Game Review: Rise of the Tomb Raider

Have we talked lately about how I feel about this franchise? You should say ‘yes’ unless you want me to go on ad nauseum about how much I love Tomb Raider. It’s by far my favorite video game franchise of all time (although Bioshock and Fallout come closest) and the newest entry in the series is fantastic. Although I did play this awhile ago, with Rise of the Tomb Raider finally coming to PS4, I finally got around to finishing this review.

If you liked the reboot of Tomb Raider then this game will feel like coming home, but without feeling like more of the same.

Explore…and kill…
Rise of the Tomb Raider feels a little more action heavy than its predecessor, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Military-style combat is not what I am looking for in a Tomb Raider experience, but it is well done, fairly fun, and somewhat forgiving.

The controls are silky smooth and a slight improvement on Tomb Raider, which I thought were really great to begin with. You do still run into the occasional camera issue, but overall, playing the game is a dream.

THE TOMBS ARE AWESOME!! And I want more of them! They’re beautiful, challenging, and rewarding. There are two or three in each area. I really enjoyed Tomb Raider’s tombs, despite a few clunky puzzle elements. In Rise of the Tomb Raider, the ‘clunk’ is gone

Once upon a time…
Rise has one of the best openings of a game I’ve played since Bioshock. It’s a fairly easy introduction to the control scheme, beautiful graphics to the game, and a dramatic entry into the story of the game.

The main villain is a little bit of a cookie-cutter character, along the lines of a religious zealot with a crazy streak. The story is very solid with a couple of twists and turns which keep the story engaging and moving forward.

Technically speaking…
I noticed some weird clipping (feet in the snow) in the opening sequence, but otherwise it’s a gorgeous game. The characters are really well done and the environments are breath taking. The lighting is really nice as well.

The sound is really well done. The music and sound effects are really good but the star, once again, is the audio cue’s that pop up when something important is nearby. Whether it’s an optional tomb nearby or you’ve caught the attention of a pack of wolves, the game lets you know in a clear and audible way. Kind of like an action movie, but without taking you out of the environment or experience.

Verdict: 8.5
This feels like a natural extension of its predecessor with a few positive additions thrown in. The game play and controls are slight more polished, the graphics are upgraded, and the story is very strong. If you enjoyed 2013s Tomb Raider, then you will enjoy this entry as well.  I feel like I’m selling it short by saying it’s a slightly better version of the previous game, but I mean that in all the good ways that could be taken. It’s truly an enjoyable experience despite a few technical glitches.

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