Video(games) killed the Storyteller: Tomb Raider (2013)
Voice Acting/Dialogue: 7/10
Plot accessibility/understanding: 10/10
Action-adventure games are usually reminiscent of a Michael Bay film. They are flashy, exciting, and typically involve explosions with a good dose of running away from baddies. This is a popular genre not only for these reasons, but because players can also play as a character who is a certifiable badass, whether they’re a soldier, spy, assassin, or just trained in advanced martial arts. But what about a character that isn’t quite at the status of “badass?” Well developer Crystal Dynamics has the answer, and it’s Lara Croft in “Tomb Raider,” (2013) the prequel to all of the other “Tomb Raider” games we didn’t know we needed.
I first experienced this game on my Xbox 360, glued to the screen for two days straight, absorbed in the narrative and pseudo-open world while simultaneously developing my skills with Lara Croft, the game’s protagonist. The “Tomb Raider” series is a long honored tradition for many gamers, personally I am not part of the fan club that had played “Tomb Raider” on their desktops in 1996 witnessing Lara in all her pixelated glory. However I am a newcomer to the franchise that fell in love with the premise.
“Tomb Raider” (2013) begins on a boat that after two scenes begins to sink. Lara and her crew are on their way to The Dragon’s Triangle off the coast of Japan, and they want to find the lost civilization of Yamatai. After the ship sinks, Lara is incapacitated by an unseen person on the shore of a strange island (yes, it is Yamatai.)
Voice acting as well as dialogue in this game are interesting enough. The dialogue isn’t particularly abysmal or revolutionary in any way, but it gets the job done. Lara Croft is voiced by a British woman who spent about 10 years within the United States and has acquired a Mid-Atlantic accent. This has caused some player confusion regarding authenticity of words Lara says in-game, namely the word “buoy” that is typically pronounced as “boy” in a British accent. Regardless of these small mishaps, I give the voice acting as well as the dialogue a 7/10. Lara is constantly commenting on her plight, as well as conversing with other characters and it allows for a more immersive experience.
The story within “Tomb Raider” is very long. There are approximately 22 levels within the game, and at a leisurely playing pace, it takes about 20 hours to complete. This being said, I still enjoyed every hour of the game. The game lost some story points for me due to the predictability of the plot overall because I was able to identify that they landed on Yamatai and that the “friends” they meet there were not on their side. However, because of how engaging the characters, plot, and subplots were I give the game a 7.5/10.
The plot of “Tomb Raider” is not overly complex. The player must traverse a harsh climate, save Lara’s friends from cultists, fight a magical being, and get off the island. Each mission is rather straight forward, and in no way was I extremely confused or irritated with the plot. If anything, as stated above, the plot was a bit simplistic. Because of how easy it is to grasp and understand, I give the plot accessibility/understanding a 10/10 overall.
Did “Tomb Raider” (2013) kill the storyteller? I don’t think it did. The story isn’t new, it isn’t too flashy, and it is at times slow, but it keeps itself going. I think it told the storyteller to “just keep moving” and embrace the new narrative of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. I’m personally excited for the next installments to come.