10 Thoughts on Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration
Playstation 4 owners rejoice because you can now play Rise of the Tomb Raider on your consoles. This timed exclusive launched for the Xbox One a year ago and PS4 owners had to play the waiting game, which is about as much fun to play as it sounds. Well the wait is over as Rise of the Tomb Raider has been released in a 20 year celebration game (the original Tomb Raider came out in 1996) that induces all the DLC that was released for Rise of the Tomb Raider as well as the bonuses (costumes, weapons, etc…). Was it worth the wait? Let’s find out.
10 Thoughts on Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration
1. Overall, the game was fantastic.
I love a good 3rd person action/adventure game. From the fantastic Uncharted series (see our thoughts on Uncharted 4 here) to the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, I just can’t get enough of this style of game play. So I’m glad that Rise of the Tomb Raider wasn’t a let down. It took everything that made the Tomb Raider reboot great and expanded upon it. More enemies, more weapons, more tombs. Lara Croft herself has grown up a bit, no longer a scared girl, but someone who clearly knows what she’s doing. Lara’s experiences on the island from the first game has clearly had an impact on her.
2. Lara Croft – Mass Murderer
The rebooted Tomb Raider series has come a long way from it’s original roots. In the past games, Lara has mostly killed wild animals with her twin pistols. In Rise of the Tomb Raider, she really racks up the body count. Lara is presented with a large variety of weapons and even has the ability to craft explosives on the fly. I wonder if all this death weighs on her conscience at all. Regardless, if you are just jumping into the game, expect a healthy dose of combat.
3. Puzzles are > Combat
Even with all the killing and variety of ways to do it, I still had the most fun when I was exploring tombs and trying to solve puzzles. The game uses a healthy amount of the familiar Rope Arrow from the first game, and Rise of the Tomb Raider is really at its best when Lara is puzzle solving. Not that combat is bad, it just feels fairly routine. Waste high walls, enemies with endless grenades and, at times, suspect tactics. The combat, while solid, definitely isn’t the highlight of Rise of the Tomb Raider.
4. Tomb Raider Needs More Tombs
Speaking of the tombs, the game still needs more of them. Developer Crystal Dynamics upped the quantity from the first game, however there still aren’t enough of them in my opinion. The best ones in the game are found by going off the beaten path, separate from the main story. However there are only about 9 of those in the game. I had a ton of fun trying to solve these Rube Goldberg style puzzles and I made a beeline for any tomb when I was near one. All I can say is, more please!
5. Stealth Options Were Great, Yet Didn’t Always Work.
Rise of the Tomb Raider has new stealthy ways to kill your enemies. From the trusty bow and arrow to hiding in the bushes, Lara had a new arsenal to dispatch her enemies quickly and quietly. Heck, she can even kill people from above like in Batman: Arkham City. Yet I also found stealth really hard to pull off at times. Usually I’d get about one or two kills before some eagle-eyed soldier spotted me. The other issue was that Lara is such an excellent killer, there was almost no reason to go stealthy. Her poison arrows or a crafted bomb could easily take out a large group of bad guys. There wasn’t a single time I lost the stealth advantage that I thought about reloading.
6. I Want More Locations.
One area where the Uncharted series has one-upped Tomb Raider is in its variety of locations. Nathan Drank will fly all over the world to achieve his goals, while Lara usually stays in one place. It made sense in the reboot, as she was stranded on an island. But in Rise of the Tomb Raider, we are stuck in the frozen wastelands for almost the whole game. Personally, I’d much prefer to see some different scenery. Rise of the Tomb Raider has some amazing visual, yet I found myself yearning for some different environments. Take me around the world and let poor Lara get out of the cold.
7. Lara Makes a Great Hero.
The Tomb Raider reboot went a long way towards making Lara Croft a fantastic hero, and Rise of the Tomb Raider continues that journey. Throughout the game we can see her making hard decisions, fighting the good fight, and even get a look into who she was. In fact, one of the DLCs was a journey through Croft Manor where you get a boatload of information on her childhood (more on that in a second). I really enjoy Lara Croft as a main character. She has come a long way from the twin-pistol toting polygon tomb raider. Every game seems to devele deeper into her history and give her more personality.
8. Your Milage May Vary With Blood Ties.
One of the included DLCs was Blood Ties, a trip through Croft Manor (great set piece by the way) as Lara searches for her late father’s will. How much fun you’ll have with this DLC will directly correlate with how much you enjoy reading history in games. If you are the person who will read every book they find in a game like Skyrim to get all the back story, then you will love Blood Ties. There is no combat, with this being more of a point and click adventure as Lara reveals her family history one clue at a time. If you are not into the history of the Croft Family, then Blood Ties will be an exercise in tedium as you have to walk trough the manor, checking items off her todo list.
9. Having the DLC Included Was Great.
I’ll say one thing for having to wait a year to play Rise of the Tomb Raider, it was nice to have all the DLC available to play right away. I’m the kind of person who will play a game exclusively, beat it, and that never go back to it again (most likely). So if some DLC comes out for a game that I beat 3 months ago, chances are, I’m going to ignore it. So with Rise of the Tomb Raider, it was nice being able to embark on these side missions while I was still deep into my enjoyment of the game.
10. What’s To Come?
With two highly rated games already released, I don’t think this is the end of the Tomb Raider franchise. Crystal Dynamics has laid a solid foundation for both Lara Croft as a character and also a winning style of game play. So I’m sure we’ll see another adventure with Lara sooner rather than later.
In fact, there has already been an unconfirmed leak on the internet that the next game will be titled Shadows of the Tomb Raider. Here’s hoping that this one won’t have the same exclusivity agreements so we can all play it right away.