|Genre: Adventure & RPG|
|Min OS X: 10.9|
Materials Lara scavenges from the environment and enemies can be used to enhance her weapons and gear. As you search bodies, crates, and other piles of debris you gain points which are used as a form of money to purchase upgrades to weapons. If you are thorough in searching the environment, you will gather enough points to add some very useful modifications to the weapons Lara uses. The bow and arrow is the first weapon Lara finds, and is probably the most used one in the game. There is even a reset point, where Lara loses all but her bow. If used well, the bow can be very effective. Early on you learn that when dealing with a crowd of bad guys, carefully taking out those on the edges won’t alert the group as a whole. If done correctly, instead of getting swarmed you can sneak in or even sneak by. However, if you want (or if you blow it!), you can approach most group fights with guns blazing and succeed if you are effective.
In addition to the material components, Lara has several other things she can find as she travels the island. Excerpts from books and diaries tell a variety of tales, providing a history of the island’s past, the story of the mercenary cult, and some history of her teammates. Lara will also find Japanese artifacts. GPS points she collects open up areas of the map to explore, and return to later if you so desire.
You will find “Secret Tombs” as you move through the game. Remember, Lara is an archeologist, she wants to find artifacts. Tombs are generally a more difficult motion puzzle, involving several steps and jumps to get to the “treasure”. If you succeed the treasure usually consists of some points for enhancing weapons, a skill point, and often an artifact. Tombs also offer a camp site to make use of loot and enhancements.
There are also a variety of game achievements (or special challenges) you can complete as you play. They consist of finding a number of certain items, lighting altar fires, killing a number of larger beasts, and so forth. The challenges appear if you discover one of the items and interact with it. Completing the challenge often provides additional experience.
Death can happen, and often does. This game is designed using the try and try again model. When faced with a challenge, observe the surrounding environment, and come up with a strategy, then try it out. If you fail, then learn from that and try a different approach! When you do die, Lara is returned to a point in time just before the encounter that you failed at, minus whatever ammo you expended in your failure. If you fail a challenge, or miss a longer jump, the game “rewards” you with a animation sequence portraying her death complete with blood spatter and cries of agony. The sounds and the imagery are really repetitive and quickly become annoying if you don’t manage to work a sequence correctly. I found myself often turning off the game audio when confronted with more difficult sequences that repeatedly ended up with Lara dying. Really, I don’t need to see a sharp stake pierce Lara’s cute little head time and time again to realize that I failed. Especially, since each time, I progress farther in the sequence of the entire motion challenge and eventually I will get the sequence down.
There is no healing effect in this game. If Lara takes damage, but succeeds, she quickly heals up. If not, she dies. Damage is indicated by red spatters on the game “camera lens”. In difficult battles, requiring the completion of many steps, I found myself moving Lara back a few paces behind cover and just waiting a moment to recover health, before attempting to move on. Sure this might take a bit more time, but you won’t need to go through the agony of a death sequence time and time again. (believe me, the death sequences are really really agony ☹).
Lara’s weapons are found as you move through the game. Scavenging materials as you play, you accumulate points which can be used to add a variety of enhancements to the weapons. The enhancements can only be applied when in a camp. You choose how to use the points you gathered by “buying” enhancements. You can also find enhancements for specific weapons as you search the environments of the game. As a rule, some major enhancements appear at a point in the game where you will first need that special attack. Most weapons require ammo, which can be found on defeated enemies and “just lying around” the world. This last part is a bit unrealistic, but I will take it.
Lara doesn’t get much in the way of armor or protection. Whatever she is wearing might show marks from battles and other effects, but doesn’t provide any specific protection. One of the add-ons I got with the game included several sets of clothing for Lara (nothing too naughty). Let’s face it, this game is geared toward adolescent boys, so watching a cute Lara on the screen is a part of the game ☺.