This will be spoiler-free, as it's yet to be released on all platforms.
Back in November 2015, Crystal Dynamics released their second installment of the Tomb Raider reboot series, Rise of the Tomb Raider, exclusively on Xbox. More recently it came out for PC with a PlayStation release slotted for later this year.
Unlike the 2013 game, Lara is already experienced as the 'Tomb Raider' she is so famously known for. It's a lot less of a background story and more of a head on, action packed adventure ride with Lara. This time you follow Lara in her adventure to Siberia in search of the legendary city of Kitezh. You even get an inside look at Croft Manor.
First thing's first, the game easily takes the cake in the way it looks. It definitely utilizes next gen to the best of its abilities. I felt like I was controlling a live action movie the whole time. Lara looks as close to a human as video games can get. You can see the definition in her scars and wounds which is incredible. It's beautifully illustrated and the scenery is breathtaking.
It's probably the most fun I've had with a Tomb Raider game to date. The vast worlds and beautiful designs really capture your attention. In the opening sequence, you have Lara and Jonah trying to tackle an ice mountain. This is when you get to see her dual pickaxes for the first time. This time around, Lara is a lot more knowledgeable and has her eyes set on exactly what she wants. If you are a big fan of the series, you have probably read the comics and the novel that have led up to Rise of the Tomb Raider. You already know all about Trinity.
One thing that sets it apart from the 2013 release is you have the option to go almost completely stealth throughout the game, never having to lay a finger on any enemies. Or, if you're like me, just have an all out blood bath, using every weapon to its ability. Lara has a pretty solid inventory of weapons this time around including: bows, handguns, two climbing axes, and a tactical knife. You can upgrade these weapons by looting everything you find during your journey.
This time around, Crystal Dynamics added tons of side missions in game. Finishing side quests earns you all kinds of rewards like weapon upgrades and new gear, something the 2013 game was lacking. It also adds more to the story and prolongs the game a little bit for people like me who never want it to end.
I really like the modifying card system that Crystal Dynamics threw in this time; it really changes how the game is played. It gives you lots of different options to change up your experience. You can buy these card packs with credits you earn in game or you can buy the packs with real world money. The packs include common cards, which can only be used once, and foil cards, which can be used multiple times.
Rise of the Tomb Raider, unlike the 2013 games, also comes with the option of a season pass which adds an extreme endurance mode, where you have to keep Lara alive as long as you can, starting completely from scratch and only using what you can find around you to make weapons and food to eat to stay alive.
The biggest downfall of this game is the Xbox exclusivity. It first launched on Xbox 360 and Xbox One back in November, the same day as Fallout 4. Not the brightest move for Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix seeing as a huge portion of Tomb Raider fans play it on PlayStation or PC. They launched it on PC in January with a to be determined date for PlayStation 4 this fall. Needless to say, it didn't meet the expected sales goal at launch, which is unfortunate. I hope when it is released on all platforms that will change because Rise of the Tomb Raider is the Tomb Raider game that we have all been waiting for, and I wouldn't sleep on this one if I were you.
What did you think of 'Rise of the Tomb Raider'?