With Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft is back and ready to confront danger and the unknown once again. This fresh adventure is so full of twists and surprises that it managed to have me hooked the entire way through. Set a couple years after the events of Crystal Dynamic’s 2013 reboot, tomb raider Lara embarks on a new journey to seek out a mystical artifact that grants immortality: the Holy Grail. On this action packed adventure, she goes head to head with the mysterious organization known as “Trinity.”
Rise of the Tomb Raider manages to take everything that was good about the 2013 game and make it great, expanding its world and creating an open environment for the player to wander in. Lara’s character is just as engaging and driven as in the 2013 reboot. She is on this journey for her father, determined to prove to the world that he wasn’t crazy for believing in the Holy Grail. This story is similar to what we’ve seen before in Tomb Raider movies, but Rise of the Tomb Raider manages to make it feel fresh and inviting.
This expedition is different though, because this time around Lara isn’t forced into the danger. She seeks it out, wanting and needing answers — something I found thrilling about her ever-evolving character. Guilt for her father follows her throughout her journey, feeling like she let him down and was the reason for his untimely death. Flashbacks incorporated into the game give the player further insight into Lara’s past and growing up with her father in the Croft manor. The narrative was strong and made me feel emotionally invested in both the story and the characters involved.
The Tomb Raider franchise is famous for its challenging puzzles scattered throughout each game, and this new instalment doesn’t disappoint in this regard. The risk and reward trials are cleverly dispersed around the expansive map, making the player feel like a real “tomb raider.”
The antagonists that are focused on gaining the Holy Grail throughout the game were a pleasant surprise. Unlike many video game villains, these ones have a reason behind their schemes and aren’t just “evil”‘ for the sake of the plot. The mystery behind the corporation, Trinity, had me eager to play more and learn their motives, and whether or not they’ll play a larger role in the next installment to the series is one of the biggest questions I have after completing the main story.
Combat this time around feels much more fluid and accessible. It’s exciting to both play stealthy and run in guns blazing because the environment and the tools at your disposal allow for a lot of variation. That said, I played on normal difficulty and found that the enemies were fairly easy to beat. This didn’t make it any less fun to beat them though.
Customization and unlockable outfits is another thing that has been greatly improved over the previous game. Since I bought the deluxe edition, all of Lara’s outfits were already unlocked, along with some special skill sets and weapons, which gave me an advantage during both shootouts and stealth missions.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is an impressive addition to the rebooted series, one that challenges itself like never before. Lara is a protagonist I continue to root for. Continuing on the adventures with the iconic heroine is something I look forward to, and I wonder what might come next in the series.