games

Game Review: Rise of the Tomb Raider

This is a game that I bought from Steam Christmas sales last year because I had just got a new PC that I knew could run the game in beautiful graphics settings without an issue. I had really liked the previous Tomb Raider game (2013) so I figured I’d like Rise of the Tomb Raider as well, and yeah I did, but I still ended up taking forever to finish it. I did what I do very often: started the game and then forgot about it for a long time and then when I finally got back to it six months later I finished it in just a few days.

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The story of Rise of the Tomb Raider can be summarized pretty easily: Lara Croft is searching for the lost city of Kitezh, which her father had also tried to find and ruined his reputation in the process and eventually took his own life. In Kitezh there is supposed to be an artifact called the Divine Source, which is said to be able to grant immortality, and unfortunately Lara is not the only one searching for it. A group called Trinity is also looking for it and is being a lot more violent about it, and Lara ends up having to protect the people of Kitezh from them.

Usually I’m very into more story driven games but the story in Rise of the Tomb Raider didn’t really hook me until I was like halfway through, which is probably part of the reason why I didn’t play it for so long. Lara meeting Jacob, one of the natives of Kitezh, was what finally got my attention and the little romantic in me hoped they would develop something between them but this wasn’t a Bioware game so that didn’t happen.

My game had also come with the Baba Yaga DLC and I started the storyline, but got distracted by other things and never finished it. What I played was super scary though! There was a point where Lara breathed some kind of toxic pollen and started hallucinating something terrifying and I felt like I was playing a horror game for a bit.

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Gameplay was mostly very similar to the previous game, mostly just running where the story tells you to while gathering crafting materials etc., with a couple of puzzles added here and there, and of course the occasional quick time events that usually lead to gruesome deaths if you missed them. The puzzles were mostly way easier in than in the 2013 Tomb Raider because I remember struggling a lot especially with the optional tombs in that one, and in Rise of the Tomb Raider I solved most of them no problem. I also found it hilarious that Lara could magically learn Greek and Russian by looking at some old writings on the walls for two seconds. One thing that was a new addition that I really liked was being able to change my outfit. They all gave some kind of perks but honestly I just picked whatever I thought looked the coolest.

My absolute favorite weapon in the game was the bow. I could get out of most battles without starting any real conflict at all because I would just sneakily headshot everyone from the bushes before the enemies would even notice me. It was great. Unfortunately bow wasn’t very effective in more active situations so I ended up using the pistol and shotgun a lot as well. There were also some rarer (very angry) animals you could find in the game and fighting them was interesting because the amount of times you needed to shoot them was ridiculous no matter what weapon you used.

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As you can see from the pictures Rise of the Tomb Raider is a really beautiful game. I don’t remember exactly what my graphic settings were but most likely a mix of ultra and high. It ran mostly very well and I didn’t really run to any issues other than Lara being an idiot sometimes when I tried to jump somewhere and needed her to grab something or hit the wall with her climbing axe so she wouldn’t fall to her death but she just wouldn’t do it. I died a lot like that. Lara’s ponytail was also a constant source of amusement for me because I couldn’t turn on some fancy hair setting because it was apparently more of a feature for Nvidia’s graphics cards (mine is AMD), so her ponytail would bounce around in silly ways even when she was standing perfectly still. I didn’t even mind because it was so funny to watch.

I wasn’t exactly a completionist when playing the game, but I tried to collect as many treasures etc. as I could. Despite spending a lot of time on that stuff the game ended being only 17 hours long which feels kinda short for a game that costs 50€, so I’m glad I got it from a sale. I know it has some kind of multiplayer elements too but honestly, I’m pretty sure most people are playing Tomb Raider for the single player story. I liked Rise of the Tomb Raider more than I did the previous one so I would totally recommend grabbing it if it’s 50% off again at some point.

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