Daily Egyptian

Tomb Raider’s newest entry is a tomb worth raiding

Crystal Dynamics proves the Tomb Raider brand will be around for a while longer.

“Rise of the Tomb Raider” is the latest entry in the long-running Tomb Raider series, and the second game since the franchise was rebooted in 2013.

The game stars the iconic Lara Croft on a quest to uncover a relic to restore the reputation of her deceased father. She embarks on the journey to help cope with tragedies she experienced in the previous game. The story is handled well and the conclusion is gratifying.

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Gameplay is arguably the strongest in the third-person action-adventure genre. Lara’s abilities are vast, and players can do a variety of things. She can climb, hunt, explore and engage in firefights.

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The shooting aspects are enjoyable, but are wonky at times and not always responsive enough. Furthermore, the enemy artificial intelligence is extremely dumb and at times can be dull to fight.

Combat can be offset by stealth sections that create a strategic element and are more fun than open warfare. If a player prefers shooting, he or she can simply get spotted and defeat enemies that way. 

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Climbing, however, is fluid and on par with the best climbing controls in the genre.

Exploration is the best part of gameplay. Normally this genre is not big on exploration, but Crystal Dynamics blends the two ideas incredibly. The game has large environments filled with things to see that are worth checking every nook and cranny of the map. Players are rewarded for exploration by discovering challenges to be completed, collectibles, resources and side quests. Upon doing these activities, players are granted rewards such as experience points and in-game currency, which are used for upgrading weapons and equipment. Furthermore, the relics found in the environment flesh out the world, and give details on side narratives.

Ironically, exploration almost became tedious. There were various times I was ready to advance in the storyline and I would find a map that pointed out where even more collectibles were located, which caused me to backtrack and delay going through the primary quest. This is not a flaw, but it was annoying at times.

Discovering tombs was another great aspect of exploration. These optional objectives have Lara solve puzzles using the environment and her skills. Not only are these some of the most fun portions of the game, but players can unlock new abilities or enhancement to existing abilities. Tombs are well worth the time to complete.

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Expeditions is a separate mode that puts the player in various challenges. It is a decent distraction, but overall not worthwhile.

The sound design is extremely impressive. There is little music in the game, so as Lara runs around the environments players hear each step in the snow or the breaths Lara takes. Occasionally, she will shiver in the cold air. It might not seem as if this is important, but it really helps set the mood for the character as she explores Siberia alone. As Lara nears enemies, a drum will beat, getting louder as she gets closer, and stealth sections make the greatest use of this. “Rise of the Tomb Raider” is not the first game to do this, but it creates tension and causes players to expect trouble.

As a package, “Rise of the Tomb Raider” is one of the best single player games in years.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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