy claims that the cover and stealth systems are fundamentally broken. MANY other reviewers rave about the systems as well executed and fun to do. THIS is where I grow skeptical of this review. Had billy said that the systems weren’t fun, we could simply chalk it up to opinion, but to claim the systems were essentially broken when so many others seem to find absolutely no issue with it (and many even claiming it some of the best implementation of cover based combat they’ve played), i begin to wonder if he didn’t come into this review with an agenda…or if he just didn’t know how to actually play the game.

    • Actually, he seems to comment more that the gameplay elements didn’t fit together well as a whole, like how stealth didn’t really seem beneficial and the game doesn’t communicate when the fail-if-detected stealth segment occurs.

      Each of the mechanics may work really well individually. They may just come together poorly, such that they detract from one another, rather than improve.

      • That’s my point. I’ve read at least half a dozen other reviews that said those systems work pretty damned well, and yet Billy, here, is saying that the entire thing feels broken. I’ve even read impressions from people who’ve bought the game and played it already on Neogaf and the Tomb Raider forums and they all say the controls and stealth elements, while not overly complex, are excellent. This raises a lot of red flags with regards to Billy’s review, which is a shame. A lot of people are basing their purchasing decision on what he says, and if he’s going at the game with an agenda or with a very specific preconception about it, it’s a disservice to the viewers/readers.

  21. The one outlier among the glowing praise for the game. If you decide not to get this based on this one outlier, well, I feel bad for you.

    That or you can get out your tinfoil hat and claim this is the only review that wasn’t “bought”. Sadly some people likely will go that route.

    Also, I laughed at “hard to be excited about the future” – really? The complete irrelevance of the character and franchise as a whole for the last decade+ shows something needed to be changed and the glowing praise for this shows the future is very bright for Lara.

  22. So a reboot of a mediocre franchise is mediocre? I’m glad they tried, but I figured this wouldn’t have been a stand-out title in the least.

  23. Geez. After reading a lot of comments here I think way too many people take game reviews to heart. I don’t read reviews before I play them and I’m sort of excited to try it. But my point is. Waaaay too many people take reviews way too much to heart, if that makes any sense. But I guess that’s just good for game reviewers :P

    • Dude, I heart u. Yes, people are taking this waaaaaay too seriously. It’s just a review to give gamers an idea of what they’re walking into. If a game seems even remotely interesting, I pick it up in due time and decide for myself. Don’t have a spasm over a single article. That much stress can’t be healthy. :)

      • ^This guy.

        Totally agree. I like games because they reduce my stress level, and I enjoy a low stress level. These comments…not too good for the stress level.

        IT’S OVER 9000!!!!!

        Sorry, couldn’t resist.

      • I think the worst part about the feedback here is how a lot of people just went directly at the score 6/10. I headdesked so hard.

  24. Well obviously the reviewer is incorrect about this, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respect his opinion. The same thing happened with Metal Gear Rising, remember? The consensus was generally positive and I think some one from PS lifestyle gave it a 3/10 now no one thinks of them as a crdible reviewing sight. (or at least that reviewer as giving an accurate representation of the game) I mean we shall see when the game comes out but I am predicting the same thing happening.

  25. this iz fucking stupid cuz no reviewer has given tomb raider less then 8.5 and these fuckerz are just jealous if u check average score at gamerankjngs its 89.76 and they r fucked up cuz some other game developer might have bribbed him to give tomb raider 6 rating so guys just forget this asshole i mean i has never been a fan of tomb raider but this iz bullshit man jump of a building and die asshole motherfucker

  26. I think that many, if not all, will buy eventually this game. Then you will notice if the reviewer has right or not. Then, next time you will read and accept his next review about an other game. If the reviewer (website) is wrong, according to your opinion, next time you will pass all his (it’s) reviews…

  27. hmmm yet they scored Farcry 3 a 9, where its an even more jarring and sudden switch from scared skydiver/surfer dude, to badass guerellia slayer in after just waking up at a village with a magic tattoo on?

    “The lighthearted tone of the Uncharted series often feels directly at odds with the murderous rampages of Nathan Drake. But there’s a difference here. In Uncharted it’s easy to be swept away by the charm of Drake and forget what he’s doing.”

