Having not been fully engrossed in a Tomb Raider game since the Year 2000 release of Tomb Raider Chronicles, it came as much of a shock to me as it appears to have done to others when I was presented with a polished, and engrossing new entry to the franchise.
The first sign of danger was that of the Fast and the Furious style name change that came along with the often dreaded idea of a reboot - not a positive sign (see: The Omen, The Day the Earth Stood Still and Total Recall etc.). Of course what I was forgetting that unlike the film industry, video games have taken far better to the retreading treatment, with games such as XCOM Enemy Unknown and DMC topping this years and last years 'Best of' lists respectively.
Fortunately, the good people at Crystal Dynamics (who have been developing the games for the franchise since Tomb Raider: Legend) have crafted a game with elements of Uncharted, that's for sure, but something that on the whole is an entirely different beast.
After a brief introduction to the new world that Lara is thrown into thanks to an unlikely journey into the remote islands hidden around Japan, we are shown an open based world that you have the option to explore at your own leisure: saying that, the prevailing idea is that the island you inhabit is much more about survival than anything else.
Tonally the game also suffers, as such a point is placed on the fact that survival is key, but the game is arguably designed so well in terms of structure and control that the game is rarely difficult; that and the fact that the game is littered with ammo for Lara's bountiful weapon selection. Lara Croft is either incredibly lucky, or the games island natives are very lazy, leaving their valuable resources all over the place.
Tomb Raider (2013) is a game that has an epic and cinematic story (arguably also borrowed from Uncharted but we'll just forget about that) with a believable central character who you root for throughout the proceedings. It couples this with clever level design that transforms the simple platforming/traversal mechanics of older games into something that flows with such fluidity that it stands alongside games such as Alan Wake and Portal that have drawn me in to the point where I'm getting lost in the story.