Rise of the Tomb Raider could be my 2015 game

(Yeah, spoilers ahead!) I’ve completed the main story and the side missions in 37 hours and there’s more to do! I’ve loved every moment of Rise of the Tomb Raider, it’s one of my favourite games of 2015. I’m a huge fan of how they’ve managed to evolve everything and make the whole experience feel so special.

It’s quite hard to explain to someone why it’s better than the 2013 reboot. This sequel feels like a new game and not just an extension of the reboot. What do I mean? Well for example chainsaw duels were added to Gears of War 2 and the wet tracks were added to Forza Motorsports 6 yet the basic gameplay loop, feeling and tactics were similar but more pronounced to distinguish itself from the predecessors. Rise of the Tomb Raider does retain similar aspects of Tomb Raider (2013) also but it’s the amount of attention that you assign to what you want to do that makes it feel so much different. Surprisingly, Rise of the Tomb Raider plays like a different game; it’s fresh. Like in RPGs you can wonder into a town and help the townsfolk with A to get reward X, you don’t even have to complete the story and you’d have a huge chunk of the hub worlds to explore. Each hub has it’s own hidden treasures and challenges for you to explore and they feel rewarding upon completion.

I have to say that I really like the designs of the tombs in RotTR. The puzzles was a good challenge – it is difficult to balance how difficult a puzzle should be. The good news is most of the tombs are optional but the “I got it!” moment feels so good. There was one particular tomb where I must’ve spent an hour doing the wrong thing for ages and when it clicked it was like “YES!” – it was so damn satisfying. Mitch Dyer got stuck at the final tomb for ages apparently (episode of Xbox Unlocked) and I managed to solve it… in reasonable time I guess. Just sayin (muhahaha)

I like the characters in this story. I was expecting to go at it solo again but I liked interacting with people in the valley. They provided a sense of achievement in Lara’s adventure. In one instance, Lara escaped a ruins which is very dangerous and once she’s made it out alive. People in the village starts talking about it. They are like “hey, did you hear about that woman? She went into X and came back out alive!”, “Yeah right, nobody goes in there and comes back out alive! Whoever told you were lying!”. “I heard this straight from Jacob and Sofia” (important characters) and then I could just imagine the jaw dropping on this dudes face. These bits felt awesome because the game is acknowledging Lara’s achievements. It’s putting my character into this universe’ perspective. I liked that a lot. Also it was pretty cool to see Lara living in New Yor- I mean London (her apartment looks nothing like London apartments). Seriously, it was good to see some background story of her father and where she lived. It was a nice touch.

Not everything was great though. In the reboot, the samurai’s was so fun to fight against. Maybe it’s because I like Japanese culture and Samurai so I was especially fond to see them in that game. But the mythical/supernatural enemies in Rise of the Tomb Raider was as impressive. They were tough to beat for sure, but I’m not a fan of their design. I do like the normal mercenaries I fought though. They do try to flank you and use different weapons to take you out so you have to be on your toes! I like the exotic animals you can hunt too. The encounters with them are always fun. I spent a lot of time hunting because of the items I could craft for Lara. Something else I liked about the combat was I’m not limited to just arrows and guns. A lot of the time I have a tactical team closing in on both my left and right flank and I would just pick up a can on the floor and turn it into a bomb and instantly clear one side of my flank so I can deal with the other. Of course there are other ways to fight. But you can be very creative in how you handle tight situations. It’s a nod to her survival instincts and how resourceful she is.

Lastly, the voice acting is awesome. Camilla Luddington seems to have really found that sweet spot for voicing Lara. I don’t know why, but her voice seems to fit a lot better with this Lara (the stronger more determined Lara who survived Yamatai). She’s amazing and so is Jonah.

I have high hopes for the next installment (if there is one – please let there be one!) but before that, I’m really looking forward to the DLC content dropping soon. I’m so ready for more Lara! If you haven’t played it you’re seriously missing out!