I have long been a proponent of story and the player's agency in videogames. I love the ability to take a character and explore and, generally speaking, do what you will. I am of the opinion that it is one thing to subtly guide you in a direction and another entirely to push you head-long in said direction. I still think I'm right, but the rebirth of Lara Croft in the new Tomb Raider is enough to show me that done correctly, even a strong push can make for a pretty great title.
I distinctly remember playing the first Tomb Raider game on my PC in 1997. I loved it and the game was, at least in part, responsible for renewing my desire to play videogames.
This Lara Croft is not that Lara Croft. Well, she is, but the game around her has changed so much that you might not notice. The new Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider offers up Lara's origin story… or, if you prefer, the current retconned version of said story. Let us not overly concern ourselves with the differences though, the story itself is nominally interesting, and while you may come for the tale you're going to stick around for the game.
A quick discussion of the story though is certainly warranted before we press past it. Tomb Raider is an adventure title, one which pits young Lara against a cult. Lara runs into these fine fellows when the boat she is on as a part of a research project shipwrecks. In fact, the game really starts with Lara hanging upside down and awfully close to meeting her maker. Soon after she frees herself, she makes her first kill and it's not something she's happy about.
And right there is where we see some of the problems in the story. Lara suffers a horrible wound upon freeing herself, but it only bothers her sometimes during the game. Lara is upset about having to kill, but only when you're not forced to take down enemy after enemy after enemy. Lara may end up with emotional scars, but she executes headshots with ease and the game rewards you for making them.
The dichotomy doesn't work. Lara is injured when the game needs her to be for dramatic purposes. Lara suffers anguish over killing when the game needs her to for dramatic purposes. When the game just wants to let you play neither the injury nor the anguish are remotely apparent. The story is shoehorned into the gameplay, rather than working in concert with it, and the most obvious example of this is when Lara's injuries magically seem to disappear during cutscenes only to reappear at other moments.