The crazy month of March kicks off with both SimCity and Tomb Raider hitting the shelves. What do the people paid to have an opinion think?
The Escapist gave it a perfect score:
The Lara of the new Tomb Raider isn’t the plastic princess that we’re used to, she’s an ordinary girl who, when thrown into extraordinary circumstances, makes the decision to live through them. She’s strong when the situation demands it, and fragile in the quiet moments between. She’s scared, but determined, capable but unsure. She’s marvelous.
Polygon gave it a 90 on their scale, and singled out the gameplay, particularly the platforming:
Few action games come close to the level of control that Tomb Raider provides. For example, after Lara makes a deliberate jump in one direction, you maintain the ability to change where she’s falling in mid-air. This air control sits at odds with the emphasis on realism found in Tomb Raider’s presentation, but it makes the platforming less linear and demands more from the player. Likewise, you can leap between locations — say from sliding down a rope to climbing up a rock wall with your pickaxe. The speed of these changes makes Lara’s animations look awkward and unnatural, but it feels right.
Destructoid gives it an 8.5 out of ten and again, thinks the gameplay is better than the story but that the story is pretty solid:
When taking cover, enemies won’t be able to spot Lara, allowing her to sneak up behind them for silent executions or take them out with her new combat bow. Stealth can be a valid option in most situations, but is never an absolute necessity, and many times the combat is unavoidable. Fortunately, Lara can more than hold her own against the crazed island inhabitants, and killing them is so much fun, it more or less undermines the whole narrative about the impact of taking human life. An unfortunate loss, but one that is made up for in spades.
Tomb Raider attempts to parlay its improved combat into a full multiplayer offering, but the paper-thin mode wears out quickly. Multiplayer does nothing to expand on the ideals of Tomb Raider and, apart from the ability to climb atop almost any structure, does nothing to differentiate itself from any other third-person shooter. It’s competent enough. It has all the required features – multiple character models, a progression system, copious unlocks, team deathmatch, something akin to capture the flag. Ultimately, however, that’s all it feels like: A requirement.
And Giant Bomb wraps it up by saying the game tries too hard at too many things, but does well enough at them to be worth it.
Tomb Raider might be guilty of trying to do too many things at once, but the relative quality of each one of those individual things is high enough that the whole is still pretty satisfying. The game deftly rises above the unpleasant tone of the marketing that preceded it, recasting Lara Croft as a capable young heroine for whom many new adventures inevitably await.
Tomb Raider is on PS3 and Xbox 360
SimCity is, Metacritic users being Metacritic users, currently facing a crappy user score because of its always-on DRM. So that’s an issue to be aware of, especially since apparently launch day is not going swimmingly thanks to connectivity issues. Also, reviews are a bit thin on the ground as the game is so enormous and complex most critics are taking their time. Still, there are a few reviews out there.
Polygon gave it a 95 and the critic, Russ Pitts, essentially likened it to crack:
From the pleasing sounds of every various button press, to the satisfying way various parts of your city connect, then come to life (then die and come back from the dead), every element of this game has been perfectly and patiently engineered to engender an endorphin rush of accomplishment. Even the soundtrack, which can soothe or encourage, feels painstakingly crafted to tune your emotions with what’s happening on screen.
VentureBeat agreed with the addictiveness, and offered rapturous reviews of the graphics:
These graphics are amazing, with so much attention to detail. The 3D graphics for the game allow you to maneuver and view your city from any angle. When buildings appear, they magically rise from the ground in an animation that is fluid and fun. And the buildings aren’t just generic. Each building home, and store is different. They have unique names and you can drill down and find more information about them.
SimCity is on PC, with the Mac version apparently delayed to a more generic “Spring” date.
In other words, both are marked as a buy. Boy, good thing that there isn’t another heavily hyped game arriving until, uh… next week, with God Of War: Ascension arriving.