Ms. Drake, I Presume?

The audience is a bit dead

After a couple of less impressive subjects, this actual weekend has been quite a bit more entertaining. Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration has turned out to be a rather mellow, if also pretty generic third person action-adventure. This time around the horror of all tombs worldwide, Lara Croft, is following in her late father’s footsteps to discover no more and no less than immortality itself. Back in the 10th century, a cabal led by the prophet of Constantinople kept this awfully useful sounding secret safe and sound from a military organization known as Trinity. They’ve been doing an exceptional job, considering that after an entire millennium the descendants of these two factions are still at it. Remarkably persistent little buggers!

Thanks to her father’s notes, Lara is quickly up to the game, and it only takes a brief stop at sultry Syria to get bearings for the icy tundras of Siberia that allegedly harbor the hidden city of the prophet and his chosen ones. Sadly, the psychopathic leader of a Trinity battalion, Konstantin, has reached the same conclusion, so waiting for Lara are not only ancient revelations but a merry mob of mercenaries as well. That’s especially bad when our beloved archaeologist loses all her gear due to some careless mountaineering and has to begin her adventure by displaying such basic survival skills as building a fire and constructing a flimsy bow.

Making use of the local biodiversity, namely flora, fauna, and mercenaries, is most straightforward; bow arrows can be crafted with sticks and feathers, ouchies heal with herbs and cloth, downed game is good for, say, larger ammo pouches, and empty bottles and tin cans be swiftly transformed into molotovs and grenades. If such an organic lifestyle or silent kills by a bow don’t hold allure, it doesn’t really take all that long to secure a traditional array of hand guns and assault rifles. As well as hunting-gathering, plenty of time is naturally spent admiring some pretty damn striking views, ascending mountainsides, making daring leaps, recovering long lost relics, solving relatively easy physics based puzzles, and constantly getting into explosive, Michael Bay -esque situations.

It’s a no-brainer to guess which series Rise of the Tomb Raider has been studying most fervently, and in more than one occasion it truly feels more Uncharted than Uncharted itself. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but I think I’ll still want to see it through in full first. For now, though, the game isn’t half bad at all.