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At the start of the year, I was going to put together a pile of shame and attempt to work through it over the year. However, I decided against it because I knew the most likely scenario was once it hit April(ish) I would only get through a handful of the games between this year’s new releases and the rest of my Explosion Network duties. 

I have a new game-plan that will be less demeaning – because I can’t fail it! I’m simply going to keep track of any pre-2020 games I finish throughout the year and tick them off the old’ pile of shame without working through a pre-determined list of games. Smart isn’t it? Because now I can just play what I want and feel good about getting through whatever I can.

So let’s kick it off. Throwing the first game into the pile that I cleared this year: Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Ex-Pile of Shame : Rise of the Tomb Raider 

What I Played: The campaign, some optional tombs & a small amount of dawdling to collect items. 
Difficulty: Normal
Playtime: Nine and a half hours 
Synopsis: Lara uncovers an ancient mystery that places her in the cross-hairs of a ruthless organization known as Trinity. As she races to find the secret before Trinity, the trail leads to a myth about the Lost City of Kitezh. Lara knows she must reach the Lost City and its hidden secrets before Trinity. With that, she sets out for Siberia on her first Tomb Raiding expedition.

I played and finished Tomb Raider (2013) when it originally released on my PS3. I never got to play Rise of the Tomb Raider at release because, at the time, I didn’t own an Xbox at all. When it finally came to PS4 it came out at a really stupid time as I was playing Mafia III and then I was more excited by the launch of PSVR. I finally picked it up on a PS4 sale a year or so ago and… I never played it until it came to Xbox Gamepass. PC Gamepass specifically because I just purchased a brand new monitor — my first 2K, G-sync enabled, above 60hz monitor  — and I was looking for games to play on it. When I saw Rise was on Gampass, I thought – why not. 

Playing it on my new monitor to test it out proved a great choice because the game is beautiful considering its now several years old. The stunning landscapes, lighting in the fire scenes and the particles and singular bouncing effects of Lara’s hair automatically grabbed me. 

I don’t think the story in this game was as strong as Tomb Raider, but it was certainly more action-heavy with strong set-pieces. The final level, in particular, was outdoing Uncharted at its own game. I just didn’t care for any of the characters and the villains were so boring. From what I’ve heard Shadow of the Tomb Raider doesn’t redeem this factor either, which is disappointing. 

The game is a lot of fun to play though and I enjoyed the many climbing mechanics and the plethora of weapons and ways to take down enemies, even if I preferred the more stealth focused previous game. 

I’m confused why the games tombs are all optional as they were some of the best parts of the game. It’s this odd separation from what made Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider. 

I’ve noticed that Shadow of the Tomb Raider is available on Xbox Gamepass so I might get to that this year as well, although I’m not ready to jump straight into it after this adventure quite yet, even if I did enjoy my time with Lara. She needs to rest up before I go back to battle Trinity.


Now that I can answer the internet’s hot topic from 2016:
Uncharted 4 is way better. Its story and characters were constantly more engaging, even if I’d give Rise of the Tomb Raider the set pieces vote.  

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