I finished Tomb Raider.  I thought you’d want to know.  (Early thoughts here.)

How'd they freight all this iron to an island no one can leave?

How’d they freight all this iron to an island no one can leave?

Overall impression: it’s a great game.  It took about 18 hours, which curiously is how long TR Underworld took too.  I expect it’s more replayable though… at least, I have a hankering to play through it again, perhaps doing more to find all the hidden tombs and other goodies.

The final boss fight is pretty annoying, but I got through it.  The dodge mechanic seems really wonky… the general idea is to hit Shift, but this doesn’t really help as you need to get behind the dude.  So I was mashing some combination of Shift + Left + Space, which sometimes worked, and then I’d generally miss his unprotected back, and… it’s not a fun fight.

The game is most fun when you can explore an area and figure out the tricks to move forward; I also liked when there was an opportunity for stealth.  The greater number of enemies is good overall, but some of the fights were more grueling than fun.

The overall was to move from scared, fragile Lara to badass avenging angel.  It works, but I think the timing is off.  She’s basically finished the transition halfway through… what does that leave for the next game?  I liked the more human Lara, and didn’t want to see her disappear entirely.  By the end of the game, when her shipmates talk to her, she’s got to Batman levels of coldness.

Some review suggested that her shipmates didn’t add much and could easily have been disposed of.  I tend to agree, mostly because they’re almost always shallow and useless.  The game has to keep coming up with dumb reasons why only Lara can go off for the next McGuffin… why not take a hint from Arkham City (or Max Payne 2) and occasionally let us control one of the other characters?  The snotty betraying guy is also a minus; neither his motivations nor his eventual comeuppance are convincing.

As for skill trees, it turns out not to matter much.  I ended up with almost all of the skills and gear upgrades, and with a little more collectible hunting I’m sure I could get them all.  This seems like a bit of a lost opportunity to enable different styles of playthrough.

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