Rise of the Tomb Raider 20th Anniversary… reviewed!

Lara sets out on a new adventure… after one heck of a new first impression.

I say it like that, not only because this isn’t Lara’s first rodeo, but it is the first time I’ve made more of an emotional connection with the Tomb Raider. The initial games (PS1 days)… were colder, but I took it for what it was, making moves to get where I needed to be in the level in order to progress to the next location. The way the character was set up to move, really frustrated me… and although it got better from the 1st Title to games like Tomb Raider Legend… the latest installments are more my cup of tea.

The new Tomb Raider ushered me into a story that I looked forward to experiencing, not just something they get through. I’m really glad the decision was made to take Lara back to the beginning where we joined her in the growth process of what’s to come. There are very valid reasons now… to continue the franchise forward adventure after adventure. We can literally experience her growth process as the Tomb Raider… and after playing Rise of the Tomb Raider, I’m ready for the next installment.

This is the 20th Anniversary, so I wanted to look back and share my experience whether frustrating or not… because today’s Tomb Raider may have never existed without those initial building blocks.
In this installment, you’re already on the ground running and the sting of being forced to proceed is gone. Now it’s adventure time… and if you’re new to Tomb Raider… I do recommend starting off with the 1st installment to get up to speed.

In Rise of the Tomb Raider... you embark on an expedition in... Siberia, and believe me when I say there is plenty of chilling action to enjoy as you dive into the adventure, kicking butt and uncovering secrets while in a rat race against an organization known as the... Trinity.

From A to Z the story is well written... and there's nothing I'd change about it (including the playable backstory). Although it's fictional action adventure... I appreciate the fact that the game's story still has that element that makes sense. It's not over the top, even with a certain secret as a factor in the story. So strap up with Lara's bow & arrows and jump in. (The more you adjust to using the bow and arrow types, the better. Poison arrows are by far my fave, but the incendiaries really come in handy.)

Holy ****!
Visually the environments are stunning... and sometimes creepy at times (especially when a bear is near... or is after you). I enjoyed sitting back and just checking out the lay of the land that the developers brought to life... in addition to the great work done on the characters (not only visually but personality wise).

Audio is almost as equally satisfying for me. You get those little additions like the sound of walking through snow, reloading guns, the sound of bushes while sneaking through them to get the drop on enemies, etc... and it just amps up the experience (as intended).

Beyond the main adventure... which is very good, you have optional tombs that will challenge you to think. Just like in the previous game, these tombs increase the enjoyment of the adventure because you get a break from the action to do something different... while still being a part of the adventure. That's also one of the reasons why I really enjoy them, I can take in the visuals while also thinking of how to solve a tomb's puzzle without the worry of someone trying to take my head off. This is just one part of the hefty replay value this game has to offer.

The replay value you get from this game is huge... all games aside (outside of the video game itself), expect to get a lot of playtime out of this title. In the 20 Year Celebration, you also get:
Blood Ties – This is a single player story giving you a taste of Lara Croft's life at home. I can't exactly say that this specific story shows the best aspect of that life, but it gives you more to enjoy. This story places you in a situation with Lara's uncle challenging her ownership of Croft Manor in the wake of her father's death. This hour long addition can be played in third person or even VR mode.

Co-op play for endurance mode, extreme survivor (difficulty setting) for the main campaign, a special outfit and gun, 5 classic Lara skins and... all the previously released DLC. There are a lot of games that have plenty of content, but... this one made me say “Damn”.

Previously released DLC includes... Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch... that challenges you to a new tomb that houses an... ancient terror, and Cold Darkness Awakened... where you combat waves of infected enemies. Going back to the co-op... I think it will be appreciated more so after the adventure is done because you will take the skills you've sharpened to go full bad ass online to see how you can hold up... and it delivers that survival aspect that has proven to be of interest to quite a few gamers (add a person you can vibe with on the other end and... that's hours of fun). So yeah... the replay value in Rise of the Tomb Raider is huge.

Price wise, no arguments here, you're getting value on value that you're able to come back to and not just replay... but you have many factors that give you something new to enjoy after the main adventure is done, all tombs have been raided, all side missions completed, etc.

Overall, this is a beautiful game... chock full of content that takes you for one heck of a ride... that I highly recommend.

Fun factor: 5
Visually: 5
Replay value: 5
Price: 5

“5 / 5 Cool Points”

Brought to you by the... Baby Fu Clothing Co.