Rise Of The Tomb Raider picks up directly after the events that took place within the 2013 reboot. Lara Croft ventures into Siberia in search of the legendary city of Kitezh, hoping to beat Trinity to the punch. The game once again focuses on survival and shaping Lara into a full fledged Tomb Raider everyone has come to know and love, but does it live up to the hype?
Camilla Luddington once again reprises her role as “Lara Croft”, and whilst her performance is pretty convincing most of the time. there are other instances where her acting is a bit off . Playing through the game I was actually surprised at how much of the sounds were reused from the 2013 game when Lara takes damage. While most people won’t see this as a big deal, I personally found it breaking my immersion in the game at times so I had to mention this. Other than that the only thing that bothered me about her performance was how out of breath she sounded most of the time. Lara was sitting and it sounded like she just got done running a 20 mile run. I wanna give credit to the side characters as well, they did an incredible job bringing the enemies etc to life.
Graphically, this is one of the most stunning games I have ever played in recent years. Honestly couldn’t tell you how many times I would find a new area and just stop to stare at the environments, take in all the extra little details. Nixxes truly took advantage of the PC to give RISE that extra bit of polish to bring the game to life. Only complaint I have about the graphics is how odd some of the bushes and trees look even with AA effects turned up to the max. They have this weird blurry look to them that makes them stand out like a sore thumb, the Xbox One version suffered from this same issue. Other than that I think CD deserve the praise they have been given for the graphical side of things.
Just like reboot, the controls were generally kept the same while bringing in a few extra moves. Lara can now once again pull off her classic Swan Dive, and swimming finally makes its return. Swimming feels rather restricted as you don’t really have control of how far underwater Lara can go, you only get the option of submerging and going up for air. Crystal also brought back the backstroke and sidestroke moves while you’re in the water. Long time fans will gladly welcome back the Sprint move, as the environments are huge I appreciate them bringing this back after Underworld. Last but not least you can once again swing using a grapple just not in the way most people will think, don’t wanna spoil that but long time players will love what they did with the grapple swing, it finally feels more natural, less magnetic.
The writing of the game was possibly one of the lowest points for me. While the story writing is an improvement over the 2013 game, most of the time I found myself predicting what would happen literally moments before it unfolded on the screen. The biggest problem I have had with the story writing since Reboot is that it is heavily influenced by modern day Hollywood. There were some good bits here and there of course, Syria was extremely well written as was the the mid section of the game where things start to pickup a bit more. I just wish they would go back to the focus being on the environments versus focusing non stop on Lara. I think at this point everyone knows where her character is headed.
Now lets talk about the challenge tombs and other side stuff. For the first time ever in Tomb Raider history Crystal Dynamics decided to put in Side Missions. With the hubs being as big as they are this could have been a welcome idea to add a bit of diversity in the game, but its far from that. Most of the side missions are repetitive and get old pretty quick. You would think with how big the hubs are they would have put a ton of side missions all across the map, there are only 9 in the entire game.
Challenge tombs took a bit more inspiration from the Lara croft spin-off titles this time around, thankfully. There are some easy tombs but you’ll more than likely stumble upon a few that will have you scratching your head. Once again it’s a shame there is so little of them throughout the game seeing as how this is a Tomb Raider game and it’s supposed to be about figuring out puzzles. But based on what we got I was happy with how the challenge tombs turned out, hopefully even less hints of what to do in the next game.
Bobby Tahouri was given the job of composing the score for the game this time around. Most of you will probably know him for his work on the “Game Of Thrones” soundtrack. I generally wasn’t impressed with what we were given when it comes to the music, even after 50 hours of playing the game there isn’t a stand out track to me. Not to say his work is bad, it just didn’t appeal to me or measure up to what I have come to expect from a “Tomb Raider” soundtrack after 20 years. When I think of the music I always think of the original classic theme by Nathan McCree, or the incredibly breathtaking soundtrack from “Angel Of Darkness” composed by Peter Connelly.
With all that being said, RISE is a solid title overall with some minor issues here and there. Is it an amazing Tomb Raider game? No not yet, but they are slowly getting to that point where they can please the casual audience and the people that have been here for the last 20 years. With a better team of writers, and less focus on trying to turn the “Tomb Raider” brand into an interactive movie I think the next game could be the best so far.
Animated picture of Rise by : Bitter Strike! Cartoons
Reviewed By: AJ Rich
Total Time Playing: 50 hours for 100% Completion + All DLC’s
A copy of the game for Steam was provided by Crystal Dynamics for reviewing purposes.
Rise of the Tomb Raider Review by AJ. R by Allen Rich / Survivor Reborn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.