Redmond Carolipio: This game represents the one place where Lara can go and truly be reinvented without trying to out-Drake Nathan Drake, who knocked Lara off her adventure throne and turned it into a leather couch with built-in cup holders. The new Tomb Raider has the potential — emphasis on potential — to do for the Lara Croft character what "Batman Begins" did for the Dark Knight. Instead of cliff-climbing, bombastic stuntwork and trying to turn her into a spelunking Trinity, the designers are now drowning Lara in darkness, survival and even terror. In doing so, this can allow a generation of newer gamers to connect with her on a level that extends past her looks and set the tone for a fresh, visceral take on this brand of adventuring.
Brian Dumlao: We've seen the franchise get a rebirth of sorts when Crystal Dynamics got the series after Core Design's abysmal The Angel of Darkness failed to spark interest in the once-famous Lara Croft. What we haven't seen is the heroine's origin story and transformation from a college graduate to the hardened adventurer who was introduced back in the PlayStation/Saturn era. Seeing the demo at E3 reminded you of a gritty Uncharted, a fitting comparison since Nathan Drake's series was often called a male version of Tomb Raider. Based on both the stunning E3 demo and the work Square Enix has put into some of the franchises it got after the purchase of Eidos, it's safe to assume that this game will be big.
Brad Hilderbrand: With all of these movie franchises getting gritty reboots, why shouldn't games do the same? The Tomb Raider franchise has been moving in a consistently darker direction for years now, and it seems that this younger, more vulnerable Lara Croft will be the most grown-up of them all. Will the character who was once held up as the epitome of female exploitation in gaming finally turn the tide and become the embodiment of girls who kick ass? All signs point to yes.
Sanford May: iPad is probably the Mac Steve Jobs would have made had the technology and design models existed at the time he oversaw development of the original Macintosh. Likewise, the new Tomb Raider may well be the Tomb Raider that Core would have developed for the Sega Saturn if the Saturn had similar capabilities to current-generation HD consoles. (Yes, Tomb Raider debuted in a Saturn version, not the PlayStation title — not even Tomb Raider was enough to save Sega's weakest console.) Granted, Crystal Dynamics, not Core, is providing this interpretation of "how it should have been," and there's a lot of gamer grumbling over remaking Tomb Raider with new gameplay mechanics. If any brand is worth a total makeover, it's Tomb Raider, one of the first AAA Western games highlighting a female protagonist — though Lara was inarguably drawn for male audience appeal — who made puzzle/adventure gaming accessible to almost everyone. Lara's anatomy has been redesigned, too, though that's already drawing fire because she's still indisputably hot. But do you really want ugly heroines in your video games? I didn't think so.
Tony "OUberLord" Mitera: If that was any franchise that needed a reboot, it was this one. Disproportionately large breasts and a pair of pistols only can get you so far, and it's genuinely interesting to see the new Lara as a normal, vulnerable human being. The character is still a powerful lead, and it'll be real interesting to see the developer's new take on her. Going up against the Uncharted series is a task I certainly don't envy, but there's got to be enough room in that underpopulated genre for the resurrection of the franchise that defined what the genre is today.
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