Rise of the Tomb Raider is the follow up to 2013’s hit Tomb Raider reboot. Does it live up to the hype? Is it a worthy sequel? Does Crystal Dynamics have another success story on their hands?
Rise of the Tomb Raider occurs after the events of the previous entry in the franchise. Lara is searching for the artifact that eluded her father, and her adventure takes her through the Siberian wilderness. Along the way, she meets interesting allies and tangles with the sinister organization Trinity.
This story definitely lives up to the original, and is highly entertaining. Is it mind-blowing? No, but it does a serviceable job investing the player in Lara’s journey. Lara feels like a living, breathing person, and you want to see her succeed in her quest.
Graphics and Sound
This is an extremely beautiful game. The vistas are breathtaking, and each strand of hair, each leaf that tumbles across Lara’s path, each piece of snow that clings to her suit, is incredibly detailed and realistic. I often stopped just to gape at the gorgeous landscapes. Also, every time that Lara is injured, her character model will show cuts, smears of dirt, and soiled clothing. These small touches add to the immersion and make the player feel more invested in Lara as a person, not just as a virtual blob of pixels. The sound design is superb. Every gasp and strangled scream tears your heart in two, and the subtle noises that indicate a natural disaster keep you on the edge of your seat. The soundtrack selections help immerse you in the game play, and add to the atmosphere.
Combat is vastly improved. It feels more visceral, and makes playing in a non-stealth style more viable. The player feels like they have more options, and either path feels intuitive and fun. The controls are intuitive and are easy to grasp.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is a must-play. Between the awe-inspiring graphics, entertaining story, and satisfying gameplay, this game sunk its claws into me and lingered in my mind long after the final credits rolled. Tomb raiding has never been more enjoyable and gripping. This is definitely a contender for game of the year.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is currently only available for Xbox One, but will release on PS4 and PC in 2016.