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Old 15-07-17, 00:58   #1
LateRaider
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Default My review of Rise of the Tomb Raider

WARNING: THIS IS A POSITIVE REVIEW!



Also contains SPOILERS!

So, after Tomb Raider (2013), I was excited to see what was in store for this incarnation of Lara Croft--how she would develop as a person and what her motivation, beyond survival, would be. In addition, anyone who talks to me knows that I love Core's games. I vastly prefer Core Lara, The Angel of Darkness is my favorite Tomb Raider. But I harbor no illusions of the 2013 Reboot ever going in that direction.

I was pretty hyped for Rise of the Tomb Raider, not gonna lie. I got a PS4 pretty much just for this game... And I walked away feeling like I'd been over-hyped, honestly. But was it enjoyable? And was it Tomb Raider?


The Graphics:
This game is absolutely STUNNING. If anyone says Rise looks terrible, they're a liar. Lara looks fantastic, the environments look beautiful, the physics are great, even enemies look well-animated. I don't have much else to say other than PLEASE play this on PC or on a PS4 Pro if at all possible; this game deserves it.


The Audio:
I miss Jason Graves' soundtrack. There, I said it. I was devastated when I found out that he wouldn't be returning for Rise of the TR. I can remember the many metallic songs and tribal beats in TR (2013), but I honestly can't remember a damn song in Rise. Even the title screen music is lackluster. It's not a BAD soundtrack, it's just... not memorable. It fits well, but it's almost generic. I wouldn't be upset if Bobby Tahouri were replaced with someone else in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. I do love Karen O's vocal theme I Shall Rise, though!

Voice acting is excellent, though what the hell was UP with Camilla's voice in Blood Ties???


The Gameplay:
At its core, this is a great evolution upon Tomb Raider (2013)'s. Animal AI is more sensible, enemy AI is more devastating, multiple weapons were a great addition that adds variance and strategy to the game. Collecting resources a la survival genre was awesome for making and upgrading new weapons. It never felt out of place. I'd honestly like to see a similar system applied to an older Tomb Raider game, like maybe as a fan remake. It would be so interesting.

The platforming is tight, the optional tombs and crypts were challenging, and completing collections often was a puzzle in and of itself. A lot of the story puzzles are, again, needing to find what way to properly traverse. I'd like to see a bit less of this and maybe some pressure point timed runs. Croft Manor did the right thing in its puzzles, in my opinion.

Difficulty modes were such a smart choice, each one adding a different flavor on playing the game. We aren't just increasing enemy's health and damage output while reducing Lara's anymore, we're fundamentally changing the AI's senses and removing auto-health regeneration. I laud Crystal Dynamics for this and anticipate seeing the same thing, or something better, in the sequel.

Also, may I also add that I LOVE how a bunch of outfits add actually add gameplay diversity? Loves it.

Unfortunately, this is where Rise started to tank for me. This game is SEVERELY unpolished, and lord have mercy it shows. The very first time I started up the game, Lara got randomly set on fire in the ice caves for no reason. Then she was always on fire, as if she had the En Fuego card active at all times, during Chapter Replay Elite. I had to delete all my save data to fix it... and I was halfway through the game. YEAH.

When fast-traveling to older areas, enemies will sit in the "default model" T-pose at times. Other times they just won't respond to you. Sometimes when you drop a can, it'll repeat its "clattering noise" indefinitely. When I went to use the first trebuchet near the end of the game, Lara would get blasted with fire for no reason--all enemies were dead.

The most unforgivable thing is how you can NEVER complete your outfit or weapon collections. You can never obtain the outfits Black Tank Top or Rust Henley, and you can never get the Snowflake rifle or Rattlesnake pistol. It's absolutely abhorrent. Your gun collection will ALWAYS say Pistols: 4/5 and Rifles: 5/6 unless you use cheats... and I don't have that option.


The Story:
I actually enjoyed it. It was a classic adventure story interspersed with Lara's regret about never reconciling with her father. I do look forward to Shadow hopefully dropping the parental aspect of the story, but especially after finishing Blood Ties, I really love the Reboot's Richard and Amelia. She sets out on this journey to find the Divine Source to potentially help humanity and be able to cure any sickness, save the ill and revolutionize everything we know about medicine--with the duality of trying to carry on the memory of Richard, saying, "Look, Dad. I believe now. I understand. I'll do this--I know I can prove to them how right you are."

I feel like she more went on this adventure for herself rather than Richard. Surely he's a big part in it, but it's almost like it's her way of trying to discover one of the most ancient, hidden myths of the world for her own eyes. Also, Ana and Konstantin are a little cliched but great villains, especially when you realize Ana has been manipulating Richard for actual years at the time Rise starts.

Jacob and Sofia were very well-written, and I appreciated all that they added to the world of Rise. The world-building done in this game is phenomenal. Although it was obvious that Jacob was the Prophet from the moment Lara said "I feel like I can tell him anything and not be judged," he never came across as condescending or abnormally wise.

I wish, though, that we would've gotten the "Lara trying to cope with her PTSD" plot as shown in the therapy trailer. It looked like it would've been vastly more interesting.


