Longevity is a difficult thing to achieve for video game developers. Over the years, many great studios have gone out of business for one reason or another. This is why it is very impressive when one manages to stick around for many years, for example Crystal Dynamics.
The company was founded in the early 90s and has remained active ever since. However, legacy in the industry is built on more than just being around for a long time. The studio has managed to make some great games in all the years it’s been around. And the following are the best.
8/8 Marvel’s Avengers
Marvel’s Avengers has received a lot of criticism since its release, mostly for its live-service elements and somewhat repetitive missions. But the game isn’t all that bad. In fact, there’s a lot to like about the superhero adventure.
First, the combat feels very satisfying and fun. Crystal Dynamics somehow managed to make all the Avengers play differently, but still be similar enough that it doesn’t cause confusion. On top of that, the main story is a captivating one about the titular heroes trying to get back on track after a significant fall from grace.
7/8 Soul Reaver 2
Outside of Tomb Raider, The Legacy Of Kain series is the largest in the Crystal Dynamics library. And Soul Reaver 2 serves as a strong entry in said series. In it, you play as a wraith named Raziel, who continues to hunt down his old master Kain for revenge. Along the way, however, things become more complicated for the main character.
The game is typical third-person hack-and-slash fun. But Raziel has several powers that make things more original. One of his abilities allows him to switch between two planes of existence on a whim. Not surprisingly, this mechanic is used in several tasks.
6/8 Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light
Crystal Dynamics decided to mix things up after Tomb Raider Underworld by developing a different kind of Lara Croft game. This one doesn’t have the Tomb Raider name or a traditional third-person camera. Instead, it looks and plays more like an isometric arcade game.
While it feels much different from Lara’s other adventures, it’s not a complete departure. After all, it’s still an action game with a lot of enjoyable puzzle solving. However, Croft doesn’t have to fight and solve puzzles alone this time, as she has the Mayan warrior known as Totec by her side. This means co-op play is available.
5/8 Tomb Raider: Anniversary
The original Tomb Raider game came out way back in 1996. It was an iconic title, but it eventually became dated. However, Crystal Dynamics solved that problem by releasing Tomb Raider: Anniversary.
The title is a remake of the first game that largely retains the story and environments of the original, but has updated graphics and gameplay. As in the original, it puts a lot of focus on puzzle solving, as Lara must pass all kinds of trials and challenges to find the Scion Of Atlantis.
4/8 Tomb Raider: Legend
Legend was Crystal Dynamics’ first Tomb Raider game, and it served as a much-needed reboot for the series. The few entries before this one didn’t quite reach the heights fans expect from Lara’s adventures.
However, this one brought the series back to its roots while improving on what came before with better environments and smoother climbing mechanics. It even tells an engaging story, which was not common for the series at the time. To this day, it remains one of the best Tomb Raider titles ever.
3/8 Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver
The original Soul Reaver documents the start of Raziel’s journey, where he is betrayed and killed by Kain before being resurrected as a wraith. The new undead Raziel wants to get hold of his former master.
Like its successor, Soul Reaver 2, the gameplay in this one is a mix of puzzles and fighting. Combat is of the hack-and-slash variety where you use different combos to set up a finisher. Solving puzzles, on the other hand, usually involves utilizing Raziel’s ability to switch dimensions. Some of the mechanics are really impressive, considering the game came out in 1999.
2/8 Grave robber
Crystal Dynamics’ second Tomb Raider reboot came in 2013. Once again, it served as a breath of fresh air for the series, as it took Tomb Raider in a completely different direction. This game is far more grounded than anything that came before it. Lara isn’t an incredible gymnast who can take on a T-Rex on her own.
Instead, she is a bright but inexperienced adventurer who is forced to become a survivor when her ship crashes on a mysterious island. It is a compelling transformation that you will see before your eyes. However, it is not about story and character. The title also features realistic shooting and climbing mechanics.
1/8 Rise Of The Tomb Raider
Rise Of The Tomb Raider does what every sequel should do by taking what worked with the original and building on it. For example, the core gameplay is basically the same as in 2013’s Tomb Raider, with some minor tweaks. Nevertheless, the environments are larger and more varied. Additionally, it’s a much more technically superior game, meaning it’s smoother to play and more visually impressive.
Lara has also come a long way since she is no longer a rookie. She may still not be able to pull off the crazy acrobatics, but she’s a lot more capable than she was in the 2013 game. In fact, Lara once again proves her status as one of gaming’s best heroines by taking on a paramilitary force to stop them from gaining immortality.
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