When I realised that it was the 20th Anniversary of Tomb Raider, my first thought was ‘Damn, I’m old’. My second thought was I need to play the new game. After spending much of my youth platforming my way around levels as one of the coolest female protagonists ever, I knew I had to play this one. Lara Croft was very much an inspiration to me as a young girl. Even now, I still admire her kick-ass approach to adventuring. So, without any further ado, lets jump into this platformer and see what mysteries await us this time.
Lara Croft games have always been about mystery as well as adventure. Rise of the Tomb Raider is no different. Lara is trying to find an artefact that is said to have never existed. Her father was ridiculed by many for attempting to find this Prophet’s artefact and died before he could prove anyone wrong. Of course, this means we have a plot line for our game. Naturally, Lara wants to vindicate her father and find the artefact all at the same time. She knows it exists, she believes she knows where to find it. But, it wouldn’t be much of a story if there wasn’t an evil cult trying to stop her finding it. The Trinity will stop at nothing to get their own hands on this artefact. And, of course, it wouldn’t be Tomb Raider without a strange magical twist. Its your typical Lara Croft style storyline. I wouldn’t say it was spectacular or different. However, it works for this game because it has to be a bit elaborate; it’s Tomb Raider.
If you ever played the first of the newest Tomb Raider games, then this will be easy to pick up. The controls are basically the same. As for features, there aren’t many new ones. The crafting is slightly different. It takes on a more Far Cry feel needing to gather specific materials in order to craft certain items. The crafting was pretty simple in the previous game so it is nice to see it has developed further. Of course, there are the usual collectables and hidden collections. I am very much a completionist when it comes to this sort of thing so I love it. It adds more to the game but some would chalk this down to lazy game design. I don’t hate it or love it. I accept that this is what this game is basically about. Explore and find things. Simple.
Graphics & Sound
Of course, being next gen graphics it looks awesome. There are some beautifully crafted views and settings. I gurantee it will look much better on the PC but even on PS4 the graphics look great. The introduction scene when you climb up the top of a the mountain is rather breathtaking. You can’t fault the detail. I mean if you want to compare how far Lara Croft as come just look at how square she was in the first few games. A lot can change in twenty years it seems. The sound is well done too. Atmospheric and sometimes creepy when it needs to be. When you’re crawling through dark, forgotten caves, the sound works beautifully. It even got me with a couple of jump scares. The graphics are possibly the defining feature of this one.
Easy enough to use and intuitive. There aren’t any random buttons you have to press in order to perform actions. There are of course quick time events which often panic me but usually these just involve the standard triangle, circle, etc. Most of the time it tells you what buttons you need to press. Almost like you are a small child in constant need of being told how to play the game. Which is rather frustrating. However, on other occasions, it chooses not to tell you when you need to press buttons. And on these occasions, forgetting the controls results in death. Consistency wouldn’t go amiss. And it would certainly make my life easier.
You can of course choose difficulties and with the anniversary edition you get a bunch of other game modes you can play. Some are much harder than others. For example, one game mode allows you to play a Survival mode. Much like in Fallout 4, you have to drink water and consume food in order to survive. If, however, you are playing the main game, normal difficulty is probably the best option. Unless you have never played a game like this before, then I’d say go with easy. The puzzles are simple enough to figure out but of course do get harder as the game goes on. Some of the timed puzzles can be frustratingly difficult. However, if you have at least some skill, which I don’t, you will have no problems.
There is definite replayability with this one. Much like in Tomb Raider, there are certain areas you can’t get to without the right equipment. Which of course you are not given right away. So, you can come back later on and find all the hidden secrets and collectables that you weren’t able to find the first time around. Also, as I mentioned, there are several other game modes available and, if you have access to the online options, there is even more gameplay available. Personally, I will be playing through this again because I enjoy a good adventure.