Rise of the Tomb Raider: Lara Croft and I vs. Trinity

Archaeology was romanticized when I was young. Movies like Romancing the Stone would send us on a whirlwind adventure into a secret civilization and a conspiracy set to ensure that whatever secrets and special powers (they always have special powers) that civilization had would stay secret or even give power to the already-powerful.

And it was always some kind of archaeology specialist who was the hero of the story. Okay, in Romancing the Stone, it was a bit different as Michael Douglas’s character, Jack, wasn’t exactly an archaeologist, but still, the idea had been planted.

I remember wanting to be Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I could have skipped Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but I would have been Indy in Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail.

As I grew older, I wanted to be Daniel Jackson from Stargate SG-1. The idea of having this immense amount of knowledge to draw on from all these ancient civilizations was attractive, yet most definitely, not really my calling.

Click to embiggen and see how much detail the designers added.

In comes Rise of the Tomb Raider, the second of a rebooted Tomb Raider series: Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider and, to be released on September 14th, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

I’m not sure what HumbleBundle I received this game in, but I know it took me a while to play it. I remembered the early Tomb Raider games (and the movie starring Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft) but, as I came to gaming somewhat later in life, I never played them. I figured they would be some action/shoot-’em-up games or a first-person shooter of some sort and, in the beginning, that’s not the type of video game that I wanted.

One day, I was bored and clicked on the icon on my desktop.

Suddenly I was transported to another world: a world of ice and snow and climbing mountains with pick axes. My choices weren’t really what mattered here — what mattered, for me to play, was the action.

And surprisingly, I could deal with that.

Lara is searching for a lost city to find what her father called the ‘Divine Source’ to prove her father correct and to restore his name. In the beginning, since this is the second of a three-game run, I had no real idea what was going on, but I kept going.

Suddenly, I was invested in the game. I loved the action — the bow and arrow is my favorite weapon — and as I learned the keys to press, I got a little better each time I played.

The controls felt smooth — once I learned them. After all, this was my first real controller game. I’m running a i7 Intel processor with a 1070 Nvidia card and perhaps in the beginning of the game, I remember a couple of stutters, but now, either they’re not occurring or they’re occurring so rarely that I’m not noticing them.

The voice acting (performed by Camilla Luddington) isn’t bad… well, so far, anyway. Lara Croft herself is sometimes a little bit melodramatic, but not so much that it bothers me.

There are a few side missions that take you away from the main storyline, but they help you learn what you can do as Lara and gives you a bit of practice as well as experience to level your weapons and your ammo pouches.

So far, I’ve completed one mission from the DLCs (I ended up buying it all), and I enjoyed every minute of it. Sure, it takes you a little bit off the original path Lara is on, but it was well-made and didn’t feel like it was thrown together just to make the money.

I keep telling my friends that I can’t believe I like this game or it’s my guilty pleasure, but, honestly, I think this game delivers you a great introduction to the new Tomb Raider series, even if you haven’t played the first, and if you like a moderate to moderately-fast reaction time game, this is a great one to play.

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Kari J. Wolfe

Never-ending student in the realms of writing fiction/nonfiction and telling stories. Hopeless wannabe equestrian learning from a distance.