Video Game Review: Rise of the Tomb Raider

Lara Croft, the dashing polygonal heroine that everyone fell in love with back in the days of the PS1, is no more. The Lara who fought a T-Rex with dual pistols, the Lara WHO KEPT GRABBING THE WRONG FUCKING LEDGE, the Lara who solved all those crazy death trap puzzles, the Lara who spawned two awful movies that were only worth watching because Angelina Jolie was perfect for the role? That Lara is dead. From her ashes rises a new, more versatile and more fun Lara.

Note that this is a relatively late review, because I wanted to wait for the PC version instead of buying an Xbox for a single game.

Before I go in depth about this game, which is a sequel to 2013’s reboot of the franchise Tomb Raider, let me give you a quick summary of said reboot: Lara and her crew shipwreck on an island that is filled with actual crazy fuckers who are following an actual insane dude who is following an actual batshit crazy undead bitch who in turn has an army of psycho undead followers defending her tomb. Such luck Lara has! Anyway, the game revolves around Lara fighting for her life and realizing, through doing all the things she has to do in order to survive, that she is a “Croft” in more than just name. Basically she realizes she’s a fuckin’ badass. To keep thing simple since this isn’t the game I’m reviewing, just know that she defeats the baddies in the end and everyone lives happily ever after, except for the people who died. Those people probably aren’t too happy.

Rise of the Tomb Raider starts with Lara and her friend from the previous game searching for a lost city that her father wrote about in his journals. We see a Lara that is extremely confident given what she overcame in the previous game. Avalanches and collapsing cliffs are the norm for her it would seem. It looks like this:

The story here is more or less the same as the previous game. Crazy bad guy with crazy followers wants to find a crazy artifact so he can do crazy shit with it. Crazy right? What I really want to focus on for this review is the gameplay, because that’s what video games are about anyway as well as what really makes ROTR shine.

Real quick though, let talk about the graphics. The game is downright gorgeous and easily in the top 5 best looking games right now. From the environment to the facial animations and textures and even the way the snow behaves down to the littlest detail. The lighting is some of the best I’ve seen and is on the same level with games like Uncharted and Last of Us. There’s also a lot of unnecessary, but welcome attention to detail. By unnecessary I mean things like the way she will wring her hair out after she’s been in the water or how she will run her hand along a wall while walking through a narrow hallway or across a ledge. Little things like that aren’t necessary, but they add an incredible amount of immersion to the overall experience.

Gameplay-wise, the story will take Lara to these absolutely massive areas that I’m gonna refer to as hub areas. Within these areas are side missions you can do for various NPCs, tombs and caves that you can explore for crafting materials and all sorts of little hidden collectibles. You’re going to want to explore all these areas, because those crafting materials allow you to upgrade your weapons as well as give you materials to craft things like poison/fire arrows as well as healing materials. I can’t stress that enough; crafting materials is your best friend in this game because they allow you to hone your arsenal of death dealing murder tools. Upgrades consist of things like silencers, extended magazines, hollow point rounds, explosive arrows, grenade launchers and much more. However, if you don’t want to use those you don’t have to. That is one of the huge strengths of this game. It allows you to come at every situation however you want. If you want to go in stealthy and kill everyone without being seen you can. Similarly. you can go in like a ghost, sneak through the area and not touch a single soul if that’s what you want (if you are boring). Or you can do what I do and be stealthy until you get detected and then just go ape shit on everything. Don’t take my word for it though, check it out and enjoy the completely default soundtrack that totally came with the game:

As you progress throughout the story Lara will earn points that allow her to unlock skills for use in the game. Skills are broken up into 3 categories and include  things like the ability to get more crafting materials out of resources, being able to fire two arrows at once (not realistic at all, but hey it’s pretty damn fun), being able to perform brutal finishing moves with various weapons and one of my favorite things that you can see in that video, death from above. There’s also a really fun skill that allows you to booby trap a dead body with a poison proximity mine. This is great when you see a bunch of guys because you can kill one, place said booby trap and wait for them to investigate and get a face full of that sweet sweet noxious green death gas. While those bros are busy suffocating, Lara can be busy snapping sniper bro’s neck. It’s ridiculously fun to experiment with the various skills and adds a lot of replay value.

Speaking of replay value, there are also a few other game modes that are in a menu called “Expeditions.” There are modes like chapter replay and time attack as well as a few DLC modes that add a survival mode, which is really really fun if you’re a dark souls masochist like I am, as well as a zombie type mode. What makes these modes so fun is the card system. Playing through the game and performing various actions allows you to unlock cards that will allow you to apply various modifiers to the gameplay. These include things that make enemies stronger, or make Lara weaker, as well as goofy shit like big head mode or a bow that shoots exploding chickens. It’s much more lighthearted than the main campaign and that’s OK, because its extremely enjoyable. The other mode, which is my favorite, allows you to play through previous chapters of the game with your upgraded gear and is basically new game plus.

rotr cards

Bottom line here is if you dig adventure games and you haven’t played this game YOU’RE DOING EVERYTHING WRONG AND SHAME ON YOU AND SHIT. In my humble opinion, this is one of the best games the genre has to offer and should not be missed. Aside from the rather cliche story, it’s a fantastic experience that you don’t want to miss. I’m eagerly (impatiently) anticipating the follow up to this game.