    This line in particular is just terrible too, it reads like, “We’re putting this in so you can’t criticise us for overlooking the same thing in Uncharted that were going to bash this game for.” in Uncharted its MORE apparant because of the lighthearted tone of the game, at least this game has the tone and the atmosphere that accompanies violence, its far more consistent then crack a joke, murder a few hundreds that uncharted has.

    • Except far cry 3 had a decent transmission from tourist to badass… and I’m pretty sure they talked about that in the far cry 3 review as well.

  28. this game diserves at least 11 out of 10…xD

  29. jeez he really take the point to heart that Lara doesn’t cry for a couple of hours after killing a guy! This was picked up by a few others too but I wouldn’t see it as very fair to use this as a main argument to kill the whole games story dynamic! Lara had to learn quickly and didnt have time to mope around, something the reviewer seems to have missed out on here.

    The game looks great, seems to play great and has an all round great score. If the other characters dont overshadow the main character its not gonna stop me picking this one up.
    I get the impression if Lara really struggled to move on from her first kill this would have been the cannon fodder used to slate the game here.

    The synopsis seems a bit tough too, worrying about the future of the franchise when there is not even enough in this review to support that comment. I get the feeling this review was half written before they even played the game, maybe they’re too sick of the darker feeling reboots already.

  30. I think it is fair to question an outlier review. However we should not standardize the way we perceive reviews. They are not mathematical answers that are either right or wrong.

    Instead we need to be critical thinkers and ask ourselves:

    1) What type of reviews has this reviewer done in the past; and are their any correlations to certain types of games they give more favourable marks to

    2) Do we want a reviewer to be unbiased across genres?

    3) Does this outlier review hold any substance in comparison to other reviews and more importantly to your internal weighting system.

    • ^Also this guy.
      Reviews are not mathmatical. So true.

      Despite the numbers attached and the technological nature of video games, reviews are not scientific and mathmatical in nature. It is a Interactive Art/Entertainment review, so it is not empirical data that can be correct or incorrect.

      If you don’t like that Shibley’s review is an outlier and would rather judge based upon everyone else’s reviews, that’s ok…it’s what all these different review sites are here for in the first place.

  31. it rly comes down to what the reviewer thinks is important enough to bring to the readers, some writers may have different things they feel are important.

    frankly i trust the guys here at IGD more then any one else(gamespy was my next site) i will continue to trust regardless of whether or not i i disagree with one of their reviews

    Personally i dont feel like i can trust a review from a site that has ads for said game in every corner of its page ie. IGN

  32. Looks like Machinima didn’t get any free swag, and they’re upset.

    • Yeah, man. If we’d gotten a shitty black t-shirt with the Tomb Raider logo on it with a sheet of Lara Croft stickers, then this would have easily been a 10/10.

      • Oh, so this is just a legitimately terrible review.

      • Well, Mr. Drake, it’s as much a “legitimately terrible review” as your comment is plausible. What defines a “terrible review” should not be and is not the opinion of the writer. In fact, that’s what a review is. Opinion. Of one person, not the crowd. Go find a Lara Croft fan fic if that’s what you’re after.

        Billy didn’t like the game as much as the Internet did. Get over it. Billy likes other games that others didn’t like as much. Opinion is part of the human experience, and aren’t defined by their provability or basis in fact. They exist because they cannot be exclusively defined, because it’s a thought that may be unique to one individual or a any set of individuals.

        Your comment is “legitimately terrible” because your assumptions are incorrect. Enjoy being mad about video games today!

        Your user comment receives a 1/10.

      • And your comment Landon as per usual receives a 10/10. You show that kid what we can do…

      • Is he not entitled to his own opinion? You are judging him since he has an opinion that he thought the reviewer did a bad job, as I may point out that many of the people posting here are of the same consensus. Yet you are criticizing him for having an opinion of an opinion, doesn’t that make you a hypocrite? I think this game looks fantastic, and I am excited for it, but I will not say your opinion is wrong for not thinking that, but I must say sites like this sometimes like to give a good game a lower score, since they get a lot more hits, and people posting in there comments, think I’m wrong if you want, but I and everyone else here is thinking it. :P

      • @beckstrom12

        His opinion about this review is worthless because: 1) he began with a baseless accusation, 2) offers no statement or reasoning to support his view, 3) he didn’t play the damn game.

