Monday, 11 March 2013

Tomb Raider VS Far Cry 3

Tomb Raider and Far Cry 3 are both excellent games and also both comparable. Here is my head-to-head comparison between the two games. Hopefully this might help you to decide which to buy, if you are in such a predicament. There shouldn't be any spoilers ahead but if you are sensitive to the information you know about a game before playing, read with caution!




GRAPHICS

Both of these games are gorgeous looking. Far Cry 3 has some stunning sights to see and the facial and body animations are first class and some of the best I've seen this gen. That said, up close some textures can be a bit flat and sometimes more out of the way things like trees and bushes can be mediocre in their animation. 

Tomb Raider is probably one of the best games I've seen this gen in a while. It doesn't quite surpass Crysis 3, but it is absolutely stunning. Facial animations are on par with Far Cry 3 easily, if not better. 
The island on which Lara is stranded looks absolutely phenomenal up close and from afar. The variety in the areas of the island is fantastic and everywhere you go it looks downright breathtaking. The fire effects are superb also.

Both are super looking games, but, ultimately, Tomb Raider takes the point here with its consistently first rate graphics. Far Cry 3 shouldn't feel too disappointed though; after all, Tomb Raider is one of the best looking games around.

Scores: Far Cry 3: 0 - Tomb Raider: 1

STORY

Far Cry 3 kinda blew me away with its story. Being a first person and open world, I wasn't expecting such an emphasis on this area of the game. Fortunately it had a great cast of characters and a consistently interesting, and somewhat deep, plot. I liked the main character and while the side characters weren't all that interesting, the bad guys Vaas and Hoyt (especially Vaas) were sensational. They were both insane in their own way, but each brought something different to the table too. Unfortunately Vaas disappeared from the game too soon and not enough was done with his character.  

Tomb Raider has a somewhat up and down story. On the plus side, Lara is an incredible character and one you feel very emotionally for. The mysterious island secrets that she must go on a journey to find out about make the overall plot very interesting and constantly enjoyable. 
On the downside, the side characters are all, except for Roth and Sam, very shallow, generic, boring and, if anything else, annoying. They do little and some of them actually act and look like characters you would see in a cartoon, which at times makes it all feel a little comical. The bad guy is also very reminiscent of Mola Ram from Indiana Jones, which although made it seem more 'adventure-y' also lowered the overall serious tone of it. He wasn't exactly the scary psycho the game wanted you to feel he was.

It is hard to pick a decisive winner here. Far cry 3 didn't grip me as much, but it interested me and I loved the characters, especially the bad guys. 
On the other hand, Tomb Raider certainly kept me on edge more and was more intriguing, but at the same time lacked some of the finesse that Far Cry 3 had in its characters.

Overall I call this one a draw. No certain winner here as they both have their own unique and awesome tale to tell.

Scores: Far Cry 3: 1 - Tomb Raider: 2

GAME-WORLD/SETTING

Rook Island is a fantastic setting for Far Cry 3 and it is one of the most vast and interesting maps I've had the pleasure of playing in an open-world game.
The entire journey you make around the island when you first play the game; taking over enemy strongholds, making more of the map visible by activating radio towers, completing missions; it is extremely satisfying and fun to do. The island itself offers everything you could possibly want: jungles, beaches, cliff sides to jump off of and underwater caves to discover, secrets to unlock, things to collect, animals to hunt, people to kill, side missions - the list is endless. It is one of the most enjoyable places I've had the privilege of exploring and it is truly incredible. Hell, even when you complete the entire map, with this new patch recently released, you can now reset all the strongholds back to being run by the enemy so you can spend even more time on Rook Island killing people.

I'm going to cut this part down because I, and maybe you, already know who has won this one. Tomb Raider's island is somewhat restrictive. It is broken down into areas as opposed to giving you the entire map as your playground. While it is nice to go around exploring, you never feel totally free, and it can often leave you feeling fairly restrained in what you can and can't do. It has nice variety and the amount of things to do on the side, including secret tombs and plenty of collectibles to find, is great, however it doesn't offer quite as much content as Far Cry 3 and after a while, without much to do, it becomes a bit of a bore.

