Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock this past week, you will no doubt have heard that Rise of the Tomb Raider is Game Informer’s latest cover story and that the game will see Ms Croft journey to Siberia (and possibly other locations) in search of a lost city and the secrets of immortality.
The concept art and officially-released screenshots all look promising and the game’s creative director, Noah Hughes, is clearly passionate about his work on this much-awaited sequel. There’s plenty to be excited about. Lara trekking through the icy expanses of Siberia, the promise of more tombs, a quest for a lost city…
But the ultimate question is: will Rise of the Tomb Raider really “rise” to my expectations?
Granted, it’s far too early to tell as we’ve yet to see any gameplay footage, let alone had the chance to play it for ourselves, but I can’t help but feel a little conflicted. Tomb Raider 2013, while a great game in its own right, never really felt like a “proper” Tomb Raider game to me and I still question whether the “gritty reboot” path was really the best way to revive the series. But despite my misgivings about the franchise’s future, I was still swept away by the hype generated by this week’s Game Informer feature and, deep down, I guess I really just want Rise of the Tomb Raider to succeed. After all, Reboot Lara deserves a second chance to win me over, right?
Anyway, back in August 2013, I compiled a list of 10 things I’d like to see in the sequel to Tomb Raider 2013 and I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to revisit that list and see if Rise of the Tomb Raider has the potential to tick all those boxes.
So here goes…
1) More puzzles - Although Lara Croft & the Temple of Osiris was crammed full of fun, head-scratching puzzles, I’d like to see Crystal Dynamics extend this to Rise. And incorporating these into the actual story, rather than relegate them to optional side missions, would be the icing on the proverbial cake.
2) Fewer gun battles - I’ll be honest: I really am expecting more of the same in Rise but it seems we’ll also have the option to evade enemies. Anyone who’s watched me play Assassin’s Creed will know that I don’t excel at stealth missions but I do welcome the chance to avoid conflict where possible. Hopefully Lara will be up against fewer human enemies in her next adventure as I find gun battles a little exhausting…
3) Bring back the globetrotting and exotic locations - So far, only one location (Siberia) has been confirmed but the game will feature at least two different locations and promises to throw Lara into some pretty hostile locales. Whether you consider Siberia an exotic location depends on your definition of “exotic” but it’s certainly a place I’d love to visit should the opportunity arise. And it’s not just icy wilderness either, despite what the concept art would have us believe. As for that desert screenshot that’s doing the rounds on Tumblr…let’s just say it’s not a place you’d want to book a holiday to at this moment.
4) Bring back the ability to swim - This ability *will* be making a return in Rise, though whether Lara will be able to swim on command (like in the good old days) or will only be able to do this in QTEs and/or cut scenes isn’t clear from the Game Informer article.
5) Make the game less linear - I suppose if they’re going for a cinematic gaming experience, Rise will be fairly linear (Lara’s progress through the game will most likely follow a certain path based on the storyline) but Noah Hughes mentioned in his video interview that there will be more and larger hubs in Rise and that gamers will have certain incentives (e.g. new tombs and collectibles) to explore these fully.
6) Greater freedom to save games - I doubt this will change as checkpoints seem to be the default save setting for Tomb Raider games lately. But I live in hope…
7) Bring back the vehicles - There’s no indication from the Game Informer article that this will change so we’ll just have to wait and see what the finished game has in store for us. Seeing that a good chunk of the game will be set in Siberia, I’d be ecstatic if they brought back the snowmobile for this adventure. Or, failing that, a husky sled. Because…huskies. ^_^
8) Get rid of the multi-player mode - Again, there’s no indication from the article that Rise will have a multi-player mode but I sincerely hope it doesn’t. No one is begging for one so, Crystal Dynamics, please focus on delivering an epic single-player campaign. That’s all we really want.
9) Less focus on the secondary characters - Well, shoot. The screenshots and article confirm that Jonah will be back for at least part of the game so I suppose we’ll be seeing more of “Lara Croft & Friends” this holiday season. Sam’s fate is unknown (perhaps Rhianna Pratchett’s new comic story arc will clear this up) and there’s nothing concrete to suggest that Reyes will be joining Lara this time around. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that the Endurance crew will probably make their presence felt in Rise in one way or another. Let’s just hope the story doesn’t revolve around saving Sam yet again…
10) Bring back the bow! - We can tick this one off the list as the concept art, screenshots, and article all confirm that Lara will be armed with a variety of bows. The only thing that could top this would be to see Lara armed with her signature dual pistols. Time for some fan service, Crystal Dynamics.
So, as you can see, Rise of the Tomb Raider still has a way to go to meet all of my expectations but I’m willing to let a few things slide and simply judge the game on its own merits. It will never be “classic” Tomb Raider but it might still be an amazing game that I’ll eventually grow to love.
Though being a Playstation 4 gamer, it might take some time before I find that out for myself…
An archive of Game Informer’s exclusive online coverage can be found over at their dedicated Rise of the Tomb Raider hub. Be sure to check it regularly for more news, exclusive features, and video interviews!
- Rise of the Tomb Raider, Game Informer’s Cover Story for March 2015
- Game Informer: Five Ways Rise Of The Tomb Raider Is Improving Upon The Reboot
- 10 Things I’d Like to See in the Tomb Raider Sequel