When discussing the American video game developer Crystal Dynamics, it's hard to avoid focusing on the Tomb Raider franchise, featuring the adventurous archaeologist and heroine Lara Croft armed with guns. Crystal Dynamics took over the series from its original developers, Core Design, and has successfully rebooted it not once, but twice.

Despite this strong association with the Tomb Raider franchise, Crystal Dynamics boasts a rich history in the gaming industry spanning over three decades. They have created a diverse range of games, including mascot platformers, first-person shooters, kart racers, and expansive online experiences. Throughout their long tenure, this developer has been the creative force behind many beloved games.

1. Rise Of The Tomb Raider

In the second reboot trilogy of Tomb Raider by Crystal Dynamics, the developer found its stride with the second installment, Rise of the Tomb Raider. In this game, Croft embarks on an expedition in Siberia, searching for a lost city promising immortality. The sequel strikes a flawless balance between honoring the series' roots and introducing innovative elements.

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Rise Of The Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider is an adventure featuring Lara Croft that captivates both newcomers and long-time fans of the series. Its vast yet well-crafted hub worlds and the abundance of enjoyable side content make it a prime example of why Crystal Dynamics is entrusted with a franchise so significant to the gaming industry as a whole.

2. Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver

The second installment in the Legacy of Kain series, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, marked a significant shift for the franchise when it was released in 1999. Unlike its predecessor, this game focused on the character Kain, who had previously been the main protagonist, now portrayed as the antagonist. Instead, the player controls Kain's former lieutenant, Raziel, who is killed by Kain and then resurrected with a vengeful purpose.

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Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver received widespread acclaim, paving the way for a beloved series that continued until 2003, spanning five entries. Despite the series concluding, the fanbase's passion for it remains strong, leading many to anticipate the possibility of remasters or even sequels in the future for Legacy of Kain.

3. Tomb Raider (2013)

The second and perhaps more renowned reboot of the Tomb Raider series, overseen by Crystal Dynamics, occurred with the launch of Tomb Raider (2013). This installment takes the explorer and archaeologist Lara Croft back to her early years, requiring players to guide her exploration of the island of Yamatai while also searching for her lost companions.

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 Tomb Raider (2013)

Drawing inspiration from and expanding upon other third-person action-adventure games of its time, Tomb Raider (2013) received widespread acclaim. Its success was attributed to the portrayal of a young and inexperienced yet brave and multifaceted Lara Croft. The game stood out for its impressive visuals and compelling storyline. By depicting Croft as a recent graduate forced into violence and survival against a murderous cult on Yamatai, Crystal Dynamics crafted a morally complex origin story for the beloved gaming treasure hunter.

4. Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light

The Tomb Raider game series, featuring the character Lara Croft, often explores supernatural aspects of the franchise. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light follows this trend, as it portrays Croft partnering with an ancient Mayan warrior named Totec to stop an evil deity from obtaining a potent artifact.

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Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light

This game marked a departure from the conventional Tomb Raider experience, emphasizing cooperative gameplay within an isometric, arcade-style setup. Remarkably, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light successfully executed this significant gameplay shift, earning praise from both critics and fans for its compelling gameplay and challenging puzzles.

5. Soul Reaver 2

In the sequel Soul Reaver 2, players take on the role of the spectral vampire Raziel, aiming to uncover his mortal past and seek revenge against his former master and murderer, Kain. The game picks up the narrative from Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, guiding Raziel across different time periods and realms as he combats demons and vampire hunters.

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Soul Reaver 2

Soul Reaver 2 received acclaim for its well-executed combat and clever puzzle design. Gameplay-wise, it continues the Legacy of Kain series' established style, which is viewed positively. Additionally, the game expands the overarching storyline in captivating and mind-bending ways, adding depth to the series.

6. Lara Croft And The Temple Of Osiris

The Lara Croft series, derived from the Tomb Raider franchise, deviates from the third-person action-adventure style of its parent series. Instead, Lara Croft games adopt an isometric perspective with a fixed camera and a twin-stick control scheme, creating an arcade-like experience.

Lara Croft And The Temple Of Osiris
Lara Croft And The Temple Of Osiris

In the second installment of the series, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, the renowned archaeologist collaborates with a rival treasure hunter and Egyptian gods to defeat Set, the deity of violence and disorder. Although not as warmly received as its forerunner, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris offers a puzzle shooter experience that can captivate players for hours, especially when enjoyed with friends.

7. Project: Snowblind

During the 2000s, the gaming industry saw a flood of first-person shooter games, so when Crystal Dynamics released their futuristic FPS Project: Snowblind in 2005, expectations were not high. However, the game exceeded these low expectations.

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Project: Snowblind

In the game, players assume the role of Nathan Frost, a soldier in the peacekeeping Liberty Coalition, and are immediately thrust into intense firefights. Surprisingly engaging and entertaining, these battles, while arguably simple in design, manage to captivate players. The excitement escalates further when Frost is enhanced with nanotechnology, providing players with various innovative ways to combat enemies, such as integrating hostile technology into their strategies.

8. Tomb Raider: Anniversary

In the "Legend" trilogy of the Tomb Raider series, Tomb Raider: Anniversary stands as the second installment, serving as both a remake and a pseudo-expansion of the original 1996 game. Considering the revered status of the original game within the gaming community, Crystal Dynamics faced immense expectations.

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Tomb Raider: Anniversary

Despite this external pressure, the developer managed to create a remake that was deemed worthy of the original. Critics lauded Tomb Raider: Anniversary for striking a delicate balance between staying faithful to the original and expanding upon its content, a feat that was executed brilliantly. In successfully achieving this balance, Crystal Dynamics' decision to remake such an iconic piece of video game history proved to be a gamble that paid off handsomely.

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