Everyone’s favourite fierce female is back in action in ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’. Lara Croft is gracing the screens of PS4 gamers across the globe, ready for another adventure into the wild world of hunting, brawling and… raiding tombs. Although, she’s already been on the consoles of Xbox gamers for the last year, so to say the release of the latest instalment of the franchise is a little lacklustre is an understatement. The release was great, and it’s good to have another Tomb Raider, but it feels like the PS4 release was an afterthought or just a way to cash in on the 20 year anniversary.
We’re all going to be comparing Rise of the Tomb Raider to its 2013 predecessor, so the game has had a lot to live up to. The reboot we got three years ago was packed with adventure and freshness and gave fans of the Tomb Raider franchise yet another loveable Lara; but is the newest edition merely rehashing what we’ve already seen? Simple answer: No. It’s a great story and the gameplay is close to flawless (except one awkward glitch that caused me to get stuck between a wall and giant crate with no escape). While at times it can feel like I’m back playing the 2013 game, it is just fresh enough to keep your attention. There’s plot twists and action and it’s truthfully a really engaging experience.
The 20th anniversary comes with a brand new level which is actually playable on VR, which is a great choice on Crystal Dynamic’s part since the PlayStation VR is now on our shelves. You’re also given access to the DLC from the season pass and a ton of bonuses, as well as getting a very beautiful book of pictures and art of Lara herself if you purchase the physical copy, which is worth it.
The game itself follows the story of Lara Croft one year on from her adventure in the 2013 Tomb Raider. She’s taken on an adventure searching for a treasure known the “Divine Source”, following her late father’s discoveries. Lara’s not alone in her journey though as she’s not only got the dangers of animals and survival to fight through but an organisation named ‘Trinity’ is coming for the same treasure and Lara has to fight off seemingly endless enemies on her journey. So much so that when you get a small break in the fighting you take every opportunity to get collectibles and just take a breather.
The gameplay is smooth and familiar to those of us who have played the previous game. Everything’s practically the same but it seems like there’s something just slightly more special about this game than the last. You’re back with your trusty campfires and skills and outfits that, depending on how you use them, make your game unique compared to others who have played. Specialise in brawling and bow and arrow with all your Skill Points and upgrades or don’t bother with any upgrades throughout the entire game and use Lara’s personality and default agility to get you through – although I’d recommend upgrading. You won’t be short of materials either because even in the midst of a huge fight there’s probably a bush you can pull apart for wood or a box you can pry open.
The graphics are flawless. Honestly, the game is just beautiful from the scenery to the detail of the animals (being just cute enough that you feel bad for killing them). However, one thing I need to bring attention to, which throughout the game just had me smiling at how great it is, is Lara’s hair. I don’t know why it’s so mesmerising but the animation and the way it’s made to look so smooth and soft through a screen is just fantastic. Lara, even in her worst moments, has nicer hair than I’ve ever had. There’s not a lot to say other than the fact that it’s just wonderfully made. I love the graphics, I love the scenes, I love the art and it’s just stunning.
The audio is great as well: a wonderful soundtrack and intense at the best of the times. There’s nothing that gets your heart beating more than just walking along a snowy path and suddenly having an intense tune beating at you almost instantly to warn you that you are in fact about to walk into what would be your final moments if you weren’t playing as such a badass protagonist. The voice acting is also just as great as it was in the first game. It’s heartfelt and really well presented.
All in all, a very well done to everyone at Crystal Dynamics. Normally I have something bad to say about a game, to me – there’s always room for improvement but this game had me at the beginning and made me want more when it was over. I couldn’t recommend it enough.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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