While the first “new” Tomb Raider game introduced us to a new version of Lara, Rise of the Tomb Raider solidified the combat and gameplay.
Rise of the Tomb Raider has a bigger focus on the “Metroidvania” style of gameplay – where you gain new equipment/powers throughout the game which enable you to discover new paths (and collectables) in areas you’ve previously visited. Rise of the Tomb Raider does a good job of balancing this with more scripted sections.
The bow is an absolute joy to use – to the point where I rarely touch other weapons in these games. It makes for very exciting combat and is easy to use both in stealth and when you have lots of enemies shooting at you. Puzzles in Rise of the Tomb Raider are also much improved from the first game, with them feeling more interactive and the side areas having much more of a personality to them.