I have literally just finished Rise of the Tomb Raider, the latest game in the famed franchise starring intrepid explorer Lara Croft. The previous game, simply titled Tomb Raider was a very well made reboot for the franchise and saw our heroine shipwrecked on an island with more than a few dangers and adventures hidden within. This game has Lara more as the adventurer we know and love and is more a straight-forward expedition to discover the ‘divine-source’ somewhere in Siberia, following in the footsteps of her father before her.
Developer Crystal Dynamics have created a very polished and detailed gaming experience that has all the climbing, exploring and ‘tomb-raiding’ you could hope for whilst also crafting a compelling, very well written story and believable characters. Doesn’t hurt that it looks drop-dead gorgeous throughout. The visuals on display here, with a wealth of effects and an epic scale are some of the best yet seen on XB1, with realistic rain, wind, smoke, fire, snow and water – also the little details to Lara herself from getting wet and mucky in water to a gradual coating of snow and grime on her clothing is quite something. She also reacts realistically to climbing, leaping and falling or getting hurt that not for a second do you feel like this is just some videogame avatar, but a real, living and breathing person. Quite an achievement, carried over it has to be said from the previous game.
It gets pretty tough in combat, where as outside of getting shot exploring and solving puzzles is more about thinking your way through an area. The combat however is at times fiendishly unforgiving and if you haven’t got enough bullets or you’re a crap aim or you have run out of bandages, you’re dead. It’s also mostly set in Siberia apart from an epilogue that has Lara exploring a more sunny climate. Flashbacks to Lara’s past, glimpses of Croft manor would have benefitted from a bit of gameplay thrown in, but the rest of the game is pretty immense with large open areas to explore and find secrets and hidden tombs in … so I can’t say I felt limited at all. Also stealth, something that was hyped up (stalking and killing enemies in the forest wilderness) isn’t perfect as with the last game and getting spotted is all too easy…so going in all guns blazing is usually the best plan in the end.
screenshots captured directly from my Xbox One
This kept my interest throughout, and Tomb Raider has always been gaming crack for me – I just can’t get enough of it. So this met and exceeded my expectations no doubt.
An essential purchase.