Crystal Dynamics, 2013
surname changed from croft
I've heard this game described as a Frankenstein of recent AAA design zeitgeist--complete with a bow-wielding heroine for some of that YA protagonist appeal. But having played it, that reduction belies how well-tuned the combat and traversal mechanics actually are.
Lara's actions feel fluid and intentional, especially in combat--in large part thanks to a cover system where she'll automatically duck next to any suitable waist-high object. Marcus Fenix, by comparison, feels like a titanic wind-up teddybear wrapped in flypaper. There is no longer any excuse for over-crowded contextual action buttons.
In fact, her actions feel so good to perform that it almost explains why she so quickly grows adept at killing. An oft-criticized plot point has Lara nauseated after having been forced to kill an assailant out of self-defense, only to spend the rest of the same level taking down her attacker's comrades with ease. It's a noticeable misstep in an otherwise natural action hero arc.
I wouldn't have minded more backtracking and exploration outside of grabbing collectibles, but overall it's an impressive reboot.