Rise of The Tomb Raider is the sequel to the very enjoyable Tomb Raider, the 2013 game that rebooted the series to new heights. And while I was excited to finally follow iconic Lara Croft on her new adventure, I couldn’t help but feel the game was quite similar to its predecessor. However, that’s not to say that Rise isn’t a strong entry in the female-driven franchise.
Rise takes place a year after Tomb Raider, during which Lara’s adventure with the Japanese supernatural Goddess has been covered up by an organization named Trinity. While Raider (my name for the first entry of the reboot in this review) focused on Lara’s survival, Rise is very much about taking things in her own hand to prove her sanity. As a player, you follow Lara in search for Kitezh, an ancient city in Siberia, which apparently holds the secret to immortality. Trinity is also bent upon finding it and that’s why the game turns into Lara not only racing against Trinity but also surviving harsh environments.
The graphics are a major improvement compared to Raider, and the set pieces are quite grand, something I would’ve expected from the Uncharted series. The world of Rise has been beautifully designed, and you will end up seeing a lot of lost tombs while adventuring.
That’s also what I enjoyed the most about the new rebooted series. You can easily side step away from the main storyline and wander around in search for relics, etc. This not only extends the gameplay by a lot of hours but also gives you fun mini-puzzles to solve. I would’ve preferred more puzzles in the main storyline, but I had to make do with the ones I encountered on my journey to collect every piece of ancient artifact and relics.
The gameplay is more or less similar to Raider, and that’s why I felt the new entry to be a bit repetitive. The new weapons do add some sort of a flare, but after a while I found myself upgrading my bow and shotgun like I did back in Raider.
Coming to the character herself, this time Lara feels more in command. Raider showed her being battered, and I couldn’t understand how a mere human could keep moving with the extent of injuries she got throughout the game. In Rise she’s much more formidable. So much so that if she were in the real world her ability to brutally kill a small army would have her admitted to a psych ward. She’s ready to not only survive but become a leader if put in a post-apocalyptic world!
In Raider it was obvious that she didn’t want to kill anyone and did it to survive the island she was stranded on. In Rise it’s as if she enjoys being a mass murdering archaeologist. You can still use stealth maneuvers when facing enemies but with the arsenal of weapons she’s able to procure as the game progresses it’s easier to just off every enemy you encounter head-on.
There’s also an Expedition mode which is fun to play with friends. The challenges can be modified through cards, which you can also buy with real currency. Modifiers can be placed to set limitations to the challenges to make things a bit more difficult and fun for players.
All in all, Rise of the Tomb Raider is an enjoyable installment to the rebooted series and shows a different Lara Croft who is finally coming into her own as a video game icon. The A.I and graphics have been improved, and the additions to weapons and skill tree make for an enjoyable adventure.
While Rise has been released for the Xbox One and Xbox 360, PC and PS 4 players will have to wait for the 1st and 4th quarters of 2016 respectively. Sorry about that!
Have you played Rise of the Tomb Raider yet? What did you think of the different Lara Croft? Let us know!
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PS 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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