That layering—like the overall shift in tone—serves to gin up the experience in a counter-intuitive way. It's the kind of feel-bad that feels good. If you miss the old Lara, you're compelled to finish this title to get her closer to the snarky, actualized persona of the PS1 era. In the game, Lara has been a doubter of the tales her father brought back home with him. "The lines between our myths and the truth is blurry," she realizes at the game's end. The truth here is that this game is a finely crafted reboot, one that ensures that Lara Croft herself won't become a relic of the past. It's gloomier, yes, and laden with a thick sheen of meta-awareness. This new origin story throws more trouble at its heroine than ever before. But the changes folded into this Tomb Raider add a turbulent urgency that the old adventures lacked. We're left with a Lara Croft that we know better. She can handle what's coming, especially when it looks like she can't.


Note: Tomb Raider offers online multiplayer but I hadn't yet sampled the experience at press time. Once I get the chance to evaluate the game's online modes, I will update this review.


Tomb Raider's multiplayer offering is a lot like its single-player campaign. It's filled with variations of match types and progression systems that you'll see in Call of Duty, Battlefield 3 and other shooter-centric playgrounds. Just like in loads of other games, you earn XP for nearly everything you do and memorizing the maps is key to success in Tomb Raider multiplayer.


But, while both halves of Tomb Raider are built on familiar foundations, the multiplayer lacks the set-up and urgency that makes single-player play so satisfying. None of the desperation you feel on the part of Lara or the Solarii true believers comes through in the middle of a Team Deathmatch.

There's a slight bit of reward for exploration in multiplayer, in the form of salvage that you find. You need salvage to purchase new weapons and skills. You can have an Offensive Skill and an Survival Skill active while you play, letting you suffer less damage from certain weapons or earn more XP for finding salvage.


You're playing to level up a character and earn unlocks. That's about it. (If you want to play as Lara or other important storyline characters in multiplayer, you'll need to farm enough XP to unlock them.) The experience was stable enough and I had no trouble finding matches. Is it fun when you're playing a group that's found its groove? Absolutely. But it never felt special.

It would've been great if the design of the multiplayer organically encouraged more co-operation but instead I experienced the same kind of chaos found in all too many competitive shooters. The design of the levels is wonderful, though, with ziplines, twisting, branching footpaths and oodles of foreboding energy throughout.


Two modes have slightly interesting imbalances built into them. Cry for Help has the survivors gathering batteries for three radio transmitters that they then need to activate and defend. All the Solarii need to do in this mode is steal 20 batteries. Rescue makes the survivors hunt down medical supplies and return them to a base while Solarii are only able to kille the opposition with melee strikes. Team Deathmatch and Free For All are what you'd expect.

There's noting like playing through a campaign full of well-crafted emotional trials to make multiplayer feel like a fumbly add-on. Loads of other narratively ambitious games have impaled themselves on the supposed necessity of online competitive modes. Sadly, it's a trap that Lara Croft can't avoid either.