It is easy to pick the winner here. Far Cry 3 has a sensational, expansive island to explore and it pays off. 

Scores: Far Cry 3: 2 - Tomb Raider: 2

GAMEPLAY

Far Cry 3 is very open with its gameplay, allowing for a ton of ways to play it. Shooting, driving, swimming, gliding, stealth and even platforming are all here. 
Combat situations can be approached different ways, and to hunt you have to be fairly sly and take the animal(s) (especially deer) by surprise. 
Stealth works incredibly well and the platforming is a necessity for completing various parts of the game as well as giving you the option of scaling buildings and, generally, being a super ninja. There is nothing you can't do, really. 

Each of these gameplay areas works perfectly, too, with no corners being cut. Everything is easy and accessible and the variety here is massive. 
There is even a perk system available which is far deeper than anything Tomb Raider tries to do. Hunting is necessary in order to craft different items, and collecting herbs allows you create different concoctions that may give you an advantage in battle or in other ways. The game is just fun, deep and always interesting to play.

Tomb Raider offers less overall gameplay options than Far cry 3 and instead focuses more on platforming, gunplay and puzzle solving. All three of these are extremely well crafted and enjoyable aspects of the game. 
The platforming is some of, if not the best, around. It is risky but not too hard and the balance here is perfect. 
Gunplay is mostly excellent, although having to shoot someone 3 times with a shotgun at close range is a bit excessive. The cover system is outstanding though, and equal to Far Cry 3's similar idea of not having a dedicated cover button but instead automatically taking cover when behind objects while not limiting your ability to move. 
The puzzle solving is also brilliant, but there just aren't enough puzzles in the actual game unfortunately. 

Overall, Tomb Raider is incredibly fun to play. It does have a bit of an emphasis on quick time events and scripted set pieces, but it is almost always awesome to play.

It is very difficult to pick which has better gameplay. Both are incredibly fun, however I would have to say Far Cry 3 edges ahead by just having more depth. Hunting, plant collecting, stealth, using the camera to pick out enemies, platforming, shooting, driving and swimming; it is one of the most moreish game I have played; never boring and always a thrill.

Scores: Far Cry 3: 3 - Tomb Raider: 2

MULTIPLAYER

I am going to answer this straight up: both have tacked on multiplayer modes with little depth that won't continue to be played in the near future, but, admittedly, Far Cry 3 is leaps and bounds below Tomb Raider. 

Yep, Tomb Raider actually has an online mode that I enjoyed, albeit wouldn't carry on playing. It is definitely more enjoyable than Far Cry 3's horrible and mediocre shambles of a co-op and multiplayer though. 

I'm going to save everyone time and just say that Tomb Raider wins this one on the basis that it is actually fun and interesting and not totally rubbish. 

Scores: Far Cry 3: 3 - Tomb Raider: 3

OVERALL ENJOYMENT

I enjoyed both games a hell of a lot and with it currently held at a tie I kind of want to end it like that. But I cant, because that isn't my honest opinion. 

I loved, and still do, both games. I had an awesome time playing both. But the game I will remember for the longest, that I couldn't stop playing the most and the one I just wanted never to end would be Far Cry 3.

I enjoyed the game so much and still do to this day that I can't possibly say that I had as much fun with Tomb Raider as well. I really did have a great time with TR, and it is up there with some of my all-time favourite games, but I just preferred FC3 that little bit more.

Scores: Far Cry 3: 4 - Tomb Raider: 3



VERDICT

Far Cry 3 did, and deserved to win. It is a better overall game than Tomb Raider and while its rival is an outstanding game I would recommend with the utmost urgency that everyone play, it just isn't quite as good. Far Cry 3 succeeds almost 100% in all it offers with little to no obvious drawbacks. I have enjoyed few games as much. 

Tomb Raider is still amazing, it just lacks the complete success of Far Cry 3 in everything it tries. 

Both should certainly be played, though, so if you can: DO!

Check out my review for Far Cry 3 and my review for Tomb Raider too.

What do you think of either or both games? Say your thoughts in the comments!

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