When you think of badass chicks in video games there’s one person that comes to mind, Lara Croft. And after 20 years in the business, that hasn’t changed. Now on the PS4, In Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara becomes more than a survivor, and embarks on her first Tomb Raiding expedition in search of the secret of immortality.
Taking place a year after the events of the previous Tomb Raider, Lara goes off in search of the lost city of Kitezh. After learning of her father’s obsession with Kitzeh, which led him to eventual ruin and suicide, her father’s former partner Ana tries to convince her against her quest. Lara ignores her warnings and heads off to an expedition in Syria. In Syria she comes across Trinity, an evil organization that is also in search of the lost city and its promise of immortality, engage in guerilla combat, and discover deadly tombs.
A staple of the Tomb Raider franchise has always been the graphics and gameplay, and it’s no different in the latest entry into the series. The graphics are absolutely top notch. You’re treated to a visual feast of amazing landscapes, but it’s the renderings of the people’s faces, in particular Lara, that really seals the deal. Every feature is beautifully crafted and there’s a perfect balance between realism and video game art. I prefer it when graphics aren’t too realistic – it can sometimes be abit too much and can take away the charm of playing. Lara moves very gracefully, and even when she’s executing her parkour-esque moves, her limbs stay sharp and crisp unlike other games that tend to have moments of glitchyness.
Gameplay is easy to handle and quite seamless. There are a few extra triggers to hit when completing actions, that make you have to continuously think during mundane tasks like climbing a wall. However, it keeps your fingers moving and the brain focused. The mind tends to wander with games that have excessive wall climbing or rope swinging as it can be done with only one hand on the controller, but this keeps things lively and the control scheme is very easy to pick up and adapt.
While mostly a survival game, shooting plays an important part. Depending on the difficulty setting you choose, the auto-aim is adjusted accordingly so that the play experience is suited to your liking. And what would a Tomb Raider game be without exploring? Through the game your discover and explore hidden tombs to find secret treasures and upgrades.
One of the things I didn’t quite like though was the rewards system. In order to get certain materials to craft and upgrade items, you need to hunt for animals at certain times of the day. While this may sound interesting, it can become a bit of a nuisance after a while. After diving into all those hidden tombs the rewards could be a bit better. Some hidden content would have been a good idea rather than just the usual crafting materials.
If the promise of great gameplay isn’t enough, then seeing Lara Croft do her thing should seal the deal. Go out and find this hidden treasure before Trinity beats you to it.