Join the Adventure with the Rise of Tomb Raider

By Ben Hamill - October 11 2015
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Rise of Tomb Raider

The Tomb Raider series has long been a pioneer in combining high action game play with an enduring narrative that focuses on a single characters, Lara Croft. Through the years, Lara has gained tremendous experience, and the latest installment of the series, Rise of Tomb Raider, reflects the passage of time. Set a few years after 2013’s Tomb Raider, Lara is older and wiser, though just as agile and hungry for adventure. Her mission, however, is a continuation of the 2013 narrative and involves the search for the secret to youth. But what sets this game apart from all of the other third-person adventure games is that Tomb Raider works on both an action level and inside the main character’s mind.

Through the years, Lara Croft has become an iconic character both in the world of video games and even in movies and beyond. So it’s a credit to the game developers that they refuse to take the easy way out and present the character just as she’s appeared in games in the past. The decision to allow the character to evolve and grow helps keep the series fresh and exciting as well as psychologically satisfying, which has always been one of the hallmarks of Tomb Raider games. The psychological element, however, is cranked up even higher in Rise of Tomb Raider since Lara is determined to complete the work of her explorer father, who she did not always support in his own obsessive searches through ancient tombs.

An Older But Wiser Hero

Rise of Tomb Raider starts with a recap of the narrative to date, and a full explanation of the tools Lara has at her disposal to carry out her mission. The short introduction goes a long way in connecting the narrative that’s taking place to the larger legend and showing Lara as a rounded person who has grown and learned from past experience, which is extensive at this point. Much of the emotional content of the game comes from the narrated journal entries Lara keeps to take stock of her situation. She remains haunted by the physical and emotional challenges she’s faced in the past, and continues to puzzle out the hints of information she discovers towards her ultimate goal of finding the secret of youth.

The whole journey may be slightly slower than before, but it’s full of more contemplation of larger themes than ever. It’s a reflection of Lara’s growth and deeper understanding of her father’s work and why she feels compelled to carry on doing what she’s doing. The action never relents, however, and she must face immediate dangers as well as the threats posed by a mysterious group that is also racing for the secret of youth. The group presents itself as benevolent and working for the benefit of humanity, though that could be a cover for finding the great prize. In any case, the mysterious group is a major challenge to Lara and something that keeps the flow of the game moving forward.

Full of Action and Drama

While the inner dimension of the game adds depth and emotion to the playing experience, the real focus, of course, is on the action sequences. The game starts off with a mountain climbing adventure, and moves quickly though other locales and other physical challenges and even threats on Lara’s life. Along the way, Lara discovers more tools and weapons that come in handy in unexpected ways. Luckily, the game developers included a built-in tutorial that helps you navigate the action effectively without undermining the challenges that lie before you. You learn how to climb the mountain efficiently, and how to wield the weapons effectively. The ultimate task remains in your hands at all times.

In the final analysis, Rise of Tomb Raider is a worthy addition to the Lara Croft universe, using the iconic character to great effect both as an adventurer and as an established personality that has room to grow. And as the character gains more depth, the challenges she has to face take full advantage of that, creating adventures that hinge of Lara’s feelings towards her father’s work, and her resolution of her own conflicts with it. They mythological elements of Lara’s search also remain strong elements in the narrative and furnish the game developers with a perfect foil in the form of the mysterious group that’s racing Lara towards the ultimate goal. The effects are interwoven perfectly, creating a most satisfying playing experience. The game is sure to be one of the big hits of the fall.

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