Microsoft has dubbed 2015 as the year of “the greatest games lineup in Xbox history”! And with the addition of Rise of the Tomb Raider, they couldn’t be any more fitting! This is the second title in the successfully rebootedTomb Raiderseries, and after playing only 2 hours of this action-packed and remarkable adventure, it succeeds its predecessor!
From the moment you start the game, you are automatically launched into an incredible adventure in which you, playing as the fantastic Lara Croft, have to survive! There aren’t any training wheels (especially if you choose a more significant difficulty), and right off the bat, you have to be quick and mash the correct buttons at the right time, or else you may fall and die or get impaled by a trap, and have to start over from the checkpoint. The game’s ability to flow from cut-scene to gameplay is pretty solid, and like the Uncharted series, you feel like you’re part of an Indiana Jones-type of film!
After a crazy introduction, our story begins a year after the previous game’s events. No one believes Lara about the events back in Yamatai, and her heart is set on proving what she saw was real. Lara discovers through her father’s research that finding the secret to immortality lies within the prophet’s tomb, which is located in Syria. But along the way, she learns of an organization called Trinity, who are trying to kill her because of what she knows. But their threats don’t stop her! Instead, Lara and her friend Jonah set off to Siberia to find the lost city of Kitezh! Unfortunately for Lara, along the way, she falls off a cliff (as we learn in the playable intro) and is stranded in the wilderness and bitter cold, forced to survive the harsh weather and dangerous enemies, and somehow find her way back!
This game is loaded with tons of challenging puzzles, traps and many artifacts to find within each location. It’s an essential characteristic that makes any Tomb Raider game. Another feature I loved about Rise of the Tomb Raider is the ability to craft weapons and articles of clothing and develop a skill tree, all based on survival. You can choose from three different aspects (Survivor, Hunter and Brawler) based on how you, the player, prefer to play the game. Survivor kills are mixed and deal more so with looting and scavenging, Hunter skills are based around ranged weapons, and Brawler skills involve more of the melee and dodging aspects.
That brings me to the combat; it’s simple and nothing special, but I still enjoyed it and had a lot of fun with it. One minute you could be exploring and gathering resources; the next minute, an enemy (even a bear!) could pop out at you, and it’s gone time. After the initial level/tutorial, you are given a pistol to show you how the mechanics work, but once you are stranded in the wilderness, you end up with a bow. The neat thing about the bow is the whole crafting system and the ability to go out and scavenge wood and materials to create it.
Lara is an incredible character; Crystal Dynamics designed her to be an ultimate survivalist. I felt so sorry for her every time I accidentally fell or hurt myself because she would scream and make it believable that she was hurt but continued to move on. Her acting (portrayed by actress Camilla Luddington) was excellent and not at all forced, and she brought a lot of emotion to the role, especially when talking about how important it was to continue her quest for her father and how she knew exactly what she needed to do to go on. It’s great to see a female character who can stand on her own and isn’t afraid to go the distance and suffer through it, not to mention be able to live through the hardships and live to tell the tale!
I’m having difficulty finding anything wrong with Rise of the Tomb Raider. It’s an excellent, well-developed story with fun game mechanics, gorgeous environments, and beautiful character development. The only problem was the game’s release date, which coincided with Fallout 4. I’m sure the release of Fallout 4 on the same day affected the game’s sales, which is unfortunate because even though they are two different genres and styles of games, Rise of the Tomb Raider is an excellent title and shouldn’t be rushed. One word to describe this game is just “stunning.” Easily one of the BEST titles released in 2015!
Rise of the Tomb Raider is available now for Xbox One and Xbox 360!
January 30 – Bobby here – we’re adding in our review of the PC version of Rise of the Tomb Raider below:
My experience with Rise of the Tomb Raider on PC begins with my computer; while it is a few years old, I still have minimal issues with games. My PC runs on an Intel i5-3470 @ 3.20GHz with 8GB RAM on Windows 10 64bit and AMD Radeon HD 7870 Tahiti Edition GPU on AMD’s latest official drivers.
I had no trouble running the game at 1920 x1080 with a steady 30 FPS with everything maxed in the Graphics tab. The game did a hiccup when changing from gameplay to cut scene and back crashing once in the introduction level.
Everything you see looks much more detailed; textures are better, shadows are dynamic, lighting in-game feels so natural, and the trees and rocks are brimming with textures – everything is enhanced!
But this is the subtlety of a PC port – you get to see the world grow in scope, too; this isn’t obtainable on a console; a system with a locked set of components has no room to evolve.
I tried playing the game with a keyboard and mouse configuration and found that the setup doesn’t work for Rise of the Tomb Raider; Lara felt less responsive than when using a gamepad for the PC. I recommend the intuitiveness of a gamepad for this one.
I wholeheartedly recommend Rise of the Tomb Raider. The PC version will be the best Crystal Dynamics offers you, but if you can’t switch to PC or want to stick to your preferred console, please go ahead and play this game and enjoy each minute of exploring. It is worth it.