One year later: A look at Rise of the Tombraider with all current DLC.


Shared on Fri, 10/07/2016 - 09:21

Were I to come up with a tag-line for Rise of the Tombraider it would be 'Rage of the whinging spinster', because the de-objectifying of ms. Croft left me as a Tombraider-fan since the first game with a lot to desire. Eyecandy-wise Crystal Dynamics merely objectified Lara even more by giving her girl-next-door dimensions and an average white brit face which is a marked improvement over the adult entertainment look she used to have. I love the new Lara. But character- and personality-wise I have no idea what's going on with that moron. Crying over a paper-cut one moment and killing dozens of people the next without ever raiding a tomb, unless you pay up to have some tombs in your tombraider game. Oh yes. The two best tombs, notably Baba-Yaga, are DLC. The ones that come with the game hardly deserve the name.

Story-wise, Rise is forgettable and at the end, Lara is nowhere closer to closure over her father's suicide than she was after several hours of backtracking and unlocking gear that's hidden away by plot-locks and gated exploring. Almost everything in Rise is a themepark ride for which you must be "This Tall" to be allowed on and many of those rides are to be found in the early stages of the game, which forces the player to backtrack a lot for the better items. This artificial padding of the time it takes to complete the story will not relax for the entirety of it, with the last bit of gear being a combat-knife that allows Lara to finally cut rope. And that's all the combat-knife is good for.

The gameplay is stellar despite of what's brought up above. Almost all of the problems I had in TR'13 are addressed in Rise. You can finally traverse and parkour with ease and confidence. Lara's controls are on point, with one note however. If you're playing this on PC, put your 360-controller away and swap it for a Xbone-controller. The difference in control over Lara is huge and is key for the slaughter set-pieces in the game where you're supposed to have Lara do many things at once. I hope that you weren't attached to the 'B'-button though.

Rise of the Tombraider's storymode thus, apart from the gameplay itself, can be ignored but you'll find enjoyment there if you can stomach the gringe of Illuminati calling themselves Trinity whose achilles-heel is a 20-something traumatised archeologist with an advanced bi-polar disorder and an autism-level over 9000 that grants her idiot-savant knowledge of random trinkets.

Its the other modes where Rise shines and where the replayability is locked away. There are challenge-missions, a mission-creator which allows you to make your own missions that you can share, time-trials and the Endurance-mode. The challenges speak for themselves. Do something very quickly while picking up everything and then compare your score against a leaderboard that has the cheaters in the top-hundred. The shared missions suffer from hurr-durr Dark Souls, so try a few missions and consequently forget about that mode. The endurance-mode is where it is at. When you start an Endurance, a sand-box is procced and stocked with enemies and animals. Lara has to survive for as long as possible, collect all the things, kill in self-defense (finally) and is expected to stave off hunger and to stay warm. Sadly, this mode is part of quite an otherwise mediocre offering with Lara Croft in it. Crystal Dynamics could've easily made Endurance a stand-alone downloadable XBLA/PSN game, or a $15 Steam-game and it would've been showered with praise.

What makes Endurance even better is that throughout play of the Story and some other modes that you're good at, is that you earn cards. The cards can be used to manipulate your chosen difficulty to be somewhat easier or harder and they grant access to special weapons, more damage dealt, more damage received, maxed out skill-trees or no skills at all.., you name it and there's quite probably a card for it. So, if you really want to test yourself you can create an Endurance run on highest difficulty with a deck of five cards that makes it even harder. It's not smart to do so however as the mode is quite adept at killing Lara off. It's best to try and keep the difficulty at 100% while building your deck for the run as going either way will mean that you're gimping yourself one way or the other.

You can buy extra cards at a small fee, or earn coins to buy them while you're playing. Many cards that you get are consumables, only good for one run. But many cards don't expire, signalled with a golden border, and can be used over and over again. The more rare the card is, the higher the chance is that it will be yours forever. I have not yet felt the need to buy cards with money out of pocket, having only bought cards with ingame-currency. I was quite quickly at a point where my favorite-cards are all golden-rimmed. Your mileage may vary however.

Rise is a mixed bag with one good mode of play, Endurance, being a DLC. Future DLC which will drop this month will include Croft Manor. Croft Manor being DLC, I expect a lot of it. Crystal Dynamics worked on it for over a year, afterall. There better be a lot of fan-service in there! Should you buy Rise of the Tombraider? Yes, because despite the story's cringe, the game itself stands like a house and the added game-modes are very good to exceptional. My main gripe is that the best part of the package isn't in the main offering, but in the added gamemodes of which some like Enudrance are DLC. On my rig, a Skylake 6700K@4.0Ghz, 32Gb DDR4@2400 and a GTX1080FE, the game is absolutely stunning visually (YMMV) and Crystal Dynamics didn't hold back on the art for the game. The PC-version also allows for DX12, which what I play it with. If you're not sure, wait a while longer and pick it up at the next Steam-sale. You've waited a year at this point, you can stand to wait a few weeks more. ^^


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