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Rise of the Tomb Raider Review

by on September 13, 2016
Positives

Stunning Visuals
Solid Main Story
Varied Levels
Adventure Part of the Game Is Awesome
Great Sound Design
Interesting Puzzles to Solve
Varied Skills to Unlock

Negatives

Lackluster Gunplay
Lara Is Very Annoying Main Character
Some Side Missions Are Just Sub-par

Editor Rating
 
Gameplay
8.3

 
Graphics
9.5

 
Single Player
8.3

 
Multiplayer
0.0

Total Score
8.4

Hover To Rate
User Rating
 
Gameplay
8.3

 
Graphics
9.4

 
Single Player
9.0

 
Multiplayer

User Score
1 rating
8.9

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Bottom Line
 

Although Lara can be annoying to listen to, and gunplay weak as a newborn baby, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a captivating game that'll provide you hours of pure, unrefined fun.

 

Tomb Raider Underworld was released way back in 2008, and it was the last game featuring the old Lara Croft, Lara Croft who we knew and loved (there was Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, released back in 2010, but the game wasn’t a part of the main Tomb Raider series). The series was in a sort of a cryosleep during next few years, until Square Enix bought Eidos, the company which had rights to the franchise, and decided that the game needs a fresh start. We got a great result in the form of a game simply called Tomb Raider, suggesting that old times are over and that Lara Croft starts her new digital life.

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Now, three years (well, two if we look at the original release date for Xbox One) have passed and after a fantastic reboot, the main question is can the new Tomb Raider live up to the (reasonable) expectations set by the 2013’s title? Stay with us and find out.

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We meet Lara on a mountain peak somewhere in Russia, while she looks for the mysterious artifact called the Divine Source. And as soon as she starts talking, bam! the first problem pops out. You see, Rise of the Tomb Raider is great as long as Lara is silent; as soon as she starts talking, you’ll curse heavens and the person who was responsible for Lara’s part of the script.

She’s just too serious, she behaves like all is lost, she’s obnoxiously bland as the main character and she still acts like she’s a girl we met during Tomb Raider. Just to be understood, Lara in Tomb Raider had to be insecure, worried, and anxious since the adventure we played in that game was her first in the new Tomb Raider universe. Now, years later when we meet here in the wastelands of Siberian Tundra, we expect a character that’s serious but ready to joke, focused on the objective but not focused so much that it looks like she’d fall into depression if her goal ends unreached.

She’s just too serious, she behaves like all is lost, she’s obnoxiously bland as the main character and she still acts like she’s a girl we met during Tomb Raider. Just to be understood, Lara in Tomb Raider had to be insecure, worried, and anxious since the adventure we played in that game was her first in the new Tomb Raider universe. Now, years later when we meet here in the wastelands of Siberian Tundra, we expect a character that’s serious but ready to joke, focused on the objective but not focused so much that it looks like she’d fall into depression if her goal ends unreached.

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Just think about Indiana Jones, the famous movie character who was the inspiration for Lara Croft, or Lara Croft from the old games, or hell, Angelina Jolie, the Lara Croft of the big screen. All characters mentioned above had a dose of humor, were interesting to look at and listen to, had famous one-liners, and were generally full of spirit. The new Lara, unfortunately, suffers from a bad case of lack of a character.

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Fortunately, other aspects of the game are mostly impressive. Firstly, there are beautiful levels that spawn over massive areas. You’ll be jumping, climbing and running through some stunning environments, making every single level incredibly beautiful. Visually, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a masterpiece. You’ll spend hours taking screenshots, especially during your stay in the Geothermal Valley, one of the most beautiful sceneries we saw in any video game till date. Textures are rich and strikingly sharp; the play between light and shadows is like seeing the best acrobats in the world doing their deadly circus acts; shading makes the game look like heaven; models are nicely animated and with a plethora of details on them.

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All in all Rise of the Tomb Raider is one of the most beautiful games we ever played. Gameplay, luckily, is mostly on the same level as visuals. You’ll adventure through some interesting places, from the lost tomb in Syria, through Siberian Pine forests, over impressively constructed Soviet Military post and already mentioned heavenly striking Geothermal Valley. Levels are varied, and players won’t get bored after just a couple of hours. Puzzles are interesting, asking from you to perform various acrobatic acts in order to complete them. The game is made out of larger hubs from which you’ll travel to smaller areas where the biggest part of the game will happen.

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Said hubs are evidently larger than in Tomb Raider, with lots of small details, plenty of space for acrobatics, numerous collectibles and a couple of hidden areas. We like this way of the level building since you can go back to areas containing unsolved challenges and hidden collectibles in order to complete the area.
Optional Challenge Tombs can be a joy to play but in most cases will be over in just a couple of dozen of minutes. They are interesting in most cases but occasionally will show that developers weren’t really focused while making them. Puzzles found in them are generally trickier than the ones dotted over the rest of the game, but a couple of minutes of thinking and no challenge Tomb will be unbeatable.

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Combat can be tedious as hell, except if there’s an optional stealthy way of killing enemies. If foes attack you, expect tons of bombs, weak gunplay, wave after wave of annoying-as-hell enemies and a general lack of excitement during gunfights. It’s simple; Crystal Dynamics either should’ve focused solely on the adventure part of the game, giving combat gameplay to another team to develop, or they should’ve made the game stealthier with less set piece battles. Oh well…

Be sure to read our Tomb Raider Guide

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As with the previous game, Lara will start weak, unequipped, without any useful weapon or skill and during the course of the game she’ll get access to new weapons and gadgets and will be able to unlock new skills. This RPG element of the game was again built marvelously. Every weapon has lots of upgrades; there are numerous skills to choose from; the bow, which you’ll get early in the game, will be your most faithful companion and most new gadgets (like a grenade or fire arrows) will be tied to it.

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Experience is earned relatively quick and easy, and if you prove to be a real hamster that has to find each and every collectible item, you’ll unlock all skills well before the end of the game. The campaign is lengthy, consisting out of an attractive main story that’s original and interesting, and will lead you through some unexpected plot twists, and a dozen of side missions varied enough to complete them (almost) all; some side missions are simple fetch quests that’ll bore you out quickly.

Sound and voice acting are spot-on, except for Lara. As we already mentioned she’s just too weak of a main character for a game of this quality, and the voice actor which played her also took her job too seriously.

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Rise of the Tomb Raider is a very good game, taking all the good elements of Tomb Raider and building up on top of them. The game has problems, but they are too small to be a deciding factor when choosing to play the game or not. You should play the latest Tomb Raider; weak main character, poor gunplay and some dull side missions are not enough to keep your hands off it.

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