The Aggie Arcade

Game of the week

Lara Croft makes her return to the gaming world this week with developer Crystal Dynamics’ series reboot, Tomb Raider. This latest installment, an origin story, concerns itself less with raiding tombs and instead focuses on the physical and psychological maturation of the famed female protagonist.

The shift in tone manifests in the first hour or so, in which Lara finds herself in a series of dangerous scenarios. She falls from great heights, escapes the clutches of disturbing tribal men and even fends off bloodthirsty wolves. Just one look at her cut-up, dirt-covered body and it becomes obvious this is not the Lara Croft of years past.

It doesn’t take long for Lara to pick up a gun and start shooting the bad guys, but her transformation from innocent archaeologist to hardened heroine proves convincing enough. It also creates a Lara Croft I can get behind: a strong female character whose intelligence and survival instincts outweigh her good looks.

My six hours with the game has included an assortment of combat encounters, platforming sections and relatively simple puzzles. The third-person shooting mechanics are solid and my affinity with the bow continues to grow. I wish puzzles were a bit more frequent and complex, but that’s not a huge complaint.

Tomb Raider also speaks to the completionists out there, with plenty of hidden treasures to collect and tombs to discover. A fast-travel option is unlocked in the early portion of the game, so players will be able to jump from one area of the island to another in an effort to reach that 100 percent completion mark.

This week in news

Back in 2010 Activision fired Jason West and Vince Zampella from developer Infinity Ward, the company behind the Call of Duty franchise. The two went on to found Respawn Entertainment, but now West has left the studio.

In a post on Respawn’s official website, Zampella confirmed West’s departure. He cited family issues as the main reason behind the co-founder’s decision and wished him the best of luck.

Numerous reports indicate that West had been absent from the company for months while the rest of Respawn worked on its first project. This particular piece of information has not been confirmed at this point.

Just last week Zampella revealed that Respawn will make an appearance at this year’s E3, hopefully to show off its still-unannounced debut game. It should be interesting to see the project’s progress in the wake of West’s departure.

ANTHONY LABELLA can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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