4.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

NEW_TOILETSCALE_4-5_of_5

Written by:

Published on: June 22, 2016

Filled Under: Reviews, Video Games

Views: 801

Tags: , , ,

  • Tomb Raider would be a pretty rad Death Metal band name.

    • Definitely sounds like a cavernous death band.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      TOMB FUCKER

    • BobLoblaw

      Womb Raider-pornogrind

      • MachoMadness5000

        Ralph Nader – Politicalgrind

        • Cowboy Dick

          Nader Sadek nuff said…

      • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight

        There’s already been a porno named that. Ummmmmmm, or so I’ve read. *scurries to the bunk to research this subject*

  • Dubbbz

    This game looks pretty fun! I’m not a big fan of Angelina Jolie, so I didn’t think she made the movies much better than terrible. Also, Tomb Raider: Angle of Darkness has one of the most interesting development hell stories in all of vidya.

    • How was that game? I never played it cause I heard nothing but bad things about it. Only one I didn’t play actually.

      • Dubbbz

        It was a total bomb because of all of the development issues.

        • Yea i thought as much. Didn’t the entire thing take place in London too?

          • Dubbbz

            I recalled Paris for some reason.

          • Eh it was one of those cities across the pond

    • Man, I remember that movie being not a good.

      • Dubbbz

        They were both very bad, as vidya movies are wont to be.

        • Has there ever been a good video game movie? I think the new assassins creed movie has the potential to be good, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

          • I think you’re forgetting a little Jean Claude Van Damme film called Street Fighter

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Remember the Street Fighter movie game? I wish I didn’t

          • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight

            Sadly, yes. That one’s up there with Tattoo Assassins as the worst fighting game ever (TA counts, even though it was never formally released).

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnGpcMTf0k4

          • Abradolf Lincler

            begrudging upvote!

          • Dubbbz

            Street Fighter wolololol

            On the real, I want to watch Doom again even though I know it’s terribad.

          • Doom could have been much worse. Actually the first resident evil movie was decent, but everything after is just bad.

          • Dubbbz

            Oh first Silent Hill wasn’t too bad either.

          • Silent Hill had its flaws, but goddamn do I love that movie. The great moments make up for the dumb ones.

          • Dubbbz

            Agreed.

          • I have not watched any of the sequels. I figure they are just… Not good.

          • Dubbbz

            Can confirm, the second one does kinda suck. I don’t remember too much about it, honestly.

          • Yeah, not going to waste my time. It would be rad if the original got a proper reissue. Like something from Scream Factory. A directors cut with extra footage.

          • the ending might be the most gruesome thing i’ve seen shown in a theater

          • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight

            I saw Human Centipede 2 in theaters, so yeah I’ve seen much much worse.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm
          • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight

            Dunno if you ever saw HC2, but it’s an excellent date movie. 😉

          • as terrible as it was, i bet it was a blast seeing it in a theater full of (or “with other”) people!

          • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight

            There weren’t many people in the theater when I saw it. I’m amazed that most of the audience didn’t walk out halfway through the film. The first one at least had something of a plot. The second didn’t even bother, and went straight for the most disgusting shit possible.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Agreed.

          • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight

            The movies lacked that Lovecraftian feel that I loved about the first game.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I can say Mortal Kombat Annihilation wasn’t.

          • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight

            Fist Of The North Star.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      Only the second movie seemed the regular video-game-gone-movie bad. The first one was just an average-to-mediocre action flick.

    • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight

      She was decent in Hackers and Salt, but that’s pretty much it.

  • Joaquin Stick

    I played the last one and it was super fun, despite every cut scene involving Laura falling down every slope imaginable. Even my SO would look over every once and awhile and say “falling down again?” I will look for this one to go on sale.

    Also, I play like you do. Be sneaky until shit hits the fan, then full auto all the way!!

    • I used to do this thing in stealth games where I would be completely stealthy and if I got detected I would restart the entire thing until I got it right. That really kinda takes the fun out of it though so then I adopted the sneaky until shit hits the fan thing.

      • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight

        You’re a Syphon Filter fan, I take it?

        • Splinter Cell actually. Never played Syphon Filter, parent’s wouldn’t let me lol.

          • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight

            Tis’ a good game, especially if you like stealth recon games.

    • JWEG

      I recall the dudes from EP Daily agreeing that it was basically a snuff film in game form.

      Also Conan O’Brien’s pre-release review, reacting (poorly) to impaling poor Lara. Repeatedly.

  • WHATEVER, IM BUSY WITH OVERWATCH.

  • I only ever played Tomb Raider 2 and all I remember is that I could lock the butler in the walk-in fridge. It was awesome.

