The recent reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise has been well met by many. Lara Croft’s new adventure has been compared numerous times with the Uncharted series, which itself was initially compared to earlier Tomb Raider games when it first came out. Now that the game is finally in our hands, we get to make the comparisons ourselves and see that there is quite a bit of difference between the two games/series. Ultimately, in my eyes, Tomb Raider has succeeded in outperforming the Uncharted series in a number of areas. For this article’s purpose, I’m comparing Tomb Raider to Uncharted 3, given that game is the latest evolution for that series.
Tomb Raider: 5 Reasons It’s Better Than Uncharted 3
5) Better Platforming
One of the major consistent arguments made against the Uncharted series is that the platforming sections are usually very linear and nigh impossible to fail. Very rarely do you ever die from the platforming sections in Uncharted 3. In Tomb Raider on the other hand, platforming is more interactive. You’re more likely to fail a platforming section in Tomb Raider and suffer for it. In addition, there are some moments where failing a platforming section results in Lara taking a different course through an obstacle, providing variety within the platforming aspects. Lara also gains extra skills and equipment to help her perform even more platforming maneuvers, whereas Nathan Drake never gains any new abilities over the course of Uncharted 3.
4) More Involving Characters
Don’t get me wrong here, I love the characters in the Uncharted universe. The problem arises when most of these characters only interact during cutscenes. Sometimes they interact with each other during gameplay moments, and these banter moments are great too, but Tomb Raider takes it a step further. Lara is constantly in contact with someone during her adventure. Whether friend or foe, helpful or annoying, there’s almost always someone around her. She also interacts with them outside of cutscenes, mainly with her walkie-talkie. An additional bonus to Tomb Raider is that during exploration, Lara comes across many diaries and documents featuring thoughts of either her travel mates or of the enemy. You gain more insight into these other characters and learn how they truly feel. This was a major problem in Uncharted 3, as the main villains in Uncharted 3 were sorely underdeveloped. Lara herself has little moments where she writes/talks for her own journal, again providing more insight into her character.
3) Seamless Open World
Tomb Raider takes place on an isolated island, reminiscent of Far Cry 3. The best thing about this is that the environment is seamless and your transition from one area to the next feels relevant. The island also reminds me of Dark Souls’ world, where areas are interconnected and Lara can traverse between areas that she has been before. The fast travel mechanic helping this concept significantly too. I always love seeing how game design relative to the environment gets unraveled in game. You, as the gamer, slowly get to see the vision within the game’s design by how the levels are created. In Uncharted 3, you don’t get this feeling as everything is linear and straight-forward. You never get to return to an area nor do you expand on the environment through exploration. It’s just one scene after another.
2) Better Cover System
Tomb Raider has an awesome cover system. No longer do you have to press a button to enter/exit cover, Lara does so automatically when she’s behind an obstacle like a wall. She’ll automatically peer over or to the sides of cover whenever you take aim to shoot too. Covering doesn’t make you invincible either. You really have to get up close to the wall to be in proper cover and even then, you can still be shot at from different angles should your enemy be in a good position. In Uncharted 3, the cover system is a mess. The problem arises by NOT having a button dedicated to entering/exiting cover. This button also maps to dodging. Countless amount of times I would accidentally enter cover when I wanted to dodge, and vice versa. You also have the issue of consistently entering/exiting/entering cover as delayed responses mean that you aren’t too sure whether Nathan is actually going to use cover or not, especially in the heat of battle.
1) Tighter Controls
This takes cue from the point above. By having a better button map to the gamepad, Tomb Raider becomes the better game from a gameplay perspective too. Controls feel intuitive and tight. Dodging works really well and allows you to regain control of Lara really quickly, meaning you’re more proactive during shootouts. The dodge and counter system is great too coupled with a much better melee system than in Uncharted 3. Uncharted 3’s essentially QTE melee moments was a weak point to the game. In Tomb Raider, you also gains skills throughout the game to increase your melee abilities and your countering abilities. Overall, Tomb Raider feels smoother in terms of gameplay.
So there you have it, 5 reasons Tomb Raider is better than Uncharted 3. Do you agree? Or do you feel that Uncharted 3 is the better game?