Tomb Raider 2013: 5 Ways To Improve The Sequel

2 min

The recent release of Tomb Raider has been met with good critical and fan reception. Our own team here at Explosion has also given the game a favourable review here. With this in mind, and considering sales have been decent too, there’s a very high chance of seeing a sequel to this game. It is highly likely that gamers will want to see Lara again given her positive impact so far. So, here’s a list of improvements that would merit an even better reception for a sequel.

Tomb Raider 2013: 5 Ways To Improve The Sequel

5) Lara Should Gain More Abilities

Honestly, some of this may just be nostalgia talking. Lara gained a number of skills and gears throughout the 2013 reboot, but more can always be added. Primarily, I’m thinking of classic abilities like dual wielding weapons, swimming and acrobatic maneuvers that Lara used to have anyway. Couple that with all new abilities, and seeing Lara again won’t seem like a simple cash-in on a sequel. Of course, the game will need to utilise these abilities well and balance them within the game. With the quality of Tomb Raider 2013 though, I’m positive the developers can pull it off.

4) More Villain Encounters

Tomb Raider 2013 has a good number of supporting cast members to help or hinder Lara in her adventure. For the most part though, the supporting cast were friends of Lara. While this isn’t bad in itself, none of them bar Roth really felt like they were equal to Lara, and even then Roth was a kind of ‘father’ figure to Lara. Villains on the other hand, can be great adversaries of equal strength to our heroin. In this reboot, we don’t really encounter the main villain much throughout the game. I feel that this is a missed opportunity. I do definitely appreciate the scattering of documents and journals that provide more insight into people including the villains, but there should be more encounters to build up momentum and hype.

3) Harder Puzzles To Solve

The puzzles in this Tomb Raider reboot were fairly straight forward. Maybe gamers are just getting better at solving puzzles, but even then, the lack of tension as you solved puzzles made things even easier. A sequel should definitely look to incorporate harder brain teasers and also make sure there are more consequences for failing to solve puzzles timely. The older Tomb Raider games had spikes and boulders and all sorts of traps just ready to punish a misstep. That sense of tension excites gamers, so including it will make the sequel better.

2) Bigger Tombs To Raid

I personally feel that allowing players the option to explore puzzle-oriented tombs vs action-oriented story missions is a good idea. It allows the gamer freedom of choice where earlier games in the Tomb Raider series and even the Uncharted series do not. That said though, the size of the optional tombs available should be much bigger in the sequel. The optional tombs in Tomb Raider were laughably small. Remember if you will how much better the tombs (Lair of Romulus) were in Assassin’s Creed 2: Brotherhood. Those were great diversions and Tomb Raider should try to emulate some of that, while maintaining its own identity.

1) Actual Boss Fights

Probably the biggest disappointment personally in the recent Tomb Raider game was that there were no real boss battles. The gameplay in Tomb Raider is pretty good, so boss battles should accentuate that, not rely on cutscenes or QTEs. The boss battles in Tomb Raider (if you can call it that) were tepid. Boss battles are a huge part of gaming. Games like Metal Gear Solid, Dark Souls and Shadow Of The Colossus all thrive and are memorable to this day due in large part to the boss battles and their impact on the games. A sequel to this Tomb Raider reboot should look to incorporate proper boss fights.

So that’s it for this list. Do you guys have any thoughts to add?

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  1. You know how in the beginning, you’re made to hunt and “eat” (the piece was cooked but not eaten according to the cutscene) a deer? If the next game is going to be about “survival” why not add in sleep and hunger penalties if you fail to satisfy either? And instead of ready-made camps, why not make you hunt for caves or crevices or treetops that you can camp in and if you fail to find a good enough hidey-hole, you’ll get yourself dragged out and killed.

  2. My thoughts (some spoilers ahead):

    1) Less emphasis on combat. I thought the reboot relied on combat against Mathias’s mooks to the detriment on the narrative and the sense that Lara is out of her element. While it was certainly satisfying seeing Lara evolve from scared out of her mind college grad to bad-ass action girl, I think a much slower escalation in the body count would have been more effective. They should have allowed the player to use their wits more to bypass the villains, rather than make her a one-woman army.

    2) More emphasis on the survival aspects. Linked to the above, I think there were some possibilities that got neglected here, and more could have been done with “Lara against nature.” I’m not saying a full survival game where everything is based around hunting, etc., but aside from the first “mission” after you get the bow there was never a sense of Lara having to survive her environment. This assumes, of course, the sequel involves Lara getting stranded again, which I doubt would happen…

    3) More development of the supporting characters. I LOVED that in the reboot the supporting characters had more of presence than in previous installments (only the much-maligned Angel of Darkness really approached the same level of character development). Unfortunately, only Roth and Sam and their relationship with Lara really got any play. The rest of the cast didn’t have much development beyond base personalities. How much more impact would Alex’s death have had if you actually got to see more of his feelings for Lara than the one note you have to look for to find literally five minutes before he dies?

