A game steeped in controversy over the exclusivity deal Rise of the Tomb Raider from Crystal Dynamic is the sequel to the 2013 reboot
What it’s about…
After struggling to deal with the events that unfolded with the Yamatai a year earlier Lara becomes engrossed in trying to restore the reputation of her dead father “Lord Croft” whose unfortunate demise came due to an obsession with Kitezh and immortality. After being warned against following the same path by his ex-partner Ana, Lara gets caught up in trying to uncover the truth to the secrets of Kitezh whilst fighting against the mysterious Trinity paramilitary organisation who are also trying to work towards the same goal.
Tomb Raider made bigger and better. It’s a fantastic sequel that takes what the reboot did and makes it bigger, more to do, longer game with a better story (more on that below) and the hub worlds are all much more fleshed out with plenty of collectibles to find.
The gameplay hasn’t many huge improvements from TR2013 but it was really good then and its great now, as a sequel (not another reboot) I expected Crystal Dynamics to take what they did before and make it bigger and better which they have done, it feels like a much grander production despite being made in two and a half years as opposed to four and a half but is a much better game now they’ve given themselves a solid foundation to keep building from.
Optional challenge tombs are mostly very good, one or two are a bit simple but there are 9 in total with good puzzles that are reasonably challenging and fun to do, its nice that they have been included in a large number and hopefully that will only continue as the adventure puzzles are a nice part of the game.
There is also an improved general story, no more “protecting” Lara who now seems to get off on all the gruesome ways she kills people but more than that there is a good story with the characters around her pretty well developed, everyone’s motivations are clearly explained and expanded upon with some flashbacks to various events and cut-scenes showing what other characters are up to as well.
Most of Lara’s annoying friends are gone too. As part of a large expedition crew you spent a lot of time searching for and assisting some rather uninteresting characters before but luckily they are mostly gone except for Jonah (who you get split up from right at the beginning anyway) and focuses on new much more interesting characters.
Expeditions mode allows you to play through the levels again (including the tombs) and go for high scores and gold/silver/bronze medals which can be aided by multipliers you can get using various cards. It adds another nice bonus to it if you want to keep playing, theres various achievements for the mode and its fun to get high combos, work on different strategies and play with various modifiers that can make it easier or harder, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
Theres loads of things to do, side missions, tombs, hunting, scavenging/exploring, challenges and so on, it’s absolutely packed with a variety of things and doesn’t force you to do these things if you don’t want to, obviously they will help you get XP and upgrade Lara with new abilities/tools etc but it’s up to you to decide how much of that you actually want to do.
Good achievements are always nice and I think there is a lot to make you want to keep playing from various mission related things to Expeditions modes to completing it 100% in the story and the various ones that come with that. TR2013 had like 300 points separated off for the frankly awful multiplayer mode and could be achieved mostly through some major grinding so it’s not they avoided those.
Whats not so good?
I’m not wholly for micro transactions, the expeditions mode does seem like it is there mainly for achievement fodder and micro transactions but it is a good mode at least which I’ve enjoyed a lot and it really surprised me. As much as I don’t approve of the micro transactions they aren’t intrusive at all, only appearing on the buying card packs overlay which gives you two choices: buy with in-game credit or real money which isn’t in my face and I find quite easy to ignore. Credits are earned relatively easily too through doing things in the campaign or completing challenges and earning medals in Expeditions mode, unless you are desperate to give them more money I don’t think you ever need to consider paying up any extra to be honest.
The aiming takes a little while to get used to, I think some mentioned it has input lag but I didn’t find I noticed it much once I got into the game, it didn’t stop me getting many headshots later on anyway.
How does it run?
It’s a great looking game and I didn’t seem to meet any frame-rate drops. Some of the reflections in puddles are very low res and blocky, some minor tearing at times at the very top of the screen but in general I was very impressed at how good it looks and it runs well with that too. A great technical achievement on Xbox One I’d say.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is a great game and stands out as one of the best new releases in 2015. Its more of what they had made in 2013 on last-generation hardware but improved key aspects like the story, setting and the general package, removing the uninteresting multiplayer for a fun different solo mode in expeditions which completes the package off nicely.
Its bigger, better and Lara’s second time round in this new style of game is a great adventure definitely worth playing.