When “Rise of the Tomb Raider” was announced as a timed Xbox exclusive, people were <i>pissed</i>, and with good reason. Throughout its early career, while the franchise was still developed by Core Design as opposed to Crystal Dynamics, the games were exclusive to PlayStation, with its initial instalments helping to solidify the PS1’s position as the leading console of that generation. Naturally, fans weren’t too keen on a franchise so closely associated with one brand suddenly jumping ship onto the other, and as a result many have denounced the game, which, coupled with its very unfortunate release date (which coincided with the release of two hotly anticipated titles), led to the title’s very unsatisfying sales numbers. Which is a shame, because putting all that aside, “Rise of the Tomb Raider” is actually a very worthy successor. While not quite capturing the same magic as other instalments of the Tomb Raider franchise, it will ultimately be remembered as one of its better titles.
Following her life-changing experience on the island of Yamatai where ordinary college student Lara Croft found herself forced to fight for her life and watch most of her friends die, our titular Tomb Raider has found herself hooked on adventure. Rather than being thrust into danger against her will, this time Lara is actively seeking it in her search for the lost city of Kitezh, which supposedly holds the secret to immortality. It’s obvious from the first few minutes of the game that this isn’t the same Lara we’ve come to known in the 2013 title – she’s now a little bit more mature, a little bit more skilled and a whole lot more confident, all of which are qualities that would be very familiar to anyone who has played the older titles. She has graduated into the character we expect when we think of Lara Croft, but it does leave the question as to how her character can be further developed when the inevitable sequel drops.
Gameplay-wise, “Rise of the Tomb Raider” sticks very close to what its predecessor did. We’re talking an emphasis on exploration, lots of wall climbing and stealth and some basic crafting and survival elements. While for the most part the game has remained similar to what worked in the past, there are certain small, yet noticeable changes. Inspired by games like “The Last of Us”, the crafting system has been vastly improved, allowing you to create resources whenever you want at the push of a button. For the first time in “Tomb Raider” history you can also pick up specific quests and side missions that will grant you upgrades that make Lara stronger.
Overall, “Rise of the Tomb Raider” is one of those rare games that are definitely worth trying, but are hurt by exclusivity instead of being helped by it. While franchises such as “Uncharted” and “Halo” have been nurtured and grown thanks to their console exclusivity, the limited availability of “Rise” has caused people to dismiss what is definitely a good game. It will be available on PS3, PS4 and PC sometime next year, and until then you can play the latest Tomb Raider Slot @slots.info in case you’d like some “Tomb Raider goodness, but aren’t planning on jumping on the Xbox One bandwagon.