Hey all! It’s been about a month since I picked up Rise of the Tomb Raider. I was going to do a First Impressions, but I just couldn’t put it down! So this is going to be a combination First Impressions/Wrap-Up including the Endurance Mode DLC!
Rise of the Tomb Raider:
Now as many of you know, Rise of the Tomb Raider was secured by Microsoft as a 1-year exclusive, meaning Sony will not see it until November 2016 but it launches on PC on January 29th. A lot of people think it was stupid, but honestly, it was because Microsoft wanting a game like Uncharted to be on the X1, it was a smart move. It wasn’t smart, however to launch the same day as Fallout 4. That being said, about half the people who bought Fallout 4 were disappointed.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was also the best selling Digital game during Christmas week. Unfortunately the deal with Microsoft also got the CEO of Crystal Dynamics fired after 20 years of loyal dedication and hard work. My best guess is because their publisher, Square Enix, is inherently a Sony company.
The good news is that Rise of the Tomb Raider is a phenomenal sequel to the 2013 reboot. Everything the reboot got right, Rise of the Tomb Raider did better and more. The crafting system has been overhauled, survival is not a factor (which was a little disappointing) but Endurance Mode, survival is all there is… Other than searching for relics, of course, but I’ll cover Endurance Mode a little later.
Lara’s hair, for you techies out there, was created using the latest iteration of TressFX, that means that each strand of her hair is individually rendered for more realistic movement during gameplay. Of course, that is removed on the 360 for more fluid gameplay, but that is neither here nor there.
I have played Rise of the Tomb Raider for many, many hours and the gameplay is nothing but fluid, the story is intense and just when you think it’s about to come to a conclusion, it keeps going. Focus has shifted solely to Single Player, meaning a much richer storyline, a more in-depth progression system, more activities to do in-game and more Single Player game modes to keep you immersed.
One thing you may notice a some latency when trying to aim. There have been YouTubers who have shown this latency as a massive problem, making the game nearly unplayable and headshot a nightmare. They are also showing the latency at slower speeds to make the issue seem larger than it is. It takes about half a second for the input to register. Once you get used to it, headshots are super easy. Half a second is not bad considering Rise of the Tomb Raider was built to utilize 100% of the X1’s capabilities.
Some of the activities you can do in-game are helping the Remnants to clear the valley of Trinity and other things to help raise morale, hunt legendary animals for pelts for crafting purposes, find collectables, raid tombs, go high-diving, etc. There are also a few particularly funny achievements, namely the “Bacon!” and “Rotisserie” ones, in which you have to kill a Razorback with a Molotov and shoot a chicken out of the air with a fire arrow.
Rise of the Tomb Raider takes place primarily in Siberia, with one level taking place in Syria. You get to see flashbacks of Lara as a child and watching her father’s descent as she comes to terms with what he was doing all those years. All she wanted was a father, but she slowly begins to understand that what he was doing at the time was for the good of the world and he was trying to protect Lara but not letting her in on what he was doing. She learns he was in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation and chose to try and protect the world and allow Lara to grow up normal, rather than save only his daughter and let the world burn, essentially. Something that Lara discovers when she realizes she took her father’s path while trying to not become him, and ends up giving in to the life of a Tomb Raider.
The Siberian wilderness is tough on Lara, but even tougher is the fact that Jonah is still with her, and she tells him to turn back to safety because she doesn’t want to put his life in any more danger than she already has. Rise of the Tomb Raider is not only a story about Lara Croft and the events that helped shaped the woman she becomes, as well as her trying to clear her father’s name as well as her own, but it also appears to be a story about how in not wishing to be like her father, but at the same time idolizing him, the transition happens without her realizing it and not intending to do her friends harm she, instead, pushes them away just as her father did to her.
It’s only after Jonah appears again that she realizes that in pushing them away, she actually brought them further in to harm’s way and vows to stand by them no matter what. She won’t push people away like her father did, instead her strength lies with her friends, not her solitude. Lara loses herself a few times, but every base camp is a new revelation, and a new time to reflect on what got her here, and why she’s really here.
Rise of the Tomb Raider has a very deep and rich story with a special look inside Lara’s mind and the struggles, both internal and external, that she has to deal with. Something we’ve never gotten to see before. Along with the amazing visuals and sound, gameplay and overall feel of everything, Rise of the Tomb Raider is truly one of a kind and worth every penny.
Endurance Mode is the survival in which you start off on Day 1 and survive as long as you can. You start with a bow and 6 arrows and your climbing axes. You are in the middle of the Siberian wilderness with no map and no direction other than find relics and survive. You need to pay attention to both your warmth level and your hunger level. You will not only brave the elements human enemies and the local fauna, but you will also need your resources to improve gear, light fires, and light the signal fire for your evacuation, in which you will need to survive for 2 minutes while being attacked by legendary animals.
Endurance Mode really will test your mettle and survival abilities as well as your sense of direction, memory, navigation and resourcefulness.
Temple of the Witch:
The story expansion Temple of Witch releases on January 26th and is the legend of Baba Yaga, an old Russian folk tale. I very much look forward to this expansion, as Baba Yaga has interested me for some time now. I will be posting about this expansion once I get the chance to play it, so stay tuned!