        This is why rating systems need to die; to rid us of the brainless fucktards incapable of any intelligent thought beyond counting to ten.

      • A 6/10 is actually a good score.
        Unlike at other sites like IGN, where anything below 7/10 “sucks”, here 5/10 is the middle of the road, so anything above it is good and anything below is bad.

  33. It’s not exactly Aliens Colonial Marines so buy it!

  34. Just as Machinima has the right to critique and provide their opinion on this game… We have the right to do the same to their reviews, reviewers and editorial process. The disparity of this review/score as compared to their peers is a valid concern is you plan on purchasing this (or any game) based solely on their recommendations/opinion.

    • You’re right, everyone has the right to critique, but in a respectable, logical and well-informed manner (which is not so of about 90% of the comments above). Despite reviewers trying their best to be objective, in the end all reviews are more subjective. For Billy the disparity between the narrative and the gameplay was enough to throw him off from liking the game, which makes sense when you consider the type of gamer he is (those who have read his previous reviews will know that).

      • That’s kind of why I like Inside Gaming’s reviews. I’ve gotten to know Billy, Lawrence, Kovic, Justin, and Rob Smith from my various visits and their articles and videos. Their personalities and preferences remind me of my own, so I know why they will review a game the way they do and, based on the review, whether the game is right for me.

        Also, to those talking about deliberately setting the score a certain way to get views, consider IGN’s score for Tomb Raider: 9.1. Really. The only reason to add the .1 is to make it higher than all the other 9s on Metacritic.

  35. Guys,do yourself a favor and go look some parts of a walkthrough for uncharted 1/2 and then go look some early walkthroughs for tomb raider “origins”!See the difference,me neither:).2 minutes platforming,2 minutes combat,2 minutes platforming,2 minutes combat…!It would have been better if the game had at least some tomb raider feeling,some grand puzzles like underworlds or the previous installments,some exploring,but no.Billy is very accurate about the score,even though i find him a little bit forgiving from my “old-fan” view!Story is lacking,voice overs lacking,emotions are non existent:(

    For those who haven’t played any of the uncharted games,(especially the 2nd),it must be a must buy for you,but without the key elements that made uncharted what it is and hopefully will be.

    p.s.I pcgaming mostly due to tomb raider 2 and i ps3gaming due to uncharted 2/heavy rain:)Thank you…also i am sorry for my english.

  36. everyone was hyped as hell for colonial marines and it was the top of the charts in my country for a week (uk) i even preordered it based on glowing reviews which unfortuneately were based on a demo that may as well be running on a cray super computer.
    point is i value this review as it covers the stuff im interested in hearing about IE is it a return to form or a carbon copy of nathan drake.
    the utterance of QTE means il pass on this the original tomb raider had barely ANY story and COMPLETE freedom in the enviroment but was still one of the best collection of games on the playstation.
    besides if its as cinematic as they are claiming il just “watch” it on youtube when the inevitable walkthroughs and lets plays are aired.

    • Just a modifying point. I’ve been following the feedback for this game from players who’ve gotten it early on Neogaf and the Tomb raider forums and several of them thought the same way you did based on watching walkthroughs, and quite a few changed their minds once they had a chance to actually play it because the walkthrough player simply breezed past the exploration aspect of the game in order to progress the story/finish the walkthrough so they could post it online. Just food for thought.


  38. Aliens get a 5 and this a 6? That’s not logical…

  39. IGN gave this game a 9.1 , gamespot 8.5 and majority of other reviewers gave 9/10, There is something going on You(Machinima Reviewer).
    The only thing i might agree with this review is probably the multilayer.
    One dimensional Characters? you sound more one dimensional yourself.

