We grew up with her and despite this it does not seem at all that twenty years have passed since we met her. Whoever writes to you is a nostalgic, who despite our dear Lara Croft has been changed over time, due to the need of a very different audience compared to that of twenty years ago, it is still here to get excited with her. The good Rise of the Tomb Raider already came out a year ago on the platform Xbox One and then get on too PC a few months later, still remaining a temporal exclusivity on consoles. After a year of waiting, the game arrives in an edition called "Celebration of Twenty Years", offering not only the base game for the first time, but also exclusive content that will be available on other platforms for free, for those who own the season pass, or can be purchased individually from the appropriate stores. Even before getting our hands on this product we had great expectations, since the predecessor had completely convinced us, trusting in the work of Crystal Dynamics, a very competent group able to treasure their mistakes with a desire to always improve. The product that came out is of excellent workmanship, but we explain in detail why in this review.
Digging into the past but staying in the present
Once we have kicked off the main story we will find ourselves in the cold heights of Siberia, showing us a brief exchange of dialogues between the Miss Croft e Jonah Maiava, a very dear friend of our young heroine. After a few minutes the game will take us chronologically to some time earlier in the sultry area of Syria, thus introducing us to the journey that Lara Croft she undertook along this chapter, in which she focused on finding the grave of the mortal prophet and the blessing of eternal life. This research was being done Richard Croft or Lara's father, but unfortunately he was unable to accomplish his goal and to reveal the mystery, in fact the only thing he found was only the infamy of the mass media to lead him to suicide.
The Syrian area is only introductory, we will not have the opportunity to explore it along our journey, so no hot and sandy area. Although it may seem useless, the chapter in Syria is very important for the understanding of the whole story, from there it all starts. The story of the game has a fluctuating pace, between ups and downs it manages to find a balance, even if it must be said that the highs are very pressing in the first part of the game where after a first twist the hype is sprung to the stars. Our main enemy is the Trinity, a group of fanatics who, like Lara and then her father, desperately seek the source of eternal life, thus also hunting down the exile Croft. The antagonists and secondary characters of this new story are all of a good level, we can say that we were satisfied with the motivations of the first, even if we might have expected some more useful information directly rather than through the diaries and radio messages scattered around the game. As you have understood, in the game there are collectibles in the form of radio messages or diaries that allow you to better deepen the history of the present and the past, to understand the history that exudes from the places we visit, thanks to this we can create a mental scheme of what happened in the past. Despite the clichés there are and also often, the dear Tomb Raider claims an original narrative from his, in a scheme outside of what maybe seen in Uncharted, all told through the environment and the people who are part of it, involving the player at three hundred and sixty degrees for its entire duration and beyond. Towards the end the game abuses gunfights, forcing us to fight in order to continue, putting us in a state of forced repetition and slowly trailing towards the end. Despite the events with one of the antagonists it is closed at the end of the journey, unfortunately the story leaves an open space, with an After Credit scene that forces the player to wait for a sequel in order to fully understand its meaning. Of course I'm sure a sequel is not a bad thing, but we would have expected a slightly more incisive After Credit scene. The game also takes on some paranormal scenes towards the end, which reminded us in several places of the final part of Uncharted 2: The Den of Thieves with enemies with particular abilities.
Exploration and survival in a mixed bag
In this new chapter, as in its predecessor, a mixture of exploration and survival has been used, seasoned with a particular development of the character, starting from the equipment up to its own and real tree of skills. Let's go in order, let's talk about the skills first, these are divided into three branches: Hunting that allows you to better develop survival skills against animals, combat that manages to best develop Lara's fighting skills both physical and with firearms and finally Survival which is mainly dedicated to crafting and caring for our character. As for exploration, even in this chapter we have very large maps full of content, in fact it will be possible to carry out both secondary missions delivered by NPCs or to complete the tombs or other side things such as collectibles and cave explorations. The survival factor becomes pressing along the course of the game, even during the firefights our enemies will easily be able to put our backs to the wall, forcing us either to a strategic retreat or to heal us on the fly and then clash again immediately. Unfortunately in the clashes it cannot be hidden that the title has an aiming system that is not exactly precise, most of the time we found ourselves slightly "awkward" in aiming, especially in the most eventful clashes the despair becomes very pressing and annoying.
From his Rise of the Tomb Raider he has developed original parameters such as learning various languages in order to translate the monoliths scattered throughout the game. In order to develop our knowledge, it is required to read more monuments or clues along the course of the game, which can be found both in insidious places such as caves and in less improbable places such as abandoned buildings or buildings of a certain importance. Climbing is also frequent again in this chapter, already seen in previous chapters and proposed again here as well as the string arrows, fundamental for the advancement of the game. We liked the presence of the grapple since it allows us to save ourselves even in critical phases, since there will be no lack of opportunity to make a false step towards a precipice or a badly calibrated jump. What shines most of all of this production are the settings, in some stages they are really jaw-breaking and everything is only moved by a console, showing us that although the PRO is coming, the normal version of the Sony flagship can still say her. The tombs do their duty, offering always very varied and unique areas, also decorated at their best thanks to the excellent engine of Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Lots of additional content to promote longevity
In this edition for PlayStation 4 all the dlc are contained, the first dedicated to stoicism missions or an online cooperative survival where in procedural areas we will have the opportunity to clash different hordes of enemies. Other interesting additional content is "Blood Ties", a story set entirely inside the Croft manor, exploring the latter in search of Richard Croft's testament without the possibility of interactions in fights or the like, it can be said that it is an entirely experience "Cultural" for the purpose of further study. The aforementioned DLC is not the only one set in the manor, in fact also "The Awakening of the Cold Darkness" is set in that location but surrounded by zombies, with a side story that is not very original but which still knows how to keep for its duration. As the last DLC we left Baba Yaga, because it is the only one that is amalgamated within the main story, in fact to be able to play it we should first reach the Soviet Base and start a side quest that will transport us on this paranormal journey. As you have understood, the additional contents are not the top of the production but they are certainly good additions that favor the longevity of the title, especially for the stoicism in co-op, great for spending a few hours in the company of friends.
The engine that moves the title is really excellent, it manages to achieve a very incisive visual impact especially in the polygonal models of the characters. Most of the time we were pleased with the immense locations, as they offered pretty good visuals that make the gaming experience much more enjoyable than expected. The audio component boasts of many talented Italian voice actors, first of all Benedetta Ponticelli who, as in the previous chapter, voiced Lara. The audio sector also made a good impression, adorned with many Oscar-worthy effects and an excellent soundtrack and last but not least an exciting ending theme.
Needless to turn around, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a production that must be promoted without ifs and buts, given that it presents a development and maturation of the character in a fluid and impactful way. In this chapter, the guys from Crystal Dynamics have made Lara's rise to maturity flawlessly, leading her to collide with different realities and against her tortuous and tormenting past also enlivened by the responsibility she had towards her father. To play in favor of the title there is also a very marked and broad survival and exploration component, although the latter is not properly accompanied by an Oscar-winning narrative, but in any case the latter is very appreciable and is loved even with its ending. which necessarily requires a sequel. What else to say? Surely this is one of those titles that cannot be missing in your collection, since Lara is back and did it in the best way.