Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy Your Rise [of the Tomb Raider Review]

And so it happened. I
was finally able to play and finish The Rise of the Tomb Raider. I have an ancient Xbox
360 and (OMG) I refrained from acting like an elitist twat telling people to
grow up and get a console
showing off that I will be able to play the game and
you won’t
. I never knew that owning one particular console makes you a
better fan. I hope that my readers with PC and PS4/PS3 will find this review
helpful. You’ve told me a few times in your emails to me that I’m as impartial
as it gets, and frankly I don’t write the word HYPE in every sentence in my
articles so it must be true. Anyways, without further ado (and before I give
you a cynicism overload):

The following text contains some
spoilers (though I did try to make it as spoiler free as I could) and my own (OMG!) personal (OMG!!!) opinion (OMFG!!!!) on the

As a classic fan,
I was obviously hurt deeply in 2005 when Tomb Raider Legend came out. The new
biography that pushed Lara closer to the Tomb Raider films (which I can’t stand
btw) made me cringe. Tomb Raider Anniversary and Underworld though were on the
right track but when I thought she would finally focus on travels and artefacts
rather than her mother, a reboot happened.

I liked Tomb
Raider 2013, overall, that is. Since I read Lara’s biography in the manual for the
original Tomb Raider I always wanted to play as her during her early days when
she survived a plane crash. TR 2013 was a right start for a new lineage of Tomb
Raider. Yes, there were a few things I wasn’t happy about (and most of them
kinda were carried on into ROTTR) but overall it was a great game.

When I first saw
the gameplay footage for ROTTR at E3 I was moved. I had huge hopes for this game
and I was not disappointed. The locations, puzzles and tombs are absolutely
amazing. Enemies are a little bit too stupid though.

Lara looks great. Even
on Xbox 360 she looks fantastic.


I can only imagine how gorgeous this will be
on PC (not long to wait now). Unfortunately, if locations give us the original
Tomb Raider motifs and feels, Lara still has her ponytail and not a braid; it’s
those tiny things like the colour of her eyes and her hairdo that make Lara who
she is. Maybe in the next game she will opt for a more practical braid than

Those of you who are
butthurt by people’s outcry for a braid and defend the ponytail with ‘oh they would have a ponytail in classic
games, they just couldn’t coz of technology
’ are wrong; PS2 could easily
support a ponytail yet in the Angel of Darkness she has a braid. I’ll stop
there, coz I made myself a promise to stop arguing with ‘fans’ like this as
they will defend any single decision their favourite developer makes without
realising that it is normal (and in fact it is important) to be critical about
games (or frankly – any media) you like. Imagine if they would change 90% of
the plot in the Lord of the Rings, think Tolkien fans would approve coz it has
“Lord of the Rings” in its title?


Same goes for her dual
pistols and her outfits.  I do have a
good feeling that in the next game she will be gearing up as a proper Tomb
Raider so that’s when we probably will see her wearing great “Lara’ish” outfits
and shoot from her iconic guns.  The
ending implied that anyway. Until then we have a wonderful puzzle game called
Lara Croft Go to fulfil the need of the 100% original Tomb Raider dose.

Don’t get me wrong
though. Rise of the Tomb Raider has a lot of motifs and links with classic Tomb
Raider. In fact, this is as close to the classics as Crystal Dynamics has ever
been (excluding TR:Anniversary; that is a heavily based on the original Tomb
Raider motifs).

Yes, the game has a
LOT in common with TR 2013; game mechanics and even some sound effects remain nearly
identical. That doesn’t mean that those who didn’t enjoy the previous game
won’t like this one. It has so many improvements that will completely grab you.
Huge locations offer you tons of fun exploring them. There’s no open-world but
you don’t really need it for such a game. I liked Tomb Raider 2013 and I
welcome some of the mechanics that remained in the Rise of the Tomb Raider.

There’s a blonde
haired character in the game called Ana, (or Hannah if you’re Camilla
Luddington) and I don’t even think it’s a spoiler thing to say as I’m sure
every Tomb Raider fan will know – There’s no such thing as a GOOD BLONDE HAIRED
female in Tomb Raider games. I suppose binary opposites in characters’ looks
and personalities can be allowed for simplicity of narrative.

There’s a number of
optional challenge tombs which make this game stand out from its predecessor. I
managed to play the demo of the game at EGX and actually wasn’t so impressed
with the Prophet’s tomb as all the puzzles revolved around water level; however
the number of tombs and the broad selection of puzzles do indeed make this game
an absolute gem in Tomb Raider series. While the main campaign will take you
about 9 hours (depending on the difficulty settings) a huge number of
collectables will make you play this game for many more hours.

