So first off, let me establish something. This game is not classic tomb raider.
Ok so let's focus on what you get, Gameplay wise this game is excellent a few realism issues aside (weapon damage can be a tad inconsistent) the game features 3 main areas of play, They are:
Exploration, This side of the game has Lara scouting her surroundings looking for "Salvage" to upgrade her weapons and various collectable items that expand on story play or award trophies.
Combat, This is stealth / cover based shooting.
Puzzles, Various tombs usually require the player to solve a puzzle to unlock its secrets
Exploration is easy and fluid, you can run around jump to walls and clamber your way up without any break in immersion. You can use Lara's "Survival Instincts" to highlight nearby objects of interest such as salvage enemies or treasure items. At times exploration can be somewhat slow Climbing walls and ropes can take a rather long time. Very rarely I found that I would make a jump which I had not properly estimated resulting in death. The Acquisition of rope allows Lara to use her Bow and Arrow to launch a rope into certain targets which can then be zipped down. I find it slightly odd that something like that could hope to support the weight of anyone but it's not too great a stretch of the imagination and does not greatly affect immersion. Overall 4/5
Combat, This at times can be a little clunky, without a designated "use cover" button Lara tends to crouch behind nearby objects and occasionally it's hard to tell if you are actually in cover or not. As I said earlier weapon damage can be slightly inconsistent Head shots are not guaranteed kills. There is also a lot of Quick time event style combat moves that can at times be irritating. Minor issues aside combat is good and easy to transition to from exploration. Stealth elements are well executed Sneaking up behind an enemy for a quick kill works well and the bow allows for long ranged kills providing you get a headshot as other areas are not usually instant kills. Some boss fight elements of the game focus heavily on quick time events which are whilst very well executed still quick time events which I personally find a poor way of story progression, especially if you get it wrong first time. Overall 3.5/5
Puzzles, Whilst very pretty and well executed, They are mostly all variations of the "See-Saw" puzzle that need you to find enough of something to weight down one object to raise another. There are a few variations and the use of wind as a force in some of these is very well done. Overall 3/5
So gameplay wise Tomb Raider is great, It does not push any boundaries or bring in ground breaking new developments, It is what it is and it's polished to a mirror shine.
The next part is harder, Story.
Off the bat let's establish something again IT IS NOT TOMB RAIDER. This is not big breasted short shorts Lara Croft who roles solo into tombs dual wielding .45s.
I personally grew to dislike classic Lara's identity as a highly sexualised character whose main attributes were her looks. One of the main things they have tried to do this time round is create a more believable character. So have they done it?
Well new Lara is young and properly proportioned. She is still very attractive but more pretty and sweet than buxom and sexy. She is intelligent, (When finding some treasure items Lara will observe some aspects of its origin and use, she may also observe more aspects upon further investigation).
She is also human, Lara of the old games would not flinch upon being washed up on a deserted island swarming with hostile men, and within the first hour of play we get to see fear in Lara, she is cold and alone.
She has clearly had some survival training (knowing how to skin a deer and shot a bow) but finds it difficult to do in practice (over comming moral issues about it).
One character defining moment is her first kill which she struggles with (Although briefly) I have heard some people complain how Lara goes from having difficulty with one kill to effortlessly burning through dozens of men but I feel Lara's issues with killing are shown to be mental barriers opposed to physical ones and as such after coming to terms with the first kill it's easier to proceed with later ones.
Overall I like these changes, New Lara is much more 3 dimensional she has depth and is not purely defined by he physical attributes. I do however miss the old Lara (tough and capable).
Story, Without spoiling too much The plot revolves around Lara attempting to escape from a deserted island whilst surviving the hostile other inhabitants and dealing with an unknown mystical power that seems set to keep her there.
The plot drives forwards and is expanded upon by items and journal entries found in exploration. The plot is very well written and does a great job of characterising the new Lara and giving us a chance to see and watch as she evolves. The only downside is that the Plot really avoids focus on anyone else other characters are almost all there for the sake of Lara's development. Amongst her allies Lara has an Old friend of her fathers who acts like a mentor who aside from two scenes really didn't appear to be anything special. It would have been nice to see a little more attention paid to the stories of the other characters though they do get some light in journal entries found on the island.
Overall Tomb Raider is excellent and well executed. It is exactly what it tries to be and nothing more, It does not do anything new or innovative, but who said every new game needs to have something new?
The game lacks any real replay value since its key driving point is story. The online section is barely worth mention, it's typical team death match style fighting on small maps anyone not 15 years old and with loads of free time will die... ALOT to players who have had hours to hone their skills.
It does again need to be said that sadly this is not the old Tomb Raider that we knew and die-hard fans will not like the new addition to the franchise. And I can see it, but I think that based on its own merits this game is well deserving of its praise.