Lara climbing all the way up the Broadcast Tower in order to get her S.O.S. through, which takes an incredible amount of guts considering 1.) she had to go through a good number of Solarii to get there, and 2.) the tower in question is tall enough to be an acrophobe's worst nightmare. The pure cinematic visuals of this alone just friggin' make that scene. It's just too bad it turned out to be a cruel Hope Spot, as Yamatai won't allow anyone to enter or leave it.
Lara: That's right! Run, you bastards! I'M COMING FOR YOU ALL!
This quote is even more awesome in context: Lara has just fought her way through a town full of crazed Solarii, watched one of her close friends die, and finally managed to rescue Sam from the clutches of the Solarii. But then Lara is captured, beat to shit right in front of Sam, and her weapons taken from her, and manages to escape through the initiation caves of the Solarii; where they toss new recruits into a sulfur-filled cave with no food or water for days. Lara promptly breaks out of that, frees her friends, gets her weapons back, and starts to annihilate the palace of the Solarii by detonating the natural gas beneath the palace. At this point, the player is likely just as pissed off at the Solarii as Lara is, and the sight of the Solarii running from the one girl is so damn invigorating.
The music kicking in the instant you blow down the first door with it certainly helps add atmosphere to the rampage.
Near the end, Lara vs a small army of undead samurai. Guess who wins. It's Lara, who brings lots of death to her enemies.
Lara: All right, you bastards. Let's see what you've got!
Compared to Lara at the beginning of the game, when she pleads with the scavengers to leave her alone or question why they're attacking her, to the confidence-filled taunts and Badass Boasts she sports after getting the fire arrows onward are one crowning moment after another, showing quite clearly that by the time she's daring them to try running from her, she's fresh out of fucks to give.
Lara using the the torch to impale the Sun God Himiko herself in order to save Sam.
Lara's entire trek through the final level of the game. No matter what Himiko, the Solarii, and the Stormguard throw at her, it barely even slows her down as she smashes through them and climbs/leaps her way over gaping chasms during gale-force winds and bolts of lightning to reach her goal and save Sam. Not even the big bad Oni is enough to stop her!
Roth taking an axe to the back to protect Lara.
The first fight against an armored mook is followed by a random mook exiting a nearby building.
Mook: Oh, shit! She's still alive?
Lara: Yes. I'm still alive.
Time it right, and the second line comes in the form of a pre-mortem one liner.
Lara's confrontation with Nikolai. At first she is forced to take cover whilst he fires a machine gun turret but then she ziplines over to him and kicks him in the face. He quickly gains the upper hand, throws her off the roof and begins shooting at her whilst shouting violent threats. But this all changes when Lara spots the grenade launcher, grabs the puppy and takes aim. Nikolai's gloating turns to pure terror and he can only shout in horror before she fires and blows him straight to hell.
This fight is even more satisfying when you remember the brutal beatdown Nikolai gave her earlier. Now he's the defenseless one.
Despite Reyes' Jerk Justificationsconcerning Roth's death, Lara doesn't hesitate in holding her tongue when the other woman blames her for Alex's death.
Reyes: Seems anyone caught with you has a pretty low survival rate.
Lara: Better keep your distance then.
Which later makes it a CMOA in itself when she — easily the most skeptical of the Endurance crew, tells Lara that she's not leaving them behind during the trek up to the Sun Goddess' shrine in the finale.
And the way she eventually takes him down by putting the climbing axe to good use is nothing less than awesome.
Shortly afterwards, when dying, Alex decides he's not going to be gunned down. He fires a bullet at a pipe on the wall... and half the endurance explodes into flames. The endurance is a very large tanker, so it goes up pretty well...
In a meta example, this game itself has been the best selling in the franchise, with around 8.5 million units sold.