Platform reviewed on: PC
Also available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Tomb Raider is a long running franchise, first released in 1996. It was innovative back then and it set the foundations for the majority of action adventure games. The main protagonist was (and still is) Lara Croft, a young archaeologist with huge breasts who apart from being proficient in 15 languages, had many calisthenic skills and was very adept with weapons of every kind, from her favorite handguns to UZIs, rocket launchers etc.
However, in 2013 the series rebooted and to critical acclaim. The protagonist is again Lara Croft, but not the one we used to know. This time, Lara is more human and less action movie hero. She is constantly punished throughout the game by her adversaries and the elements of nature and gradually, as she progresses throughout the game, she becomes more and more confident and aware of her true potential.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is the sequel to this game. Here, Lara Croft embarks on a journey to Siberia in order to find an ancient artifact first that grants infinite power to the one who has it in his possession. Things are not that easy, because there is an evil organization named Trinity who also wants this artifact for their own and as you would expect, they also want Lara’s head on a silver platter. In general, the plot while generic (it will remind you a bit of Indiana Jones) is interesting with some plot twists.
The game is a technical marvel. Lara herself is beautifully designed; her facial expressions are almost life like, her animation is very fluid and generally her whole appearance is great. A lot of attention has been given as well to the other characters and to all the animals that are the natural inhabitants of the landscapes you will visit in the course of the game.
Speaking about environments, they are fantastically created; you will cross snowy fields, dense forests and secret caves and you will encounter all sorts of flora and fauna along your way.
Furthermore, there are set piece action scenes that are a true spectacle for the eye and are brimming with explosions and all sorts of special effects. At times i thought i was seeing a first class action movie.
In addition. the developers must have spent a lot of time studying medieval history, due to the fact that you will find artifacts, relics and wall paintings that are almost exact copies of their respective counterparts found in history books about medieval Greece, Russia etc.
Warning though:to fully experience these exceptional graphics, you will have to have in your possession a very powerful and capable PC. This is a very demanding game and is still used for benchmark tests.
Rise of the Tomb Raider not only looks brilliant, it sounds exceptional as well. Voice acting is top notch and the actors give a very solid and convincing performance. The soundtrack while not particularly memorable, suits the game nicely. As you traverse the dense forests and the other environments of the game, you will hear birds singing, sounds of animals as they hunt their prey the sound of water in rivers and waterfalls . All these will make you feel like you are the one exploring these lush landscapes, not Lara.
The control scheme is exceptional. Lara controls fine and has a very large moveset. She can walk, run, swim, climb ledges, hang from ropes etc When aiming, camera switches to an over the shoulder perspective which is a little weird but serviceable nonetheless. I did not like the fact that swimming is 2 dimensional, meaning that you cannot dive deeper apart from hiding from enemies.
The game has some RPG elements as well. Lara’s skills can be upgraded. By doing certain activities like hunting, killing enemies and finding artifacts Lara gains experience points that can be spent unlocking new perks and abilities that will help the young archaeologist with her adventure. What i liked was that by studying engravings and artifacts, Lara refreshes her knowledge on certain languages and is able to read monoliths that update your map with new treasure locations.
To fulfill your goal, you will undoubtedly have to engage in combat with animals and members of Trinity. To exterminate them, you have a large arsenal at your disposal, from assault rifles to my personal favorite, bows. Bows can be used for a stealthier approach. Every well measured headshot with the bow while hidden is exhilarating. Furthermore, you can craft handmade weapons on the fly by finding parts along the way, like molotovs and shrapnel grenades that wreak havoc on your enemies.
The game however truly shines when exploring. This is not primarily a shooter game. You will have a lot more fun climbing ledges and exploring caves, finding new locations and treasures. This is one of the few games i have played that encourage you to explore its world. While it is not an open world game, there are a ton of relics and artifacts to find, as well as a lot of side missions to complete which are given to you by NPC characters. There is a ton of stuff to do in this game if you have the time.
Value for Money:…..9
You can find the game on PC for about 20 to 25 Euros and you will invest a lot of precious time in order to find everything. It is a very nice experience and it sets the standards very high for other games of the genre.