Rise of the Tomb Raider – Archived review

Somehow, even with all the WoW pet grinding, I managed to find the time to play this game on the PS4.

I liked this game better than the previous entry in the series for PS4 (Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition). The previous game “folded” the terrain to make it harder to get from point A to point B; RotTR uses this trick far less (certain far less than WoW Legion does). The puzzles and platforms, though occasionally challenging for me even in Easy difficulty, did not have the precision timing required in TR:tDE, or perhaps the “old folks” mode was more generous in this version of the game. In fact, the big final battle and final boss fight in RotTR was much easier than the final boss battle in TR:tDE. The story was about the same level as the previous Tomb Raider game: secrets of an ancient civilization, bad guys are after it, Lara has to live up to memories of her father; you know, the usual.

I feel I should add: Although the character of Lara Croft has a history of being exploited in her first incarnation, in both of these recent Tomb Raiders there no hint of exploitation of Lara as a female in any way I could see. (Disclosure: I’m a cis-gendered white male, so there might be much that I missed.) There wasn’t any “butt sway”; the image of Lara is athletic instead of “male fantasy object”; and while she grunts and pants as she parkours her way through challenges, it sounds no different to me than the same noises Nathan Drake makes doing the same tasks in the Uncharted series.

If one wants to compare, the “skins” for the older 1990s-era Lara Croft become available once you’ve completed the campaign. I took one glance at them and avoided them afterwards. It wasn’t just that they kept the now-outdated polygon renders of Lara Croft from the previous incarnations, but also the fantasy chest size. I understand the nostalgia factor, but there are some childish toy images we can set aside with no regrets.

The PS4 edition comes with all the DLC packages released for the game so far. I haven’t played Croft Manor yet, but I did go through the Baba Yaga DLC since it takes place within the storyline of the main game. Baba Yaga was more punishing than the main game, with one female dog of a platform puzzle, and a final encounter that was rougher than anything else I’ve seen in a Tomb Raider game so far. However, I suggest going through that DLC as soon as it becomes available. It rewards a couple of items of gear that greatly simplify all subsequent combat.

Overall: I liked the game, and I’m glad I played full price for it so I could experience it sooner.

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