Parent's Guide: Tomb Raider - Age rating, mature content and difficulty

Parents Guide Tomb Raider Age rating mature content and difficulty
29th March, 2013 By Sarah Morris
Game Info // Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider Boxart
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Players: 1
Subtitles: Full
Available On: Xbox 360
Genre: Adventure, Third Person Shooter
Everybody Plays Ability Level
Content Rating
Violence and Gore: Extreme
Bad Language: Strong or explicit
Sexual Content: Moderate innuendo or references
Parent's Guide

A 'reboot' of the Tomb Raider series that's very different in tone to the earlier games, this titular reboot follows Lara's 'coming of age' story, as she and her companions get stranded on a remote island off the coast of Japan - an island whose bizarre weather patterns are intent on keeping them prisoner, whilst a bunch of crazed natives want to kill them. What follows is essentially a third person shooter, with a few platforming and puzzle solving elements - but while it carries the Tomb Raider name, people who've played the previous games in the series may be disappointed to find it's much more focused on action and combat, more akin to games like Gears of War and the more recent Resident Evil games. In fact, there's very little Tomb Raiding in the game itself, with most of your time being spent either shooting enemies, or pressing buttons in response to the on screen prompts during interactive cutscenes.

Tomb Raider tends to assume you're familiar with the usual third person shooter controls and foibles before you start playing, and while it does attempt a tutorial of sorts, it also omits some basic things - such as how to fire Lara's bow (hold the left trigger to zoom in, before firing off arrows with the right trigger). And while previous Tomb Raider games were fairly forgiving, with an automatic aim that meant you could just hold down the shoot button and backflip all over the place to avoid damage, the new game has none of it - you need to manually aim all of your shots with the right trigger, whilst moving Lara with the left, something we still struggle with to this day. What also doesn't help when it comes to easing in newcomers is the fact that the game frequently throws large amounts of enemies at you, all with a seemingly limitless supply of Molotov cocktails and dynamite - coupled with Lara's fragile health bar, things can get pretty frustrating pretty quickly.

Puzzles, while mostly fairly simple, do require some trial and error to get right, and are mostly centred around either basic real-world physics, or setting fire to explosive barrels. One particular puzzle stood out as being a bit on the tricky side because of the timing involved - you needed to open some shutters to let the wind in, before raising a platform in time to be blown across to the opposite wall so Lara could leap onto a high up ledge. Some puzzles also require you to use Lara's weapons in different ways, whether it's attaching a rope arrow to a box and tugging it to make it swing, blasting through a metal wall with a grenade launcher or making yourself a tightrope bridge to shimmy across a ravine. There's also plenty of things to find and collect scattered around the island too, many of which reveal more titbits of the game's story.

With it's insight into what made Lara the adventurer we know, Tomb Raider is definitely more of a game for the older players.

Mature Content

Tomb Raider is a gritty retelling of gaming's leading lady Lara Croft's 'origin story', following her shipwreck on an island full of loonies. It's also the first 18 rated game in the whole series. Get the popcorn - this one's going to be a long one.

First and foremost, the game features gratuitous amounts of gore - cutscenes and interactive sequences feature Lara slicing into a deer with blood spurting out, shooting half a man's face off and wading through rivers of blood. Everything in Tomb Raider is designed for shock value - one scene sees Lara held down by a gang of men and beaten up later in the game, resulting in a face covered in blood, while there's even a bizarre room filled with skinned corpses and severed body parts, which you have to wade through. Miss a button press in a scripted event, or venture somewhere you shouldn't, and poor Miss Croft comes a cropper - impaling herself on trees, having her head crushed by a boulder or having a cultist's sword go straight through her mid-section and out the other side.

Parents will likely be relieved to know that the controversial 'rape' scene isn't as controversial as it first appeared. While Lara, with hands tied behind her back garners the attention of one of her captors, who proceeds to run his hands up and down her body as she struggles to get away, thing come to a quick halt thanks to a swift knee to the crotch. Nothing more happens (despite the initial massive media outcry), with the whole scene being over in about 30 seconds, leaving her assailant lying on the floor, having been shot dead.

Parents may also want to know about the animal hunting scenes in the game. As there's an emphasis on 'survival' here, you do have to kill a deer in an early section in the game - although that's the only time in the game you'll be forced to kill an animal. Things can also get a little bit creepy at times, seeing as the islanders seem to be a tribe of blood-thirsty cultists, and there's plenty of pitch black caves to pass through. As for bad language, Tomb Raider is peppered with naughty words - usually sh*t and f*ck when things don't go according to plan.

Age Ratings

We Say
Violence and Gore:
Bad Language:
Strong or explicit
Sexual Content:
Moderate innuendo or references
Substantial Mature Content

Format Reviewed: Xbox 360

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