2013's year of gaming is coming to a close and that means Neoseeker is deep in deliberation over its "Game of the Year" award. This month, each of Neoseeker's 10 nominees for Game of the Year will be profiled. Join in the discussion, speculate on the nominees, and subtly persuade us which game deserves such an honorable award.
The first nominee in Neoseeker's 2013 Game of the Year series is Tomb Raider. Pretty appropriate, actually, considering Crystal Dynamic's Tomb Raider reboot was one of the year's first AAA hits. In March, we were introduced to a younger yet thougher Lara, who clawed and shot her way back into fame.
These days, just about every IP or game is getting a remake, yet the new Lara Croft was not entirely a product of demand. Yet here she is, in a brand new Tomb Raider adventure that reinvents one of the most iconic female characters in gaming with a fresh new origin story. A much needed one, in fact. While many other games can claim to be "gritty," like that's some magic word that would pique player interests, the 2013 Tomb Raider lived up to it. Her first real adventure sent her, then a college-age girl, to a remote island inhabited by wild predators, crazed cannibals, a cultist and his small army, and (of course) dark magic. And what does this twenty-something lady do? She finds herself a bow, a firearm or two, and starts learning some valuable survival skills before anyone can walk all over her.
Why Tomb Raider?
- Feel empowered like never before - Seriously, you don't need to be a woman to identify with Lara. Just about anyone who gets into the new Tomb Raider will tell you that this is inevitable. When Lara is put through another graphic scene where she's stabbed and skewered by a rusty pipe or wooden stake, you'll die a little inside. But this goes the other way around, because when Lara grows bolder and starts fighting back against those who would harm her and her friends, it's oddly empowering. When she makes a kill or accomplishes some major achievement, the satisfaction rubs off on the player. Not many games can claim to inspire this level of empathy with its characters!
- Explore to your heart's content - What's a Tomb Raider game without tombs? If there's one thing so many action games lack these days it's freedom. I'm not talking about making good-versus-evil choices. Exploration is just a luxury so many other action titles lack, so Crystal Dynamic's decision to throw in some proper dungeon-esque areas to frolic in, with puzzles and hidden passageways, is a welcome one. The addition of these areas really gives Tomb Raider a classic touch, even while the rest of the game feels updated to modern standards.
- A proper Lara Croft story - For a long time, Lara Croft was little more than a sex symbol in gaming, and most attempts to bring her back haven't been met with much enthusiasm. Until now, anyway. The new Tomb Raider actually goes beyond the usual formula by completely reintroducing us to Lara, starting with a clean slate to reconstruct a legend. The game takes Lara quite seriously, and does away with the distraction of her well-established sexuality by making her a younger, more innocent figure. Sure, an inexperienced explorer from a wealthy family might not seem like a compelling protagonist on paper, but she really is. All hail Lara Croft.
Tomb Raider undoubtedly deserves a place on our top ten Game of the Year choices. Crystal Dynamics has done an incredible job of bringing back the Croft name, and we look forward to seeing the new Tomb Raider continue. If you need more reasons for this nomination, you can find them laid out in a more in-depth review.
Neoseeker's Game of the Year 2013 Nominees
- Tomb Raider
- The Last of Us
- BioShock Infinite
- Gone Home
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Saints Row IV
- Path of Exile
- Papers, Please
- Metro: Last Light
Neoseeker's Game of the Year awards are decided by editors Lydia Sung and Rory Young. Follow them on Twitter at @RabidChinaGirl and @bluexy , or read their news, reviews and features every day here at Neoseeker.
Be sure to check out some top picks from our PC community as well.