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Rise of the Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. It is the sequel to the 2013 video game Tomb Raider, a reboot of the franchise of the same name. It was released for Xbox One and Xbox 360 in November 2015 and for Microsoft Windows in January 2016. A special edition of the game, titled Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration, was released worldwide for PlayStation 4 in October 2016.

Rise of the Tomb Raider
Rise of the Tomb Raider.jpg
Developer(s) Crystal Dynamics[a]
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Microsoft Studios[b]
Director(s)
  • Noah Hughes
  • Brian Horton
  • Daniel Neuburger
Producer(s) Rose Hunt
Designer(s)
  • Jason Botta
  • Michael Brinker
Programmer(s)
  • Scott Krotz
  • Steve Austin
Artist(s) Brenoch Adams
Writer(s) Rhianna Pratchett
Composer(s) Bobby Tahouri
Series Tomb Raider
Platform(s)
Release Xbox 360, Xbox One
  • NA: November 10, 2015
  • AU: November 10, 2015
  • EU: November 13, 2015
Microsoft Windows
  • WW: January 28, 2016
PlayStation 4
  • WW: October 11, 2016
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Rise of the Tomb Raider was announced in June 2014. The game's storyline follows Lara Croft as she ventures into Siberia in search of the legendary city of Kitezh, whilst battling a paramilitary organization called "the Trinity" that intends on beating her to the city's promise of immortality. Presented from a third-person perspective, the game primarily focuses on survival and combat, while the player may also explore its landscape and various optional tombs. Camilla Luddington returns to voice and perform her role as Lara.

Upon release, Rise of the Tomb Raider was critically acclaimed, with critics praising its graphics, gameplay, and characterization. As of November 2017, the game has sold 7 million copies. Additional content was released, including a story campaign, a gameplay mode, as well as outfits and weapons for Lara.

Contents

GameplayEdit

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a third-person action-adventure game that features similar gameplay found in 2013's Tomb Raider. Players control Lara Croft through various environments, battling enemies, and completing puzzle platforming sections, while using improvised weapons and gadgets in order to progress through the story.

The game features a crafting system, allowing players to create items like different arrow types (poison, climbable, fire, grenade, rope) by scavenging materials from plants and animals in the game's harsh environment.[1]

The environment includes a day-night cycle and a weather system that both human and animal characters can react to. For example, to create a hardier winter coat Lara must hunt a wolf which only comes out during a specific time of day and specific weather condition. Lara can swim, which adds to her mobility and combat tactics.[2]

Combat has been redesigned with more options for stealth and sneak attacks. Lara can use the environment to her advantage; hiding in bushes or trees, by climbing trees and traversing rooftops or shooting arrows at objects to distract enemies, crafting Molotov cocktails and makeshift grenades. The bow and arrow return from Tomb Raider. Different types of bows can be fashioned from specific animals and materials that Lara can hunt and salvage. Lara's pistol, shotgun, assault rifle and climbing axe all return from Tomb Raider, each with their own variants. New items introduced include a hunting knife for melee or sneak attacks, a re-breather for underwater exploration, and a lock pick to open locked crates and doors.[1]

Platforming also makes a return, along with mechanics like jumping forwards against a vertical wall, shimming, jumping from ledge to ledge, as well as swinging on trapeze. Quick time events and dodging also return to avoid deadly traps in the game and perform finishing attacks and counters.

PlotEdit

One year after the events of Tomb Raider, archaeologist Lara Croft is struggling to explain her experience of the supernatural on Yamatai and appears to be suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder due to the incidents happened to her on the island. Looking for answers, she turns to her late father's research into the lost city of Kitezh and the promise of immortality. Her father's partner Ana attempts to warn her off as his obsession with Kitezh drove him to ruin and suicide. Lara ignores her and organises an expedition to Syria, hoping to uncover the tomb of the Prophet of Constantinople, a key figure in the legend of Kitezh. Although successful, the tomb is empty, and Lara is interrupted by Trinity—an ancient order of knights that now exists as a paramilitary organization investigating the supernatural—and their leader Konstantin. As she flees, Lara discovers a symbol etched into the tomb that she links to a book on Russian religious history in her father's study back at the Croft manor. A Trinity assassin infiltrates the manor and steals the book, prompting Lara and her friend Jonah to go to Siberia, which they believe has connection with the symbol. The two are separated after an avalanche while climbing a mountain and Lara is forced to continue alone.

