A Geeky Review- Tomb Raider

Every once in a while a game comes along that completely reaffirms my love of gaming. The recent reboot of Tomb Raider is one of those games. I had expected great things from Lara Croft‘s “rebirth” but what I got was quite a lot more awesome than I had planned. Tomb Raider is a near perfect game from start to finish and will leave you wanting more from our heroine, Lara, who finally got the game she deserves.

Through the years I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the Tomb Raider franchise. Being a female myself I was instantly smitten with the idea of controlling an intelligent female protagonist. Despite her extremely short-shorts and well endowed chest, Lara had credibility as a dual gun wielding action/adventurer who became an icon in the “boys club” of memorable video game characters. Unfortunately for Lara, she was always kind of one-dimensional and through the years lacked character development and was slowly forgotten as her male counterparts progressed and became multi-dimensional.

As we moved into the current generation of consoles I hadn’t given Lara much thought, that is until I started playing Uncharted Drake’s Fortune. Not only did I think, this is the game Tomb Raider should have become, Uncharted finally succeeded in giving me the female video game character I’ve been seeking. While Elena Fisher is not Uncharted’s lead, she has become as beloved as our hero and main man Drake. All of Uncharted’s characters were created with love and depth as was the gripping cinematic quality to the franchises stories. I largely credit this with Naughty Dog’s, Amy Hennig, who is the main creative director and writer to the Uncharted series.

Amy Hennig is a legend in the games industry and previously worked for, Crystal Dynamics. As you may or may not know Crystal Dynamics took over development of the Tomb Raider franchise in 2003 and are also responsible for the current reboot of Tomb Raider. At one point during her time at Crystal Dynamics, Hennig wanted to reboot Tomb Raider but the task was given to someone else. Hennig eventually left Crystal Dynamics and joined Naughty Dog, and a legendary series was born. In a recent interview Hennig has stated that she was disappointed she didn’t get the opportunity to revive Tomb Raider. However, I feel Ms. Hennig is largely responsible for Lara’s growth as its apparent Crystal Dynamics took more than a few pointers from her groundbreaking Uncharted series.

When we first meet the new Lara Croft, we find a young woman and recent archeology graduate about to embark on her first expedition to the Yamatai island in the Dragon’s Triangle which is off the coast of Japan. It’s here that an unsure girl will be forced to overcome a bevy of trials and tribulations that will mold Lara into the iconic heroine the character has earned.

Lara and her crew set off to explore the mysterious Yamatai and the legend of its queen known as Himiko or “Sun Queen”. Legend has it Himiko had shamanistic powers in which she could control the weather. A storm is what sets off events of the adventure which leaves the crew torn apart and stranded on the strange island that is inhabited by the Solari Brotherhood, a dangerous and violent cult. Throughout Tomb Raider’s campaign an interesting and well written story unfolds but I would be doing you a disservice to elaborate on events that are responsible in transforming a young Lara who is unsure of herself into a fledgling hero, poised to take the reigns of the Tomb Raider franchise.

Not only does Lara’s character develop throughout the game, her abilities are honed as well. Early on, when you are required to walk across a narrow beam, Lara is cautious and almost clumsy about it, but later she expertly finds herself able to cross similar scenarios with ease and confidence. When Lara is forced to kill for the first time, it’s an emotional moment you won’t forget and expertly conveyed by Lara’s voice actor, Camilla Ludington.

Initially I played Tomb Raider on the 360, but I recently scored a free PC copy through a promotion with AMD Radeon when I replaced my video card with one of theirs. The graphics of the 360 version looks great but the PC version is stunningly beautiful. AMD created a cool little feature for the PC version called TressFX Hair, and let me tell you Lara’s hair looks fabulous! If you have a rig that will run Tomb Raider on Ultra settings, I highly recommend the PC version. However if you are interested in the multiplayer portion I’d go with a console version as the PC community seems to have less interest in MP for this game than console fans do.

