A Sequel That Improves In Every Way
Much like heroine Lara Croft in this sequel to 2013’s impressive reboot Tomb Raider, Rise Of The Tomb Raider’s journey has been full of ups and downs. After suffering poor sales from being exclusively available to Xbox customers only, Rise Of The Tomb Raider’s delayed arrival to Sony’s flagship console proves to be a delay worth waitng for, improving on almost every aspect of the first game.
Building on the foundation set 2 years ago, Rise Of The Tomb Raider continues Lara Croft’s journey to become the battle hardened heroine we’ve come to love with a deeper, more action-driven sequel. The story sees Lara explore her past, and in particular her relationship with her late father and very-much-alive sister. The story has some surprising twists and turns along the way but certainly falls into more than one narrative cliché as it focuses on Lara picking up where her father left off, in search of a hidden treasure that grants immortality.
There are far more tombs to explore this time around
Along the way, Lara finds herself trying to outwit a resourceful group of mercenaries and usual mix of wild animals in a series of loosely connected open areas and a cookie cutter plot. We won’t spoil the entire narrative here but suffice to say it’s pretty good but aside from a few twists and turns fails to really resonate and make you care about many of the supporting cast, despite more emphasis put on fleshing out the supporting characters this time around.
Aesthetically, Rise Of The Tomb Raider has much more diverse locations than the previous games, despite being almost predominantly set in Siberia. From snow-capped mountains to lush, dense jungle areas, Rise’s variety really helps give the game some much-needed vibrancy, something lacking in the first game which stubbornly stuck to a much more muted colour palette, dominated by browns and greys. It’s a welcome change for the series and along with the slight tweaks in basic manoeuvers like climbing and fighting, help Tomb Raider seriously challenge for the illustrious adventure genre crown the Uncharted series holds. While some may take to Tomb Raider a lot more than its blockbuster-esque cousin, Tomb Raider’s inability to write memorable side characters and rely far too heavily on scripted action pieces holds it back from being as good as it could be.
Plenty of abilities can be unlocked to enhance your fighting skills
Still, when it comes to Tomb Raider’s gameplay, Rise Of The Tomb Raider builds on everything that made the first game so good whilst evidently listening to fan feedback and adjusting accordingly. There’s far more tombs to explore this time around and slightly deeper survival aspects along with an exhausting list of collectibles to gain. From challenges to relics, Rise Against The Tomb Raider breaks down each of its open playgrounds with a whole host of collectibles that would make Ubisoft blush. While this does help bolster out the play time, a lot of these tasks do devolve to busy work and don’t add anything substantial to the game.
Rise Of The Tomb Raider features plenty of breathtaking vistas that are a joy to explore
Much like the first game, Rise Of The Tomb Raider features a whole host of skill points to be earned through levelling up with XP. From opening chests to expanding your knowledge with various foreign artifacts, Rise Of The Tomb Raider boasts a constant feeling of progression as you slowly unlock bigger and better skills as the story progresses. These range from easier stealth kills, extra XP for killing enemies and progressing through missions, both side and main. Along with the aforementioned collectibles, make Tomb Raider a relatively long game to try to complete if you’re gunning for that coveted 100% status.
As can be expected, the various side quests don’t really bring anything substantial to the plate and mainly revolve around simple fetch quests or killing a certain number of enemies. Despite how mundane these tasks are, they do garner a decent reward so it’s worth undertaking them to help build Lara up to a more proficient adventurer as you play.
Tomb Raider features plenty of big blockbuster moments with its set pieces
If you were a fan of the game before and were looking for more of the same, Rise Of The Tomb Raider delivers on all fronts. With a more action-driven plot along with more tombs to explore and handfuls of items to collect, Rise Of The Tomb Raider builds on the foundations set in the previous game and establishes itself as a really impressive adventure game. While its still a little narratively shakey and the supporting cast are almost wholly forgettable, there’s enough here to make for quite an impressive single player game, worthy of the Tomb Raider legacy.
Verdict - 8.5/10