Hello again! This is another spoiler extravaganza! I have just beaten the game, and I wanted to do it fast in order to get this review written. That said, I intend to flesh this out more later. It is late now and I am going to bed. I have a ton of images from the game. I am adding to this article later. I am also going to put a few more finishing touches on this piece other than images. This is a bare bones piece now. The rest will follow later for I am swamped with real life work and I have to tend to that before I go further with this article. I am sure you can understand.
It is out of direct courtesy I post my spoiler tags in order “Not” to spoil the game for anyone who has not played it. I also do not like writing generic reviews free of the meat of the story. Too many times I have written the “Spoiler Free” variety and I am always asked to write a spoiler piece. The reasons were invariably the same: “Where’s the meat?!” The best way to approach spoilers is with respect as so many professional sites and journalists do. they warn you about them. They tag them, they leave blurbs about them to make sure you as the respected fan shan’t receive the story blown for you by spoilers with no warning. I call them “Rude Spoilers” verses “Considerate Spoilers with warnings” Mine are “considerate spoilers.” You as the fan have the warning on my site and the control to look away or jump in head first. It is your decision. Now with all this behind us:
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
I am adding a gallery to this again and more images to flesh this article out later.
I have just opened a brand new youtube account for my fan site, so here is the first video. It too has spoilers so beware.
As you can see things are getting rather serious. Poor Jonah! I took this video with my phone, so it is not high quality. Things will change later, for now it will have to do. The legend of the ancient lost city is mentioned. The part about it not being under the lake but the glacier. I like that they mentioned it, used the name of the city in question here (Lara did) and then changed its location to under the glacier. It is more fun this way. Love this game!
NOTE ON SAM:
There is a bit about Sam I overlooked in Rise of the Tomb Raider. If you go into the area that says “Sessions” They are sessions with a psychiatrist Lara starts seeing after the events on Yamatai. There is one conversation about her best friend Sam that tears Lara apart. There is also commentary by Ana. Her thoughts hem her into quite a sinister personality. I found all of the conversations from “sessions” a good entrevoir into a deeper story.
Earlier I wrote about my preliminary feelings about Rise of the Tomb Raider. Now, alas, I have beaten the game, I would like to expound on a few things. I will say my feelings about Rise of the tomb Raider upon completion are even more positive. I must say Crystal Dynamics did a fantastic job with this game. The developers, artists everyone responsible for this game should be commended. I am very impressed and it is hard to impress me so I feel that is a great thing.
This is not a standalone game because it is connected to Tomb Raider 2013. If you were to play and hadn’t played the previous, you would wonder about the connection of the characters and what happened on Yamatai that made Lara go on a quest to find the Divine Source. So, yes they do go together. This game as compared to its antecedent is similar in plot drive; however, I find it far better.
I say similar because the central character that Lara was on a mission to save in the last game was usually Sam. In this game, it is Jonah Maiava. In the last game, we had the madman Mathias and his Solari mercenaries doing all the killing at the time Lara and company arrived. In Rise, we have the madman Konstantin and Trinity. These are similarities that are fine to drive the plot forward as they did in both games.
Although, we also find out later that Konstantin is on a mission to save his dying sister, and she is none other than Ana. I found that a bit intriguing. I suppose I didn’t see that twist coming. I like it when a game, book or movie can surprise me in this way.
Lara is on a quest to find the “Divine Source” Her adventure takes her through different lands of the ancient world. We first see her and Jonah in Siberia high in the mountains. There is an avalanche that separates her and her courageous friend, and she becomes the lone traveller. In true Lara Croft style, I might add. In this game, we see many artefacts and ancient writings that Lara can earn a language proficiency grade. The languages are Mongolian, Classic Greek and Russian. I have even seen Latin. All of this is exciting for me because of my background so I totally was immersed throughout this game.
Lara works her way through ancient ruins and breathtaking, sprawling landscapes. The backgrounds seen from afar or up close are captivating. The mountains are rising from the valley floor and scraping the bluest sky in some areas kept me quietly staring at them like they were a work of art.
The Gaming Experience
At the beginning of the game, things move along fairly well. Unlike the waves of murderous hordes that Lara had to kill in the last game, this game works up to many villains that ambush her every now and again. You can bypass some of the heavy killing action, but I found I just fought a lot of them for the sake of finishing to write this review.
Also, when you complete the side tombs found throughout the game, you gain experience in various areas that help you progress. I recommend doing the missions as well; because, you get extra tools etc. after the missions are completed. Also, Lara has a wardrobe for this game that you have immediate access. When I discovered this fact I chose the red jacket for her mountain wardrobe. I love the way it stands out against the scenery. I also recommend gathering as much ammunition as you can grab, for the last few levels are action packed and have vicious Guardians throughout that mean business. It is either you or them.
The world is vast and the controls are straight forward as are the weapons Lara has in her arsenal. There are many of the same weapons we became familiar with in TR 2013 such as rope arrows, flaming arrows, and explosive arrows. However, Lara has a few new items in her stash. The handy survival breather she can use underwater for these occasions of being trapped. There is an area where she has to evade some mighty angry Trinity men with laser sights that comes to mind. One false move and she is filled full of holes.
In this game for the first time in any Tomb Raider game I have ever played, you can restore Lara’s health with a push of a button providing you have collected the health items she needs for this feature. Don’t worry, for there are a lot of useful items strewn all over the different levels. Oh, but things get better. Lara also can collect weapons like arrow bundles all over the levels, but she can craft arrows as well. One of the fun items to collect for that purpose is feathers. You will see bird nests in trees and on ledges virtually anywhere that has a surface for a nest to rest. Ha-ha I made a rhyme!
