When the developers of Crystal Dynamics (the original developers) took back the Tomb Raider series in 2006, they rescued the franchise from its awful mediocrity. The series was going nowhere. The developer improved on the gameplay mechanics and storytelling elements for both fans and critics. In an effort to not fall into the depths of mediocrity again, Crystal Dynamics, along with publisher Square Enix, decided to reboot the game in 2013 and give lead character, Lara Croft, a proper origin story. In 2013’s Tomb Raider, we see a young and hungry Lara Croft on her first expedition, who, although is apparently inexperienced, is pretty handy with a bow and arrow and other weapons. The game was a fantastic re-introduction to Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider franchise that garnered praise from both critics and fans. It was named by so many critics, the game of the year! Last year, it was updated for the Next-gen console and it felt so great!
And now comes Rise of the Tomb Raider, the follow-up to 2013’s reboot. Will the game be able to live up to the expectations set forth?
Rise of the Tomb Raider is exactly what you would expect from a sequel. It’s bigger, bolder and a far more engrossing outing for Lara Croft in her latest expedition. It’s a game that will probably define her future for year to come. My feeling is telling me there’s an another sequel in production….
As for the story, Rise of the Tomb Raider sends Lara to Siberia in pursuit of a fabled artifact rumored to give eternal life. Her quest is deeply personal, as her father dedicated most part of his life to find the artifact. His inability to find it, and to convince anyone else that it even exists, sent his career into a downward spiral that eventually ended with him taking his own life. Lara is seeking the artifact to prove her father right and redeem his reputation, but there is more to it than that. She is still struggling to come to terms with his death, and while she might not readily admit it, finding the artifact is a desperate attempt to end her grief and make it so she never has to feel that way again. But Lara isn’t the only one after the artifact, a mysterious organization called Trinity is getting close to it as well, and their intentions for it are far darker than Lara’s. Now stories about ancient artifacts of power pursued by both an archaeologist and a secret society obsessed with the occult are certainly not new or fresh, but Rise of the Tomb Raider manages to tell a good story without getting lost in so many cheesy clichés. This is more of a story about Lara than it is about an artifact. The story is delivered through a judicious use of cutscenes, encounters, and Lara’s internal monologue that keeps you more in the action than out of it.
It’s a tale that swings from one plot twist to the next, but never manages to lose your interest throughout the 15h campaign. Part of the reason the entire narrative manages to maintain so much momentum through familiar beats is thanks to the amazing cast. Lara experiences her own personal growth here – coming to terms with what consequences her globe-trotting treasure-seeking travels bring to everyone around her, and how her thirst for the unknown has the dangerous side of becoming an infectious addiction to her own detriment.
On the other hand you have Rise’s most compelling new face, the imposing antagonist that is Konstantin. The leader of Trinity is ruthless in his pursuit of the Divine Source, hiring the worst of the worst to his cause that he deems a holy one.
More importantly, however, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a blast to play with its 15 hour campaign. This sequel blends together combat, exploration, and puzzle-solving better than its predecessor, balancing all of these elements and stretching them out in a way that makes the pacing feel spot on. The first hour or so of the game is almost entirely platforming and puzzle-solving, introducing players to the very first tomb early on. The optional challenge tombs are greatly expanded here, with a larger number to uncover, featuring more depth and unique mechanics than what was found in Rise of the Tomb Raider’s predecessor.
Overall, Rise of the Tomb Raider is easy to recommend. The gameplay is compelling and the tombs are a joy to explore, but Lara herself is the star of the show. She’s a fascinating and intriguing character, and I can’t wait to see where she goes next.
- The visuals are stunning (I died so many time because i was just looking at the scenery)
- The action is perfect and very well-balence between exploration and action
- The cast and the acting is perfect
- Perfect blend between shooting or stealth approche
- Good 15 h story campaign + so much more to do
- Might be a little too linear and not as open as the game pretend to be…. but who care!!!!
- Was release on the same week as Fallout 4… so a lot will miss this amazing game!!!
- 9,5 / 10