Speaking of MP I’ve mostly enjoyed it, which is a good thing as it was recently announced that for now, any planned DLC for Tomb Raider will be Multiplayer based. I do so hope Crystal Dynamics changes their mind on this because I would love some more single player Tomb Raider even if it’s just a few new tombs to explore.

Tomb Raider is available now for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. It was developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. I can’t recommend this game enough, it is truly an epic experience. Look out The Last Of Us and Bioshock Infinite, a “contender is born”.

Sacred Citadel Available Now For Multi-Platforms

Sacred Citadel the side scrolling hack and slash action game is now available for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. Sacred Citadel offers all of the comforts of the action brawler but kicks it up a notch by incorporating RPG elements. As if that weren’t enough, gameplay includes dual wielding of weapons, combos galore and some pretty stunning graphics.

Play solo or bring a friend or two, as Sacred Citadel offers fun co-op gameplay for up to 3 people.

Download Sacred Citadel on the platform of your choice for the low price of $14.99 on PSN and Steam or 1200 Microsoft points on XBLA. You can also add the DLC pack, Jungle Hunt for $4.99 / 400 Microsoft points.

Sacred Citadel was developed by Southend Studios and is being published by Deep Silver.

Look for my full review of Sacred Citadel coming soon to Don’t Hate The Geek. Check out the launch trailer below.

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Spicy Horse Unleashes Hell Invaders This Fall

Spicy Horse has announced their next project will be a collectible card game/RTS tentatively titled Hell Invaders. Shooting for a fall release, Hell Invaders is being developed for PC, Mac, Linux and tablets.

Hell Invaders will consist of actual card battles, instead of two cards fighting on a table. The creatures of the cards will have 3D representations which will do battle as well as cards that offer upgrades and swappable skills, giving cards with identical characters a completely different experience.

Players can play in a single player campaign or fight in PVP arenas. Trading, card management and other social features will also offer more ways to enjoy your time in hell.

Spicy Horse will be unveiling more details about Hell Invaders in the coming months. Don’t Hate The Geek will relay all the information as it becomes available.

Pertinent Details

Title: Hell Invaders

Developer: Spicy Horse Games

Publisher: TBA

Genre: CCG/RTS

Platform: PC, Mac, Linux, tablets

Price: TBA

Release Date: Fall

The Moment You Have Been Waiting For, Plants Vs Zombies 2

Plants Vs Zombies was a phenom with the casual and hardcore gamer alike.The game first attacked the PC and Mac crowd before the zombie invasion took over our iOS devices and soon spread to every console and gaming device known to humans. Now PopCap games has finally revealed that a sequel is set to be unleashed in July.

Not much is known about the sequel to the tower defense game but the title even pokes fun about the long wait, Plants Vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time. Hit the break for PopCap’s teaser trailer for Plants Vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time.

PadGadget Daily App Deal – 8 iPad Apps on Sale

For today’s Daily Deal we’ve found 8 great apps to add to your iPad collection. We have 3 productivity / entertainment apps and 5 game apps in today’s bundle.

We used our PadGadget Apps Tracker to find these great deals and we’ll continue to look for the best app deals as they pop-up. Some of these apps are up to 80% off, a couple are even free, so be sure to check them out because they are on sale for a limited time.

Game Apps

  1. Call of Atlantis HD (Premium) – This match-3 game has a 4.5 star App Store rating and is now on sale for $0.99 instead of $2.99.
  2. Defense of Fortune HD – This great strategy game has a 4 star App Store rating and is now on sale for $1.99 instead of $2.99.
  3. GYRO Xtreme () – This puzzle game has a 4.5 star App Store rating and is now available for Free instead of $0.99.
  4. Puzzle Dozer HD – This iPad puzzle game has a 4.5 star App Store rating and is now available for Free instead of $1.99.
  5. The Rise of Atlantis HD (Premium) – This very popular matching game has a 4.5 star App Store rating and is now on sale for $0.99 instead of $1.99.