Lara discovers that Trinity has taken over a Soviet-era mining installation as a base of operations in the search for Kitezh. She is caught attempting to retrieve the book and placed in a prison cell with Ana. Konstantin forces Lara to reveal what she knows by slowly strangling Ana in front of her, but Lara is unable to tell anything of use. Ana then reveals herself to be Konstantin's sister and Trinity's spy who has been manipulating her father. The two interrogate her as to the whereabouts of the "Divine Source", an artifact believed to grant immortality. Lara escapes, and in the process aids Jacob, a mysterious stranger who leads her through the mines into the valley beyond after Lara agrees to aid Jacob and his men in fighting the trinity.

Jacob is revealed to be the leader of the Remnant, the descendants of the followers of the Prophet of Constantinople. As Lara aids in their resistance against Trinity, she begins to learn more about the deathless Prophet and the lost city of Kitezh, after being branded a heretic and pursued by the Order of Trinity, the Prophet and his followers resettled in Russia, where they built Kitezh. However, spurred on by agents of Trinity, the Mongol Hordes led by Genghis Khan attacked the city, and the Prophet was forced to sacrifice it to protect the Divine Source. The Remnant escaped and settled in the area, vowing to defend the city's secret.

Jacob warns her that although the Divine Source exists, it is not what she expects it to be. Konstantin's forces repeatedly attack the Remnant, believing them to be heretics and justifying the slaughter as God's will. However, Lara discovers that Ana is dying and has been manipulating her brother to find the Divine Source and save her.

Jacob and Lara decide that the only way to protect the Divine Source is to retrieve it before Trinity can. In order to do this, Lara recovers the Atlas, an artefact that serves as a map of Kitezh. She is reunited with Jonah, who has been spying on Trinity forces, and they locate the path into the city. However, Konstantin had been aware of Jonah's presence ack at London and let him go hoping that he would lead him to Lara. At the right moment, Trinity ambushes Lara and takes Jonah and the Atlas. Lara goes after Trinity and tries to rescue Jonah, but before she can free him, Konstantin stabs him and escapes. Lara takes Jonah to Jacob, who miraculously heals Jonah. Jacob then admits that he is the deathless Prophet himself after Lara asks him how he healed Jonah.

With Trinity advancing on the glacier that rests over Kitezh, Lara is forced to enter the city through the Path of the Deathless where she encounters the Deathless Ones, the immortal guardians of the city. Following the journals of a Trinity agent embedded in the Mongolian forces, Lara realizes the truth of Jacob's warning: "the Divine Source grants immortality to the person who beholds it at the cost of their sense of self, and the Deathless Ones are the hollow immortal inhabitants of Kitezh who no longer know anything else but defending the city." As Lara enters Kitezh, the Remnant rally to attack the Deathless Ones, giving her time to reach the heart of the city. She encounters Konstantin who is blocking the path and critically wounds him; he dies in disbelief that he was not carrying out God's will, but Ana's. Before his death, he claims that Lara's father did not commit suicide, but was in fact murdered by Trinity. Because of her encounter with Konstantin and his men, Lara is too late to stop Ana from retrieving the Divine Source, a large glowing crystal, but wrests it from her before Ana can use it. Lara then smashes the Divine Source, killing the Deathless Ones and taking away Jacob's immortality. However, he is happy that his death has finally come and thanks Lara for bringing his end as he peacefully disintegrates.

In the aftermath, Jacob's daughter Sofia takes over the Remnant. Jonah recovers from his wounds and joins Lara in planning their next expedition, with Lara vowing to investigate more of the world's mysteries as well as thwart Trinity's plans.

A post-credits scene shows Lara and Ana leaving Russia, two weeks before Lara returned to the manor. Lara confronts Ana about whether Ana killed her father. Ana denies it, despite admitting that Trinity gave her the order. Before she can reveal anything else, a sniper shot hits Ana, killing her instantly. The sniper then asks his unseen superior about killing Lara, but is told to stand down for the time being.

