When Rise of the Tomb Raider was first revealed as a timed-Xbox exclusive, many fans were in an uproar. They saw it as unfair that the people at Xbox went out of their way to obtain timed-exclusivity to the sequel to one of gaming’s hottest reboots, but it’s a business decision that makes sense considering the great work Crystal Dynamics did with the 2013 game.
And it looks like Microsoft’s gamble with Rise of the Tomb Raider has paid off, as the game has released to critical acclaim. Be sure to read Game Rant’s Rise of the Tomb Raider review as well to get our take on Lara Croft’s latest adventure, but in the meantime, this is what other critics are saying from around the web:
Game Rant (Riley Little)
“The latest installment of the Tomb Raider franchise is easily the best one yet, with massive set pieces and gripping action. That said, replayability may be a factor.”
Destructoid (Steven Hansen)
“[Rise of the Tomb Raider is] not about ‘survival’ as billed, given the ease of mowing down dozens of folks and plenty of resources. But finding tombs wherein to clamber about ancient Rube Goldberg machines, coupled with the gorgeous visual flair and diverse environments, make Rise‘s wilderness one worth exploring and elevate Tomb Raider‘s otherwise perfunctory take on the third-person action platformer. I still get a strong sinking feeling in my stomach when I’ve misjudged a jump and watch Lara careening towards a splat.”
Game Informer (Kimberly Wallace)
“Rise of the Tomb Raider captures the thrill of being an adventurer and leaves you thinking about Lara’s next move. You have daredevil sequences, heroic moments, fun exploration, and exciting fights that even Indiana Jones would envy. If Crystal Dynamics keeps raising the bar from here, I can’t wait to see what’s next for Lara.”
GameSpot (Mike Mahardy)
“Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s first shot pans over the vast, foreboding landscape we’ll soon come to know. In many ways, it functions as a promise on the part of Crystal Dynamics: there are big things ahead of us. And at the end of Lara’s journey, after we’ve seen her through this adventure, and experienced everything the world has to offer, it’s clear that promise was kept.”
GamesRadar+ (Matthew Castle)
“While essentially a retread of its predecessor, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a magnificent adventure game, brilliantly combining action genres and letting you play the way you want to.”
IGN (Lucy O’Brien)
“Rise of the Tomb Raider raises the bar set by Lara’s last outing with a rollicking adventure story, strong villains, gorgeous vistas, and smart puzzles – go off the main path to find the best stuff in dastardly optional tombs. Though the mandatory combat doesn’t distinguish itself with challenging enemies unless you crank up the difficulty, Lara’s newfound versatility on the battlefield makes fighting a lot more fun. Once again it’s Lara herself, however, who steals the show, her complex ambitions and hardened resolve showing new sides to a character who has well and truly grown from survivor to the most fascinating action hero in video games today.”
The reviews lack a general consensus regarding Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s shortcomings. One of the lowest scoring reviews for the game, the one from Destructoid, criticizes it for being far too similar to the 2013 entry, whereas GameSpot took issue with the game’s boring resource gathering, and IGN disliked its combat. Interestingly enough, Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s controversial use of microtransactions managed to avoid too much criticism, and seem to be considered non-intrusive overall.
As for what publications seemed to enjoy about Rise of the Tomb Raider, that would be pretty much everything else. It seems as though the actual tomb raiding has been vastly improved compared to the reboot, so those that complained about the so-called “Tomb Raider” not raiding enough tombs should be pleased with this sequel. Furthermore, the writing is being praised for being as sharp as ever, which is good news for those that enjoyed Lara Croft’s harrowing adventure in the 2013 reboot.
Microsoft is counting on Rise of the Tomb Raider to be one of the strong holiday exclusives for Xbox One, and they’ve shown their confidence in the game by purchasing timed-exclusivity rights while also releasing it in an Xbox One holiday bundle. Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s critical acclaim will certainly help it along, but stiff competition from Fallout 4 tomorrow (read our Fallout 4 review) could derail potentially derail its momentum.
Rise of the Tomb Raider will be available on November 10th as a timed exclusive for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. A PC release is expected in spring of 2016, and it will be available on PlayStation 4 next holiday season.