Rise of the Tomb Raider came out last year on PC and Xbox One, I loved the first one but didn’t get around to playing it partially because I wanted to play it on PS4 with all of the DLC.  My determination held out until I found it on Steam for $30 with all of the DLC.  I’ve been playing it for a while now and here’s what I think.

Presentation:

ROTTR is a beautiful game, but not Uncharted 4 beautiful.  The world looks suitably old and feels alive with the various wildlife running around each hub area.  Without getting too deeply into spoilers, much of the game takes place in old Soviet Russia, so the weather is cold and many of the buildings are abandoned soviet military facilities and they look great.  The voice acting is solid and animations look really good.  Lara’s animations in particular are realistic, especially with the small things like ringing water out of her ponytail when she gets out of the water, or shivering because it’s cold.  My biggest complaint is actually Lara’s voice actor.  She seems to want to shout every line she has and in some of the quieter scenes, it pulls you out of the immersion.

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One of my favorite aspects of the presentation is the lack of a UI in most situations.  The UI appears when you need it, but completely disappears during exploration which allows you to admire the environments.  The map is well made and functional with the ability to set any point of interest as a user waypoint so that you can get to what you want to find.

The world is broken up into several open-hubs and mission areas.  In the hubs, you can explore to hunt animals (for upgrades) or find optional tombs for bonus abilities.  With the DLC, there is a myriad of extra costumes that add stat bonuses or just look cool.  It is obvious that a lot of care went into this game.

Gameplay:

I like the gameplay in the Tomb Raider games better than Uncharted.  There, I said it.  The combat is more fun to me and has more variety with guns/stealth/and bow & arrow options.  The traversal elements are fairly standard fare, but are polished enough that they feel tight and responsive.  I very rarely jumped and missed something I should be able to hold onto and things are labeled well.  The combat sections are short and well scripted without feeling overwhelming like I think Uncharted does at times.

Verdict

ROTTR is a solid game that if you like the Uncharted style series, you will love.  I loved the first game and can without hesitation recommend this game, especially the new version that includes all of the DLC.

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