Baba Yaga: The Temple of the WitchEdit

The Baba Yaga downloadable content sees Lara investigating a disturbance within the Soviet mining facility. After fighting off a Trinity patrol, she discovers a young girl named Nadia hiding in a sawmill. Nadia confides in Lara, recounting her search for her grandfather, Ivan. Ivan has disappeared while trying to enter the Wicked Vale, a valley rumoured to be haunted by Baba Yaga, a witch from Slavic folklore. Ivan blames the witch for the death of his wife and seeks to kill her. Lara is skeptical of Baba Yaga's existence, but as Nadia is injured, she agrees to enter the Wicked Vale and locate Ivan.

Once in the Vale, Lara is exposed to a rare pollen with potent hallucinogenic properties. After stumbling through a forest, tormented by visions of her father's suicide, she encounters Baba Yaga and a pack of demonic wolves. Lara narrowly escapes with her life and finds herself in a small Soviet-era outpost. There she unearths evidence of a secret Soviet biological weapons project that attempted to harness the pollen as a weapon; however, the project came to an abrupt end after the researchers—including Serafima, a biochemist imprisoned in a nearby gulag—succumbed to the hallucinations.

Realising that Serafima resented her captors, Lara correctly deduces that she had successfully weaponised the pollen and developed an antidote and kept her research secret from the military. With Nadia's help, Lara synthesises a rudimentary antidote from Serafima's recipe and returns to the Wicked Vale. Resisting the effects of the pollen, Lara finds Ivan injured at the entrance to Baba Yaga's lair.

Unable to leave the Wicked Vale so long as Baba Yaga continues to control it, Lara ventures on to confront the witch and is forced to battle Baba Yaga under the effects of the pollen. Lara prevails, destroying the source of the weaponised pollen. Baba Yaga is revealed to be Serafima, who was led to believe that her husband, Ivan, along with their daughter was dead, and so used the pollen to become Baba Yaga and torment her captors in revenge. With Ivan, Serafima and Nadia reunited, Lara leaves the Wicked Vale.

Cold Darkness AwakenedEdit

The Cold Darkness Awakened content sees Lara enter a decommissioned Soviet weapons bunker that has been breached by a Trinity patrol. Trinity have inadvertently released an unstable pathogen into the air, which causes the people it infects to regress to a zombie-like state. Men are particularly vulnerable as the virus stimulates testosterone and adrenaline production. The pathogen was created by a Soviet researcher with the intention of creating an army of unstoppable super-soldiers, but all of his experiments ended in failure. Following an accident that released the pathogen, he died in the facility, proud that he had at least created a weapon to protect his homeland. With Sofia and Nadia providing support from a helicopter, Lara attempts to find the source of the pathogen before an enormous cloud is released into the atmosphere and contaminates the Remnant valley.

The three women hatch a plan to channel the pathogen from three towers into the central tower, and cause it to explode, which will hopefully burn off the toxin. Lara shuts down each tower while collecting equipment, rescuing female prisoners and eliminating waves of the infected Trinity soldiers, and finally enters the core tower. While fighting off the infected soldiers, she triggers a catastrophic explosion and jumps from the tower to Nadia and Sofia's helicopter. Nadia and Lara watch the explosion as they fly to safety. Although the resulting fire burns the remaining reserves of the pathogen, documents found throughout the facility reveal that the release was no accident; Trinity reactivated the facility to acquire a sample of the pathogen, and an agent of Trinity escaped with it before the bunker was destroyed.

Blood Ties and Lara's NightmareEdit

Blood Ties begins with Lara reading a note from her uncle, who claims that since her mother went missing, leaving the manor in his care, he is the rightful owner of the Croft Estate. With trees working their way into the side of the manor and the roof caving in, Lara's childhood home is in desperate need of repair. She finds her father's safe and searches the manor for the clues for the safe combination, hoping to find his will proving her ownership inside. She roams around the manor, coming across various artifacts from her past, some of which she has never seen before, and finally figures out the safe combination. However, she finds no proof of her ownership inside the safe. She continues to search through the Manor among the hallways, bedrooms, studies, and the basement, eventually finding her mother's tomb underneath the grand staircase, a proof of her mother's death. With both of Lara's parents proven dead, all her parents' properties are passed on to her by law, successfully proving that Lara is the rightful owner of the Manor.

