Anyone who has played the old school Tomb Raider games will remember my personal favorite place to explore: The Croft Manor. I remember the amazing obstacle courses, the gorgeous pool and of course little Winston who I think I can say we all trapped in the freezer. I mainly did it because he’d appear out of nowhere and frighten the life out of me.
After reading that Rise of the Tomb Raider was releasing a DLC that included this beloved addition, I had to get it and play it straight away. Now, I was aware that it would not have the additions that we’re all used to when I saw that the Manor was in ruin. A little disappointed, but still I couldn’t knock it for that because otherwise, it wouldn’t go with the story.
From the beginning, you find yourself having to find evidence of Amelia’s death (Lara’s Mother) so that Lara can claim the Manor from her Uncle Atlas. As you explore the Manor and try to find clues for the Safe combination, you come across so many letters and recordings of both Lara’s parents talking about their relationship and how it began to the very end of Amelia’s life. I found these very moving, I don’t think we ever had such an in depth explanation about where Lara came from except for her Father’s interest in Myths and Tombs. I was very happy to have a fresh look into the Croft family.
This chapter is mainly for you to see Lara’s childhood and how her parents leaving her did affect her deeply. Winston (The Butler) raised her most of the time and did a lovely job, but always put in his letters to Richard (Lara’s father) that she needs her father around her. You explore Amelia’s old rooms and paintings, discovering pictures of the two of them when Lara was a baby.
The clues you find are ones you must decipher yourself, however, I found them to be fairly easy compared to puzzles in past games. This didn’t take from the story, though since the reboots have definitely been more about following the story than giving you ridiculously complicated little puzzles to figure out. In the end, you find evidence of Amelia’s death, and of course, find a Crypt under the Manor that is the resting place of Amelia, therefore giving Lara rights to keep the Manor.
In terms of what there is to do, there isn’t an awful lot. Mainly, you walk around opening doors to find clues which are usually papers or recordings left on various tables. There are a couple of times where you have to move objects to get around, but nothing compared to the old Manors. It is extremely story driven, and this, in turn, does take away a lot of gameplay except for walking around the Manor. I have to say, I don’t mind this so much since I was very keen on learning her family’s history, but it doesn’t entirely make up for the fact that after all is uncovered, the Manor is still in ruin and nothing opens up for you.
I would have deeply enjoyed it if, at the end of the storyline, they let you have free roamed of many of the boarded up rooms and possibly made challenges like putting the water back on for the pool or stopping the ceiling leaks or anything really. I felt that the time in the Manor was so short I couldn’t truly enjoy it.
Overall, I found the Manor to be a little empty for my taste. But I will say that yes since they have to follow the story, it couldn’t be in pristine condition with everything handed to us on a plate. The story was well done and I enjoyed learning more about Lara. There is a little addition outside of the story, where you g into her nightmare and fight zombies, but for me, that really isn’t Tomb Raider. It’s a fun little addition yes, but nothing worth exploring for me personally. I do recommend buying this DLC to any Tomb Raider fan because I did find it enlightening and at times emotional to learn about her life.