Tomb Raider by Square Nix (videogame)

Square Enix. (2013). Tomb Raider. [Video game].

Genre: Action, Adventure

Reading level/ interest age: Ages 17+

Plot summary:

Join Lara Croft on another epic adventure filled with excitement, wonder, and heartbreak. The crew of the Endurance decides to take Lara’s advice to search the Dragon’s Triangle for the lost island of Yamatai. A massive storm wrecks the ship and separates Lara from her friends. Gameplay begins with Lara being knocked out after struggling to get to shore. She awakes to find herself strung up by the ankles in a cave. After cutting loose, Lara must find shelter and tools to survive the island’s harsh climate. 

Wolves quickly become a problem along with the other inhabitants. Lara begins to find her crew and realizes that they did manage to find Yamatai. A fellow crew member, Samantha, might even be a descendant of the sun queen Himiko. The group works together to solve the mystery of this lost civilization which turns into a fight for their lives. Lara’s companions try to avoid others who have become shipwrecked while attempting to find a way off the island. Help Lara discover Yamatai’s secrets and live to tell the tale.

Reader’s annotation:

Lara Croft is back in another adventure of Tomb Raider. Can you help Lara save her shipwrecked crew and discover the secrets of Yamatai Island?

Information about the author:

“Square Enix Ltd., a part of Square Enix Europe business unit, is a London-based wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd., one of the most influential providers of digital entertainment content in the world. Square Enix Ltd. publishes and distributes entertainment content from the Square Enix Group including Square Enix, Eidos and Taito, in Europe and other PAL territories.

“The Square Enix Group boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property including: FINAL FANTASY®, which has sold over 92 million units worldwide, DRAGON QUEST® which has sold over 53 million units worldwide and TOMB RAIDER® which has sold over 35 million units worldwide, together with other well established products such as: DEUS EX, HITMAN, KANE & LYNCH, KINGDOM HEARTS, STAR OCEAN, and SPACE INVADERS. The Square Enix Group continues to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation by providing high-quality entertainment content, services and products.

“Square Enix Ltd. also has a global network of leading development studios such as Crystal Dynamics, IO Interactive, Beautiful Game Studios, Square Enix London Studios and Eidos MontrĂ©al” (Square Enix, 2013).

Curriculum ties: N/A

Booktalking ideas:

1.       If you are familiar with the Lara Croft of the 1990s, what do you think of the new character design?
2.       What do you like best/least about the gameplay?

Critical evaluation:

The game developers seem to have left out background information on Lara Croft’s character. As Tomb Raider has a large following from the 1990s, perhaps the player is expected to have gone through previous titles in the series. Players are informed only that Lara is on a research mission searching for a lost island. Unlike past character designs, this Lara was created to appear more real to the viewer. Her hips, bust, and waist are closer to an actual human rather than the busty Barbie-like character of past Tomb Raiders. Despite the marked improvements physically, Lara’s clothing slowly deteriorates throughout the game while her hair remains in a remarkably sleek ponytail.

As for gameplay, the constant spotting of rain droplets on the screen gets old fast. Other aspects are repetitive such as the Slip ‘N Slide areas of certain levels and the annoyance over trying to find posts to anchor arrows into for zip lines. Lara’s survival instinct vision is not needed either and handholds are painfully obvious as most are painted in white. Puzzles are a bit harder but most rely on the gamer’s timing rather than ingenuity. Overall, Tomb Raider remains interesting. Gamers guide Lara through levels that delve deeper into the very dark story of the island her crew get stranded on.

Challenge issues:

·         Language
·         Violence

Defensive Maneuvers:

·         Have the library’s collection development policy memorized and on hand in case a situation arises.
·         Keep positive reviews on hand to refer to or hand out when needed.
·         If the book has won any awards, mention them to the patron and briefly explain the award.
·         Listen to the patron and practice good customer service skills when communicating. Let the customer know where or if he/she can escalate his/her complaint.
·         When necessary, cite sections of the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights or refer to the ALA's Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials.

Why included:

The reboot of the Tomb Raider series will appeal not only to teens but adults who have played the series back in the ‘90s as well. Lara is a strong female character that promotes a little more feminism to the videogame world.


Square Enix. (2013). About Us. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from the Square Enix website

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