Thursday, October 20, 2016

Review: Rise of the Tomb Raider

“What makes someone reach beyond the boundaries of human experience to face the unknown?” These opening words set the stage for the incredible journey you are about to embark on in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Released last November as a timed Xbox exclusive, but now available on PC and PlayStation 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider finds Lara Croft once again at odds with a madman and his army as she struggles to locate an ancient artifact said to have mystical healing properties. Players will notice a slight shift in tone from the last game, with a more explorer related feel than the previous survival-focused gameplay, however this shift feels natural as Lara fully embraces her destiny as a tomb raider and follows in her father’s footsteps as she journeys to the frozen mountains of Siberia.

One of the greatest additions to the game are Lara’s new crafting abilities. In addition to the salvage used in the first game to upgrade your weapons, Lara now has the ability to craft her own ammo and gear along with other useful items such as health packs. This is exceptionally useful in battle as you can now craft ammo on the run and heal yourself if you get too severely wounded in battle. One of my personal favorite craftable items are poison arrows which temporarily paralyze larger enemies allowing Lara a short unhindered timeframe to fire at will. The poison also kills many of the smaller enemies, such as wolves, as the smoke cloud disperses around the impact zone affecting everything in the immediate vicinity.

Hunting becomes exceptionally important in Rise of the Tomb Raider, as Lara will need to gather resources from specific animals in order to craft certain items. New animals such as bears, leopards, and wild boars have been added to the map, each with its own traits and attack style. It’s no longer a simple matter of hiding in trees, Lara will have to devise clever plots in order to lure certain animals out of their lairs. Animals are also less numerous, adding to the challenge of the hunt. I personally love hunting in the mountain peak area. The peace and serenity of the snowy forest provides the perfect calming atmosphere to hunt in. However, there ae several prime hunting locations on the map – and let me assure you, there is nothing quite like the rush of terror that fills you when you hear a snow leopard for the first time.  

Another awesome addition to this game are Lara’s translating skills. In the first Tomb Raider remake, Lara already knew how to read most of the kanji found on the relics and artifacts she gathered. This time Lara learns as she goes, gaining knowledge in various languages from Greek to Mongolian. Exploring tombs and caves now awards Lara with codexes containing plans for ancient weapons Lara can use on her journey. The addition of murals and monoliths adds yet another dimension of exploration as Lara will sometimes have to search out objects to increase her knowledge of a particular language before she can proceed. As in the previous game, the map is filled with documents and relics which amplify the story and give life to every location Lara visits. Each series has its own mini story, weaving together to add an additional layer of mystery of the Prophet and his Divine Source. The story takes many twists and turns along the way, keeping you on your toes the entire time. NPCs also feature new mini mission side quests which can be used to increase your gear and standing with the natives.

All in all, Square-Enix and Crystal Dynamics have once again created an amazing game that is sure to have you coming back again and again. No matter what you’re looking for, action or shooter, mystery or collector, you’ll find it in the diverse landscape and characters of Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Geektified Score: 10/10

By: Katlyn Ashe

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