After the success of the “Tomb Raider” reboot in 2013, a sequel was quickly commissioned. This time, instead of being isolated to the island of Yamatai, this adventure would be larger in scope, and deal a great deal more with Lara’s backstory.
In this game, following her father’s research into the secret of immortality, Lara searches for the mysterious city of Kitzeh, said to have been found by the prophet of Constantinople, a Christ-like figure who might posess that secret, “The divine source”. After finding vital clues in Syria, she quickly discovers she’s not the only one looking out for it-so’s the mysterious organization Trinity, led by the deranged Constantine and his sister, Anna-who used to be Lord Croft’s lover-and possibly was manipulating him (and Lara) all along.
Lara’s still coping with the horrors of Yamatai too, as revealed by several tapes that can be unlocked along the way. Her adventures take her to an old Soviet base in Siberia. This-and the following valley-are the most ‘open world’ segments of the game, where Lara can go hunting, and do several side quests, as well as buy items from a Trinity guy who isn’t quite a true believer and help the resistance movement led by the mysterious Jacob. It seems much more open and far less linear than Yamatai, if a bit more visually drab in some areas.
Like with the first game, finding certain audiotapes and relics can help reveal more of Lara’s backstory, as well as the history of the various locations, the prophet, Jacob and his people, Trinity, and the Soviet installation.
Like it’s predecessor, there is of course a heavy emphasis on upgrading skills, weapons etc. at base camps, as well as unlockable outfits which can give you different advantages. Combat seems a great deal more refined as well, with less of an emphasis on Quick-time event combos and a heavier emphasis on stealth (especially in one part of the game where lara has to deal with some mercenaries by largely dragging them underwater.)
Those who were a bit put off by the somewhat excessive gore in the last game will find things a bit milder here. Sure, there’s some bloody violence with Lara fighting the mercenaries, but the corpses here are generally of the more mummyish and skeleton variety, instead of the really nasty stuff on Yamatai.
The game also has DLC based in the largely abandoned Croft manor, whom Lara is trying to keep out of the hands of her greedy uncle. Here, we learn a lot about Lara’s mother, and her courtship with Lord Croft. It’s quite a charming story. It’s also a excellent level, with lots of nifty details, and it also more fully fleshes out the main story; mainly Lord Croft’s quest for immortality. (There’s really no enemies here, it’s mainly a series of puzzles) There’s also another DLC set in the same area but with zombies (I admittedly haven’t played this yet).
Enemies in the game are mainly mercenaries, and are a bit more heavily armed than their Yamatai counterparts. If you listen a bit and don’t attack them right away (or do so stealthily, which is also an option, much like the later “Uncharted” games), you can hear a bit of small talk that’s kind of amusing sometimes….but also like Yamatai, towards the end of the game there’s some enemies with considerably more supernatural origins and strength-the Deathless Ones, although unlike the Samuraiish Stormguard of Yamatai, these guys have a more Roman/Middle ages look to them.
Overall, “Rise of” is a very worthy, and fun sequel to the original “reboot” game.