I've never spent much time playing the "Tomb Raider" series, but this reboot did all the right things, and it drew me right in. This modern take on the famous franchise takes inspiration from many great sources- my first impression, oddly enough, was of "Resident Evil 4" (a classic so significant, it's still influencing the gaming landscape). The early goings of "Tomb Raider" have a distinctly "survival horror" vibe that is masterfully conveyed, interspersed with just the right amounts of Quick Time Events, cinematic showpieces, character development, story telling, and gameplay tutorials. Additionally, it reminded me of the fantastic island of the TV show, "Lost" (complete with freaky natives and bunkers!).
The most striking comparison, of course, is that of the "Uncharted" series. "Tomb Raider" obviously existed long before "Uncharted", but it's equally obvious that it drew inspiration from the mechanics of climbing, combat, and cinematic storytelling of one of this generation's most successful series. And I'm not complaining at all- I wish there were more games like "Uncharted"! For the most part, "Tomb Raider" does a fantastic job implementing these elements, resulting in a game that is a blast to play and easy to pick up. Everything is very responsive, the settings are visually vibrant and interesting, and the island is begging for more thorough searching. The inclusion of TONS of unlockables is a genius notion, including documents (which help to further unfurl the mystery of the island), artifacts, and salvage (for weapon and gear upgrades), and it means crazy amounts of replay value... plus the online multiplayer aspect, if that strikes your fancy.
The only thing holding "Tomb Raider" back is that when pitted up against the unrivaled production values of "Uncharted", it falls a shade short. The characters are noticeably lacking compared to the likes of Nathan, Sully, and Elena, and the presentation just seems a bit "off". There's such an emphasis placed on (literal and figurative) darkness and grittiness, I oftentimes had difficulty seeing what was going on around my character, and it actually had something of a demoralizing effect (particlarly when compared to the bright, tropical locales of "Uncharted"). That's not to say that "Tomb Raider" is a bad game- it's not. In reality, it's a very good game- it's just not among my top favorites.
Final note (MINOR spoilers follow): The producers of this game must be huge fans of the movie "The Descent", for there are many nods to the horror film, including Lara's affinity for the climbing axe, the "bone scramble" toward daylight in the opening moments, and the slow emergence from the red pool of ichor in "the pit". Additionally, Lara's psychological transformation closely mirrors that of "The Descent"'s protagonist. It was an excellent source to draw inspiration from, and the developers of "Tomb Raider" did a fine job of subtly paying homage to it.