Rise of the Tomb Raider Review

Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Dawn of the Tomb Raider and War for the Tomb Raider.

Rise of the Tomb RaiderRise of the Tomb Raider is probably the most underwhelmed mega game of 2015, because it has the unfortunate timing of releasing on the same day as Fallout 4.  Fortunately, this is only the soft release on Xbox One as the game will be released once again for PS4 and PC sometime next year.  By then, hopefully the game will receive the attention it deserves.

While the game is overall an impressive achievement, it is really not as good as the previous one.  The gameplay mechanism is improved, but it takes away a lot of things I like from the first game.  Also, while I know it’s not fair to compare, I just recently powered through The Nathan Drake Collection, and the similarities between the two franchises are too much.  Both Nathan and Lara are great jumpers, and they are somewhat expert gunmen as well.  By this point, Naughty Dog and Crystal Dynamics should just be friends and make us a Uncharted/Tomb Raider crossover game already.

Rise of the Tomb Raider 1The story this time around is more interesting and personal too.  Instead of a young girl forced into distressed situation like the previous game, this time around Lara is more mature and she’s driven by the obsession for a past involving his deceased father.  The drive to find out what her father was searching for brings Lara to different places, and the game allows us to see a side of her not seen in the previous game.  She is a capable fighter and a skilled adventurer, this is no longer the weak girl trying to survive, but a tough girl who gets what she wants.

Meanwhile, the game brings back Jonah from the previous game and introduces us a new supporting cast.  However, none of these characters are really developed as the game is once again Lara’s solo adventure.  This is especially the case for Jonah, as he disappears early in the game and only appears again right before the game is about to be over.  That’s quite a shame, as he’s the only character other than Lara making an reappearance in the sequel, and it would be really cool if the game bothered to develop a solid supporting cast for the game.  Also, the game features a twist that’s a bit too easy to see coming, so that’s a bit of a downer there.

Rise of the Tomb Raider 2The game takes Lara gadgets we’ve seen in the first game and brings them to the next level.  With two hooks in her hands, Lara is more versatile than before.  This allows you to climb rock walls much faster!  She also receives an awesome wire spool that allows her to swing further to unreachable surfaces.  This is a great addition to Lara’s arsenal and another layer to the environmental puzzles.

I’m a big fan of the challenge tombs in the game.  The main game does a great job having players solving puzzles already, but the side tombs are way more interesting.  Sadly, the game features heavy combat systems that leave players no time to search for those tombs until the game is over.  Fine by me if anything, as it gives me more reason to explore the game after the main story is over.

Rise of the Tomb Raider 3I don’t think I’m a bad player, but I have a really hard time inputting the right commands when explore the tombs.  Lara jumps at the wrong time, or fails at hooking up the stone walls.  A lot.  I don’t know if the fault is really mine, but the failures are too frequent I have to think it is a bug.  And it’s quite annoying too.

The combat is fun.  Other than shooting enemies, Lara has the option to craft nail bombs, molotov and many other throwable objects.  While the game still requires stealth, it becomes really impossible for players to actually finish the game only with stealth.  Stealth becomes a way to thin out as many enemies as possible before the invadable gunfight.  Not to mention no additional XP for stealth takedown enemies either.  It’s quite a shame though, as the game includes new method of players to hide in the open environment, but it doesn’t properly award players to do so.

Rise of the Tomb Raider 4In many ways, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a much better game than 2013’s Tomb Raider.  But in many ways, the game also didn’t live up to the expectations.  New gamepaly mechanisms and story are the highlights of the new game, but the intensive gunfight can be really draining.  Hopefully by the time Dawn of the Tomb Raider comes, the game can be the true legend we’re waiting for.

– The Good:

  • Lara is (emotionally) stronger.
  • Fun puzzles.
  • New gadgets.

– The Bad:

  • Stealth underplayed.
  • Buggy inputs.
  • Underwhelmed supporting cast.

– Overall Score: 8.6/10