Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration Review
3 months ago
Rise of the Tomb Raider is a cinematic stunner, of that there is no doubt. Straight from the off it'll have your jaw on the floor with its stunning looks, however looks aren't everything, so it's just as well that the game has some substance too.
The latest Lara adventure offers a huge amount to do, whether that's crafting, climbing, exploring the huge amount of hidden secrets that its world has to offer or fighting against the evil forces of Trinity as you try to uncover the secrets to immortality before they do. It's certainly impressive stuff and a world that you'll spend a lot of time in.
Of course no game is perfect and Rise of the Tomb Raider is no exception. This is mainly due to its muddled message of being an open world game with an action adventure story patched in between. Due to you being able to wander around and do as you like, which includes exploring a vast amount of tombs, often the story will get forgotten about. It's certainly not end to end action if you don't want it to be, which makes me wonder why the story has such a focus in the first place. After all, Tomb Raider is about exploring tombs and solving puzzles and as it turns out, this is by far and away the best part of the game.
While we have previously played the Xbox One version, the new 20 Year Celebration PS4 version packs in even more content, including 'Croft Manor' which has PlayStation VR support, HDR support for all PS4's and of course, support for the PlayStation Pro.
That's not all the content included though, as two new modes in 'Blood Ties and Lara's Nightmare' are also included. Both of these modes are set inside Croft Manor, which has fallen into a state of disrepair. In Blood Ties this sees Lara discover items and clues, while also gaining access to new areas. There is a twist at the end too, which will likely take you around 90 minutes to discover. This mode to me is classic Lara, seeing you wander around and discover, without the distraction of combat, it's like the Lara of old and it's good, relaxing fun.
If you'd rather have action, then Lara's Nightmare puts you in the dark and has you fight against waves of zombie-like creatures, all while struggling for ammo. It's tough and a far cry from the relaxing nature of Blood Ties, however it's just as thrilling and another great addition to the overall package.
PlayStation VR and Rise of the Tomb Raider
While Blood Ties is playable on your TV, you can also head in via PlayStation VR, wandering around a crumbling Croft Manor, reading old journals and inspecting artefacts as you look for clues to prove Lara is the rightful heir to Croft Manor.
You can either play seated, using the controller to move around and control the camera or play standing still, teleporting with L2 and R2 to the location of choice. As always you can push down on R3 to highlight clues and then head in that direction.
I have to say that I loved wandering around Croft Manor in this way, especially with the teleportation option, which was quite easy and intuitive to use. There are some great touches too, such as being able to use the DualShock 4 as a flashlight, when wandering through the dusky old basement.
In all it takes around an hour of wandering through Croft Manor to complete Blood Ties, by solving clues and inspecting everything you can find. It’s not perfect of course and feels more added on as an after thought rather than being a fully blown out VR game, however it’s still nice to have.
Finally and another new reason for buying this version of the game, is the co-op Endurance mode. Here, you and a friend scrounge, scavenge and craft to survive, seeing you fight against man, beast and the elements. You'll be killed by cold, bullets and wandering bears, so team work is of the essence as you look for items to build weapons and food to heal your wounds. This mode is perhaps one of the most fun of all, adding to what is already a pretty impressive package.
While many thought that Rise of the Tomb Raider would be a simple port to PS4, it's so much more than that. In fact with PS4 HDR support, PS4 Pro support and PlayStation VR support, you could say that it really is the definitive version and that's not even mentioning the brilliant Endurance Co-op mode, Blood Ties and Lara's Nightmare. Even without all this extra content, Rise of the Tomb Raider was a great game, but now it's better.
Joe Anderson (Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta)
(Version Tested: Xbox One/PS4)
+ Vast open world
+ Clever crafting
+ Brilliant tombs and puzzles
+ Looks stunning
+ Fantastic new game modes
+ Co-op Mode is brilliant
- Controls can feel awkward
- Story suffers due to open nature of game
** This article is updated from our original review.