Lara Croft is back in a big way in Crystal Dynamics' new Tomb Raider, and Square Enix has seen fit to bestow the leading lady with an action figure of her own to commemorate the occasion.
Square Enix's Play Arts Kai line of action figures has been expanding more and more over the past year, and gamers and action figure collectors have been the benefactors. With recent lines branching out into Batman: Arkham City, Halo 4, and Mass Effect 3, there's a little bit of something for everyone. Square has returned to one of its own published properties for this latest Play Arts Kai figure, which brings the rebooted Lara Croft to life in toy form for the first time in ages.
The last time we saw an action figure of Lara was in 2006, when NECA released their figure based on Tomb Raider: Legend. Seven years is a long time to wait for collectors and fans alike, and with the Tomb Raider license now part of the Square Enix catalog, there was no better time for the company to bring the adventuring Ms. Croft back to shelves. Included with the collector's edition of Tomb Raider, Square's version is a massive, heavily articulated piece of work that outshines every previous incarnation.
Like many of the Play Arts Kai figures, Lara is incredibly articulated, and comes with a handful of accessories. There are five different types of hands you swap in and out with the various weaponry, with each serving a distinct purpose. Lara also comes with a shotgun, automatic pistol, the climber's axe, and her bow (with one arrow). All of the items work well enough, save for the bow and arrow. As one of Lara's chief new accoutrements in the game, the bow and arrow should have been better utilized. Instead, the bow is stiff, with an unmoving string, and the arrow is massive and has no real place to go. It can perch precariously on her wrists while Lara is posed with the bow, but it's awkward to do and doesn't present itself well when set up in any fashion.
Still, the other accessories all work fine, and with the insane amount of articulation on Lara, the poses you can create are virtually endless. She is a bit tougher to get situated without needing some sort of assistance to keep her from tipping over, but it shouldn't be too much of a challenge to arrange Lara in a stationary pose you like. Even her trademark pony tail can be moved slightly to give Lara the look like she's actually in motion.
There are bound to be some collectors immediately disappointed with the look of this new Lara. In Crystal's Tomb Raider reboot, Lara is forced to survive on her own in rough conditions on a mysterious island. She's dirty, beat up, and pretty darn disheveled. Square's sculptors and painters do a nice job bringing those characteristics to the figure, but a muddied up figure might not be everyone's cup of tea. The in-game accuracy of the figure does give Lara some personality, and it's actually good to see Square didn't just gussy her up for the toy.
Square Enix's Lara Croft is as fresh a take on the character as Crystal Dynamics' new Tomb Raider video game. It's about time Lara was back in action figure form, and she's a welcome addition to a growing library of female leading lady figures already on the market. If you missed out on the collector's edition of Tomb Raider, Square Enix's Play Arts Kai Lara Croft will be available in wider circulation this June.
The Square Enix Play Arts Kai Tomb Raider Lara Croft will be available at specialty stores starting in June 2013 for ~$65.