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Rise of the Tomb Raider is a game I have been looking forward before it was even announced. I loved A Survivor is Born, it had great action, a fantastic villain with Himiko and Lara was a great character. Sure the supporting cast wasn't as good as they could have been but they weren't bad and I did want to see them make it out alive.
But that all changed when I started reading the tie-in comics set between Survivor and Rise and they where Awesome. The comics really flesh out Sam and Jonah's characters, helped by Gail Simone and Rhianna Pratchett's excellent writing. They really made me care for these two and I couldn't wait to see what role Sam would play in Rise since she became one of my favorite characters thanks to these comics.
Sadly towards the end it was clear that a bit of Himiko's soul had made it into Sam and that she would be left out of Rise's plot. While I‘m at least glad that Sam wasn't killed off I hate that she was Put on the Bus because I had really come to love her character and her relationship with Lara was one of the highlights of the comics.
I also don't like that Lara's PTSD was mostly pushed to the side even though the first trailer and the comics showed she was still suffering from the events of Survivor. So yes, the game is guilty of Wasting a Perfectly Good Plot AND a Perfectly Good Character with Sam.
With that said, I have to say that I actually liked Rise just as much as, if not more, then Survivor. I like that it has a Softer and Lighter tone rather than trying to make it Darker and Edgier the Survivor. Which make sense, the first game killed off half the cast and Lara went through hell and, in my opinion, had suffered enough. And it's not like Rise lacks drama or that Lara has is a weaker character. The events of Survivor and the comics can still be felt and they do have an impact on her but that's Shown instead of Told.
And I'm glad that the game doesn't make it so you HAVE to read the comic to understand what's going on. So yeah I enjoyed Rise of the Tomb Raider. It's a solid game and, in my opinion, An Even Better Sequel.
And who knows, maybe The Bus Will Come Back and Sam will return in Tomb Raider 3 and play a major role with her relationship with Lara getting a major focus and even be playable for a mission or two. So, you know, fingers crossed.
Okay I know its unlikely that anyone will read this but there are a few criticisms of ROTTR that I find head tilting or simply not true on the grounds that I have played the games and read the comics and there is nothing to back these critics up. First off, NO Trinity was NOT responsible for Lara ending up on Yamatai, she got there because SHE insisted to go into the Dragon Triangle and Roth backed her up.
Trinity's ONLY involvement was that one of their agents had been on the island to presumably kill or capture Himiko and that some of their men went to Yamatai AFTER Lara had killed Himiko and that they had killed the remaining members of the Solarii Brotherhood. Second while members of the order like Ana and some random henchmen who's journal we come across who say that there is a secret history of the world there is nothing in the game or the comics to suggest that Trinity has covered up ANYTHING outside of events relating to their own secret order.
So while Trinity is made out to be a big bad they're not as big as the YMMV page says they are, and as for Trinity being largely unaffected by the events of ROTTR its stated several times that the people running Trinity have very deep pockets and connections to the Vatican and as for Lara killing several high ranking members, we only that Konstantin is a high ranking member and while Ana has been manipulating him all his life by all outward appearances Ana doesn't seem to be that high a member. For example we only see her giving orders to people who seem to be regular mercenaries but she doesn't seem to have as much control over the regular Trinity soldiers.
However, most of the foot soldiers that we seem to be just regular guns for hire and most of the Trinity soldiers don't show up that often so yeah I can completely buy that Trinity was largely unaffected by the events of this game.
And finally the criticisms that Lara hasn't learned anything from the events of the last game. I really can't agree, sure she doesn't seem to figure out who the prophet is even though the players have figured it out several hours ago but she does show that she has learned from the events of the last game, She is more willing to believe in the supernatural whereas before she dismissed it outright, which is highlighted in her conversation with Jacob after the first act. Lara also doesn't act as nearly as naive as she did in A Survivor is Born if anything she more stubborn as she is slow to trust anyone even those closest to her.
Now I do feel that Lara didn't get nearly as much development as she did in Survivor or the tie in comics but we didn't get a retread of her arc in the first game. If that was the case then Lara would be spending the whole game trying to save those from her own mistake while learning that she has to do things that she is not comfortable with in order to survive and that's not her arc in Rise. In Rise she is trying to make amends with her father and show the world that he was right while also learning to let go of his ghost so she can move on and live for herself.
I do feel that on the whole that Rise isn't as good as it could have been, it does need to take itself a little less seriously, Sam needs to return, (and given resent events in the comics there's a good chance that she will return), we need to not be stuck in one place for the whole game, (keep the semi open world of the first two games but have the story go to China, Egypt and Mexico) and it could be great. But I just cannot agree with the some of the critics that have been labeled against it.
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