Meta-Review: Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One)

RiseoftheTombRaiderI am about 70% of the way through this game and all I can say is wow, Crystal Dynamics’ Rise of the Tomb Raider is incredible. The gameplay loop is so solid and I find myself so addicted to its multitude of mechanics that I cannot express enough how much people need to play this game. That said, I completely see the difficulty in setting down last week’s other juggernaut, Fallout 4, to play this game. Fallout is built to be a time sink, but in that way Tomb Raider may just be the much needed pallet cleanser between 40 hour game sessions. And on that, the critics agree. Rise of the Tomb Raider is getting some pretty outstanding reviews and here are just a few of them:

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The Telegraph: If there’s a complaint, it’s that this obvious talent at puzzle-craft is tucked away in side-missions rather than permeating the main campaign. The puzzles that do crop up in Lara’s quest are great, but one suspects the developer couldn’t quite figure out a way of incorporating more of these tombs in the story without halting its rhythm. It’s a tricky balancing act that has the effect of making the open sections feel like the game’s high point. But the truth is that the smart trade-off between rollicking action and exploration makes for a cohesive, confident and satisfying adventure. Where Lara Croft goes from here will be fascinating, but rarely has a game’s title been so apt. (5/5)

Game Informer:  The story is predictable, but has memorable moments. The most interesting threads are learning more about Lara’s relationship with her father and this evil organization named Trinity. I won’t spoil anything, but the last scenes turn everything on its head, making me excited to see where Crystal Dynamics takes the narrative next. Rise of the Tomb Raider captures the thrill of being an adventurer and leaves you thinking about Lara’s next move. You have daredevil sequences, heroic moments, fun exploration, and exciting fights that even Indiana Jones would envy. If Crystal Dynamics keeps raising the bar from here, I can’t wait to see what’s next for Lara. (9.5/10)

IGN: Rise of the Tomb Raider raises the bar set by Lara’s last outing with a rollicking adventure story, strong villains, gorgeous vistas, and smart puzzles – go off the main path to find the best stuff in dastardly optional tombs. Though the mandatory combat doesn’t distinguish itself with challenging enemies unless you crank up the difficulty, Lara’s newfound versatility on the battlefield makes fighting a lot more fun. Once again it’s Lara herself, however, who steals the show, her complex ambitions and hardened resolve showing new sides to a character who has well and truly grown from survivor to the most fascinating action hero in video games today. (9.3/10)

ForbesThe gameplay is the star here. Rise of The Tomb Raider does everything Tomb Raider did and does it better, taking a still-growing heroine into an unfamiliar location and unfolding its lethal mysteries as we grow to meet them. This is still not the game it could be, but it’s remarkable how quickly Crystal Dynamics has taken a half-dead franchise and turned into one of the most vital experiences on the market today, true to its essential character while still feeling absolutely new. This is the new standard for third-person shooter/adventure games. I want another. (9/10)

The Jimquisition: A gripping story in spite of its cliches, with an expanded serving of the gameplay that made Tomb Raider such a wild ride, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a damn fine sequel that does everything a sequel needs to do. What’s more, it truly cements Lara’s new adventures as a series with a solid future, and I’m excited to see where Croft and Trinity go next. You can shoot chickens, too, if you’re into that. (8.5/10)

Follow Tom on Twitter @thomaskagar

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