20 Years a Raider

2016 marks the 20th anniversary of Tomb Raider, a long running, universally acclaimed classic franchise. Tomb Raider saw a strong reboot to the franchise back in 2013, with the release of Tomb Raider on last-gen consoles. In 2015 we saw the release of Tomb Raider’s sequel exclusively on Xbox One, Rise of the Tomb Raider. Rise of the Tomb Raider released to universal appraise from critics across the board, and it became well known for its strong protagonist, fantastic guerrilla warfare style combat, and strong performance for the whole adventure. Fast forward just under a year, and Rise of the Tomb Raider has finally been released on the Playstation 4, and it’s definitely the definitive and strongest version of Rise of the Tomb Raider to date.

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Rise of the Tomb Raider’s environments are all varied, and beautiful.

The Croft Legacy

Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Celebration bundles Rise of the Tomb Raider with all of its DLC, along with two new DLCs in the form of Lara’s Nightmare and Blood Ties. Rise of the Tomb Raider’s story is without a doubt one of the best I have experienced in recent memory. Without spoiling too much, Lara is hunting for the Divine Source, which was what her father died looking for in his last few years. Lara’s search takes her to various locations, such as Syria and Siberia. Lara as a protagonist steals the show in Rise of the Tomb Raider, she’s incredibly well developed, likeable, and driven by desire to find what she’s looking for. You can really see what the events of Tomb Raider has done to her, and I enjoyed Lara’s character for every single second of the story, even if it was at the cost of the under developed supporting cast. Multiple times I was caught out by twists and turns that I honestly did not see coming, and I was legitimately surprised by how much I was caught off guard. The villains of Rise of the Tomb Raider are just as strong as Lara herself, with strong motivations, morally grotesque actions, and some genuinely disturbing logic at hand, making them memorable and extremely entertaining for the entire duration of the story.

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Syria is only briefly visited, but it’s definitely a very memorable mission.

A Complete Package

Where Rise of the Tomb Raider really shines, is in its gameplay, consisting of fantastic guerrilla warfare, small RPG elements, and open world exploration. Tomb Raider plays extremely well, and firefights are fairly standard, as is the third person shooting, but the ability to craft smoke bombs, grenades, special arrows and more on the fly is what makes it truly refreshing and unique. Exploring is key in Rise of the Tomb Raider, in order to find scraps and materials to upgrade Lara’s arsenal of weapons, and to find tombs. Tombs are easily one of the standout features of Rise of the Tomb Raider, and everytime I could complete one, I would. They’re intellectually challenging, incredibly fulfilling, and the one problem I have with them is that there isn’t enough. Most of Lara’s arsenal from Tomb Raider is back, with some sweet new additions such as the wire spool, and most weapons can be upgraded and customised throughout the adventure. Rise of the Tomb Raider is filled with high octane set pieces, and there were moments where I was incredibly entertained by what I was doing, whether I was being chased by a helicopter, or climbing the side of a mountain, but at the same time Rise of the Tomb Raider gives you time to breathe.The Baba Yaga story DLC is an interesting 2 hour addition to the main campaign, but it’s nowhere near as good as the original story. Expedition mode is one of the most unique modes in Rise of the Tomb Raider, and i really enjoyed my time with it. Lara’s dumped into an open world, where she has to survive by keeping warm, and fed, all while she hunts for relics. It’s an interesting take on Tomb Raider’s gameplay, and the survival elements can make for very strong replay value. Lara’s Nightmare is an enjoyable addition, but after one play through I was done with it, and I don’t have any desire to go through it again. Blood Ties is the final piece of DLC for Rise of the Tomb Raider, which follows Lara exploring Croft Manor, trying to find things her father left behind for her. It’s relaxing, interesting, and definitely worth playing, and if you’re into lore, there’s a lot to be found in Blood Ties.

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Lara’s bow is once again, one of her key weapons.

A Beautiful Frontier

Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Anniversary was a technologically flawless experience for the entire time I played it. Rise of the Tomb Raider never fails to look absolutely stunning, no matter where you are, detail is precise, environments are large and visually impressive, and character models are near flawless. The game runs at a consistent 1080 P at 30 FPS, with no drops whatsoever. I also noticed that the entire game is extremely polished, with no crashes or glitches throughout my entire experience. Rise of the Tomb Raider was an absolute treat to look at and I can’t wait to try it on the PS4 Pro.

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The tombs found throughout the open world are all unique, and beautiful.

Verdict: 9.5/10

Rise of the Tomb Raider is hands down one of the best games I have played this year. I thoroughly enjoyed all of my time playing this one, and if you haven’t played it before, I urge you to, especially if you enjoyed the 2013 reboot. It has an excellent story, solid gameplay, a strong technological front, and the amount of content you get for what you pay is more than worth it. Rise of the Tomb Raider is a game you must experience.

Positives

-Excellent story

-Incredibly strong protagonist and villains

-Guerrilla style combat is unique and refreshing

-Heaps of content

-Looks and runs amazingly

-Plenty of replay value with Expeditions

Negatives

-Weak supporting cast

Thanks for reading guys, sorry this took some time, I got more stuff coming up tonight and tomorrow. Thanks again, Harry.

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