Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4)
I haven't played the Tomb Raider reboot from 2013, but I figure that Rise of the Tomb Raider constitutes a prequel to that game. Lara Croft searches for the sacred spring that her dead father was obsessed with. The intro takes place on a snowy mountain in Syberia where the player goes through quite a bit of scripted events. As always, these may look cool, but they don't demand much input from the player who gets put into the role of a glorified movie watcher. After a flashback to Syria that serves as a tutorial area, it's back to Syberia where the rest of the game takes place. I found the lack of more locations disappointing because having a game dominated by snow and cold environments is rather boring.
2005's Tomb Raider reboot injected Prince of Persia climbing mechanics which worked well for an IP that was about exploring ancient tombs. This remains the best part in Rise of the Tomb Raider, but the other changes don't sit well with me. The pseudo open world structure with resource gathering made me feel that I was playing Horizon Zero Dawn, and Lara's first weapon being a bow only amplified that. The same goes for an EXP system that unlocks skill points that can be invested in various abilities. Meanwhile, the combat is reminiscent of the typical third person shooter. Too bad that the aiming never feels quite right in this game, so it's more of a hassle than anything else.
Thankfully - although I am not sure if this is good - the AI is utterly sexist. Lara fights an army of men who couldn't get past elementary school, so Rise of the Tomb Raider depicts the dominance of girl power. Speaking more seriously though, the AI really is terrible. You can execute a stealth kill on a man who is in a dialogue and his partner doesn't consider it strange that somebody stopped talking in the middle of a sentence. Equally odd are stealth kills where you pull a man into the water by grabbing his leg; as if nobody screamed when somebody pulls that on them. This doesn't change on hard difficulty. Speaking of, I played on normal difficulty the first time where self-regenerating health made the game a lot easier than what I would consider medium.
Progress through the game allows you to stock up on resources and do some sidequests before you go to the next story destination where you get funneled through mostly very linear level design. That's quite the contrast. It's also a shame that the game ends on a low note with lots of shooting, scripted scenes and a disappointing final boss.
Lastly, I don't like Lara's new face. Rise of the Tomb Raider tries to be so much like everything else that the designers didn't stop from making Lara the same way. The result is a woman that looks like a 6/10, but I suppose that's only fitting.
|Controls||10||No matter the sensitivity, aiming feels too slow when
pushing gently and too fast when pushing the stick all the way.
|Gameplay||Pseudo open world with survival elements combined with
climbing mechanics introduced in the Legend reboot.
|Story||It never amounts too much. Plot twists are standard fare
and memorable or likeable characters are absent.
|Single-player||A constant back and forth between enjoyable exploration
and disappointing shooting against underwhelming AI.
|Multiplayer||There's multiplayer, but I didn't try it out.
Unlikely to affect the final score positively anyway.
|Graphics||Stable framerate and technically sound,
but visual variety is lacking.
|Sound||I don't remember the music which means it
was neither particularly good or bad.
|Value||A good 20 hours to finish the campaign,
over 30 hours to complete the game 100%
|Replay Value||Higher difficulty settings for added challenge.
As mentioned, no idea how the multiplayer fares.
|Score||6||Rise of the Tomb Raider fits into the category of homogeneous
AAA titles as a game that lacks its own identity.