When Does The Third One Come Out?
A good sequel improves upon the first iteration. A good sequel rises up and grips its audience. Rise of the Tomb Raider is a good sequel, but honestly it is more than that. It is an excellent game that took everything the first reboot of Tomb Raider had going for it and ran with it. It even has more tombs and they’re better!Rise of the Tomb Raider follows Lara Croft after the events of the Tomb Raider reboot. The reboot was about breaking a character down until that character understood that there are dirty and grimy actions that must be done in survival situations. Lara learned that she wasn’t invincible and her transformation from a scared, frightened woman to a one-liner type action hero by the end was incredible. Going into the second game I was worried that Lara’s new attitude might be to overwhelming. Could it possibly be that the developers rushed her new persona? No. They did it just right.
The story is trite and some of the twists are insanely predictable, but it knows how to do an action adventure story. It knows it in the same way that Uncharted knows. The action is over the top and satisfying. Using Lara’s bow to brutally slaughter the enemies is cathartic after a long day of college or work.
Speaking of enemies…..
The enemies in this game are a military/religious group that are after the fountain of youth essentially. They are known as “Trinity.” The lore behind the group is fascinating, but they are very similar to the Templars in the Assassin’s Creed universe. They work well as cannon-fodder. The big bad guys are actually pretty deep. Some of their motivations make sense and the more you think about it, the more evil they seem. One of the bad guys, however, is so conflicted at times that I feel a little bit of sympathy toward them. On that note, make sure to stay after the credits after beating the game.
Lara’s character development in this game is as satisfying as the gameplay. She comes to grips with a few things. The story while about a fountain of youth type object also deals with loss. Lara is in denial over the death of her father. This is where the game becomes more than just a game for me. I’ve dealt with a lot of loss in my life. Lara’s evasion of the truth is something I can relate with heavily because I’ve lost both my parents. It’s done very well. Trust me, I would know.
More on the gunplay….
The gunplay is simple, but it is responsive. Responsiveness matters in games like this one. I played using an XBOX 360 Gamepad and I had no issues, however, I still find the mouse to be more accurate. Using the keyboard, however, is not recommended. The controls feel very odd to me. It is playable, but the controller feels so much better for button mashing and platforming.
The game runs pretty well, but it did have some optimization issues upon launch. I played with an I7-4770K (stock) and a GTX 970 (core clock of +150). My framerate never fell below 45. I was almost always playing on high settings, but medium and low still looked just as great in my opinion. This game is a great benchmark for a rig and definitely provides the player with a great amount of eye-candy.
The tombs in the game are very well done. The puzzling is simple, but very well implemented. I suppose if you get stuck you can look to YouTube for a walkthrough, but I never had to. I consider myself pretty bad at puzzles, but I was fine with this game’s puzzles. Aside from puzzles the tombs are pretty simple to find. The game will let you know when a hidden tomb is nearby. Once you find one it is a pretty linear path to finishing it. Linearity is not necessarily a bad thing. I loath how that word has become associated as a bad thing. The set pieces in the tombs are amazing. In particular, I remember a moment where a giant ship was embedded in the ice. I could have completely walked away from the tomb, but I decided to solve its puzzles and reap the rewards. It was amazing scaling the ship. I suggest you do the same when you first see it. It serves as a tutorial for any other tomb you may encounter.
The game’s lasting appeal is debatable because it only really offers the tombs and a challenge mode. To be transparent, I haven’t played the challenge mode much. It’s okay, but the DLC looks to be worthy of your time. Honestly, they also look worthy of your money. You will value your time with this game.
Rise of the Tomb Raider currently holds a score of 86 over on Metacritic. Honestly, I agree with a majority of the reviews there. One review there gave the game a 60 and after considering the content of that review, I strongly disagree. The reviewer was comparing the game to Call of Duty and hammering the writing. They have the right to do that, but the writing is everything it is supposed to be. The game doesn’t attempt to be anything more than an action romp with some character development. My only complaint about story elements deals with how a certain character didn’t die. If the character would have died it would have moved Lara into an understandable fit of rage. It seemed contrived.
Overall, Rise of the Tomb Raider is an excellent action romp with story. I cannot wait for the third game!
SHOULD YOU PLAY IT?