Rise of the Tomb Raider abandons combat and instead focuses on exploration and storytelling for its Croft Manor-based campaign, Blood Ties. In my previous post about Rise of the Tomb Raider, I wrote my initial thoughts on the core campaign and being the completionist I am, I didn’t want to dive into the additional DLC straightaway. However, I finally got some time to explore Croft Manor and I’m glad I did.
When Lara’s uncle Atlas de Mornay contests the ownership of Croft Manor, Lara must delve into her family’s history and uncover the secrets hidden within the walls of her once loved family home.
It should be noted that Croft Manor isn’t the opulent mansion Tomb Raider fans will know from previous games. There is no swimming pool, maze, assault course or butler to lock in the fridge. Instead we are presented with crumbling walls, flooded basements and rooms that could use more than a lick of paint to spruce them up.
Blood Ties is a welcome change of pace from Rise of the Tomb Raider’s main storyline. Players are able to explore the mansion at their own pace and find relics, letters and documents that tell us more about Lara’s past and her family. The objectives of the campaign are pretty straightforward and can be completed within 90 minutes. Yet rather than rush through the story I enjoyed taking my time to collect as many items I could get my hands on.
There are some great nods to previous games that die hard Tomb Raider fans will love. However, one of the DLC’s key strengths was finding out more about Lara’s parents and their relationship. In particular Lara’s mother has been somewhat elusive to fans. She played a prominent plot device within 2006’s Tomb Raider Legend and it’s followup Underworld, but we still didn’t know much about Amelia Croft. Blood Ties does a great job in exploring this character and delving into a part of Lara’s life that has remained largely unexplored.
Blood Ties is a perfect addition to Rise of the Tomb Raider and delightful trip of nostalgia for Tomb Raider fans. The easter eggs and homages to previous games are a real joy to find and ensure that fans are encouraged to search every nook and cranny. Whilst the campaign is short, it does a great job of diving into Lara’s family history to make the character more relatable and human to add an extra depth to the iconic heroine.