In Lara's Nightmare the sequence begins similarly to Blood Ties, but instead Lara's uncle is unwilling to give her the Manor. She fights off hordes of zombies and skulls before finding the Master Key. Finally, she kills the large skull in the main hallway, successfully ending her nightmare.

DevelopmentEdit

 
Crystal Dynamics staff present on the game's narrative process at the 2016 Game Developers Conference

On August 1, 2013, Phil Rogers, Square Enix' Western CEO, confirmed in a blog post on the company's official website that a "next-generation Tomb Raider sequel" is "well into development".[3] On June 9, 2014, Rise of the Tomb Raider was formally announced with a press release, after a first trailer premiered on Microsoft's E3 press conference earlier the same day. That same trailer was later televised during Xbox Live's broadcast of the Miss Teen USA 2014 beauty pageant.

At Microsoft's Gamescom 2014 briefing, it was announced that the game will be released in late 2015 as a timed exclusive for Xbox platforms.[4][5] Speaking on the exclusivity, Phil Spencer said "...I'm a big fan of Uncharted and I wish we had an action adventure game of that ilk. We've started some, and we've looked at them. But we don't have one today of that quality. This is an opportunity."[6] The exclusivity news was met with widespread negative criticism from consumers and journalists alike.[7] In February 2015, Crystal Dynamics announced that the Xbox 360 version is being developed by Nixxes Software.[8]

On June 15, 2015, at Microsoft E3 2015's press conference, Rise of the Tomb Raider was confirmed to be released in North America on November 10, 2015 on the Xbox One and Xbox 360.[9] A behind the scene trailer was released during Square Enix's press conference on June 16, 2015.[10] On July 23, 2015, Square Enix announced Rise of the Tomb Raider for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4, with respective release dates of early 2016 and late 2016.[11] On August 4, 2015, at Microsoft Gamescom's press conference, it was confirmed that the game would release on November 13 in Europe.[12]

A season pass was announced at October 7, 2015.[13] It adds additional tombs and an Endurance mode, which significantly increases the game's difficulty. In this mode, Lara has to search for food and fuel for survival. The mode was added to the game on December 29, 2015.[14] The season pass also comes with a new downloadable content called Baba Yaga: Temple of the Witch, which adds new tombs, puzzles and a new campaign featuring Baba Yaga to the base game. It was released on January 26, 2016.[15] The last DLC, titled Cold Darkness Awakened, was released on March 29, 2016.[16]

On July 19, 2016, a special edition of the game, Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration was announced for the PC and PlayStation 4 platforms for release on October 11, 2016, alongside a new DLC mission, Blood Ties (playable using PlayStation VR) and support for cooperative multiplayer in Endurance mode to be released on all platforms (except Xbox 360).[17]

ReceptionEdit

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic (PC) 86/100[18]
(XONE) 86/100[19]
(PS4) 88/100[20]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 7.5/10[21]
EGM 8/10[22]
Game Informer 9.5/10[23]
Game Revolution      [24]
GameSpot 9/10[25]
GamesRadar      [26]
Giant Bomb      [27]
IGN 9.3/10[28]
OXM (UK)      [29]
Polygon 8.5/10[30]
VideoGamer.com 9/10[31]

Rise of the Tomb Raider was critically acclaimed. GameSpot's Mike Mahardy lauded the believability of the game's characters, as well as the addition of more tombs and the variety of options in combat. He concluded that "Crystal Dynamics has found equilibrium in almost every way."[25] Lucy O'Brien of IGN praised the depiction of Lara and the world design. She claimed that the game is "the most fun I’ve had with a Lara Croft game since 1996", and stated that it "takes its predecessor's winning formula and improves on it in every way".[28] Polygon's Philip Kollar awarded it a score of 8.5 out of 10, saying "This is the inauguration of Tomb Raider as a formula once more, but for now, it's a formula I'm happy revisiting."[30]