    Far Cry 3 had the same problem about the character being not conditioned to kill anything to and then out of nowhere killing a bunch of pirates and loves doing it, yet this wasn’t mentioned in the your far cry 3 review. It would be more stupid to see lara (not laura) if she had a cry or sook every time she killed something.
    A bit of this review sounds a bit biased to uncharted,Your probably under”the charm of drake”,that’s the only “difference here” to why you didnt like the action in this game .You must be a uncharted fan boy.
    “laura is fragile” naa duhh shes fragile shes a woman not a man with a Juggernaut armor. Your not supposed to just hide in a corner behind a rock like a pussy all day, no wonder you end up in confined areas.
    Problems with stealth? maybe your not ninja enough to really know the true meaning of stealth and lack skills to apply them, you cant always stealth through the whole way in some cases you get caught and must think of a plan B, if you can stealth through the whole way all the time, the enemy must be have dumbest AI or just be extremely blind and deaf, its called better Artificial Intelligence.
    LOL u had to shoot other enemies 3-4 times to get them on fire while others only once. Its most likely because u missed 3-4 times lol this review is so stupid its funny.
    Its your game play that’s the problem not the game.
    BAD REVIEW (read the other reviews before considering this review)


  41. machinima sorry but you suck

  42. I read an IGN review and thought their review was good but didnt want to be swayed by it alone and came to Inside gaming.

    Having listened to the review Im gobsmacked by the difference in opinion. In fact because of inside gaming review I had seek more opinions on it.

    I dont expect all opinions to be the same and they shouldn’t be. But lets give credit where it’s due. Did you wake up grumpy? It’s rated 6/10. Seriously is that right a 6? Alien Marine you gave a 5 and this is just one better?

    I would love to know what exactly were you expecting. I agree certain things could have been brought in more gradually to make the story and Lara character more real but it does appear you have let that aspect judge your whole opinion of the game. again 6? really?

    • Just want to point out: while we’re all part of the same team, each of us are different people with different opinions. Lawrence gave ACM the 5, whereas Billy gave Tomb Raider the 6. Maybe Lawrence would’ve given Tomb Raider an 8, while Billy might’ve gone for a straight up 2 on ACM. Take from that what you will!

      • That kinda speaks to a lack of standardization with your scoring system then, doesn’t it? I mean, if you all can’t agree on what the number scores represent as far as how that number represents a game’s quality, how do you expect us to take it into consideration?

      • And since when reviewer scores should be taken seriously?

        How many games have underwhelming positive reviews everywhere, and the games are subpar for everyone else?

      • You take the review into consideration because you’ve read other reviews by the same person and have a sense of how they think.

        You may have come here through Metacritic and haven’t read one of Shibley’s reviews before. I have read a number of them, so I have a sense of what he doesn’t like and does like, and whether my likes and dislikes match his.

      • It doesn’t. Billy thought the game was a 6–the same 6 that I might give to a game. But he has different opinions than the other reviewers. That’s how this works. We can’t put a game through a scantron machine and see what the official score is. Reviews are subjective, and there’s really no way to avoid that.

        Case in point: we put the reviewers’ names on the reviews. That’s how you’ll know that the opinions are that of one person, not a collective. The numbers all mean the same thing objectively, but, as the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If there were a way to objectively judge every single game, there wouldn’t be all kinds of sites reviewing games…there’d just be one.

        Frankly, I’m amazed that people care this much over a 6. That’s not even a BAD score, per se. It’s slightly above mediocre. In short, Billy didn’t dig it much, but, as everyone has pointed out, lots of other folks did. You might too! Unless Lara Croft is literally your mother or sister, I don’t understand why anyone should get all butthurt over this review.

  43. This is the closest game to have the uncharted series gameplay/ graphics on xbox360. Also, this review is quite unfair to be judged heavily based on its story. Gameplay fun factor is what counts as you are reviewing a video game. Do yourself a favor fellow commenters, take this reviewers opinion with a grain of salt. Ps. Not everyone owns a ps3.

  44. I was pretty gob-smacked to see such honest & thorough analysis from what’s apparently a machinima platform, very admirable. I’ve bookmarked the site & I hope to read more from you in future. Thanks (=

  45. The entire review mentions just two apparent flaws, and gives it a 6/10. First of all, it’s a game, not a movie. You can’t easily put in the transition that the reviewer was apparently expecting. It just wouldn’t be fun. Honestly, what could you possibly do with it? Put in a half-hour cutscene of her struggling with having just killed someone? This isn’t MGS, nobody wants super long cutscenes. Do you want them to make it so that your aim is shaky for awhile? That seems like a great idea in concept, but you can’t tell me it would be fun to try and play through a game where you have to kill people, but you can’t aim where you want to. I get the feeling the reviewer would complain about the transition no matter how it was handled. The other thing he mentions is the cover system and shooting mechanics, when every single other review raves about how great those are, so I’ll just leave it at that.

