Brief Review: Rise of the Tomb Raider

There’s a bunch I could potentially say about this game. But I really want to keep this brief.

So, blah blah Uncharted this, blah blah original Tomb Raider that, blah blah Lara’s new face, blah blah…

But what I really want to talk about is:

COLD  DARKNESS ! ! !

Cold Darkness is the baddest-freaking-ass arcade-style play mode I’ve ever found in an adventure game. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted from a zombie game. It’s what new Resident Evil only wishes it could be. It’s so good, I kinda wish it had just been a standalone game, with more maps, more story, more of it all!

For those of you that haven’t played this, Cold Darkness is an extra single-player mission in which Lara gets to tackle a completely new foe in the form of The Descent-ish zombie-ish creatures which introduces completely new gameplay dynamics as a result. It’s just one mission, but the map for the mission is HUGE and establishes a set of priorities and optional tasks to complete in the order you see fit. It’s basically free-roam on a small scale, dodging zombies and making small progressions at every turn. The mission can take anywhere from a half an hour to 4+ hours depending on how thorough and how sneaky you want to be. There are things to unlock, bonus objectives, scores to beat, discoveries to make, and finally a very compelling new mechanic involving random variable generation. So not only is this a blast the first time, but it continues to be compelling because you’ll experience something new every time! And can you complete the whole thing without dying once???

Playing Cold Darkness was one of the most fun gaming experiences I’ve had in a while, and it reminded me of the classic potential of videogames. Why can’t more games be made the same way Cold Darkness is made? It’s formula is just perfect.

Now if only there was a co-op version of this…… (drool, eyes glazing over)

As far as the main story of Rise of the Tomb Raider,

It was pretty okay.

I’d also like to mention that it was super-well optimized for PC, I was actually impressed. My PC is not that beastly, but still it ran butter-smooth on high settings and it looked incredible.

My rating for 2016’s Rise of the Tomb Raider is…

★★★★

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