Rise of the Tomb Raider, along with Halo 5 , are the XBOX One 's biggest titles of 2015. Though it may eventually get a release date on the PS4, this is Xbox's year to let Lara Croft shine. After the sensational success of 2013's Tomb Raider, we're all dying to see how Crystal Dynamics can improve upon the formula they presented. But that's not to say that we don't want to see the NextGen title infused with elements of the series' glorious past.
The Tomb Raider series has always had its devoted followers, with its challenging puzzles, dynamic areas and a great balance between stealth and combat. Personally, I felt Tomb Raider did a great job of keeping the spirit of the earlier games intact. But that's not to say that there's no room for improvement, and Rise of the Tomb Raider is out to fix those problems on its release date for the Xbox One.
Rise of the Tomb Raider - How Can Past Lara Croft Show the Way?
One aspect of Tomb Raider that I really can't fault is the combat. It was a rare occurrence when I switched over to my gun, as the bow was so responsive and intensely satisfying. Seeing that your headshot was nailed just right was always a thrill. Sure, Lara could have a few more abilities in Rise of the Tomb Raider , but in general the combat never let me down.
When it came to storyline, I was also rather engaged with how Crystal Dynamics decided to tell Lara's origin story. It moved through a series of well designed set pieces, had some intriguing and fleshed out characters, and ultimately kept me engaged for its 10-12 hours. However, outside of its narrative and combat system, previous Tomb Raider games have a lot to teach.
Rise of the Tomb Raider & Puzzles
Tomb Raider took a fair bit from Naughty Dog in terms of how it balanced story, gun fights, and puzzles in the style of Uncharted. That's not to say they didn't make it entirely there own (they vastly improved Uncharted's combat system, which I've always disliked), but the similarities are certainly evident.
One aspect of gameplay that Crystal Dynamics have been very vocal about for Rise of the Tomb Raider, is the increased focus on...well...tomb raiding. The additional tombs that you could explore in 2013's Tomb Raider were easy to find, and extremely linear. The puzzles were mostly optional, and almost all of the tombs were too. There's a reason that we enjoyed the old games and the likes of God of War. They were not only visually and narratively impressive, but they were tough!
As gamers we like to be challenged, and not just in terms of changing the difficulty settings. Modern triple A gaming is terrified of difficult puzzles in any way (except maybe trying to find all those damn Riddler trophies in Batman: Arkham City). In an attempt to streamline their products, a lot of title's have ditched their challenging aspects for a simpler and less alienating approach. This is not what Tomb Raider was about and we really hope that Rise of the Tomb Raider can repair this balance on the Xbox One (and eventually the PS4).
More Stealth in Rise of the Tomb Raider?
One thing I missed in Tomb Raider, was actually the interactions with insanely dangerous animals. Yes, we had those wolves everywhere, but I recall being terrified of tigers, bears and freakin' great white sharks throughout this series! Thankfully though, Rise of the Tomb Raider seems to have fixed this issue as well. But one aspect I hope sees alterations is the stealth sections.
Some players have expressed grievances over the introduction of great stealth sections at the outset of the game, which all gave way to crazy combat battles in the latter part of the game. Some would have loved the option to go through the whole campaign without having to engage in a single fire fight and stick to the shadows.
But then, I can see that Crystal Dynamics weren't really making a stealth game. This is a box office adventure, one teaming with explosions, amazing set pieces and tense action. Having you slowly creep through every area would have been jarring when such intense action cinematics break out. You could be pretty sneaky in the past with Lara Croft and we'd love to see more options in the stealth department for Rise of the Tomb Raider.
So what aspects of the old Tomb Raider games would you like to see Crystal Dynamics include in Rise of the Tomb Raider on its release date? Were you happy with the balance they struck with 2013's reboot? Are you grieving over its Xbox One exclusivity? Let us know in the comments!