A Farewell to Video Games: My Top Ten (#7)

This is a continuing series. As I am rapidly “growing up” I find less and less time to play video games, so I’m celebrating my top ten favorites over a lifetime of playing and the impacts that games have had on me. See number 8

NUMBER 7: Tomb Raider (Xbox 360/Playstation 3)

From Square Enix and Cyrstal Dynamics
From Square Enix and Cyrstal Dynamics

It’s about time for a modern generation game, isn’t it? There’s nothing particularly deep about why I like this game, not a lot of lasting change to me as a gamer. It’s simply a whole lot a freaking fun.

I was never a Tomb Raider fan. I couldn’t respect Lara, clearly designed as eye candy and little else (turns out I was kinda wrong, but shut up). Plus, the games were a lot bloodier than I generally like. But then I saw the trailer for the 2013 reboot and I oggled. A properly-proportioned Lara Croft? That alone made me curious, so I sat down to try.

Boy am I glad I did. The story is okay, characters are familiar, but the gameplay itself is the best aspect. You can climb and explore pretty much everything, play with some pretty awesome set pieces, and combat is an awesome version of the crappy cover system.

With most cover systems, you crouch behind something, wait for them to stop shooting, then pick them off. Rinse, repeat, snore. Tomb Raider is much more frantic with enemies either coming at you or burning you out of your hidey-holes. You have to be quick on your feet, aim well, and use your surroundings wisely. No snoring here! I liked this update a lot and it kept me on my toes.

Now yes, it’s still quite bloody, but I find I handle it better than usual. The violence seems to have a point. It’s a story about soft, smart Lara turning into a hardened survivor. Thus, the journey is harsh, gritty, and excruciatingly painful. But through all this, Lara turns into the gun-toting veteran we’re familiar with. I tend to admire characters who I see going through absolute Hell and coming out the other side stronger and better for it.

Fun, wild, vivid, heck, I even found a little theology in it. Not a game for everybody, not the best game on my list, not a real impact on my life. But I play it over and over and over and over and over again. Clearly, it’s a whole lot of fun to play. In a video game, it’s just about all you need to succeed.


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