Rise of the Tomb Raider is an action adventure game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. This game is the sequel to the 2013 release of Tomb Raider. Rise of the Tomb Raider was released initially on Xbox in November 2015, but has just been released in January 2016 for PC. It is also due to release on PS4 later in the year.
Fans of the series will probably know what to expect when it comes to Tomb Raider. The reboot in 2013 changed the formula to the original series, and Rise of the Tomb Raider continues with the reboot’s theme. You play as Lara Croft in a third person view and you have to battle through enemies and solve puzzles with a good amount of platforming involved too. Much like the previous game, there is also a crafting system, allowing you to create medi-packs, upgrades for your weapons, different ammunition along the way as you collect materials. What I wasn’t too keen on in the previous release was that a lot of the game play was focused on the “all guns blazing” aspect, whereas Rise gives you a lot more option to play stealthily. You can of course go with route one and go gung-ho, but if you want to sit back and plan your attacks meticulously without being spotted, you can do that too. The weaponry in the game is almost the same as the previous game too; with my favourite returning, Lara’s bow. There is now the addition of throwing items such as tin cans and Molotov’s at the enemies to either act as a distraction or just for damage. The platforming has had some interesting additions, such as being able to scramble up walls that are a little too high for Lara’s regular jump. This makes traversing the environments a little bit easier than normal.
I played Rise of the Tomb Raider on 4k, with all of the graphics turned up to max, and sweet baby Jesus this is one gorgeous looking release. The facial animations on every single character are finished to perfection. It is almost like you are sitting straight in front of Lara, so much detail and effort has gone into making everything look just gorgeous! I find myself saying this every couple of weeks, but the animation has seriously blown everything out of the water in my opinion. Not to mention the stellar voice acting throughout the game too, with Camilla Luddington returning to play Lara Croft.
I can’t say that Rise was a very difficult game to complete; there are a lot of puzzles to complete throughout the play through, but none of them are so hard I had to refer to a walkthrough. You simply have to study your surroundings for a second before taking any action. The combat scenes are probably the trickiest part of the game, especially in the later stages of the game when you are pretty much forced into using your bow against hordes of enemies instead of being able to rip them to shreds with your sub machine guns.
Throughout your play through of the game, you will find artefacts in abundance. These upgrade certain skills for Lara when finding them and you can even be rewarded with regular experience points if you choose that talent when you level up. They add a lot of extra plot and lore to the story with a lot of it revolving around a lot of the main characters. You will also find that there are hundreds of items to collect, whether it be scavenging for materials to make an upgrade for a weapon, or finding the collectables, you will never find a section of a level empty with nothing for you to want to explore and find. A new addition for Rise is side quests. Throughout the game you will find a handful of side missions that you can complete which will reward you with either a new weapon or piece of equipment to help you on your travels. Whilst you can complete the game without any of the rewards, they are simply there as an additional resource for skills and experience.
I finished my play through of Rise in just over 12 hours. Whilst this is still fairly short, it is certainly an improvement over the previous game which only took me about 7 hours to complete. There are a few additional game modes you can play when finishing the game. You can firstly go back and replay older chapters in order to finish collecting and finding items. You can replay the chapters but on an elite difficulty whilst also keeping all of your equipment and skills from your previous save though. Score attack, which means trying to complete a chapter as quickly as possible but with a new set of rules in place, such as chaining together different attacks. This means you can probably get about 20 hours of content out of the game, maybe more if you are really into it. There is a season pass available for the game which promises a couple things, such as extending the single player experience in the story, and will also add a multiplayer mode.
As I said above, I played the game on 4K with all my settings ramped up to max. I was able to play the game perfectly fine with 60 FPS. The game was installed on an SSD so loading times were almost none existent. I played the game with keyboard and mouse due to the need to be quite precise when it comes to aiming and jumping etc.
The latest release of from the Tomb Raider series really does it self-proud in my opinion. Whilst some may consider this game bad due to the poor sales figures it received when releasing, a lot of that was due to another extremely popular title being released on the same day. Now the game has come to the proper gaming platform, it is truly an experience everyone needs to take for themselves. The price of £35,99 on Steam is OK. I personally don’t ever tend to buy games for full price but this game was one that I actually pre-purchased just for my love of the series and I am more than happy with my purchase with this game. As we’ve seen with the last game in the series, it will go on sale fairly quickly, so you may want to wait a few months to get it for at least half off.