The Xbox 360 version
has very decent graphics but there is a number of bugs, some of which will require
you to reload the game. The last locations are particularly poorly tested, but
Nixxes will probably fix these soon as they already released a patch that
improves the graphics, implying that they will still work on the game.

Locations are simply
stunning; even on Xbox 360 they make you want to stop and look around. Siberia
reminds me heavily of Tomb Raider II: Golden Mask while Syria simply returns to
the classic Tomb Raider atmosphere. Unfortunately, Syria is a bit short and I
really wanted to explore it more.

aren’t necessary and I don’t see anyone actually spending money on these
(unless you’re really bad at collecting coins). I am concerned though that they
will become a trend and the devs will make them much more necessary for future


And then there’s Laura’s
voice… or as Ostercy in his preview for Tomb
Raider 2013 wrote “We’ve
been introduced to an American actress born in England who is either
not very good at an English accent, or who is deliberately putting on a bit of
an American accent because that’s allegedly how the inhabitants of modern
cosmopolitan London speak
”. Thankfully, the game has a fully dubbed
Russian language version; the irony is that I learned English because of Tomb
Raider but now I have to play it in Russian in order not to risk dath whilst looking for answers to the kwestins. In fact, CD decided to keep
over 90% of Lara’s soundbites from the previous game too, so all them forced
grunts of Britney Spears trying to sing death metal are still there; Russian
actress is great though, no complaints there at all! The accent does sound as
forced as ever but it is not as bad as it was in the previous game. Ostercy, if
you read this please update us on what you think! I personally think the Queen
of England would tell Lara to ‘tone it down, love’ XD

The amount of mocap used in this game is
impressive and it does make the characters move more naturally, but this is
where MOVA Tech actually looks incredible and bad at the same time as it
captures overacting too so even simple dialogue between Lara and some other
character turns into a South American telenovela or

And here comes the
exclusivity bit. It is a big shame that the Tomb Raider community, already
heavily segmented by Core, Crystal, comic books and film love/haters, is now
even further divided due to the exclusivity deal.

Unfortunately, I can’t
enjoy this game fully. You see, every time a new game would be out I’d be very
excited and talk to my friends as we all play it. Now it seems like I’m the
only Xbox owner; my friends are waiting for a PC or PS4 version. I feel uneasy
playing the game. I feel like whilst I’m playing it I’m robbing the pleasure
off my friends and every single status update on social media where I mention
I’m playing the game hurts them. It’s a very odd and awful feeling. Even my
co-admin can’t play the game. I’ve made so many friends online because of Tomb
Raider, many of which I met in real life and I now feel that the community is more
divided than ever. Very disappointing; and no, Xbox fanboys, writing comments
about OMG IT’S A TIMED EXCLUSIVE won’t help me feel better.

In conclusion, you have
probably read reviews from fans where they have wrote something like “it’s a
good game but it’s not Tomb Raider”, I think Rise of the Tomb Raider is a good
game and definitely IS a Tomb Raider game (at least to a significant extent).
If you liked Tomb Raider 2013 then you will definitely enjoy the Rise of the
Tomb Raider. If you didn’t – still give this game a chance, it’s definitely
worth it.


A few hours into the
game and I still haven’t heard SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM, that’s already a good reason
for you to consider playing this game!

As for the most
important question – is it worth buying an Xbox One to play this game? This
really depends on your situation:

If you own
a good PC I’d avoid buying an XB1 and would probably spend money on upgrades.
You can get a used Xbox 360 for about £60 (or less) if you’re that impatient to
play it. PC version will definitely feature better graphics so investing in an
XB1 is not worth it (as long as you can run GTA5 on high details your PC should
be fine). You have until early 2016 to upgrade your PC. That’s enough time to
save up!

I suppose
the above applies if you have a PS4; get XB360 if you’re desperate and play on that
until it’s out on PS4 (with probably some additional and exclusive content as
compensation for such a long wait)

In all
other cases, I’d suggest getting an XB1. Then again, many people do not really
care about graphics and the Xbox 360 version looks OKAY anyway. They patched it
recently to add ‘wet’ effects too. I personally don’t like TressFX hair.

My heart goes out to those who can’t play the game just yet. Stay strong guys, there’s a light at the end of this tomb <3

Which of these applies to you? free polls