Each weapon or health item has a list of elements to gather in order to use them. There are even supply huts with someone who will sell you weapons for your journey. You collect coin caches to buy things. Always check your map especially after it upgrades for all the relics, caches and tombs even challenges are listed. You earn credits as well through your various missions. You can apply these credits in the Xbox market for other items such as collector card sets. I so far have four sets that were given to me as gifts throughout gameplay. I will list them as part of the gallery I intend to add here as I did in my last thoughts review.
As weird as it sounds, I had to mention this in its own category. I have said I was gifted as I figure everyone will be, with several card packs. One of them was called: “Plans Run Afowl” I shall say someone on the team at Crystal certainly has a great sense of humour, for one of the cards is an exploding chicken bomb. The card says: “CHICKEN BOMB” Thrown chickens explode on impact! Only in Tomb Raider folks. What a fowl weapon! Sorry, I couldn’t resist!
As Lara travels through her adventure she comes across a lot of people. It is when she gets thrown in jail that she meets Jacob (the deathless profit) a character that is directly connected to the Divine Source and Lara feels she can trust. He is one of the indigenous people that really helps Lara through many sticky spots and leads her on her quest for the Divine Source. His daughter Sophia is tough and didn’t trust Lara at first until she proved herself in a battle with Trinity. Trinity was trying to kill all of Jacobs’s people and Lara defended them. That was a turning point on the perspective of all the villagers towards Lara. Lara encountered Sophia before she met her father Jacob. Sophia threatens to shoot Lara and Lara tries to convince her she is on her side. They become friends farther on after Sophia learns her father befriended Lara.
Interactions such as these lend themselves to a more believable characterisation by fleshing a few of the characters out.
Another comparison I noticed to the last game was how the Guardians of Kitezh (Lost City) marched along the outer rim of the lost city in the same way Himiko’s Storm Guards did when Lara first saw them. Like Himiko’s Storm Guards, the Guardians are tough. They start to multiply especially if you kill one. They seem to come at you in waves. They also throw in a heavy armoured pair towards the end of the wave. I encountered two such waves back to back during an early battle with these nightmares. Beware! However, as you progress to the very end of the game they are present alongside Trinity. The double whammy!
The puzzles make you think in this game and are a lot of fun. I have found some that use trebuchets, ropes, winches and counterweights. I especially liked one of the puzzles that required a bucket be hoisted up and filled to distribute the weight in a better way (a counter weight) and then Lara must hang and swing on the weight to break an ice wall that was jamming the trebuchet’s mechanism.
There was another such counterweight puzzle among others that entailed removing an oil vessel by rope arrow and then guiding it on a path to knock a giant statue of the profit over to make a bridge. The mechanics of the entire puzzle-play (all of the puzzles in fact) were spectacular. I enjoyed all of them.
Shades of the first Tomb Raider movie with Angie! Yay
One of the first things I thought of when I saw this scene was how much it reminded me of the scene from the Tomb Raider movie many moons ago in 2000.
A Classic Plot That Works
Of course, this is a classic plot. It has been used forever. You also see the dynamics of this plot in the first Indiana Jones film “Raiders of the Lost Ark” Trinity are the Nazis and the Divine Source is the Ark. Keep the Nazis away from the Ark, Keep Trinity from taking the Divine Source. The Nazis get destroyed Trinity and Konstantin the instigator get destroyed. The only difference really is Lara destroys the Divine Source in the end, and the Ark is hidden away. It is a classic plot however, it has been working for decades, and we as fans never appear to tire.
So you beat The game, Yay for you!
As said, you beat the game the credits roll and the music plays. I admit the music is the reason I let the credits roll by. However, at the end of the game there is another little tidbit about Ana and Lara. I highly recommend you watch it all.
Oh, but another little clue to the next game I would think though I could be wrong, is the map on the desk at the manor. The circled area in the Yucatan! What really excites me, is it in an area of Mexico I have explored. Perhaps it is a clue to the next game? There were other items shown on it that really rang an ancient bell as well. We shall see. Of course, we may have a year or more to wait for the next game.
However, what path is Lara following? There are artistic similarities in the Divine Source and the Scion. Not shape directly. It is the power, the fact Jacob said it was not divine and that he found it. The fact that the scientific structures seen after its activation resemble that web of geometric intricacy the Scion produced. Could it be Atlantian in origin? If so, what does that say about the direction of Lara’s destiny? Let us speculate about Lara’s father. Did he really kill himself, or was it all a plot and Ana killed him? Is Ana really Konstantin’s sister? Did she do away with her and transformed herself into what he thought was his sister? The way she tricked her brother Konstantin when he was a boy sounds like Natla’s handiwork. Especially, when I think about her words to Lara from Underworld.
Remember, I am speculating here. Again, so is Ana Natla and manipulating Lara’s family as she said she did at the end of Underworld? Maybe. We all thought Natla died before and she came back again. She is resilient, and a gunshot probably would not kill her. Who knows, however, the possibility is there. Agree or disagree these are my speculations. I am only throwing it out there to wonder about. Ha ha ha!
These are questions we will find the answer to when Crystal decides to unveil them. However, until then we can speculate. I find the entire possibility of Natla’s reappearance exciting, and I do hope she will come back.
MY RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER GALLERY
These photos were taken on my phone, for these are Xbox360 game images. Things will change in the future, but for now it is this format.