With the announcement of digital pre-order for Crystal Dynamic’s Rise of the Tomb Raider, it seemed like a good time to talk about a hand full of reasons this promises to be an even better gaming experience than 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot. I know boards and forums across the internet are filled with arguments of whether or not Rise can live up to the previous game, granting one year rights to Microsoft was a good call or the reboot was the right direction to begin with, but I’m psyched and this is why.
First and foremost, let’s get this one out of the way: more tombs. One of the biggest complaints many long time fans of the franchise, myself included, voiced was that for a game called Tomb Raider there wasn’t very much tomb raiding. The few tombs you did get to raid felt tacked on. Lara is running from crazed cult members, slips into a cave to escape and finds herself in a tomb. After a little puzzle solving she receives her prize, slips back out of the cave and the action resumes. Crystal Dynamic promises that this time around not only will we have more bigger and better tombs, but they will be an essential part of the narrative. Yes, this is still an adventure game and there are plenty of bad guys for Lara to kill, but she is here for the purpose of raiding tombs. Much the way we met Bruce Wayne in Batman begins but he didn’t really become Batman until Dark Knight, we met Lara Croft in Tom Raider but she wont truly become the Tomb Raider until Rise.
Another thing to keep in mind; Rise will be the first real Tomb Raider adventure built from the ground up for the current generation of consoles. Yes you will be able to purchase it for your 360, but if you do you will be playing a scaled down version of an Xbox One game where with Tomb Raider Xbox One gamers were playing a scaled up version of a 360 game. That doesn’t mean Tomb Raider didn’t look good on my One. It was the first game I purchased for my One, and I still think it’s beautiful. But as great of a job as they did scaling it up, at it’s core it was still built around the limitations of the previous generation of consoles. Even in comparison to other games coming out around the same time, Rise’s graphics stand out. While I would certainly never argue that graphics are what makes a game great, it is going to be nice to look at.
I have no doubt that many of you will chose to spend your money this November 10th on Fallout 4. I’m not here to convince you otherwise. It’s going to be a great game, and which game is better is purely a matter of gaming tastes. Personally I don’t require every game to be truly open world. I sometimes enjoy games that exist mainly to lead you from point A to point B. I enjoy the narrative in these types of games. But a little freedom in exactly how I get from point A to point B is appreciated. In Rise, the customizations introduced in Tomb Raider are taken to a new level. I’ve read a number of complaints that in the previous game players felt forced into too many confrontations. Personally I got sick of sneaking around. So in Rise if you want to upgrade Lara’s skills and tools so that she can avoid conflict as much as possible and sneak around solving puzzles, you’re in luck. If, however, by the time you get home from work you’re tired of being nice to everyone Lara’s also down for raising a little hell.
Speaking of enjoying narratives, I can’t wait to get into the story of Rise of the Tomb Raider. Don’t get me wrong. I love origin stories. They’re important. Even necessary. They show us how a more or less normal person becomes the hero we all know their meant to be. They make it possible to relate to a character that seems so much more than we are. In Tomb Raider it was moving to see Lara’s reaction to taking her first life and rewarding to watch her grow into a capable warrior. But that’s over. This Lara Croft has lived through those experiences and starts the sequel ready for action. Any writer or designer who can’t make a sequel better than the usually slow to start origin story probably shouldn’t be writing or designing to begin with. I don’t think that’s going the case with Rise of the Tomb Raider and I feel like a kid at Christmas waiting for November 10th.
Are you also looking forward to Rise of the Tomb Raider? Think it’s can’t live up to the previous installment? Still mad that you have to wait a year to play it on your Playstation? Going to be too busy playing Fallout 4 to care? Sound off in the comments below.