    Don’t read too much into reviews folks, especially not the bad ones.

  46. As others have rightly said, every review so far has praised the combat amd movement mechanics as golden, including stealth. To claim they feel “broken” seems very strange.

    Opinions are subjective, obviously, but when it comes to actual game mechanics there’s a very clear OBJECTIVE clarity between them being praiseworthy and them being broken.

    Anyway, the game looks pretty good from the footage I’ve seen, but I’ll reserve judgement either way. All those people claiming this review is the best one because it’s somehow full of integrity because it doesn’t “sugar coat” must be joking; just because someone critiques a popular game harder doesn’t make them some kind of champion of honesty, it just means they have a different opinion.

    However, going back to my original point it seems the reviewer may have had slight bias here. I can’t make sense of the claim that those things feel broken…

  47. Going to avoid this one, ty machinima for a honest review, even the good score reviews point out the problems u guys describe here.

  48. It’s really hard to be excited about the future of Machinima after this review…

    • It might bring the entire game industry down as we know it…

      • 2014… Society crumbles… Gamers go on warpath against one another… My father told me tales of how the Tomb Raider was just a game with all good reviews… But then that damn Billy Shibley came along… DAMN YOU SHIBLEY!! YOU KILLED US ALL!!

  49. Sucks about the disconnect between narrative and gameplay. I wish developers would heed the advice Spec Ops presented us with.

  50. Well, after playing the game all afternoon I can safely say that this review is completely inaccurate. Here’s a quick rundown of why:

    1. The disconnect between emotions experienced after Lara’s first kill and those that come after it was added to the game on purpose as a philosophical statement. There’s even a radio call after Lara’s first battle in which she tells a fellow survival who is trying to comfort her that “it’s scary how easy it [killing] was.” It may conveniently serve the game’s design and compress the emotional timetable, but that behavior is very real; it’s called decathecting. Go ahead, Machinima, look it up.

    2. The cover system works just fine. In fact, it’s arguably the best third person cover system I’ve seen. It goes away entirely when you aren’t in combat so as not to impede your movement and it works damn near flawlessly while you’re fighting. Do enemies force you to move frequently? Yes they do. We call that good AI. I’m sorry that you don’t like enemy types that don’t allow you simply sit behind the closest chest-high wall popping headshots in complete safety. I (and I think most gamers) would call that “boring.”

    3. Stealth is not only viable, it’s usually the best option. I’ve only run into a few forced shootouts in six hours of play. In every other encounter I’ve employed stealth to great effect with no design hiccups. This leads me to the conclusion that you must be doing it wrong.

    4. The character development in this game is among the strongest I’ve seen in the gaming medium. Lara actually changes during the game and players are clearly able to see her gain confidence as time goes on. She’s a very different person already in my playthrough, so I imagine that she will be totally transformed by the end. Her personal journey may not be as deep as it would if she were in a novel or TV drama, but in the context of gaming it is nearly unrivaled. The characters in Tomb Raider are far more relatable than bog standard space marines or supersoldiers. By the way, what score did you give Halo 4?

    I’ll concede that there may be a few too many QTEs, but that’s about the only thing I can agree with in your review. You can spout all you want about the nature of opinions, but this review is quite simply wrong. Opinions are not always valid and this is one of those cases. It’s almost as if the reviewer went into Tomb Raider wanting to hate it and then found himself having to force a round peg through a square hole when he found that it is amazingly good. Or perhaps he simply hasn’t played enough games to be able to recognize Tomb Raider’s successes.

    What I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t let this review turn you off. The new Tomb Raider is phenomenal. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s one of the best single-player experiences this generation. Go buy it. You’ll be glad you did. And to Machinima: sites that use clearly false, contrarian writing to drive traffic usually fail far faster than those who simply tell the truth. Just sayin’.

    • I know that you and many others have thought that Shibley is intentionally giving a lower score just to attract attention, but if anyone wanted to attract more attention to Inside Gaming, the website wouldn’t be a RETOOLED WORDPRESS BLOG. Just sayin’.

