Video Game Review: Rise Of The Tomb Raider

If there’s one word to describe a Lara Croft video game it’s thrilling, and Crystal Dynamics’s 2015 action-adventure, a sequel to their 2013 game, Rise of the Tomb Raider has all that and more. Sometimes at an even grander scale than the first one.

[Credit: Crystal Dynamics]

Lara’s next adventure in Rise takes her to Siberia to look for the Divine Source, a legendary artifact that’s said to grant people immortality. Her drive to find the Divine Source, sometimes to an obsessive degree, is due to a sense of duty to prove her father’s research has been right about its existence all along after being discredited by his peers, leading to her father’s depression and eventual suicide. But Lara isn’t the only one who comes looking for the Divine Source. A dangerous and fanatical cult called Trinity, led by a man named Konstantin, will stop at nothing to snatch the Divine Source for themselves. Even if it means killing anyone who stands in their way.

Playing Rise has familiar game mechanics from the first Tomb Raider with some new enhancements like crafting arrows on the fly while in combat, or the addition of changing Lara’s outfit based on certain stat boosts. Any chance to change the look of my character is a huge plus in my book. I love customization in video games, even small ones like an outfit change for Lara.

The exploration in the game covers a much wider area than the first, and there’s a chance to complete side missions for minor characters. Of course, no Tomb Raider game would be complete without the option to look for hidden relics scattered all over the map and optional tombs to solve. Overall, there are very few surprises in Rise.

Depending on how you look at it that can be a good or bad thing. Usually with sequels there’s a need to outdo the first game—go big or go home. But sometimes sticking to the tried and true, with some minor improvements or adjustments, works just fine, too. I prefer knowing what to expect going in without feeling like I have to relearn everything. Jumping back into Rise felt like returning to something you took a brief hiatus from. You might feel rusty at first, but eventually that muscle memory kicks back in and you’re on your way.

Despite the more of the same feel of Rise, I do feel the game has outdone itself without doing a whole lot. A wider scope for exploring is a welcome change, hunting animals in the game feels a bit more varied than the first, and the enemies and objectives Lara has to go up against are a lot more challenging.

There was a scene near the end of the game where Lara had to ascend an ancient temple to finally get to the Divine Source. The first time I did it, I died a few times because of mistimed jumps or waiting too long to get Lara to the next ledge. Going through that whole scene was insane and made my heart pound. I thought Lara had gone through some really impossible, death defying feats but this really took the cake. Not to mention you had to be really good at using all the skills Lara learned during the course of the game to complete this task to get her to her final goal. By the time those end credits rolled, a wave of achievement washed over me as another Lara Croft adventure was in the books.

All in all, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a solid sequel to the first Crystal Dynamics Tomb Raider. There’s a lot to love about Rise and one that will go down in my personal history of memorable video games worth playing.

Reviewer Rating: 10/10


2 thoughts on “Video Game Review: Rise Of The Tomb Raider

  1. So glad you enjoyed it! I adore this game and it’s one of the few I regularly make time to go back and replay. Builds upon the original in so many ways and delivers a stunning adventure. I hope you enjoy Shadow if you decide to play the next game too!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I agree that the second game does a good job of building upon the first. I do plan on moving onto the third one. I think it only makes sense after finishing both games now. 🙂

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