R is for Rise of the Tomb Raider

The sequel to the acclaimed Tomb Raider (2013) pushes the franchise forward in mostly predictable ways, while also introducing a few surprises along the way.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a sequel very much rooted in the evolutionary vein rather than revolutionary, which I find appropriate, given that the 2013 iteration was a reboot and revolutionary in its own right. (See my review of that game for more of my thoughts.) The gameplay and cinematography remain excellent. All of my praise for the first game applies here.

One addition in Rise is the ability to scavenge materials from the environment to craft items such as various types of arrows as well as equipment upgrades. Improving weapons was handled this way in the original, and the sequel expanded on that to include larger ammo pouches in addition to being able to craft ammo while on the run. There’s also an ability to actively heal yourself even during combat, provided you can find some cover to hide behind. I found that these additions improved my enjoyment.

All that said, there is one area where I think the developers went too far in trying to fix something that wasn’t broken in the first place and ended up making it worse, and that’s the sheer number of collectables and trying to display them all on the map screen. Where Tomb Raider had tombs, Rise has tombs and crypts. The first game had documents, relics, and challenges. The sequel has all of those as well as missions, murals, coin caches, survival caches, and exotic animals you can hunt. As these icons very quickly filled up the map screen, I felt overwhelmed and eventually just had to stop using the map as much. Thankfully there are ways to filter out the icons you don’t care about. This is a fairly minor complaint though, and it’s not enough to dissuade me from recommending the game.

TL;DR: if you liked the first game, you’ll almost certainly like this one, but if you didn’t, this one won’t change your mind.

Finally, here is the link to my March poll. If you want to let me know what game I should play, please head over and vote! I’ll leave it open for the weekend and the winner will be decided Monday morning. Until next time, may your gaming be fun-filled.

What game should I play and review for March?

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