ethnicroadkill: (Aya Brea)
[personal profile] ethnicroadkill
Exploration:
Fantastic. I appreciate that you can shut off Survival Instincts and Survival Glow as well, though I ended up needing to turn them back on. I'm not as good at Tomb Raider as I thought, heh. There's so much to find that really breathes life into the world that Rise of the Tomb Raider is trying to nurture.

A couple things I really disliked, though, is that even with Survival Instincts and Glow off, Lara would repeat what you had to do, every several seconds. It got old, and quick. I think that she should only repeat her hint after you press the Survival Instincts button. Another thing is that the in-game hints won't stop showing up, and I think that should be an option to toggle in the next game.

Gameplay:
It refined the cover-shooting of the original Tomb Raider (2013) and embellished on the stealth, which I'm a big fan of. The added crafting system is great, and I can't wait to see how they try to work it into the next Tomb Raider. I also really liked the Resident Evil 4-style shop, and I hope to see a couple of them in the next game. Missions added extra content and rewards to the game, even if it detracted from the feeling of isolation. Rise of the Tomb Raider did everything that Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was trying to do from the get-go, and executed it wondefully.

Graphics:
Stunning. This is the most lifelike that a Tomb Raider world has ever been, and I'm thankful for that. Each new vista and landscape are incredibly detailed and realistic. My only regret is that I wasn't able to play this on a PS4 Pro to get 4k graphics and 60 FPS. I was actually very surprised that Crystal Dynamics were able to make Rise of the Tomb Raider as colorful as they did, considering the fact that white was going to be the predominant hue across Siberia.

Plot:
This comes fourth since plot is never the reason why people play Tomb Raider. Hoo boy. Where do I start? The story wasn't bad. I was expecting it to be atrocious. But it wasn't that good, either. While it had some obvious production issues, Tomb Raider (2013) had a fantastic plot of intrigue and mystery. But Rise of the Tomb Raider was way more straightforward, and it doesn't give me very high hopes for the next entry. It was pretty mediocre, which is unfortunate since I'm used to this series having pretty interesting plots.

Lara's characterization:
She's improved a greatly from the previous game. She has a plan and her goal is success, not just to survive. No more outlandish screams, no more awkward grunts. She's trying to survive and expects the worst to happen when she makes a risky jump or lands on rough terrain. I especially loved how her "ramp sliding" animation changed. She transitions from sliding on her feet to setting herself down on her rear, and it looks like she does it pretty comfortably. Lara looks like she has the capability to do what she needs to do. Part of this is the fact that Rise of the Tomb Raider isn't Lara Croft's Series of Unfortunate Events anymore, where there's just an unbelievable chain reaction of bad luck. But the other part of it is that she is indeed hardened and ready for action.

Polish:
Garbage. The polish on gameplay mechanics is almost nonexistent. First, I had to delete all my saves and restart, because Lara was always on fire during Chapter Replay Elite, which is a replay mode that lets Lara start a previous area, but with all the upgrades and weapons she has in your main save. Then there was a bug, though admittedly minor, where Lara would get blasted with fire each time she tried to use the trebuchet--when there were no enemies around. This I was able to fix by restarting from my last checkpoint.

Then there are bugs where enemies won't respond and will just sit there in the "default model" pose. You can't get the last handgun or the last rifle at all. There are at least two unused outfits that have no reason for being unused. It just screams "lack of polish." It's like Crystal Dynamics were focused on making the graphics so great that they didn't work out the worst bugs. Crap like Lara getting blasted with fire when she tries to move a lever should not happen, period.

I think that Rise of the Tomb Raider was hyped up to me to a point where I had unrealistically high expectations of it, and it spoiled my experience a little. But it's a very solid game. I give it an 7.5/10 at the least.
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