And finally, Lara Croft:
She's undergone great character growth since Tomb Raider (2013). She believes wholeheartedly in these myths and sorcery, even willing to risk her life on it. She's strong-willed and intelligent, not nearly as clumsy and you can tell she has a real knack for survival. While her friends are still deathly important to her, she isn't afraid to have to kill someone anymore to accomplish her goal, especially when they're trying to kill her first. She's likeable and adventurous and loves the archaeology and architecture of each ancient place. This is almost a great depiction of a familiar character...

But where is her sharp wit and snark? Lara was developing it toward the end of TR (2013), and her well of the stuff seems to have dried up. When she first met Sofia, it was absolutely underwhelming. She didn't even need to berate her, it could've been a simple line change. When Sofia threatens to put an arrow in Lara's throat the next time they meet, Lara COULD HAVE said, "I promise to you that I'm no threat. So I'll thank you to keep your welcoming gifts." Instead, she said the most boring, straightforward thing possible. Like, what? That should've been memorable moment, some kind of one-liner to underline the importance of the scene... and it just fell on its face.

I'd like to see her develop this more in the sequel, but I don't think this will change until the Reboot changes writers.


Overall, I rate Rise of the Tomb Raider a solid 8/10. Lara could've easily had a snarky quip or two, and while some of her dialogue gets near it sometimes, it would've been easy and natural to write some in without Lara becoming insulting. The gameplay had so many little bugs, including one that made me have to delete my save data and restart, which is a major negative. However, the presentation was phenomenal and the story had another intriguing and mystical plot, which is much appreciated. Also, you can see this Lara start to define who this incarnation of her really is, and she is definitely continuing to grow as a person. This is a great direction for Tomb Raider to take, but it needs some definite polishing.
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Last edited by LateRaider; 27-07-17 at 01:37.
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Old 15-07-17, 22:03   #2
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I think this is a very fair and well-rounded review. Apart from the current gameplay formula and bland writing / cast of characters that just can't hold a candle to what Tomb Raider used to be, I think Rise is a very good game.
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Old 16-07-17, 11:30   #3
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Nice review .
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Old 16-07-17, 20:37   #4
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Nice review . I agree with pretty much all you've said. I was lucky enough not to have experienced the level of bugs you did. In the few times I've played, I have experienced the endless clanking can and one time Lara got stuck in a rock which meant I had to reload a checkpoint, but really not a huge deal and both were on new play throughs, I didn't get anything on my first. I also think it was a bug when an enemy set himself on fire, but hey, you won't hear me complaining over that one .
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Old 18-07-17, 04:49   #5
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Thank you, everyone! I tried to be fair as can be. I feel like the Rise board on TRF could use some more love, since every other review seems to be someone slamming it.
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Old 19-07-17, 12:53   #6
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Great review! I definitely agree with you on the bits about the soundtrack. I never really experienced any bugs though (even on the 360 version) aside from the frame rate occasionally stuttering. Maybe I just got lucky
Quote:
I feel like she more went on this adventure for herself rather than Richard.
THANK YOU. Someone finally gets it!
I definitely agree with you on the ptsd bit, I would've loved to see a therapy cutscene.
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Old 19-07-17, 13:20   #7
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Nice review!

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Originally Posted by Daring Do View Post
THANK YOU. Someone finally gets it!
To be quite honest I'm no longer sure if I get why she went on the adventure in the first place.
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Old 19-07-17, 13:29   #8
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Quote:
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To be quite honest I'm no longer sure if I get why she went on the adventure in the first place.
Facing her repressed guilt concerning her father's death, proving that there's more supernatural things passed Yamatai, finding some form of enlightenment, trying to see if there's a way that people close to her won't die (she's had a bit of bad luck with that), probably finding an outlet for her frustrations, and she really really likes relics.
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Old 19-07-17, 13:47   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trenton View Post
To be quite honest I'm no longer sure if I get why she went on the adventure in the first place.
In TR III she also had no reason to go to India, so why questioning her intentions now? J/K

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Facing her repressed guilt concerning her father's death, proving that there's more supernatural things passed Yamatai, finding some form of enlightenment, trying to see if there's a way that people close to her won't die (she's had a bit of bad luck with that), probably finding an outlet for her frustrations, and she really really likes relics.
I don't think that she really likes relics that much yet. Otherwise she wouldn't have destroyed the wine sauce or at least collected some of the pieces like she apparently collected the pieces of the Scion in TR I and then put them on display in TR III.
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Old 19-07-17, 14:04   #10
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Originally Posted by Wooxman View Post
I don't think that she really likes relics that much yet. Otherwise she wouldn't have destroyed the wine sauce or at least collected some of the pieces like she apparently collected the pieces of the Scion in TR I and then put them on display in TR III.
She does really love relics by the way she talks about them when you collect them, and when she discovers ancient ruins. She destroyed the divine source because, you know, Trinity and figuring out that making immortal abominations of nature for her own personal reasons is probably not the best thing to do. She doesn't really have a place to display her relics at the moment, her flat is kind of a mess and Croft manor needs maybe a couple of renovations. What with the tree through the roof and all.
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