Stephanie Bendixsen and Steven O'Donnell of Good Game both gave the game five stars. Bendixsen directed praise in particular to the game's combat, saying that she had "never had more fun with weapons in a game", and O'Donnell said that "Lara has really come into her own now, and it feels genuinely exciting to be going on this journey with her."[32]

Kimberley Wallace of Game Informer awarded the game a 9.5 out of 10, stating "Rise of the Tomb Raider captures the thrill of being an adventurer and leaves you thinking about Lara's next move. You have daredevil sequences, heroic moments, fun exploration, and exciting fights that even Indiana Jones would envy. If Crystal Dynamics keeps raising the bar from here, I can't wait to see what's next for Lara."[23]

Peter Paras of Game Revolution gave it a perfect 5 star rating, saying that "...this is an adventure worth replaying with a hero who's unforgettable."[24]

In August 2016, Rise of the Tomb Raider placed 18th on Time's The 50 Best Video Games of All Time list.[33]

SalesEdit

In the UK, Rise of the Tomb Raider suffered lower than expected sales, selling 63,000 units, less than two thirds than that of its predecessor.[34][35][36][37] Some gaming journalists have attributed the poor sales to the fact that the game released on the same day as Fallout 4.[38][39] Digitally, Rise of the Tomb Raider was the best selling Xbox One game during the week of Christmas.[40] By the end of 2015, the game had sold over 1 million copies.[41]

The retail version of Rise of the Tomb Raider was the fourth best selling game in its week of release in the UK and Ireland, debuting at No. 4 in the UK retail software sales chart.[42] Brian Horton, the game's director, and Aaron Greenberg, a Microsoft's executive, claimed that both Microsoft Studios and Square Enix were satisfied with the game's sales.[43] Digitally, the Windows version sold three times the amount of the Xbox One version in the first month of release.[44] As of November 2017, the game has sold 7 million units.[45]

AwardsEdit

SequelEdit

At Gamescom 2015, Square Enix accidentally revealed that a third game in the rebooted series was in development.[59]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Additional work by Eidos Montréal; ported to Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4 by Nixxes Software.
  2. ^ Microsoft only published the game's Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Rise Of The Tomb Raider". Game Informer. April 22, 2015. Retrieved May 30, 2015. 
  2. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (February 3, 2015). "Rise of the Tomb Raider: more puzzles, weapon variety, environmental dangers". VG247. Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
  3. ^ Rogers, Phil (August 1, 2013). "A note from Phil Rogers, CEO". Square Enix. Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
  4. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (August 13, 2014). "Microsoft confirms Rise of the Tomb Raider Xbox exclusivity deal "has a duration"". Eurogamer. Retrieved December 9, 2014. 
  5. ^ Reed, Ashley (August 13, 2014). "Xbox Rise of the Tomb Raider exclusivity deal 'has a duration'". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved December 9, 2014. 
  6. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (August 18, 2014). "Xbox boss Phil Spencer makes case for Tomb Raider exclusivity deal". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  7. ^ Schreier, Jason (August 12, 2014). "People are pissed that Tomb Raider is an Xbox exclusive". Kotaku. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  8. ^ Moser, Cassidee (February 3, 2015). "Nixxes Software to Develop Rise of the Tomb Raider on Xbox 360". IGN. Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
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  10. ^ "Rise of the Tomb Raider - Behind the Scenes". IGN. June 16, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
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  12. ^ "Rise of the Tomb Raider Preorder Packs". Tomb Raider Blog. August 4, 2015. Retrieved August 4, 2015. 
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  14. ^ Sheridan, Conner (December 5, 2015). "Kill, eat, and survive in Rise of the Tomb Raider's Endurance Mode DLC". GamesRadar. Retrieved December 5, 2015. 
  15. ^ Matulef, Jeffery (December 4, 2015). "Rise of the Tomb Raider reveals Baba Yaga DLC in new trailer". Eurogamer. Retrieved December 2, 2015. 
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  42. ^ Phillips, Tom (November 16, 2015). "Fallout 4 tops UK chart, launch sales 200% up on New Vegas". Eurogamer. Retrieved December 19, 2015. 
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External linksEdit