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Tomb Raider collection has it all

January 10, 2017

By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada

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Tomb RaiderNow made available to PS4 gamers and with "20 Year Celebration" slapped onto its moniker, Rise of The Tomb Raider’s 2016 re-release offers the contents of the 2015 package, as well as some neat bonuses to boot.

While having both new and all previously released content compiled into one title is nice, some of the add-ons in this package feel non-consequential, and their implementation ham-fisted. Take the pre-order exclusive costumes, for example. After donning Laura, in each new garment at least once, I quickly changed back into the appropriate starter gear and continued my journey. These additions simply felt like bonuses thrown in to beef up the “new” amount of content for this re-release. Their designs, with the exception of a couple, seemed dull and uninspired but bellyaching about costumes is a bit nitpicky, I’ll admit.

Tomb RaiderSomething that genuinely had an affect on gameplay was how the title goes about introducing the “new” weaponry. Much like the costumes, these new-fangled firearms unlock at the title screen in a sudden dump, rather than being drip-fed throughout the campaign, as one would expect. Having access to these over-powered weapons early on in the story made an already easy title that much more of a cakewalk. This decision felt off, especially in a game that posits survival as one of its central themes. This aside, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a fantastic, tight experience that expands on the efforts of its 2013 predecessor in welcome ways.

Tomb RaiderWhen it comes to the moment-to-moment gameplay, Rise of the Tomb Raider excels. The fluid platforming and gunplay make combat and navigation gratifying. Additionally, the slower and more plotting moments are just as rewarding. Surveying locations, finding collectables, and of course raiding tombs, is what you’ll most likely get up to when not engaged in combat. While some may look at it as a monotonous slog, collectable hunting in open world titles has always been a cathartic experience for me. Rise of The Tomb Raider manages to make this experience even more rewarding by adding meaning to the many items scattered throughout the game’s world. These keepsakes not only flesh out the narrative, but also add experience points to Laura, eventually making her more and more deadly. Simply put, the campaign here is top notch but you most likely knew that already.

The rest of the new additions consist of a brand new story chapter, a horde mode, a new campaign mode difficulty and co-op support for the endurance challenge mode. The new story chapter entitled “Blood Ties” is a slow-paced exploration-focused romp that takes place in Croft Manor. The bonus episode is neat and is sure to satisfy those who enjoyed the quieter moments of the campaign. I personally didn’t find the puzzles in this particular chapter all that perplexing but the unnerving ambience alone makes the episode worth playing.

Tomb RaiderThose with PSVR headsets can experience this chapter in, you guessed it -VR. The “Laura’s Nightmare” mode, which is essentially a wave-based survival offshoot, serves as a fun, albeit shallow distraction. It turns out trading fire with human A.I. who behave and react to Laura’s actions is much more compelling than blasting hordes of mindless undead. Nevertheless, its inclusion doesn’t hurt. Both the new campaign difficulty and co-op experience are great additions for those looking for a reason to keep playing. Having the ability to partner up with a buddy for the challenging endurance mode is neat, and serves as a much more welcome multiplayer component compared to 2013’s horrendous competitive mode. Additionally, the new difficulty is sure to keep those up for a challenge busy.

Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20th Anniversary edition is a comprehensive package. PS4 and PC gamer’s who have a knack for action titles would be doing themselves a disservice by passing up Laura Croft’s latest adventure.

 

Rise of The Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration
Format: PlayStation 4
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
ESRB Rating: M for Mature
Official Site: https://www.tombraider.com/en-us

Rating: 8 / 10

 
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G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.