Rise of the Tomb Raider tasks Lara across abandoned structures between valley and long forgotten settlements. In her quest for the source of immortality, she’s met with remnants of the forgotten past, still surviving in a way we no longer do. Her adventure is sprawling, vast, and dangerous. It is also one of the best adventure games of recent times.
In Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft is an adventure to clear the name of her father who believed there was a source for immortality. She is on a quest to do everything she can to find it but of course, the evil corporation Trinity is on her Tress FX ponytail to find it for themselves.
One of the best things about Rise of the Tomb Raider is its pacing. It is meticulously crafted to move from spectacle set-pieces, to epic shoot-outs, to open-world exploration and story. While it has excellent pacing, it isn’t predictable either. The story, very much like its locations have peaks and valleys that you never know which way it’s going to go at any time.
This isn’t an open-world game rather than it being populated with several open-world areas filled with enemy soldiers collectibles to find, and resources to gather. Each one of these is expansive and have areas blocked of by abilities you gain later in the game incentivizing you to come back later on.
Throughout the game Lara improves in a number of ways. As you progress, Lara obtains new tools to use at her disposal for both tackling enemies and the landscape. You can also upgrade later to your playstyle with three different skill trees: hunting, brawling, and survival. These highlight her combat effectiveness, her survival instincts, and her crafting abilities. These can either make things slightly less challenging or other aspects more rewarding. Every upgrade feels worthwhile so when you obtain a new skill point, you’re immediately on the lookout for the next camp fire.
The most worthwhile upgrades in Rise of the Tomb Raider are found in the optional tombs within the game. In 2013’s reboot, tombs were disappointing but in Rise of the Tomb Raider they’re excellent. You get satisfaction from figuring out puzzles as you play with pulleys, levers, and even water levels and you also get invaluable rewards for Lara upon completion. The unique upgrades make the optional tombs worth playing and offer a distinct advantage to Lara for the rest of the game.
Resource gathering is fun in the beginning but unfortunately becomes repetitive quite quickly. You need to consistently gather resources in order to feel prepared for combat. The resource gathering though fits in well with the cruel landscape Lara is in.
Combat is perfection. Lara moves smoothly and when aiming a weapon, regardless of what it is, it’s smooth, precise, and impressive. Firefights can be avoided by stealthily moving around the area and taking enemies down one by one and that feels really satisfying but so does full-on combat. It’s not often that a game feels just as satisfying to play avoiding combat as it is being in combat. You would normally easily favourite one style of play but both feel equally impressive and fun so mixing things up keeps everything feeling great.
Visually, Rise of the Tomb Raider is spectacular and it knows it. Many times upon being revealed a new area, Lara will comment on its beauty and honestly, it’s hard not to be impressed by what’s in front of you. It all looks incredible and adds to the spectacle in front of you.
The superb pacing with satisfying combat, traversal, and tombs make Rise of the Tomb Raider and perfect adventure game. While the resource gathering turns it into a slight grind at times, it’s so hard to find fault with my time with the game. I loved every moment of it and I can’t wait for what Crystal Dynamics have for us next because this game proves that they are right now on top of their game.