      Also, Billy still acknowledges the game is above average by giving it a 6 instead of 5 or below.

      Inside Gaming seems to care more for maintaining the current state of their content to keep long-time followers, such as myself, satisfied, so I doubt that anyone would deliberately try to get views. Halo 4 did the exact same thing (catered to long-time fans), which probably explains why Kovic gave it a 10/10.

      I just played and also watched someone else play a sizable chunk of Tomb Raider. From what I saw:

      1. I can see where Shibley is coming from with regards to the stealth. While I am rather mediocre at that sort of thing, some scenarios seemed to deliberately set the player up for failure (i.e. the enemies are all looking toward the spot that Lara has to move through in order to ambush guy #1).

      2. Combat works well. It isn’t like you’re glued to Mr. Wallsy McChest-High, and you have close range dodges, so you don’t need to camp in one piece of cover. The early groups of enemies all seemed to be of the ranged variety, so maybe there’s a difficulty jump somewhere that adds a ton more flankers. Billy probably had to fight through more enemies than most due to the stealth not working out for him, so that could be some of it.

      3. Characters seem alright, Lara in particular, although it didn’t seem like a unique character experience that I wouldn’t be able to get in another game. Billy has been critical of characters in his past reviews, commenting (for instance) that Death in Darksiders II “is kind of a dick” and that the characters in RAGE were really forgettable. He liked Max Payne as a character in Max Payne 3, although there he also commented on a mild bit of gameplay-vs-story dissonance present. When Kovic and Miguel have reviewed, they haven’t commented too much on characters, which is why their Halo and Far Cry reviews, respectively (as well as Miguel’s DmC review) didn’t really mention the characters at all.

      Speaking of Shibley’s previous reviews, to give some idea of what he liked:
      He gave Portal 2 a perfect 10,
      Borderlands 2 a 9.5
      Max Payne 3 a 9
      Dead Space 2 a 9
      Dead Space 3 an 8
      Darksiders II an 8.5
      Assassin’s Creed III an 8.5
      and a 9 for RAGE
      If that doesn’t help you figure out why Billy dished out a six for Tomb Raider, don’t worry. Billy himself tweeted, “convinced I played a different game than the rest of the Internet”.
      Though he evidently didn’t, as a Metacritic user scored Tomb Raider a 3/10. Some people won’t be able to have fun with it anymore than I’ll be able to have fun with Borderlands (it bored me to near-death). And Billy should say what he felt about the game, however negative, because that way, we are aware that the possibility of this game not showing us a good time does exist.

  51. Could not disagree more. After about 9 hours in game, I can say I’ve experienced absolutely no disconnect whatsoever. Lara’s first kill is performed in the middle of a situation where she’s surrounded by people who want to see her dead. The hell is she supposed to do, get all weepy, curl up and sob herself to sleep in a corner somewhere? She’s doing what it takes to survive, and I think the transition is handled very well (and no, it’s nowhere near as immediate as you’ve stated). Much better than say, Far Cry 3 handles it.

    Her cohorts do fall a bit flat, and the villain is pretty generic, but this game deserves far, FAR more than a damn 6/10. It’s at least an 8.

    I think you’re just being contrary to pretty much everyone else in order to get more site hits.

  52. Let me just say, I am not trying to troll or cause an argument just for the sake of causing an argument. I just really can’t gather where you’re coming from with many of the accusations you place against Tomb Raider. I just finished up about a 6 hour session with the game, albeit not completed, and I have to say I have been impressed the whole way through. Calling out the characters as being flat? I can maybe see that judgement going towards the secondary roster of Lara’s friends, but Lara herself I feel is incredibly well voiced and portrayed. As for the disconnect between narrative and gameplay, it seems as though you’re asking for a film out of what is a game.

    By this I mean that a game requires engaging, entertaining gameplay as the framework holding the product together; however this doesn’t mean it can’t try and tell a story. Would you really be all that excited, to cite your example, if we had to endure hours of gameplay of Lara just to allow her to become comfortable with killing a deer? Now I’ll admit, the first few human kills should have taken more time to adjust to, but again if the developers tried that, then the audience/gamer would lose interest. It’s a very challenging story to tell in a video game for sure, but I think Crystal Dynamics did a more than admirable job pulling it off. I will concede one thing, the default difficulty should be harder, therefore challenging the player more, furthering the notion of helplessness and inferiority. In my play through I decided to jump straight to hard and I have only died during an encounter maybe once or twice. I do play a lot of games but for a game about survival it should have been slightly harder by default.

