Rise of The Tomb Raider – Review
- Vistas are graphically impressive and very varied
- Entertaining story
- Very likable villain
- Variety in weaponry
- Customization vastly improved
- Gun combat is rather floaty
- Guns lack the feeling of power
- Platforming can sometimes lack finesse
- Supporting cast is still rather dull
- Little variety in finisher animations
Review Code kindly supplied by Square Enix
Version Tested: PC
Lara Croft returns in her latest adventure title: Rise of The Tomb Raider. Following on from the 2013 reboot of the franchise, does this game live up to its name or is this one tomb that should have stayed forgotten?
Rise of The Tomb Raider finds our heroine Lara Croft, hardened after the events of the 2013 reboot and a much more seasoned explorer and opens with Lara and Jonah scaling a perilous mountain. In true Uncharted fashion the climb doesn’t go exactly as planned and Lara and Jonah are separated. We come to find that Lara is this time; searching for the tomb of the Old Prophet and The Divine Source, a mystical item said to bestow immortal life upon its wielder.
The story has plenty of twists and turns in it to keep it satisfying, The supporting cast this time around a far more entertaining however are still not spectacular. Lara is obviously the centre player here and the cast around her are not really fleshed out, many characters in fact seem to do things out of character because the plot demands it.
Thankfully the bad guys in the form of Trinity Operative Konstantin is a very satisfying bad dude. He suffers from the same problems as the rest of the cast, in that he isn’t fully developed as a villain but what we do get of Konstantin he is definitely a gripping villain and a massive step up from Mathias in the last game.
Graphically this game is beautiful, The vistas are varied and vibrant from the cold snowy mountains, the hot sun drenched tomb in Syria and many more that I will not spoil. The game is definitely more varied in locations than its predecessor, while much of the game will take place on one island; the variety of locations on this single island is truly staggering offering many weather conditions and various different structures to explore.
Character models are very detailed showing tiny details like cuts and dirt on Lara’s body and face as she moves around. There aren’t any particularly awful models as the entire cast looks really good and animates very fluidly, even small touches like Lara tying her hair back after being in water go toward making the characters more believable.
Speaking of hair, the engine used for rendering hair that appeared in the Definitive Edition of the 2013 reboot makes a return here and looks amazing. It is hard to fault the graphics on show in this game, they look simply spectacular.
The sound department is mostly fine, voice actors do a decent job, the music composed for the game is certainly very fitting and rather memorable however the same issue I personally had from the last game returns. The weapons don’t sound powerful. It may sound like a small gripe but for me at least, the weapons did not offer a sense of power when fired. They sound too much like cap guns as opposed to powerful weaponry.
Gameplay in Rise of The Tomb Raider is very similar to the last entry with Lara controlling rather the same as she did before but with some new tricks. The skill system makes a return from the last game offering Lara ways to improve her brawler, survivalist and hunter categories. Offering unique abilities such as booby trapping corpses and dodge countering enemies.
Also vastly improving from the last game is the gun upgrade system, you find items and supplies in the game which you use to craft upgrades for your weaponry. If you want a padded grip for better accuracy you will need to hunt to get animal skins to build it.
It makes the hunting something more than just for XP as if you want specific items you are going to have to explore the environment, which holds the fun optional tombs which offer Lara unique skills upon completion, The treasures which now rank up Lara’s understanding of languages allowing her to translate murals and such scattered around the game. Also on top of all of that you can also find weapon parts which will unlock brand new weapon variants from Semi-Auto Pistols to Bolt-Action Rifles.
Each of these variants offer unique stats and they do not replace the other weapons you already have, meaning you can return to the base revolver if you tire of the semi-auto handgun. Also a considerable step up in this title is the Bow. In the original the Bow was the go to stealth weapon but it has seen some serious upgrades in this entry, with customizable arrow heads allowing for poison gas and grenades just to name a few. These definitely spruce up combat and stealth when used effectively.
Gameplay wise Rise of The Tomb Raider does have its fair share missteps. Firstly the gun combat is rather floaty and the gun combat itself feels rather unsatisfying, coupled with the guns sounding like cap guns, the combat itself feels rather floaty with guns not really having that oomph to them. Finisher animations become rather tired toward the end of the game as you need to unlock new animations via the skill tree system. This isn’t a massive issue however I as a player do enjoy seeing more than one way you can incapacitate or kill an enemy in melee and having Lara usually use a maximum of two unique animations is a bit of a shame.
Platforming can also be a mixed bag, Lara moves around fairly smooth and platforming for the most part is a breeze, however sometimes Lara can throw herself way off course away from a ledge and fall to her death resulting in many deaths that feel random and cheap. There are also new tools Lara gains for platforming and they suffer from the same issues. One notable one is the rope axe as most of the time it will attach to ledges or allow you to swing and others it will completely miss what Lara is jumping toward and cause her to plummet to her death.
These flaws are not game breaking by any means, with the platforming issues in particularly just being mild frustrations due to the generous checkpoint systems in the game but all together add up to make the game feel just that little bit less fun than what it should be.
Rise of The Tomb Raider is definitely a top quality sequel, improving on all the last entries issues while improving the formula, however it unfortunately repeats one or two mistakes. Overall though the game is definitely a blast to play be it for the breath-taking vistas or the satisfaction of figuring out a challenge tomb. Rise of The Tomb Raider will definitely keep you busy for the foreseeable future!
What did you think of Rise of The Tomb Raider? Or are you waiting for the PlayStation 4 release this holidays season? Whatever your thoughts drop em below!