When Lara Croft's second reawakening was announced as an Xbox One exclusive, PlayStation fanboys around the globe lost their shit and declared war on the internet. The poor Tomb Raider Facebook page can't even post a thing without a fanboy stopping the conversation and starting a trolling war the fact Lara Croft begain on PSOne. However, Lara is here and she started on PC and the SEGA Saturn so sit down, shut up and wait your turn because the wait is going to be... worth it!
In her first adventure, Lara Croft was forged into a true survivor, but she glimpsed a deeper, secret world. In the next chapter of her journey, Lara must use her survival skills and wits, learn to trust new friends, and ultimately accept her destiny as the Tomb Raider. Rise of the Tomb Raiderbuilds upon the formula that made Tomb Raider a success, and features the return of Camilla Luddington as Lara Croft. Luddington will take character performance to new heights as Lara pushes herself beyond human limits and is confronted with what it means to become a hero. Once again, Crystal Dynamics is proud to have the award-winning author Rhianna Pratchett as a key member of the writing team, helping craft a story that delves into Lara's inner turmoil and motivations in this critical second act of her journey.
When I first saw the story for Rise of the Tomb Raider, I was a touch disappointed, I was hoping that Lara would continue a journey of self discovery and survival. She survived her first ordeal but was still a little yellow and the problem with the first game was that her behaviour escalated to the point where she was fine with killing people rather swiftly. She grew up too fast and killing became more mechanic that it did traumatic.
In Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara is off hunting for a treasure that lead to her father's downfall but she's not alone, a group of mercinaries called Trinity hold a secret and they're on Lara's trail! It's a forward thinking story that soon got me over my longing for a 'wetter' Lara (ooo errr) however, perhaps it would have been a story best left for a couple of games down the line. Characters in Lara's life are all special and when plot revelations happen and Lara truly feels the hurt of her own actions, I was left wondering "Should I be feeling something? I don't know this character enough to truly care.". However, the characters do get a billing that's both equally heart warning and engaging, leading us as players through a story that will have your heart racing from start to finish. I just wish that the history and character development had been put in before throwing us, the player into the mix.
Tomb Raider as a game has always been about the platforming, the puzzles and the action, now on a next generation console Lara Croft's world no longer resides in corridors deep underground but above ground as she traverses from one location to the next, discovering miniature tombs as well as seeking out the object of her desire.
The landscapes, the terrain have come a long way since Tomb Raider first hit the shelves. Now instead of polygon palaces we have a living, breathing world that can be harvested to create weapons, upgrades and of course stun with its dizzying heights, it's regal and long forgotten landscapes.
You will draw your breathe in awe when presented with some of the stunning set pieces pain stakingly created and while remarkably feeling free, the game is very much constrained from area to area with hidden secrets a plenty.
The one problem I had with the game was sometimes it's not clear where you should go as there's so much to do off the beaten path. Lara as a character would often not be as easy to control as you would think, sometimes missing something you're trying to climb or simply missing a jump. Granted this could be user error but when you're in the thick of it, escape and subterfuge can be your only hope.
Rise of the Tomb Raider throws a lot of challenges at its players and it's all the more richer for it. It's remarkable to see how far the franchise has come and just as remarkable that gamers once again have a heroine worth looking up to. Not once in any of Lara's outfits have we been forced to watch as she's treated like a piece of meat, this new Lara demands respect and if she wants to be a sex symbol again it will be on her own terms.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is a truly entertaining 20 - 40 hours of gameplay well spent. Reveal the map, discover the secrets and be part of the story... the future of Lara Croft depends on you!