This article most certainly has spoilers
Rise of the Tomb Raider is a marvelous game as it is an adventure of exploring.However as a story it isn’t that great, not because it isn’t told in a marvelous way, in fact it is, but because the final doesn’t follow from what went before. We never see Lara ponder her actions which then finally leads to her decision at the end. Instead her whole attitude remains more or less the same until the end and then she suddenly has a change of heart.And then at the end she changes it again, because we have to have a sequel.
Lets give a short breakdown of the process.
This shot at the end of the game might as well be put at the beginning of it because it is finding secrets that drives the story although Lara’s first motivation is to vindicate her father’s reputation and to change the world. Note these two: her father’s reputation and changing the world.
No wonder that father Croft was made into a laughing stock: he was because he apparently wanted to put forth his unscientific ideas in the scientific world and this of course wasn’t appreciated. What was he expecting?
So Lara sets out not only to restore her fathers reputation, but to find live eternal which could benefit the whole of humanity. A noble cause if there was any. And it doesn’t take Lara that long to find important leads.
So we need to make it difficult for her to find it. Hence we have some competitors making a run for the same artifact: Konstantin and Ana and their might army of goons. But they aren’t just obstacles to navigate. They have to make her think, but do they?
Killing and more killing.
And another army also stands in the way.
It all ends eventually.
After much killing and destruction the final confrontation is between Ana and Lara and it is the focal point in the story.
But Lara comes to this conclusion.
And Jacob barges in to add his two cents:
And then Lara makes a decision
And the game finishes with this:
Thus Lara reaches a conclusion based on nothing as it doesn’t get shown in the story. We never see her considering that finding the divine source might be a bad idea or is not meant to be found. Instead she hammers on having to find it. In fact she is so adamant that at times I wondered why Jacob and his people help her at all considering that they are there to protect it and do not agree with her. At the end Jacob says that he allowed her to find it cause he knew she would destroy it. Which is a hell of a leap and seems forced. The writers of the story probably realized that there is no reason for Jacob and his people to help her, even if she is an ally against the bad people.
And then when Lara finds it, she suddenly, for no reason at all, decides that it wasn’t meant for humanity. Lara being the judge and jury of humanity: you can have it when I think you are meant to have it otherwise I destroy it.
But at this point we could still fly with it, but how does the story end? Lara comes to the conclusion that: there are secrets out there that can change the world(and she has to find them.) If at this point someone would put forth the idea that Lara is there to destroy those secrets because they change the world than I would believe it. Lara as a force of destiny destroying secrets not meant to to be known.
So at the end we are back were we started and Lara has gone full circle: she hasn’t changed a bit. The only thing she learned is how to kill things.. I am sure that in the next installment of the game we have to learn it all over again. And what about Lara: she probably starts out like this again:
It is strange to see the way the story is actually written as there could have been many other reasons to destroy it. For one: it seems, but is never made clear, that the kind of life that it grants isn’t a pleasant one. Perhaps that could have been a trade of: eternal life without joy. Or even: eternal life, but unpleasant. Or even: an unpleasant eternal life without a choice.
Another option would have been that Lara had to destroy it to stop that deathless army, surrounded as she was at that moment, or/and from preventing it to be controlled by others. In other words her reasoning would be in favor of humanity because it is ultimately a danger to them.
This could have been made clear in the narrative, but that is never done.
With this the game still remains a nice game, but as a story is weak and considering Lara has to Rise it is at odd with it’s title. Nothing has occurred to her personaly and she hasn’t risen. If instead the story had ended with: there are secrets out there not meant for mankind, then she would have changed. But now nothing has happened as at the end she just changes back to finding secrets. Which is what she started out with.