    4) Some actual archaeology. The reboot establishes Lara as an actual archaeology graduate, rather than the treasure hunter and mercenary adventurer of the earlier continuities. I think it would be interesting to show her actually doing archaeology work. Like puzzles involving following clues through a series of books or papers at a library that will be important to locating a tomb you need to search, (say, book 1 leads you to paper 2, to another book that with all the information together you can pinpoint the location of the tomb on the map) or at the very least showing Lara working at a proper dig site. It would certainly be an interesting change of pace, and I think it’s important for the new series to make sure to keep adding fresh ideas to avoid the stagnation the original games did.

    5) More playing with real-world mythology. Until playing this game I was unaware that Himiko and Yamatai were real semi-legendary fixtures in Japanese history. After the brief bit I read about it I found their spin on the idea fascinating and hope future games play more with other more obscure legends and myths. And keep the touches of the supernatural as well. I think this game handled it very well by building up to the appearance of the Oni and the reveal about the truth behind Himiko more slowly.

    1. This perfectly sums up my thoughts on the game. Overall, I LOVED it, and if they tweaked the sequel a bit per your suggestions, it could be that much better.

  3. They should as well make the ability to play through with all your gear and upgrades, not saying they couldn’t release a patch to fix the issue now, which I really hope they do. But having it from the beginning would be better. And yes make the tombs tricky and large. I felt it was a slap in the face to long time tomb raider fans to give us such kid friendly tombs, my little brother that is 8 would have no problem with them. No game is perfect but square enix please don’t make the sequel a ff13-2. This release shows promise for the future, so overall good job.

  4. I love this game don’t get me wrong but I completely agree with the tomb part of this. There were very few and they were very small I felt a bit dissapointed that they called the game Tomb Raider when I think a more suitable name would have been Lara Croft or something of that nature.

  5. I think this game was awesome in the part of the puzzles because they make you think for a while I personally dislike the firts games because there is a moment when you just want to continue with the action and being stopped by a puzzle is anoying sometimes, so easy ones are good and make you feel like a pro like how lara should feel !!

  6. I LOVE this game, but at the same time I miss the old Tomb Raider where you were kind of on your own… You were thrown into a Tomb and you had to figure it out. This almost holds your hand and walks you along the way. Both great, just wish the two could be married a bit more.

    1. What the hell are you talking about? They were considering a sequel before the game even got released. Looking at the success of this game, It’s pretty obvious they are going to go through with it.

  7. I was hoping for a greater focus on survival, or a survival mode that severely reduced ammo. I know its tomb raider and ridiculous gun fights are part of it but it would have been nice to be stranded and have hardly any resources. Also more of an open world forest for hunting which is necessary to survive or something

  8. More skills are always awesome, But I am not sold on the boss fights thing, If there was one, they should be just as human in terms of life and hit ability as Lara. I would love bigger and better tombs and puzzles. I love to think.

  9. Dual pistols would be too cartoony I think. Here’s what I want out of the sequel (if they make one):

    – Actual character customization, like equipping kevlar vests, military webbing, camo face paint or other things to alter her appearance.

    – (This I didn’t like and they had a similar problem with Dead Space and they fixed it in number 2) once you modify a weapon, like when she gets the AK-47 to replace the Japanese Type 100 or when she gets a compound bow to replace the recurve bow, you should be able to switch back and forth between the original and the upgraded version.

    – You should have your inventory at your campsites and thus only be able to carry, say 2 or 3 weapons not 4 to make it seem more survival based.

    – Add Co-Op, whether it’s split screen campaign/survival/or seperate missions (like special ops in CoD) or even through system link or online, it just adds to much replayability. I’ve spent so many hours on Horde mode in gears of War because it’s such a good feature in any game.

  10. I have played pretty much every TR game, with the exception of probably the very first one. I think they did a super job on the reboot. I disagree with the article in that she should do her gymnastic abilities again. I think if the makers of the sequel go ahead with this new universe for Laura, those abilities might look “out of place”. I liked her with the bow and arrow and the ability to carry other weapons as well. I also liked that she could somewhat brawl in this version where she really hasn’t been able to before. While I like the previous games I feel that this grittier version of Lara is excellent!

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