    It’s a shame that you got so hung up on the supposed disconnect between narrative and gameplay because it really is a fun game to play in my eyes. To each his own though right? I hope you get back to me at some point, I would love to hear your response (I love discussions about games).

  53. Im sorry this review is ridiculous, thanks for attracting me to it with the low score

  54. Well i dont give a fuck this review, i just pre- orden this game and for me it was great, awesome game. but the MP lack of mode and suck…. 9/10

  55. Inside Gaming, for the first time I disagree with you… a lot!

    I saw the changes in Lara all the time. For instance, at one point she is begging her friend to come and save her, yet later on she is volunteering to save another friend from an enemy stronghold.

    For combat I always knew what I was doing, the only difficulty I had was the final mission.

    I will agree on one thing: the QTEs! TOO MANY! And some are quite difficult, it took me about 9 attempts to kill that giant wolf. Sick of seeing Lara getting her neck broken.

    So, in summary, I think you’re wrong. I would easily give this game an 8/10, possibly 9. I understand you’re all busy there, but it sounds like you barely played the game and only saw bad things.

  56. Also, one more thing: It seems you guys are the only ones who think like this. Most other reviewers are giving 8s and 9s out of 10.

  57. Gotta agree with Shibley on just about everything he says minus the actual 6/10. I’d rank it as above average, but this game, while gorgeous and fun most of the time (I’m about 70-75% of the way through it) pulls A LOT of its generic tricks out of the same bags as everyone else these days (they even ripped a killer scene out of The Descent, which was AWESOME in the movie and totally lame in the context of this game).

    I really felt like the set pieces, while well designed, started to get stale and it was really hard to shake the feeling that I was playing Uncharted: Lara Croft (I’m a huge lifelong fan of Tomb Raider and I love Uncharted). The lack of originality really irked me because I had high hopes for the reboot and was hoping for a new distinct Tomb Raider experience.

    As far as combat goes, it’s not broken, but it’s not a ton of fun either and it’s difficult, as Shibley states, to take a strategic approach. I think a great solution to many of the “disconnect between narrative and gameplay”moments would have been a stealthier route but sadly it’s impossible and I’ll explain why. You are given much cover to sneak behind, but once you kill one of the baddies, there’s no way to dispose of the body. When said body is discovered, REGARDLESS of where you are, the AI begin shooting at your location, even though you haven’t been detected and are still behind cover: stealth, OUT, strategy, OUT, run and gun, IN! If you like run and gun, balls-to-the-walls all out gunfights, you’ll get that and you’ll be happy with it, but I don’t think thats the direction many were expecting this game to take. I for one was expecting options on the battlefield; however, I will say that the cover system does work great and doesn’t get in the way, it’s just that you can’t be discovered, hide out again and sneak away to get a jump on the bad guys (which you could do in uncharted, and which is a way of strategizing in combat). One more negative comment on the combat is the way that the AI weaves out of the reticule as soon as you get in a good shot. I don’t mind a challenge but I do mind cheap AI tactics.

    One thing I’d like to add that I haven’t seen criticized in many reviews is the camera. In trying to be realistic, it’s just wobbly, distracting and often gets in the way making for a few unnecessary death scenes.

    So, all of that being said, I think its a great game and deserves a higher score, but everything that Shibley critiques the game for is spot on and I just wanted to back him up in that respect. Unfortunately I find it a lot easier to turn off this game and walk away from a play session a lot easier than I thought it would be.

  58. I agree completely with this review, but i would give it a little bit higher score 7/10 maybe. I really have nothing to add. People just have different tastes. So give the reviewer a break. Why do you even care about the score? If some guy gives it 6/10 do you stop enjoying the game? Just play it and enjoy it if you like it.

