Sunday, April 28, 2019

Tomb Raider (2013) (PC) Review

Tomb Raider (2013) is yet another reboot after Tomb Raider Legend, which attempts to tell the origin story of Lara Croft. Its a modern take on the classic, and for someone who has played all the Core Design games except Angel of Darkness, in my opinion, the overall experience does not measure up to the original games.

The game looks great, and it ran very well on my 21:9 widescreen monitor, which was surprising considering that back in 2013, widescreen monitors were not very common.

The gameplay fell short of my expectations. Quick time events are terrible as always, and there are a few instances which take the irritation to a new level with button prompts so short that I barely had time to react to it. There is absolutely no creativity in approaching a boss fights because of quick time events.

The crafting system is a pointless addition to the game. As such, it seems like busy work to hide the fact that weapon selection is very slim. The RPG elements also fall flat. Personally, I feel that this is a sign that the game lacks  core design (no pun intended) principles, and went for a feature bloat, which looks good on paper, but adds very little to the gameplay.

I like the new dark and gritty tone of the game, but the setting was boring. The older games often took place all over the world and sometimes in fantastic locations. The exception being Tomb Raider 4: Last Revelation, which largely took place in Egypt, but they managed to have very distinct locations with varying color palettes. In this latest installment, I found Japan to be uninspiring. I remember the names of some of the levels in older Tomb Raider games that I played almost 20 years ago. I couldn’t say the same for this game, and I played it two months ago.

The story did not make any sense, but in all honesty, the older games did not have a great story either. I am generally not a fan of exploring the origins of well established characters, because writers rarely do justice. This attempt was no exception, in my opinion. There was nothing endearing about the origin story, and it certainly is not the reason I would play this game.

All said and done, it's not a terrible game, just not worthy of the legacy of the older games. It's worth playing if you can find it for under $5.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC) Review

Shadow of Mordor is a third person action game developed by Monolith Productions, and published by Warner Bros. Interactive.

When it is reduced down to its most basic elements, the game is about killing orcs. Everything in revolves around that, and if the combat isn’t good, then it would make this game extremely tedious because a lot of time is spent in combat.

Fortunately, the combat is really good. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and there are times it can get repetitive, but learning new abilities which will happen as the player progresses through the missions will add to the variety. The game borrows heavily from the combat system of the Batman games. If you did not enjoy the combat in the Batman games, then there is a good chance you won’t like this game.

The nemesis system is very well done. It even goes as far as to integrate your Steam friends into the game. If your Steam friend was killed by an Orc captain, then you get to take revenge through vendetta missions. I thought this was a nice addition.

The game has an open world, but it is rather small. There are two zones which differ in terrain, but the world is not really why I would recommend this game. It's not bad, but it doesn't stand out.

There are some annoying parts about this game, such as the number of enemies that you sometimes encounter. There was a point when I had to fight 4 captains, and an endless wave of orcs which can get rather exhausting at times. However, retreat is always an option.

The story did not make any sense to me. I stopped paying attention within the minutes of the first cut scene. It's not like Witcher 3 where I cared about the writing. I wanted to kill orcs and explore the world.

The game ran flawlessly on my machine. There were no bugs or performance issues.

All in all I thoroughly recommend this game.

Price paid - $7.49

+ Nemesis system
+ Combat

- Story
- Uninteresting world

Verdict - Well worth the price I paid for it.