That gameplay though is just brilliant and it makes up for these issues. Tomb Raider certainly pushes you from point A to point B, but it also encourages backtracking so you can pick up things you missed the first go through. The locations, despite all being on an island are varied, and you won't have access to all the different parts of each area the first time through – you need to level up first.
As stated, Lara starts off as a novice, and not terribly skilled in the way of killing or tomb raiding or even wielding an axe. As you open boxes, kill animals, and headshot cultists you earn XP and salvage points which can then be traded in for personal and weapon upgrades. These in turn make killing, axe wielding, and tomb raiding somewhat easier.
Puzzles are kept to a minimum in the new title. Or, if not a minimum, perhaps a very basic level. There may have been moments in the original game that stumped you for a little while, but you're not going to find any of those here – especially because if you fail at something a couple of times Lara offers up a hint or two.
So, if the brilliance isn't in the puzzles or the story where does it lie?
In the experience. Tomb Raider is a detailed, intricate, beautiful world and the act of going through it and seeing it is simply fantastic. There are tons of small sidequests and hidden objects to find, and there are even optional "tombs" to explore (although it should be noted that these tend not to be massive, sprawling areas and the sidequests are things like lighting a fire in front of statues).
She may be an inexperienced killer at the start of the game, but Lara is fantastic with her bow and arrow, and not the least be squeamish about executing a headshot (heck, do it enough and you earn rewards). Hand-to-hand is necessary on occasion and upgrades allow Lara to pick up tricks (like using a handful of dirt to temporarily blind/stun an opponent) to make it an easier experience.
Despite a lackluster story, the voice acting is solid and adds a level of believability to an otherwise ludicrous series of events. No, I'm not actually complaining about the events that take place (this is a videogame), but I don't think it unfair to refer to them as ludicrous.