Chris’s Top 10 Videogames of 2015: #3

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Developer: Crystal Dynamics

Publisher: Square Enix

Xbox One Timed Exclusive

In a world where the Uncharted games have taken the action adventure genre to another level, Lara Croft remained an icon albeit like one of her fabled treasures, a relic in a new world. That is until the 2013 reboot came along and as far as I’m concerned made Lara Croft relevant again.

Rise of the Tomb Raider doesn’t really do much different from the reboot but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it was a great game. Rise of the Tomb Raider refines on the already fantastic mechanics and adds small touches which make this even better than the original. For example there are now optional quests which reward you with additional items. The levelling up skill tree has been changed slightly and there is a simple crafting system very similar to The Last of Us, where you can collect basic components to build items on the fly such as Molotov cocktails or bombs. Hunting also takes all the best elements from the recent Far Cry games mixing common and rare animals to stalk.

As with the reboot you don’t start with all the equipment necessary to enter certain parts of the map and I must say it was a real pleasure exploring the areas I previously couldn’t reach. One of the criticisms of the reboot was that it didn’t have many tombs which you would think would be obvious based on the name of the game. I’m happy to say that Rise of the Tomb Raider now has more tombs, and solving some of the puzzles really gives you a great sense of satisfaction.

A lot has been made about Lara being this unstoppable killing machine that takes life without thinking twice. This is true and one of my minor criticisms of the game is that the bad guys are undeniably bad and there isn’t much nuance to them. My thoughts on this are who the hell cares? This is a video game to be played and enjoyed, not a deep philosophical debate on crime and punishment! I enjoyed stealthily taking out bad guys and knifing them in the neck. In fact the game gives you the option as to whether you want to go all guns blazing or distract enemies by throwing cans or bottles around. The combat mechanics are as fantastic as they were in the previous game and I still firmly believe that it has one of (if not) the best bow and arrows to appear in video games.

Rise of the Tomb Raider isn’t very original and the story isn’t particularly interesting but I can honestly say that I loved every minute of it. There are some truly exhilarating moments where I was on the edge of my seat and the adrenaline was surging through my body. Graphically the game is incredible and we really are starting to see the most out of the current crop of consoles.

When I was coming to the end of the game I really didn’t want to complete Rise of the Tomb Raider simply because I didn’t want it to end. PC and PS4 owners have a real treat when they get the game in 2016.

Review by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With and The Same Coin)