MORE TOMBS, LESS CRINGE

Rise of the Tomb Raider

HWM (Malaysia) - - GAX - REVIEWS - Tomb Raider Un­charted Rise of the Tomb Raider, of Us) The Last Raider, Rise of the Tomb MichaelLow

IN SEARCH OF AN­SWERS Lara’s re­turn in the well­re­ceived 2003 re­boot was praised for its strong writ­ing, at­mo­spheric pre­sen­ta­tion, and fo­cus on sur­vival-based game­play. De­spite bor­row­ing lib­er­ally from Naughty Dog’s se­ries, the ad­di­tion of skill pro­gres­sion and in-game chal­lenges ran par­al­lel to Lara’s devel­op­ment as a char­ac­ter in this ori­gin story. A De­fin­i­tive Edi­tion soon fol­lowed with en­hanced vi­su­als, im­proved physics, and na­tive 1080p pre­sen­ta­tion (at least on the PS4 re­lease). It was only nat­u­ral that a se­quel was green­lit, but as a timed ex­clu­sive for Xbox con­soles? While PS4 own­ers will have to wait till late 2016 to have a go at PC gamers only have to en­dure a brief two-month wait to pick up where Ms. Croft last left off af­ter the Ya­matai ex­pe­di­tion.

Hav­ing sur­vived her brush with the su­per­nat­u­ral, Lara’s sopho­more ad­ven­ture con­cerns the search for the Di­vine Source, an ar­ti­fact

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APRIL 2016 be­lieves to hold the se­cret of im­mor­tal­ity. Her late fa­ther’s re­search points to the lost city of Kitezh which, ac­cord­ing to Rus­sian folk­lore, is plunged be­neath Lake Svet­lo­yar to pro­tect it from in­vad­ing forces. The jour­ney will take play­ers through some of the most treach­er­ous parts of Siberia, all while keep­ing Lara one step ahead from a ruth­less para­mil­i­tary group named Trin­ity, who is also (sur­prise, sur­prise) af­ter the same ‘MacGuf­fin’. NEW AND IM­PROVED Many of the ma­jor col­lectibles re­turn, but there’s also the need to scav­enge for re­sources in the wild to craft spe­cialty ar­rows, im­proved am­mos, ex­plo­sives, and heal­ing items (ala

on the fly – adding to the sense of ur­gency dur­ing com­bat. One of the main crit­i­cisms levied against the pre­vi­ous in­stall­ment was the dearth of ‘proper’ tomb raid­ing. Many were dis­ap­pointed with the num­ber of op­tional tombs (eight if you count the DLC) and found the puzzles to be sim­plis­tic at best. This time around, there are nine Chal­lenge Tombs that are eas­ily missed if you’re not look­ing closely, and they can be quite sat­is­fy­ing to com­plete.

While com­bat has been re­fined to a cer­tain de­gree, the ex­plo­ration and plat­form­ing as­pects re­main the strong­est el­e­ments in

es­pe­cially with the in­clu­sion of stealth climbs and un­der­wa­ter swims. Once again, there are large hub ar­eas con­nect­ing the more lin­ear paths for Lara to tra­verse, and you’d do well to re­visit pre­vi­ously in­ac­ces­si­ble lo­ca­tions to un­cover hid­den items and other sur­prises. The PC ver­sion is even more of a stun­ner, as ev­i­dent in the high vis­ual fidelity demon­strated by the real-time cutscenes. There are also a re­spectable num­ber of graph­ics op­tions to en­hance the vi­su­als fur­ther, such as PureHair, HBAO+ am­bi­ent oc­clu­sion, dy­namic fo­liage, and more.

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