’Rise of the Tomb Raider’: Why No One Is Playing This Game

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a masterpiece on many levels. Whether you’re sneaking through enemy camps using slicker stealth moves than anything found in Assassin’s Creed, or solving meticulously designed puzzles in sprawling tombs, chances are you’re having a blast. It’s one of the best-looking games ever made, and it plays like a dream. So it’s a shame no one’s playing it.

A follow up to the 2013 series reboot Tomb Raider, this game follows Lara Croft on her path to become a modern-day Indiana Jones. To kick things off, she learns of an ancient city that, despite her father’s obsession, he was never able to find. The city’s mystical promise is that it holds the power of immortality.

So off you go, on a quest to find this city, fighting against a group of thugs who are after the very same thing. While you can simply dash from set-piece to set-piece, there’s a ton to do in the game for those who prefer to see and collect everything. You can root out collectibles and find hidden tombs. You can fill out an upgrade tree that increases your power and skills in all sorts of satisfying ways. You can even craft items and unlock new outfits.

Even more than its predecessor, this game proceeds with a sense of confidence that’s rare, but well earned. There are very few missteps here, with a fully satisfying core campaign, and tons of reasons to go back and sweep up anything you may have missed the first time through.

So why haven’t people been talking about Rise of the Tomb Raider like they have some other games this season? Shouldn’t pretty much every Xbox One owner be rushing out to buy it, since they get it a full year before the PlayStation 4 crowd?

Yes, they should.

But from the looks of things (Microsoft and Square Enix have been mum on the issue) the game isn’t selling very well. According to VGChartz, it sold just 230,000 units the week it released. And if this NeoGAF thread is correct, fewer than 60,000 of those copies were sold in the U.K. Compare that to Fallout 4, which came out the same day on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and sold nearly 5 million units that week.

There’s the rub, isn’t it? The biggest reason people overlooked Rise of the Tomb Raider is because it launched the same day as Fallout 4, a game that released to such thunderous fanfare that it drowned out nearly all other chatter that whole week. By the time gamers came back up for air, it was too late for Rise of the Tomb Raider. Everyone was already neck-deep in the Boston Wasteland.

Not to mention all of the other major titles to release in recent weeks, including Star Wars Battlefront, Halo 5: Guardians, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. In that kind of environment it’s hard for any game, no matter how good it is, to grab gamer mindshare.

It also doesn’t help that Rise of the Tomb Raider is currently exclusive to a console that, by all accounts, has sold less than half of the units of its main competitor. After all, you can’t buy the game if you don’t have the only system it runs on. Plus, dedicated Xbox gamers may still be busy playing Halo 5, the other big Xbox One exclusive that launched just a few weeks prior to Tomb Raider.

Whatever the reason, I hope people come around on the game and give it a chance. No matter what other games are available now, Rise of the Tomb Raider is one of the best games of the year. Play Halo 5. Play Fallout 4. But play Rise of the Tomb Raider, too. You won’t be disappointed.

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed
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