I just want to start off by saying that I really do feel that this was quite a fun game.
I finished the campaign for Rise of the Tomb Raider around 2 AM yesterday (it was the weekend, okay...), but do still have plenty of content to get through before I shelf this title. I want to go collect everything, and I'm very nearly there now... but have suffered from a known widespread glitch not counting some things so I fear I may need to play again 100% to get the achievements to pop. Plus I've not even looked at any of the Twitch-integrated features, which actually means I may try my hand at streaming soon! Not required, but might be fun. And I plan to buy the DLC. But I beat the story, so that's "game complete" for most and good enough to write this heh.
My favorite part was definitely the exploration of tombs and crypts. The puzzles were fun, the environments fun to explore, and the worldbuilding involved with most was great. I listened to every single audio log. The history imparted by them was fascinating.
In contrast, I couldn't get that invested in the main story's characters. Jacob was interesting - pegged his identity instantly thanks to a clue from an audio log I picked up not too long beforehand - but the others... Meh. I had no attachment to Ana. If they had maybe introduced her in 2013's Tomb Raider, I'd care more about her betrayel... But I just didn't. I disliked her for it, and her sickness made me a little sympathetic, but none of those were strong feelings. While writing this I just performed a quick search and apparently there is a running comic book title filling the gaps between the games?? I imagine those would've helped some... But don't feel it should be necessary. Oh and Konstantin just screamed generic angry bad guy the whole time. Poor misguided fool.
I didn't really mind any of that though. Except when stuck in the proper levels where my explorative urges were restricted. I still had fun and never felt stuck for long. Even playing on savior mode where you don't regenerate health and supplies are more scarce, not many combat encounters really took me too long. Mostly because that wonderful bow is still ridiculously overpowered.
If you want to play this game, stop first. Next, go play its predecessor. That was an amazing game. Then play this one. Rise of the Tomb Raider is great as well, although I did feel less invested. Just want to recommend this rebooted series as a whole, since I feel it's much stronger that way.