As many people anticipate the newest and most exciting games coming this year, I, like many other gamers, will have no shortage of games to play when you have a wide and varied backlog to dip into. The title to have finally grabbed my attention is 2015’s Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Rise of the Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics’s sequel to their hit 2013 game Tomb Raider, takes players on another thrilling adventure with Lara Croft to find the legendary lost city of Kitezh. Lara’s quest is a much more personal one. A way to vindicate her father who spent his entire life obsessively proving the existence of the Divine Source, an artifact that can grant immortality, only to commit suicide after being ridiculed and discredited by his peers for his work. But continuing the work Lara’s father started puts her directly in the crosshairs of people who are also interested in finding the Divine Source—a fanatic and violent religious cult known as Trinity.
Much of the game mechanics are similar to the first Tomb Raider with some new enhancements like the ability to craft more arrows, provided you have enough materials to do it, on the fly when you run out during combat. Beyond that it has been fairly easy to jump back into the controls for this game.
Exploration in Rise is as fun as it was in the first game. Lara starts off in Syria and then spends much of her time in Siberia as she continues her search for the Divine Source and the city of Kitezh. As someone who hasn’t played the original Tomb Raider games from the 90s, I understand why finding and doing the optional tombs are a must. Not only do you unlock new abilities to strengthen Lara in combat, but our heroine has to live up to the Tomb Raider nickname. What kind of Tomb Raider would Lara be if she doesn’t actually go off to find these artifacts and treasures tucked away in some hidden and hard to reach places?
I do confess I’m still very much terrible at puzzles, and many of these optional tombs require you to solve them in order to get to the artifact for your efforts. I would have to consult guides when I’m really stumped. On the rare occasion when I’m actually able to figure out a puzzle without any help at all, it’s really super satisfying to do it on your own.
My few hours with the game has been both exhilarating as it has been frustrating at times. Mistimed jumps or poor aiming to eliminate the enemies trying to kill Lara first has led to some brutal deaths, but maybe not as many as my first run with Tomb Raider. It must mean I’m getting better at playing this game. It also probably helps that not a lot has changed between Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Different locales, and another crazy cult to contend with. While some might find more of the same boring, I find it comforting to have that familiarity in playing the second game. I know what to expect and there’s very little I have to get used to. I can jump straight into the game and get on with adventuring. Exactly how a time spent with Lara Croft should be.
I’m having a blast with Rise of the Tomb Raider so far, even as it sometimes stresses me out, and I have no doubt that once I finish this game I’ll likely move onto Shadow of the Tomb Raider next. Might as well wrap up these trilogy of games. My only regret is why haven’t I started playing them sooner?
Better late than never, as they say, right?