Productivity and Entertainment Apps

  1. ComicBook! () – This cool comicbook design photo app has a 4.5 star App Store rating and is now on sale for $0.99 instead of $1.99.
  2. Textilus Word Processor – This text editor has a 4 star App Store rating and is now available for $0.99. That’s a savings of 80% off the apps’ normal price of $4.99.
  3. Timecard Pro – Hours & Work Schedule Tracking () – This time tracking app has a 4.5 star App Store rating and is now on sale for $0.99 instead of $2.99.

Also be sure to check out yesterday’s Daily Deal to find more great savings.

= Indicates app is Universal and will run on an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.

We use our PadGadget Apps Tracker to constantly monitor the App Store to find the biggest price changes on iPad apps. Our editorial team goes through the data, picks the best deals on the most interesting apps and then brings them to you on a regular basis. All app prices are checked at the time of posting but prices are subject to change without notice. When developers put their apps on sale it’s usually for a very limited time, often 24 hours or less, so be sure to check pricing on iTunes before making a purchase.

PadGadget Daily App Deal – 12 iPad Apps on Sale

For today’s Daily Deal we’ve found 12 great apps to add to your iPad collection. We have 7 productivity / entertainment apps and 5 game apps in today’s bundle.

We used our PadGadget Apps Tracker to find these great deals and we’ll continue to look for the best app deals as they pop-up. Some of these apps are up to 80% off, a couple are even free, so be sure to check them out because they are on sale for a limited time.

Game Apps

  1. Apocalypse Max: Better Dead Than Undead () – This very popular side-scrolling zombie shooter game has a 5 star App Store rating and is now available for Free instead of $2.99. This app weighs in at 293 MB so please be sure that you have enough space on your iPad before downloading.
  2. Ascendancy () – This fun game has a 4.5 star App Store rating and is now available for $0.99. That’s a savings of 80% off the apps’ normal price of $4.99.
  3. Pew Pew Land II HD – This entertaining iPad game has a 4.5 star App Store rating and is now available for Free instead of $2.99.
  4. Royal Envoy 2 HD (Premium) – This sequel to Royal Envoy has a 4.5 star App Store rating and is now on sale for $1.99 instead of $3.99.
  5. Venice Mystery (Full) – This fun game has a 4.5 star App Store rating and is now on sale for $0.99 instead of $2.99.

Productivity and Entertainment Apps

  1. Bubble Guppies: Animal School Day HD – This popular education app has a 4 star App Store rating and is now on sale for $2.99 instead of $4.99. This app weighs in at 705 MB so please be sure that you have enough space on your iPad before downloading.
  2. Clinometer – level and slope finder () – This iPad level has a 4 star App Store rating and is now on sale for $0.99 instead of $1.99.
  3. Codea – This iPad programming app has a 4.5 star App Store rating and is now on sale for $4.99 instead of $9.99.
  4. Nick Jr Draw & Play HD – This fun Nick app has a 4 star App Store rating and is now on sale for $2.99 instead of $4.99. This app weighs in at 642 MB so please be sure that you have enough space on your iPad before downloading.
  5. PDFpen for iPad – This iPad PDF app has a 4 star App Store rating and is now on sale for $9.99 instead of $14.99.
  6. Team Umizoomi Math: Zoom into Numbers HD – This educational math app is now on sale for $2.99 instead of $4.99.
  7. Weather+ () – This insanely popular weather app has a 4 star App Store rating and is now on sale for $0.99 instead of $1.99. This app weighs in at 337 MB so please be sure that you have enough space on your iPad before downloading.

Also be sure to check out yesterday’s Daily Deal to find more great savings.

= Indicates app is Universal and will run on an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.

We use our PadGadget Apps Tracker to constantly monitor the App Store to find the biggest price changes on iPad apps. Our editorial team goes through the data, picks the best deals on the most interesting apps and then brings them to you on a regular basis. All app prices are checked at the time of posting but prices are subject to change without notice. When developers put their apps on sale it’s usually for a very limited time, often 24 hours or less, so be sure to check pricing on iTunes before making a purchase.