A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lara's outfits tend to emphasize her physical attributes, but her portrayal swings widely between a gun-toting femme fetal and a brainy archaeologist. The combat sequences can get intense but lack close-up blood and gore, with defeated enemies fading quickly away. The game's puzzles have little to do with actual archaeology, but they do present a challenge and a welcome break from the reflex-heavy action sequences.
What's it about?
Opening sequences show a young Lara and her mother exploring the ruins of an ancient civilization, discovering a sword embedded in a stone. When her mother pulls the sword from the stone, she is engulfed in an explosion and appears to be killed; Lara is left to piece together what's happened. Soon, she discovers that much of the secret revolves around the broken shards of a powerful sword, which have been scattered around the world. But it's not so easy to get them: A former friend and her right-hand man want the pieces for their own purposes -- and their methods can be ruthless.
Players need both good reflexes and brain power to advance. Sometimes it's all about timing, and sometimes it's about solving puzzles.
Is it any good?
TOMB RAIDER: LEGENDS is better than most of the installments in the series because it sticks closer to the allure of the original formula: great graphics, a great storyline to carry the action, and game-challenging puzzles. Some levels contain intense firefights, with exploding tanks of propane, mounted machine guns, and vicious guard dogs. Overall, though, shooting sequences tend to be limited to one or two major incidents per level. In the end, this a fun and challenging installment in the popular series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Lara. How do you feel about the way the game portrays her -- in sexy costumes and wielding weapons? Is she a stereotype, or does her blend of brains, beauty, and bravery break the mold? Who is the intended audience for the Tomb Raider franchise? Is Lara meant to inspire girls -- or to make guys drool?
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