Two years after the release of the remake Tomb Raider, we finally get to see Lara Croft on her continued adventures in Rise of the Tomb Raider. The game is much like the first in that it is a 3rd person shooter with RPG and platforming elements in the gameplay. Not to much has changed between the the 2013 remake and this new one with the exception of a few new added gadgets. These gadgets whether it be the rope, fire or explosive arrows are unlocked over time to both further progress the story along with allow you to be able to go back through various parts of Siberia in order to do a full unlock of the game.
The platforming of the game is much better than the first remake in that there aren’t any silly bugs that cause you to miss your jumps or camera angles that throw your jumps off. They also toned down on the quick time events, allowing for more player interaction during the game itself instead of an interactive movie. Also a return was the on the fly crafting system that allows you to craft explosives and ammunition for various weapons much like that of Last of Us. It is a pretty simple system that doesn’t require too much resources to craft. I never really ran out of any crafting materials except when I needed to upgrade my weapons and equipment. Those were a little more difficult to get however that said you could get most of them by just running around the maps and hunting the different animals and supply caches.
I would also like to mention though the gameplay was fun, it wasn’t all that challenging, at least on the Tomb Raider difficulty. It might be a little more difficult on survivor mode but I can’t see it being all that much more difficult as sneaking around, distracting your enemies with thrown bottles among other things made it incredibly easy to kill them and not get caught. But difficulty is never a requirement to make a game fun, as I said I enjoyed playing the game even though it might have only took me 23 hours to 100% it including all the hidden items.
One year after the events of Tomb Raider (2013), Lara is searching for answers for what happened on the island Yamatai and is looking to her father’s research when she comes across what events pushed her father to the edge of “suicide”. She comes across him referencing the city of the Prophet, Kitezh and the Divine Source, some mystical artifact that supposedly gives those that find it immortal life. In pursuit of this artifact a secret organization of God called Trinity is also chasing it and killing all who oppose them or don’t follow their beliefs. It ends up being a race to who can get to the Divine Source first. Overall the Story isn’t anything special but the characters are interesting enough and it had enough to drive the game overall, making me want to find out more. What added a lot to the story, and I feel like a lot of people don’t bother with it, is the various lore you find from the Mongolians that invaded the city first, the Greeks that followed after, the soviets that controlled Siberia looking for the city and Trinity themselves in their recorded messages. It was those subtle codex items that added a lot to the overall story and history behind Kitezh and the Prophet.
I want to touch on something that it seems like I constantly see people complaining about Lara being a killing machine and don’t seem to understand what drove her to do that in both games. Since these are both reboots we won’t talk about the fact that in the games before she was a killing machine, we’ll just focus on these two new games as their own series. In the first game there was no mysterious force chasing Lara and her expedition team, they were already on the island, that said she was already starting to be broken emotionally from leading her team into the Dragon’s Triangle and marooning them on a deadly island. Once she found out a force of mercenaries were capturing and killing her friends she saw it as time for vengeance especially after she was almost raped and killed herself before she killed her first person. You could even see her progression through the game where she accepted who she was and what she had to do to stop those that were there to harm her and her friends. All that even led to this pretty often screen capped photo in game where, in my opinion, shows that she has lost what made her human:
In the new game it is much the same but this time she knows what Trinity is after and knows that they were the one that defamed her father that led to his death. On top of that she meets a new group of people that have lived near and defended the city of Kitezh for thousands of years. A people that she wanted to protect from Trinity. Lara may have a murderous tendency but it isn’t without reason. Some would argue that she should be more likely to sneak around and avoid killing and Nathan Drake (of the Uncharted series) is more prone to killing. I disagree with that and argue that it is the complete opposite. A lot of times Drake has no reason to kill, he is a thief that doesn’t really have a play in most of these enemy forces, he just happens upon them. I will take the exception of Uncharted 2 where they attack the villagers in Nepal but that wasn’t until ¾ through the game.
This game is one of the most beautiful games I’ve seen, from the scenery all the way up to the particle physics and facial animations. Crystal Dynamics did a fantastic job of making every little detail pop out and all while having it run great (at least on my PC, I’ve heard of others having problems but I didn’t – 5820k, 780ti, 16g ddr4). I really noticed when Lara or other characters had looks on their faces, so the voice actors didn’t have to sell the emotions as much, you could definitely see them. There are so many great screenshot moments in this game I don’t really want to bombard you with all the pics I took while playing but to say the least some of the most talented screenshot takers are taking some of the most amazing photos (I have one friend that is very talented at this, but if any of y’all have some impressive photos feel free to put them in the comments below, I’d love to see them).
On to the sound too, the music really sets the tone and has a similar composition of the 2013 remake which was great in its own right but makes this game really feel like a continuation of a series. The voice actors are also really on their game and make the characters believable especially since a lot of game developers use motion cameras to capture even the voice actors as they are playing the role.
Overall this game is fantastic continuation from the reboot that started in 2013, though I did 100% it in about 23 hours there is a lot of other content including endurance, score attack and if you decide to spend the money the DLC that is coming with season pass. Maybe not as much of a replay-ability as say an MMO or giant RPGs but definitely a great bang for your buck especially if you can find a sale for it at $40 like I did. The Graphics, Gameplay, Story and sound are all top notch with the only blemish might be not as strong story as some others but still very solid.