Rise of the Tomb Raider
“What makes someone reach beyond the boundaries of human experience to face the unknown? As children, we question the world around us. We learn, we accept, and gradually, we lose our capacity for wonder. But some do not…the explorers, the seekers of truth. It is these pioneers who define the future of mankind.”
This Xboxone timed exclusive from Crystal Dynamics comes swinging right out the gate with same tense, edge of your seat action that drew you to it’s prequel. A full assault on your sense of sight, Rise of Tomb Raider seemingly ditched it’s Multiplayer to provide a more thorough and a story with substance that can at time be easy to associate with. While you still are able to compete against each other in leader boards, an actual competitive multiplayer is omitted but whose to say if future DLC could change that.
A deeper story of Lara and her Father is narrated throughout the diverse linear quests you do which spares no expense with attention to detail of the scenery you encounter in the various environments you’re thrown in or against. Whether it’s a flares light gleaming off icy walls or a glow stick illuminated a skull filled tomb it’s hard to look away from the screen. Even walking through knee high snow provides a satisfying feeling as you watch yourself and the NPC create trails and feel the step vibrate within your controller as your character braces herself against the windy elements.
An archaeologist turned wilderness survival expert, Lara often finds herself in so many over the top action packed sequences that you begin to feel empathetic with her. Her cuts and wounds turned to scars from her 2013 hit Tomb Raider, which surprisingly the both had a lot of optional tombs to explore as opposed to what the actual game play has you find. With even more redefined graphics, you experience the same sensory overload you loved with the first one: challenges, hidden relics and crafting. Your Survival Instinct will help guide with progression of the chapters, but ultimately it doesn’t hold your hand with the platform puzzles which can be tedious at times. It also seemed the further I managed to advance within the game, the more “thrown together” it felt as opposed to the solid structure the beginning provided us with. Every action seems plausible but yet the action never really stops which can be overbearing.
The combat becomes more in depth with this addition to the Tomb Raider legacy, gun shots cause a more natural rag doll feeling, your movements and actions seem more life like as well..even down to her facial expressions as she’s conversing or fighting off a enemy. The ambiguity of choice is unparalleled as well, with the hand to hand and gun fighting being so fluid your approach of laying waste to your foe is a different experience almost every time as the endless bodies scatter everywhere. A feeling of dread lays thick in areas of the game and you are left wondering when you’ll be swept up in some torrent of unfortunate circumstances that Lara can never stay away from. With some foreseeable twists and some not, the campaign is a treasure to play through. Depending on the difficulty will ultimately determine your experience with the game, as any should game should do. Your normal setting will disable aim assistance and allow enemies to have normal health and damage while your Survivor setting is going to disable your health regeneration completely, causing you to craft a item to replenish health, enemies will be stronger and shoot more accurately, your resources are scarce and upgrade cost more and even using a camp requires resources.
Final Thoughts and Grade:
Gamers Pantheon Score – 95%
Given the gravity of how in depth the graphics are, how the environment interacts with your character and how your character transgresses through the levels glitches are expected. Frame rates drop, scenery appears to be 2d, or working against the grain of the imagery and standing out. But it’s almost counter balanced by how good all the graphics are, the grooves in your skin from your wounds shine in the light with a eerie sense of realism. The water shines and reflects from the overhead lightening, it’s evident the amount of work they put into the infrastructure of this game. The Survival Instinct is almost useless in most cases with the ledges or whatever you need to move forward is usually indicated with a lighter color palette compared to the surrounding area. This is definitely a fun title to run through a night with a excellent playability that will allow for multiple run throughs. The expedition allows for better customizing and lets you compete against others but ultimately the fact that there is no multiplayer may lose some players who seek that competitive aspect but I would say alot more was able to be put into the single player experience that crafted a better experience. Will our female protagonist discover the secrets she’s searching for?