Look at her. She looks strong. That's important to me.
Here you see her in three different outfits. As part of the shift in the gaming, you can dress Lara up in different outfits throughout the game. I spent most of the game with her dressed in the Baba Yaga outfit; mostly because it looked vaguely like the Forsworn of Skyrim, and it amused me.
I derived far too much amusement out of that fact.
The friendship element was still strong, with Jonah coming to find Lara, and Lara subsequently abandoning her quest to try and save him, but the thrust of the game was Lara's effort to prove her father correct, to reverse his academic disgrace. That's... fine, as far as stories go. I just wasn't as into it as I was the theme of the last game.
There also wasn't the emotional gut-punch that I love in stories. They attempted it, I think, with Jacob, but it wasn't the same as losing Conrad, and so the payoff of killing the bad guys didn't feel as satisfying. Perhaps that's the point though. I felt really badly for Konstantin, and not at all justified in killing him in the end. Not like Matthew in the first game, while avenging Conrad's death. Bastard. Ahem... Still salty about it.
Then ending of the game made little sense, since Lara is upset about having the destroy the Divine Source (I SWEAR Trinity is The Order, and Lara is unknowingly an Assassin), since she can no longer prove her father correct. That's bullshit. She can still redeem him, at least a little bit, by leading a proper academic excursion into the ruins of Kitezh. I mean, lots of it got destroyed during the events of the game, but the ruins are still there. Good lord, writers. They may have been going for bittersweet with that ending - at least Lara knows her father wasn't crazy, but even a little bit of thought renders that bittersweet goal into stupidity.
All three are different, and none of them feel flat or one dimensional. Their motivations, too, feel organic. Ana is dying, and is doing whatever is in her power to stop that from happening. Lara is curious and loves her father, so of course would want to redeem him. When she learns what Trinity is after, she changes her goal, and is determined to stop them, at any price. Sofia is defending her home, and the Divine Source; sacred and dangerous.
It's all believable. As much as their physical appearance is important, their internal life is also important. A realistic-looking character whose actual character falls flat is just as bad as the weird biology-defying barbies of other games.
Which, of course, made for some pretty hilarious deaths.
I really liked the game play. It was challenging enough, and the puzzles felt more practical than some games that incorporate puzzles. It was a good balance between combat and puzzle-solving. I also really appreciated the stealth kills, since stealth is kinda my thing. I love being sneaky.
I have no complaints when it comes to game play. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice still holds its place as best combat system I've played.
Also, my gaming inability made for some pretty silly deaths, which was amusing.