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The 10 best Tomb Raider games, ranked in 2024

Accompany Lara Croft on 10 amazing adventures around the globe!

Can you believe that Lara Croft will soon turn 30? After all, her journey began in 1996 — when the first game in the series hit the shelves. The rest is history: for years, fans enjoyed a regular stream of various sequels, spin-offs, movie adaptations, and other adventures starring their favorite archaeologist. We decided to take a good look at Lara’s entire gaming career and pick the very best Tomb Raider game!

While not much is known about it, another entry in the series is supposedly in development, so we can expect our beloved archaeologist to return in the future. When exactly? For now, the answer remains a mystery, hidden in the depths of an ancient temple, so let’s look back at her previous virtual escapades.

Ranking of the best Tomb Raider games in 2024

Prepare to explore scorching deserts, snowy mountain passages, and dangerous jungles. Tomb Raider games ranked in this article are the series’ finest, at least in our subjective opinion. If you think we’ve omitted one or more of Lara’s extraordinary adventures, we encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments. Enjoy the read!

10. Tomb Raider Underworld

Published in 2008, Tomb Raider Underworld marks the end of an era, as the series changed quite drastically with the next main entry. Before that, though, Lara embarks on a Norse-themed quest during which she explores multiple, well, underworlds.

Even though the game wasn’t exactly revolutionary, it was a fitting end to the trilogy that started in 2006. Lara has a classic moveset at her disposal and makes good use of the iconic dual pistols. While the combat isn’t the game’s strongest aspect, the platforming and puzzle-solving sections feel pretty rewarding.

9. Tomb Raider IV: The Last Revelation

Here’s another end-of-an-era entry in the franchise. The developers initially were prepared to kill off Lara Croft, thus making Tomb Raider IV: The Last Revelation the final game in the franchise. As everyone knows, they didn’t follow through with the idea.

This time, the famous adventurer goes to Egypt, where she engages in her (and her fans’) favorite activities: tomb raiding, solving riddles, and fighting against mummies. The game introduced a new inventory system that allowed collecting and combining various items.

8.  Rise of the Tomb Raider

Lara Croft only on Xbox? That’s how it initially appeared after the game’s announcement back in 2014, but to the delight of fans who play mainly on PC and PlayStation, the exclusivity was only time-limited, and Rise of the Tomb Raider quickly appeared on other systems.

Regardless of the platform, though, it was a very solid entry, so much so that many users likely expected it to place higher in the ranking of Tomb Raider games. Rise continues the story from 2013’s reboot and delivers a more open approach to level design that encourages in-depth exploration. And let’s not forget about the beautiful Siberian wilderness!

End: -80%Historical low

7. Tomb Raider Anniversary

After changing Lara’s image in 2006, the team at Crystal Dynamics got cracking on the remake of the very first game in the series. Classic locations, better graphics, and some new puzzles to solve — Tomb Raider Anniversary was a fine package indeed.

In pursuit of the Scion of Atlantis, gamers explore distinct levels all around the globe. Lara has a wide range of different moves to use, allowing her to roll around, climb steep ledges, and perform other extraordinary feats. Of course, the remake couldn’t do without the iconic T-Rex boss battle, this time with more realistic visuals.

6. Tomb Raider III

Since the series quickly gained critical acclaim and mainstream popularity, the stream of TR games just had to keep on flowing. While the developers wanted more time to work on this entry, the decision was made to release Tomb Raider III as quickly as possible, just a year after its predecessor.

Was it to the game’s disadvantage? Not really, as it turned out to be another good entry in the franchise that offered a more polished (albeit slightly repetitive) experience. The plot revolves around the meteorite artifacts that hold a mysterious power. It’s a classic case of the “bigger, better” sequel that doesn’t bring too much novelty, but plenty of fans will point to TR3 when asked, “What is the best Tomb Raider game?”.

5. Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Upon its release, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the latest mainline entry in the series, was met with a visibly colder reception than the two previous parts of the trilogy. At its core, much like TR3 and Underworld, it was more evolutionary than revolutionary, and many gamers wanted to see something more refreshing.

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The less enthusiastic response from fans and critics alike is a bit unfortunate. Of all new trilogy entries, SoTR was probably the closest to capturing the spirit of the original adventures. It has less focus on combat but more on puzzle-solving activities. The top-quality visuals are worthy of distinction. We think that it deserves a bit more love. While it may not be the best Tomb Raider game ever made, it’s certainly a good opportunity for a virtual trip to Latin America.

End: -75%Historical low

4. Tomb Raider II

The massive success of the first game made it very clear that Core Design should strike while the iron is hot, which resulted in the brisk development of its sequel, Tomb Raider II. Lara embarked on a quest for the Dagger of Xian roughly a year after her very first adventure.

As we move towards the very top of our ranking of Tomb Raider games, the entries discussed from now on are the series’ cream of the crop. TR2 had outstandingly fun levels (The Great China Wall and Venice, to name just a few), top-tier puzzles, and overall vastly improved gameplay. Was it more of the same? Yes, but so is the case with many other titles discussed. Still, it’s one of the most amazing virtual adventures to date!

3. Tomb Raider Legend

Moving away from the “more of the same” trend, it’s prime time for a small revolution. After the poorly received The Angel of Darkness, Lara was grounded for three years, restlessly awaiting an opportunity to sneak on another escapade. And finally, it came: Tomb Raider Legend launched with great fanfare, quickly becoming one of the most beloved titles in the series.

The team at Crystal Dynamics has paid attention to detail, both story- and gameplay-wise. The plot centered on Arthurian legends is pretty engaging, and the increased focus on linear design further simplifies the exploration, making the game more action-oriented. The streamlined experience worked well, though, as the game turned out to be a success, marking Lara’s return to glory.

2. Tomb Raider (2013)

And the silver medal goes to… Tomb Raider (2013)! Once again, the first part of the new trilogy revitalized the series by bringing major changes to the tired formula. With this entry, the series became more cinematic, darker, and violent.

Here, Lara steps into a different pair of shoes entirely, forced into a brutal fight for survival on the mysterious island of Yamatai. Her character became more realistic as she went from being an undefeated heroine to a somewhat more ordinary young woman. Taking plenty of inspiration from the Uncharted series, the gameplay is very action-oriented, with satisfying gunplay and a crafting system.

End: -75%Historical low

1. Tomb Raider (1996)

What else could take first place in our ranking if not the game kicked it all off, Tomb Raider (1996)? If you want to see Lara’s not-so-humble beginnings, by all means, check it out; those of you who are not too keen on old games may want to take a look at the new remasters of the original trilogy.

The first TR is simply one of those classic titles that everyone has played — or at least heard of. An epic adventure that revolutionized gaming, giving rise to a fantastic franchise and making Lara one of the most popular video game characters of all time. After nearly 30 years and dozens of new entries, the answer to the “What is the best Tomb Raider game?” question remains the same: the original one.

It’s time to wrap up our exploration of hidden passages, ancient temples, and dark catacombs. After reading about the finest Tomb Raider games ranked from 10 to 1, do you agree with the selection? Let us know in the comments!

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