I never thought that in 2013 I’d be putting a Tomb Raider title on the Game of the Year list, but here we are. Developed by Crystal Dynamics, the new Tomb Raider is (like so many things these days) a dark, gritty reboot of the franchise.
In this case, however, it’s a gritty reboot that works. The iconic Lara Croft is younger here, not as sure of herself. She’s shipwrecked on a mysterious island where the locals are less than friendly, and from there the game plays a bit like an open-world Uncharted. And I mean that comparison in the most favorable way. Tomb Raider’s mechanics just feel right: The game has dozens of collectibles scattered around the world, and for the first time in a long, long while, I actually snagged them all, just so I could keep playing.
This game also wins our fictional prize for best bow-and-arrow mechanics—and believe me, the competition was fierce this year.