  59. Brilliant response to this review Jimbo. Don’t know if you’ll see this but well done, concise and accurate. I’m convinced anybody who says this same isn’t an incredible game is just looking for things to complain about. If it went too deep into the characters and their story they would say, “oh it went on for too long with the dialogue”. And if they make too little then you complain as you did here. You just can’t win with the gamer-types, they are whiney shut-ins, you know the type. And furthermore the game actually DID have well done character development as Jimbo covered, and many of the nuances of their changes or feelings were slipped in so you had to pay sharp attention to the dialogue, even out of the cut scenes. At times I’d just listen to the guards talk and get whole new ideas about the story. You just canlt win with some people. I, and many many other in the community I’m sure, will never find another review from this source or its affiliates reputable again. Eventually people will catch on that your working an angle and this (if indeed it is) manipulative way to get views will collapse.

  60. What a retarded review. Best game of 2013 so far and this person bitches all over it like a spoiled blonde housewife. Learn to rate games, asshole.

  61. So, I finally got the time to play this game, and, I agree with “most” of Billy’s points.

    While I feel that he was severely disappointed with the game, or simply didn’t got a break to escape the negativity, most of what he says has a point, Lara’s transition from sweet innocent girl to Navy SEAL spec ops is done way to fast, and while you can say that in moments of extreme desperation someone will forget it’s own humanity and so on, in her case is too drastic and she never pauses for a second to question murdering (with extreme prejudice) a whole freaking island of people.

    Stealth is a wonky mechanic, it works, but there are very, very few instances where it’s actually viable, most of the times you end up screwing one shot, triggering an alarm and having to face 7, 8 enemies in a row, 5 sections in an area, that can get tiresome specially since eventually you do give up trying to stealth kill everything and justo machine gun everything.

    I found leveling in this game to be useless, something just to cater to the COD generation, the skills you get from leveling’ Lara are mainly pointless and could be eased in the game itself, same way the weapon upgrades, instead of constantly fixing’ your guns (God knows how she’s able to do that) you could simply find better guns while you progress, but that’s nitpicking on my part.

    The supporting characters are, bland and forgettable, only one of ‘em have a mild impact on the story, and only because you have the greatest interaction with it, the enemies are actually cool, they have some varied lines for different situations and the AI is not entirely stupid, which is actually a new one for grunts in action games, but they do tend to overwhelm you with molotovs and TNT while you are in cover, so cover ends being just a point of respite, and not “Just hold here and headshot everything, move to the next cover and do the same, ad nauseum” like Gears of War, and I kinda liked, it makes combat more dynamic in certain parts, in others, it becomes weird because you have very little room to move and the enemies keep pushing towards you with machetes and such,

    Overall, I liked the game, it’s not Classic Tomb Raider, by any means, there is too much action and too little thinking on this game to be a Tomb Raider game, it really is Uncharted with boobs, but still, the game flow is not bad and it can only go up from here, I would have given an 8/10 but I’m way, way more forgiving at anything TR related. (I bloody love the movies, so, yeah I’m that bias;)

  62. Wow! Cannot believe how far off this review is. I’ve had nothing but a good time with this epic game. I’d go as far as to say it’s within the top 5 so far this year. The reviewer must have went in with a mindset to hate this game from the start. 8 hours in and I haven’t run into any of the issues he’s bitching about. Mega-ubër troll for sure. I know that opinions are like assholes and like an asshole, his stinks alot worse than everyone elses.

  63. The drastic differing of opinions is really centered upon the direction of gameplay. The need for balance between sensationalism and gamer control/challenge. Those of us who HAVE played all the previous TRs appreciate the mental and hand/eye coordination challenges, which separated TR games from the easy-hero mass gamers. If we wanted to go see an action movie, we would; that’s what the Tomb Raider movie was all about. We expected more from this release than being pushed along in a low budget movie plot that allowed one to play mash-button simplicity between the scenes…and death traps along the way to make the child player believe it was difficult. The forcing camera angles is an insult to those who like having control when playing. I can understand how a dumbed-down younger generation of shoot-and-run would so heavily defend this injustice to TR legacy, but please also respect our dissapointment with this TR production choosing the mass-funds of kids and casual gamers over the expectations of TR faithful. There was no challenge, and though I sought to enjoy it anyways, I had no problem putting it down and not caring to play it all the way through.

    In conclusion, I feel the 6/10 review is very generous- and honest for not riding the market push with great reviews- whereas I see no reason to give it more that a 4/10, and that only for the inviting graphics/scenery.

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