With Rise of the Tomb Rider, the series gets back to basics, at least when it comes to story line. The Tomb Raider saga seem to have stopped experimenting, and returned to the recipe that made it famous in the 1990s.
Lara Croft is no longer fighting the ghosts of the past as it did in 2013 and now morphed into a more mature character that may reposition the series as one of the best action-adventure games on the market.
This time, Ms. Croft takes a trip to Siberia to look for the ‘Divine Source,’ a mysterious ancient item that her father looked for his entire life and ended up as a discredited archeologist among the scientific community.
Yet, Ms. Croft is not the only one looking for the elusive artifact. A millennia-old religious cult dubbed ‘Trinity’ is also seeking it and plans to eliminate anything or anyone who stands in its way including Lara Croft. As a result, Lara needs to clear her father’s name and gun down a cohort of irked ancient cult members, just like in the good ’ol days.
But similarities with the first games in the series seem to end here. Rise of the Tomb Rider copies the feeling of open world games. The story is not linear as it was in first chapters of the series.
There is a plethora of items, gadgets, craftables, challenges and secondary missions. We will no longer walk in claustrophobic rooms or rush against time along tight corridors. Instead we we’ll explore larger open areas bloated with side-missions. But Crystal Dynamics was somehow able to not distract players from the main plot with the side-objectives and interlocking systems.
Yet, the game gets back to the initial thrills long-time fans felt in the 1990s whenever they found long-lost items, or pieces of ancient puzzles. In this recent version, you can still rejoice at the sight of an ancient arrowhead, mysterious amulet, or the toy of a child who was locked in a gulag.
Lara will explore and find traces of the Mongolian invasion, communist ideology, millennia-old artifacts and exiled member of the Byzantine court. You can finish the game really quickly and stay focused despite interlocking missions and side-objectives.
There is a sense of pacing that helps us stay focused on the primary goal, and you can solve puzzles and explore new environments at your own pace without missing a thing. Nevertheless, tombs are no longer compulsory, although the puzzles you will find there are the most intriguing.
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