    • I really wish they had the mansion shit in the new game. Cause yea, I spent hours fucking with the butler lol.

    • Funny how some never play these games for the missions. I always just found my self doing other dumb shit like that. I used to play Driver all the time, but I don’t think I ever got past level 1. I just drove around trying to escape the cops.

      • Fucking around and doing nothing in video games >>>>>>>

        • Haha, true dat!

          • Dubbbz

            There was a Hulk video game on PS2/Gamecube/Xbox that was an open-world/sandbox game. Destroying the city until they started sending mechs after you was so much fun, but you could also just waste time out in the desert kicking cows.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Kicking Cows | The New Solo Album from Brent Hinds

        • GTA is the king of that kind of shit.

      • Holy shit yea I remember Driver lol. Thats exactly what I did cause the story missions were too challenging. I did the same with the old need for speed games.

        • MachoMadness5000

          I remember when Driver 2 came out and you could get out of the car and walk around. MIND WAS BLOWN.

      • Dave Vincent’s Perm

        If it wasn’t for spending hours fucking around in Tony Hawk Underground it would have taken me a lot longer to realise I liked extreme metal.

  • Waynecro

    Nice review, man! I don’t play many adventure games, but this game’s completely default soundtrack that totally came with the game makes me want to play this one.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Wasn’t entirely sold on the revised Lara, for the last game, kinda lost interest.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    not much for platformers/adventure games. i do dig powerful women tho 😉

    • CyberneticOrganism

      For the last time, stop derailing these discussions with your powerful women fetishes.

      • Abradolf Lincler

        np, joe

        • CyberneticOrganism

          oh fuck my secret is out

          • Abradolf Lincler

            cyjoe

      • more beer

        Fetishes are way more interesting than video games.

        • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight

          You obviously haven’t seen some of the more offbeat ends of Japanese or German fetish porn, then! Trust me, I’d much rather sit and play Audiosurf than go down that dark and disturbing rabbit hole.

    • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight
  • MachoMadness5000

    I had Tomb Raider 1 as a young lad… I spent many nights locking the camera on her digital ass and legs – wacking it.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      I never played any of the Tomb Raider games. I did play a lot of Twisted Metal though.

      • MachoMadness5000

        Twisted Metal 2 took over my life when it was out. Epic split-screen multiplayer battles in France.

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          I loved the fourth one. Same with the second one. I beat the fourth one so many times.

          • MachoMadness5000

            I wish they would make a new one for PS4.

        • Dubbbz

          Glorious memories there.

    • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight
    • Lol well, her as is amazing in this game so…..

      • MachoMadness5000

        Soooooo, let the jack off marathon begin!! OHHHH YEEEAAHHH!!!!

  • JWEG

    Late to post, hope for a response anyway.

    I know this is a review of the PC version, and you regular console gamers are long since immersed in the current generation – but does anyone who can compare (and/or has compared) versions think I’d be missing out hugely if I just got the 360 version?

    I mean, obvious graphical enhancement aside and maybe relative ‘size’ of the game aside too, would I also be missing too much if I don’t get an XBone just for the upgraded experience of one non-exclusive title?

    • Dubbbz

      I think I read on Kotaku that the 360 version had a lot of nasty performance issues. If you check the comments in this article, you’ll notice several readers have grievances.

      http://kotaku.com/the-new-tomb-raider-is-also-on-the-old-xbox-1746265003

      • JWEG

        Some of those performance complaints predate an update patch (by the One’s team for both versions) that corrected more performance issues on the 360 version than the One, so I dunno how much that would change things, apart from generally “for the better”.

        Plus, most of the complaints on that page’s comments read a lot like confusing general ‘performance’ with graphical quirks – with which I’m 100% “okay” as more often a retro-console gamer than even the 360 I own. So it actually may strengthen my resolve to seek it in 360 form anyway. After a few more price drops.

        • Dubbbz

          I can’t speak to the veracity of those claims as I haven’t played either (and honestly tend to be less fussy about graphics than most since I’m a Nintendo geek), but I remembered that article and hoped it would point you in the right direction. Happy hunting, amigo.

      • Grandpa’s Magic Fleshlight

        A man who hates anime reading Kotaku. This is the mother of all ironies!

    • Definitely don’t get the 360 version.

  • CAVEMAN GORAK™

    STEAM SUMMER SALE START TOMORROW!!!!!!!! HOPEFULLY GORAK CAN GET CHEAP!!!!!!!!

  • tigeraid

    I really enjoyed the first rebooted game, even if my machine cried like a little bitch trying to run it. I should get around to trying this.

  • My best friend played the first chapter of the reboot and he liked it a lot.

    So far, I’m very interested in playing this new saga, since I only played Tomb Raider Resurrection in PSone and it didn’t clicked with me so far.

    Good review, Mr. Bauer.

  • Jack Bauer, you are possibly the best video game reviewer i know! finally got to read this and it was fantastic.
    you get one “Get Out of Interrogation Room Free” card

  • I didn’t realize I needed this, thanks for the review JB!