Crystal Dynamics

Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3

Rise of the Tomb Raider was released on Friday and, after the disappointment of Black Ops 3 the week before, it was good to play a game that lived up to it’s pre-launch hype.  Now this isn’t going to be a complete in-depth review of the game as I’m currently still playing. Instead, this is just going to be brief first impressions, going over the main points and new features.

Since I’m playing on 360, the graphics don’t seem to be completely optimised, but they are still pretty darn good (I’m assuming they will be a lot better for you folks on next gen consoles and PC when it’s released). The main story of the game is set in Siberia, a harsh winter mountainy environment with detailed snowfall, frozen lakes and ice. Trees are climbable and offer a new way to manoeuvre about the setting, areas of deep snow inhibit and slow down Lara as she attempts to wade through and numerous caves offer potential for exploration. Unfortunately, some of the building and facility layouts from what I’ve seen so far brought upon a strong case of deja vu, but considering they were well developed in Tomb Raider, there isn’t much to complain about it, it just feels a bit “samey”.

There are, however, a lot of new features in Rise of the Tomb Raider. There are now “outfits” for Lara to wear and interchange between once they have been unlocked. Some of these outfits just provide aesthetics, while others provide stat bonuses to increase things like stealth. A basic inventory system has been introduced, which now means weapon upgrades are more specific. A handle upgrade might require some exotic hide, while a new outfit might require a white wolf skin (which is only around at certain times and in certain weather conditions). This makes the game feel a lot more realistic. Rather than just relying on a tonne of “salvage” like in Tomb Raider, materials you gather from plants and animals are now your tools for survival. There is also a shop that allows you to trade your “byzantine coins” (coins found while exploring) for things like weapons, upgrades and tools with a local merchant.

The plot so far has been engaging and entertaining. With a detailed back story setting up the story nicely. I look forward to completing the game (including all exploration and optional missions) and coming back to give the game a proper review in the near future.